From Urban to Rural: The Best Places to Live in Washington State for Every Lifestyle

Feb 17, 2024

USA

Washington is notable for its exceptional natural beauty, which includes three national parks, more than 8,000 lakes, and 155 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. However, the Evergreen State is also among the wealthiest in the nation; in 2022, the median household income in the state was $84,247, nearly $6,000 higher than the national average.

Major corporations like Microsoft and Amazon call Washington home, and there are plenty of excellent job opportunities there. Even though the Seattle area is still a popular place to relocate, there are many other towns throughout the state’s interior and along its coastline that entice newcomers with their picturesque surroundings, outdoor-oriented lifestyles, close-knit communities, and family-friendly amenities.

Here are 7 of the best places to live in Washington state, as rated by locals.

Best Places To Live In Washington State

Top Places To Live In Washington State

It can be tough to zero in on one city to call home when you choose the Washington state to pick from. But we are listing the best places to live in Washington state to make your life easier. Take a peek.

Cheney

Cheney

It’s worth considering other universities in eastern Washington besides Gonzaga. Eastern Washington University, a public university with 11,000 students and 800 faculty members, is located in Cheney. Although EWU is not the biggest university in the state, a sizable portion of Cheney’s population attends it. The population of the city is about 10,600 during the summer months. In academic terms, this increases to 17,600 inhabitants.

For students who prefer to be fully immersed in campus life but are concerned about getting lost in a bigger city, EWU is an excellent choice. Families looking to live or work close to a university may find it to be a good alternative to other towns on this list. Cheney is undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Washington state for young adults.

Spokane

Spokane

Although many of the greatest areas to live in Washington are located in the east, people tend to concentrate on the western side of the state. In stark contrast to the rainy weather in Seattle, the eastern portion of the state is level and experiences a desert climate. Spokane, which is located near the Idaho border, is the 99th most populous city in the country. With 500,000 residents, Spokane serves as a hub in opposition to Seattle.

For those who prefer to be outside, Spokane is a sanctuary. Within a few hours of the city, one can find hiking and rafting in addition to ski resorts. The men’s basketball team at Gonzaga University, which is based in Spokane, draws fans from all over the nation. In the NCAA March Madness tournament, the Bulldogs are always a formidable opponent.  

Portland

Portland

In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is not the only significant city. The Columbia River divides Washington and Oregon, with Portland, Oregon, situated along its border. Nike and Columbia Sportswear have their corporate offices in Portland, a sizable city.

Vancouver, Washington is the state across which Portland is located. Many people who live in this city make the daily commute into Oregon. One city to another can be reached by car in fifteen minutes, although traffic may make it take longer. The fact that Washington does not impose a state income tax is one advantage of relocating to Vancouver. This can save you money.

Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores

The coast of Washington has many of the best places to live, with huge rocky outcroppings and thick fog making for enigmatic and fascinating beach walks. Selecting the best city to stay in along the Pacific Ocean is difficult. One well-liked location is the town of Ocean Shores, which is home to about 6,000 people.

If you enjoy going fishing and cooking your catch, Ocean Shores is a great place to call home. It is known for the Razor Clam and Seafood Festival held every year in the spring. Sand and wood artists from all over the nation come to the Sand and Sawdust festival in the summer. For those who enjoy the sea and the arts, this town is fantastic.

Olympia

Olympia

Seattle is not the capital city of Washington, despite its size. It is Olympia’s turn to receive this honor. Both cities are situated near water, and they are about an hour’s drive apart with minimal traffic. Olympia has 46,000 people living in it, far fewer than Seattle.

Olympia is a center for theater and the arts. Fine art organizations such as the Olympia Symphony Orchestra as well as the Olympia Family Theater are popular among the locals. Families can enjoy hiking or lounging on the waterfront with unobstructed views of Mount Rainier on the weekends. Whether you work in government, this is a great city to live in.

Tacoma

Tacoma

Those who wish to live in a more tranquil area but still commute into the city frequently choose Tacoma, which is only thirty minutes from Seattle’s downtown. Known for Port Defiance, a park and family recreation area combined, it is situated along the water.

Look into Tacoma if you want to live in the Seattle region but are having trouble locating the perfect spot. This town offers waterfront living in addition to being a center for the art and culture. You might find that there’s more to do than you thought. Tacoma will prove to be more than what you expect. It is easily one of the best places to live in Washington state.

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle is not only Washington’s most populous city, but it also has a large metropolitan area spanning the Puget Sound. Many locals drive and ride their bicycles for work, averaging 138 hours a year (28.4 minutes each way) in the downtown area.

Nonetheless, a lot of people believe that living in Seattle is worth the expense and commute. Along with dozens of other businesses, the city is home to the corporate offices of Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, Expedia, Alaska Airlines, and Starbucks. Seattle is home to the NFL’s Seahawks, MLB’s Mariners, NHL’s Kraken, and NBA’s Supersonics. Seattle is for you if you like a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle.

What Is The Pacific Northwest?

What Is The Pacific Northwest

The states in the northwest of the nation that are bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Mountain Range to the east are collectively referred to as the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The two states that are mentioned in the PNW the most are Washington and Oregon. But the area also includes portions of California, Idaho, and Alaska.

Does Washington Have A State Income Tax?

Does Washington Have A State Income Tax

Nine states do not impose an income tax, including Washington. The following states don’t have a state income tax: Florida, Alaska, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas. States without income taxes either decrease the services provided to citizens or find other ways to raise money. To avoid paying taxes, some Washingtonians commute to Oregon.

What Is Seattle Famous For?

What Is Seattle Famous For

In addition to being the birthplace of Starbucks, Seattle was once home to a sizable grunge music scene. The city has gained notoriety over the last ten years as the home of Amazon and is a sought-after location for tech companies to establish their operations. Living in the city has become more costly as a result.

Wrapping Up

States like Washington are our favorites because they have so many wonderful cities to choose from. There were so many, in fact, that we had to start by providing you with a list of three towns that you should definitely visit.

We understand that you may be experiencing analysis paralysis right now. Where does one call home with so many wonderful options? If you’re searching for a large city, Seattle is the only option. There is no doubt about that. However, if you’re willing to settle for a somewhat smaller city, Spokane or Tacoma are a better option than Seattle.

No matter where you choose to call home, never forget that we will assist you in getting there. Let us know if you choose to relocate to Washington. If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask about the best places to live in Washington state, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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