Seattle, WA, "The Emerald City", is the center of a sprawling metropolis situated between the marine waters of Puget Sound and the snowcapped mountains of the Cascade Range. What began as a logging and coal mining camp in the early 1850s has grown into a prominent leader in the industries of aerospace, medicine, retail, and high-tech. The entire metropolitan area, stretching from Everett in the north end to Tacoma and Olympia to the south, is home to roughly four million inhabitants.
You might be surprised to learn that this city isn't as rain-soaked as its reputation suggests. Summers are mild and generally dry, and roses bloom in January thanks to the mild marine influence. The region is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with boating, fishing, water skiing, snow skiing, and hiking the most popular activities.
You'll fall in love with the city the moment you arrive. From the top of the famous Space Needle, you'll marvel at the sights. The forested hills, the multitude of freshwater lakes, and the eye-popping view of towering Mount Rainier will thrill you no end.
Getting around town is easy. Hop aboard the Metro or the Puget Sound Transit buses and trains for an easy commute to the suburbs. Seattle is at the western end of Interstate 90, and Interstate 5 weaves through the entire city. The recent upgrades to the city's freeway access has eased the burden of morning and afternoon commutes.
Downtown is a mix of skyscrapers, retail shops, top-quality restaurants, and high-rise condo buildings. Stroll along the Elliot Bay waterfront to visit the aquarium, historical points of interest, and the famous Pike Place Market. Unlike many other cities, Seattle has a vibrant downtown atmosphere. There are lots of nightclubs, cafes, and urban parks within walking distance of the financial, shopping, and hotel districts.
The diversity of industry is a big reason why this city enjoys a healthy economy. Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company, and it has several major manufacturing complexes in the region. This is also the home of the retail giant Amazon, and the headquarters of Microsoft is located in a nearby suburb.
The entire metro area is culturally diverse as well. There's a huge Scandinavian population here, and the population of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino residents is quite evident. You'll love the prominence of culture-oriented festivals in this city. Arts and crafts festivals and international children's festivals are ongoing throughout the calendar year.
The city's home prices and apartment rental prices are above the national average, but so is the hourly wage. Tax rates are moderate, but you'll soon find that city initiatives that include tax increases are always on the voting ballot. However, if your plan is to find a home where future income and retirement savings are all but guaranteed, you won't find a better bet than a move to this exciting city.