Essential Guide to Moving to Washington State: Tips, Costs, and Lifestyle Insights

What to Know About Living in Washington State

Are you pondering moving to Washington State? You’re probably seeking a candid rundown of what to expect, from economic prospects to nuances of the cost of living. Regardless of if you want to live in Camas, Seattle, or a city right near the border with Canada, we help you weigh the practicalities and perks of life in the Pacific Northwest to see if it aligns with your plans for the future.

10 Reasons Washington is a Great Place to Live

  • Natural Beauty: Lush Pacific Northwest landscapes from mountains to coastlines.
  • Outdoor Activities: Hiking, skiing, water sports, and more.
  • Vibrant Cities: Dynamic urban life in Seattle and Spokane, among other cities.
  • Tech Industry: Home to major tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon.
  • Wine Country: Renowned vineyards and wineries in regions like Walla Walla.
  • Cultural Scene: Rich arts and music culture, especially in Seattle.
  • Mild Climate: Enjoyable weather with mild summers and winters.
  • Coastal Living: Access to beautiful beaches and waterfront activities.
  • Diverse Cuisine: Wide variety of dining options with fresh, local ingredients.
  • Tax Benefits: Washington has no personal or corporate state income tax.

Washington State: A Snapshot

Bisected by the majestic Cascade Mountain Range, Washington State unfolds into two distinct regions, each with its unique charm. The Western expanse boasts hilly terrains, a network of rivers, and the iconic Lake Washington, while the Eastern plains offer sun-soaked days and a continental climate that rivals most other states. To the south, residents enjoy the beautiful Columbia River and rural areas.

Home to over 7.7 million residents, Washington encapsulates a population that thrives within King County’s bustling Seattle metro area and beyond. It offers a sensory and spiritual adventure to its residents. Residents are enveloped by breathtaking natural beauty, including:

  • Mountains like Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams
  • The tranquil waters of Puget Sound
  • The verdant forests of Olympic National Park
  • The Evergreen State’s native trees
  • The beaches along the Columbia River

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of recreational options, such as hiking and kayaking, in these stunning locations.

The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans fills the air, a testament to the state’s deep-rooted coffee culture, with a plethora of cozy coffee shops waiting to be discovered. Creativity flourishes here too, with a robust job market in the arts contributing significantly to the state’s economy and the vibrant canvas of Washington’s culture.

Job Opportunities in Washington State

There Are Lots of Tech Jobs in Washington State

With a varied terrain, Washington State also presents a diverse economic landscape, offering a vibrant job market full of promise and potential for newcomers. Over half a million businesses, from startups to industry giants, create a dynamic atmosphere for job opportunities.

The tech industry, aviation, and manufacturing sectors stand tall as the pillars of this thriving job market, offering a spectrum of openings for all levels of workers.

Tech Industry

Washington State stands out as an innovation hub in the tech industry. Anchored by behemoths like Microsoft and Amazon and energized by the presence of global players like Google and Facebook, the tech sector is a hive of activity for over 350,000 people.

Aviation and Manufacturing

Thanks to Boeing’s significant presence, Washington’s skies echo the state’s aviation legacy. As one of the largest aerospace companies globally, Boeing offers a plethora of job opportunities that keep Washington’s economy soaring high.

The manufacturing sector is bolstered by PACCAR’s production of heavy-duty trucks, further diversifying the job market and providing stability to the state’s industrial framework.

Other Major Employers

Apart from the tech and aviation sectors, companies like Starbucks and Costco further enrich Washington State’s job market. The Vancouver economy, meanwhile, features a strong healthcare industry.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, the job opportunities in Washington are as plentiful as the state’s natural resources.

Cost of Living in Washington State

To embrace the lifestyle of The Evergreen State, Washington residents must tackle a cost of living that exceeds the national average and varies noticeably across its scenic landscape. Cities like Seattle and Bellevue strike a contrast with their steep living expenses, while the cost of living in Vancouver and other areas offers a more economical way of life by comparison. Regardless of location, Washingtonians commonly find housing costs to be a major contributor to their financial planning.

Housing Costs

The housing market in Washington State is as competitive as its job market, with homes often selling in a flash and prices climbing year-over-year. Generally speaking, homes in the state are more expensive than in other parts of the country, but there are still affordable options in various cities.

Transportation Expenses

Navigating the bustling urban centers of Washington often means contending with rush-hour traffic congestion, especially in areas like Seattle and Tacoma. However, the state’s commitment to public transportation and bike-friendly roads provides residents with viable alternatives to personal vehicle ownership.

In the Seattle area, where population density limits parking availability, many opt for the convenience of the city’s extensive public transit system to commute and explore. Getting around Vancouver and other smaller communities is simpler, and many also offer public transportation options.

Taxes in Washington State

Financial savvy individuals moving to Washington will be pleased to discover that the state stands out in the country for not levying personal or corporate income tax. While this may ease the burden on paychecks, sales and property taxes still apply.

The absence of state income tax is a unique feature that contrasts with most other states, making Washington an even more attractive destination for those seeking to maximize their earnings. It’s one reason why many people live in Washington while working in Oregon, and it’s even easier for those living in the southern part of the state by the Oregon border. 

Top Places to Call Home in Washington State

Residential Neighborhood in Seattle WA in Fall

The decision on where to settle in Washington can depend on various factors. From the tech-savvy streets of Seattle, where the cost of living mirrors its high energy, to the small-town vibe of Sammamish, the state caters to most preferences. While some of the best cities in Washington witness rapid growth in home sale prices, others present more affordable options, making Washington a great place to put down roots regardless of your budget.


The city of Vancouver, situated on Washington's southwest border, is notable for its proximity to Portland, Oregon—just a 20-minute drive away. The city is surrounded by diverse landscapes, including countryside, mountains, and numerous rivers and lakes, making it an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Another benefit? The city's housing costs are relatively affordable compared to other major West Coast cities, making it an attractive option for many. There’s also a burgeoning culinary scene and plenty of art galleries and theaters.


Seattle stands as a shining example of Washington’s allure. The city boasts:

  • a thriving tech sector that fuels both the job market and the city’s housing demands
  • cultural events abound, with a diverse music scene
  • nearly 500 parks and green spaces within walking distance for many residents.

The city’s proximity to Lake Washington, Mount Rainier, and the San Juan Islands, as well as the other islands of Puget Sound, provides endless opportunities for those eager to explore the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty.


Spokane emerges as an ideal blend of affordability and growth, with its inviting downtown and vast outdoor spaces. The city’s strong sense of community is palpable, with a calm atmosphere that belies its bustling center and a cost of living that’s gentle on the wallet.

Spokane’s local economy thrives on its agricultural output, while the arts scene adds a cultural richness that, combined with its four distinct seasons, makes it a compelling choice for those looking to move to a smaller city with big city amenities.

Education in Washington State

Education is a priority in Washington State, as evidenced by considerable funding for K-12 and the existence of higher education institutions like the University of Washington.

Public Schools

Washington’s public school systems are provided by a number of school districts. Some of the largest in the state include Seattle Public Schools, Lake Washington School District, and Spokane Public Schools. 

In Southwest Washington, Vancouver Public Schools is the largest district. Residents attending schools in Camas have access to the Camas School District as well as private options.

Higher Education Institutions

For those pursuing higher education, Washington State University and a plethora of other colleges offer a wide range of programs and degrees. This rich educational landscape caters to a diverse set of academic and career aspirations, making it a hub for students and scholars. Some of the higher education institutions in Washington State include:

  • Washington State University - Vancouver
  • Seattle University
  • University of Washington
  • Gonzaga University
  • Western Washington University
  • Clark College

These institutions offer innovative programs and a dedication to learning and development.

Things to Do in Washington State

Hiking in Mount Rainier National Park

Catering to adventure seekers, Washington State provides many activities that honor its breathtaking landscapes. Some of the activities you can enjoy include:

  • Exploring the rolling hills of Eastern Washington
  • Hiking along trails in Camas and other communities
  • Kayaking in picturesque Puget Sound
  • Visiting the iconic Space Needle
  • Sampling delicious local cuisine in Pike Place Market

There’s no shortage of experiences to indulge in.

Outdoor activities, arts and culture, and annual events and festivals abound, providing entertainment and enrichment for residents and visitors alike.

Outdoor Activities

Embrace the great outdoors with Washington’s wealth of activities, where every corner of the state offers a new adventure. Kayaking on some of the best lakes near Vancouver, skiing down powdery slopes in the mountains, and whale watching along the coast are just a few of the experiences that beckon the nature lover. With an extensive network of hiking trails maintained by local enthusiasts, Washington invites you to explore its national parks and wilderness areas, no matter the season.

Arts & Culture

Washington’s vibrant arts and culture scene captures the essence of its people and places. From the storied traditions of its native tribes to the modern-day marvels of venues like Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, the state is a canvas of creativity. Explore the eclectic murals that adorn its cities, take a cultural journey through its Creative Districts, and enjoy the entertainment in Downtown Vancouver.

Annual Events & Festivals

Washington State comes alive with year-round festivals and events that celebrate its diversity and community spirit. Some of the notable events include:

  • The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which showcases the floral spectacle of the region
  • Spokane’s Bloomsday Run, a popular athletic tradition
  • The Washington State International Kite Festival, a colorful event that attracts kite enthusiasts from around the world
  • The Washington State Fair

These events showcase the best of the Pacific Northwest, from its agricultural heritage to its innovative future, and provide a wonderful opportunity for newcomers and long-time residents to connect and celebrate.

Family-Friendly Activities

Family life in Washington is woven with countless threads of museums, parks, and annual events. The Seattle Children’s Museum and the Pacific Science Center offer stimulating experiences for curious minds, while the majestic Mount Rainier National Park beckons families to its trails and campgrounds.

Ready to Call Washington Your Home?

Washington State is a mix of rich landscapes, dynamic cities, and welcoming communities. With its varied climate and geography, robust job market, and commitment to education, it’s more than just a beautiful state; it’s a place where life’s adventures unfold daily. Whether you’re wanting to move to Vancouver or one of the cities up north, Washington State beckons with open arms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living like in Washington State compared to other states?

The cost of living in Washington is higher than the national average, but lower than in California, with cities like Seattle and Bellevue being particularly expensive. However, there are a variety of living options that can fit different budgets in the state.

Are there job opportunities in industries outside of tech in Washington State?

Yes, there are numerous job opportunities in industries outside of tech in Washington State, including aviation, manufacturing, retail, and services with major employers like Boeing, PACCAR, Starbucks, and Costco.

What kind of outdoor activities can I enjoy in Washington State?

In Washington State, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as kayaking, skiing, swimming, whale watching, and hiking. So, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful natural setting.

Ready to live in Washington? Contact Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601 today to reach a local real estate agent who can help you find your dream home in Washington.

Post a Comment