Seattle is the largest city in the State of Washington and the seat of King County.
The seaport city is situated between Puget Sound—an inlet of the Pacific Ocean—and Lake Washington.
Covering 83.87 square miles in land area and having an estimated population of 730,000, Seattle has been one of the fastest growing cities in the US and certainly one of the best known.
The Seattle metropolitan area, which takes in cities such as Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma, has an estimated population of almost 4 million and is the 14th largest such area in the nation.
The city and its surrounding area are well-regarded not only for nurturing famous companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks but also for their excellent education system.
With increasing employment opportunities, well-developed infrastructure, and an abundance of side attractions, Seattle—nicknamed The Emerald City—has kept people coming over the years to visit and to work.
Not so long ago Seattle’s real estate market was the hottest in the US, but recently prices have been dropping, making it more affordable for buyers.
Nickname(s): "The Emerald City"
Population: 730,400 (2018 estimated)
Land: 83.87 sq. miles
Urban: 142.5 sq. miles
Metro: 8,186 sq. miles
Although Seattle was named for a famous Native American chief, it has not been known historically as a particularly ethnically diverse city by American standards. It does, however, have a long legacy of hosting Asian American communities, and these days the big industries here also attract qualified employees from all around the world.
Seattle has an important place in rock music history. Not only was it the hometown of legendary musician Jimi Hendrix and the celebrated band Nirvana, but it spawned the sub-genre of music known as ‘grunge,’ and it still has plenty to offer young people. It also flaunts a rich jazz history and three men’s professional major league sports teams. Last but not least, the city was the setting of the hit TV show Frasier.
Being a city along a hilly coast, Seattle boasts beaches, lakes and attractive scenery. Its temperate, marine climate allows tourists year-round outdoor recreation opportunities which include cycling, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, sailing and swimming. The city's waterfront is the location of the Seattle Great Wheel, one of the largest ferris wheels in the US. If one ever did get bored, there are always the popular cruises to Alaska that leave from here.
A whole clutch of museums, art galleries and parks help to keep tourists entertained. There are the Nordic Heritage Museum, the North West African American Museum and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, for example. Seattle also has been a regional center for performing arts over the years. With various theaters, halls and orchestras, it hosts notable music festivals, poetry slams and the famous Seattle International Film Festival.
The Seattle area is a conurbation of settlements, some built on the central isthmus and others on nearby higher ground that, over the years, merged to become regions and districts. Seattle can be divided into four broad areas which contain many communities and neighbourhoods: Central Seattle, West Seattle, North Seattle and the South End.
Central Seattle serves as a major hub of business and commercial activities, and there are the headquarters of large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks clustered in the area, but it nevertheless also has residential properties. It provides easy access to major interstate road networks and there is street parking. The skyline it creates, including the Space Needle, is one of the most famous in the US.
West Seattle has many suburbs, and boasts one-third of Seattle’s green space. There’s also great scenery, as many of its neighbourhoods are quite high above sea level. Innovative use of porous sidewalks and pavements is made to control storm water. The suburbs are served by buses, there is a ferry dock in the Fauntleroy neighborhood, and the West Seattle Bridge connects the area with Downtown. The Westwood Village provides shopping opportunities.
North Seattle is home to some beautiful condos and townhouses, and there is access here to retail chains and outdoor recreation such as sailing on the Puget Sound and hiking in the Olympic Mountains. The 62-acre main campus of North Seattle College is in the Northgate district. There are also some interesting nearby wetlands in this area which provide scenic opportunities for walking and relaxation.
South End Seattle includes districts like Rainier Valley, Seward Park and Beacon Hill, but the definition of its parameters is rather fluid and it can also be considered to include parts of South King County. Transit in this region is easy for car owners as two interstate roads bound the area. South End has traditionally been a diverse region, and it is currently seeing some redevelopment and gentrification which could change how it looks somewhat.
It wasn’t so long ago that Seattle had the most expensive property prices in the country, but recently prices have been cooling and it remains to be seen exactly how the market will look in the near future.
Owing to the clustering of large companies providing jobs and services here, Central Seattle is the most expensive part of Seattle to live in and it features low-rise blocks, high-rise condos and apartment buildings alongside the office blocks. It is well-known for being an attractive place to live.
West Seattle contains mostly suburban areas, making it a destination for homebuyers who want to be away from the hectic life of the inner city. This region also contains districts that are not so suburban, and they help push up the average cost of homes per square foot, making West Seattle the second most expensive area after Central Seattle.
North Seattle is home to some good condos and is a thriving destination for students to live and work in. Apartments in North Seattle tend to be quite affordable compared to homes for sale in either Central or West Seattle. There are also houses here.
South End provides some of the least expensive options for homebuyers in Seattle, but there are also some good quality detached houses available. Some homes in the area would suit those in the low-income bracket, but the gentrification process may make some districts more expensive.
|Home Style||Median Price|
Property sales figures source: the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, December 2018 and September 2018.
With the most significant public school district in the state of Washington, Seattle’s public schools serve 47,000 students throughout the city with flexible curricula adapted to enhance literacy levels and the teaching of math, science and other subjects to the city’s youngsters.
The city is home to the prestigious University of Washington as well as other smaller private universities and colleges such as Seattle Pacific University and the Jesuit-run Seattle University. Over 90% of Seattle’s residents have a high school diploma, and a significant number have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2008 Seattle was reckoned to have the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major U.S. city.
Seattle is a city with a high standard of living and a low unemployment rate because a vast majority of its population is educated and many of the commercial activities here are technology-driven. It is a hub for start-ups, the health sector, technology companies and service providers.
The city's economy is also driven by overseas trade as the Port of Seattle is a significant gateway for commerce with Asia. Some have been worried about the fall-out of a drop in real estate prices, but the range of industries here is quite diverse, which bodes well for long-term economic stability, and Seattle's favourable business expansion climate has tipped it as a top destination for companies.