19 Pros & Cons of Living In Washington State | Real Tips From People Who Actually Live There!

Wondering what living in Washington is like? Is it always raining? How expensive is it to live in Washington? What are the pros and cons of living in Washington state? Well, you’re in the right place because, as fellow Washingtonians, we have first-hand experience of the pros and cons of living in Washington and why someone should or should not move to the evergreen state.

After all, Washington is a beautiful state full of rich food, breathtaking landscapes, and a robust economy. But are those enough to make someone want to move to this wonderous green state? Well, let you decide whether Washington state is the place you’ll call home after reading our detailed guide that covers the 19 pros and cons of living in Washington from a local’s view.

This post is about the pros and cons of living in Washington; we provide an authentic inside look at living in Washington. We don’t sugarcoat and keep it brutally honest, so you weigh all the factors before moving.

skyview of seattle a popular city to live in washington
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10 Pros of living in Washington:

No state income tax!

Ahh, one of the best things about living in Washington state is that we get to avoid state income tax! While that may seem an odd pro, it’s actually amazing! Think about it for a minute, If you were living in any of the other 42 states that require state income tax, for example, Idaho or Oregon, our neighbor states, and let’s say you make around 76,500 a year.

If you live in any of the nine states that do not require income tax, you bring home more money in a year!

However, if you lived in Idaho or Oregon, as mentioned earlier, you would have to fork out roughly 10% of your total income in taxes ?.

Let’s do some simple math, $76,500 x 0.1 = $7,650. IDK about you’ll, but $7,000 is a nice trip to Europe and then some! So I’ll live here or move to a fellow no-state income tax state.

If you’re interested in living in any of the no-state income tax states, make sure to read our living-in-state guides:

  • Living in Florida
  • Living Alaska
  • Living in Nevada
  • Living Wyoming
  • Living in Texas
  • Living in Tennessee
  • Living in South Dakota
  • Living in New Hampshire*

*New Hampshire just passed a law set to place in 2024-2027 that will phase out interest tax and dividend tax.

Amazingly Mild Climate:

Yes, it rains a lot, but despite the rainy seasons, Washington has relatively fantastic weather. We don’t have harsh winters, but we still get to experience white Christmas mornings and weekends on the slopes.

Washington also has amazing summers with the perfect warmth and just the right amount of sun! It’s not blazing scorching weather like living in Nevada or living in California, but it is warm enough to enjoy water sports and spend a day out sunbathing. However, California definitely has us when it comes to lovely sandy beaches In Washington

living in washington offers amazing views and ways to experience nature like this view of mt rainier
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Decided you're moving to Washington? Make sure to know these Washington Facts!

Beautiful scenery:

What can we say? Washington is beautiful, and anyone who says otherwise has no taste ?. Joking, but no, really, Washington is situated in the pacific northwest region, and this region has beautiful mountains, evergreen forests, and breathtaking views of the cascade mountains or pacific ocean.

It’s part of the reason pacific northwest road trips are so popular, no matter what time of year it is. Tourists from across the globe are well aware of the beauty of the pacific northwest, and it won’t let you down if you appreciate its natural beauty

6 Beautiful Scenery landmarks in Washington worth mentioning:

  1. The cascade mountains
  2. The pacific ocean coastline
  3. Mt. Rainier
  4. Olympic forest national park
  5. Palouse hills
  6. Pacific Ocean Coast spots like La Push, Ocean Shores, and others!
washington snowboarder
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Hiking, Snow sports, water sports, Washington has it all!

First, Why do Washington people always wear athletic clothing?

We didn’t get our stereotype for wearing athletic wear everywhere, for nothing after all. Most people poke fun at the pacific northwest lack of fashion sense because we choose to sport the latest athletic wear and choose flexibility and comfort over some frumpy suit or dress.

Don’t get us wrong; we’ll dress up for an occasion when it calls for it, but otherwise ?.

Here’s why you always see Washingtonians in gym wear; specifically, Seattle is one of the fittest cities in America, and that’s where you’ll see so many of those avid sports fans and gym goers who choose usability and function over looks.

Hop on over to the rural areas, and you’ll see people wearing clothing for outdoor use because Washington is home to some of the most extensive vineyards, orchards, fields, and hops in the country.

Not to mention the large cattle distribution in these areas; you can’t wear nice clothes to milk a cow; you just can’t.

people holding wine glasses
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Delicious Food and exquisite wine selection, did we mention Beer?

We probably caught your attention earlier when we mentioned the specialties of Washington, including wine vineyards, hop fields, and the large food industry that takes place here, cultivating the finest cheeses and other yummy goodies.

You said Wine?

Thats right! Washington is just behind California regarding wine creation; we are here for it! Wine and cheese nights are a suitable favorite pastime for us Washingtonians.

Yakima valley, walla walla, and Woodinville all boast 100s hundred of wineries just waiting for you to visit. This is great because whether you live on the eastern side of the state or the western side of the state, you have options!

If your goal is to visit the actual vineyards and explore wine country, you’ll want to head to walla walla area. They boast some of the loveliest wineries and vineyards in the state.

Yakima valley has a fantastic selection of wineries and. a large selection to choose from.

Columbia Valley has a more diverse selection of wines and is well-known worldwide by wine lovers, and puget sound also offers a fantastic selection of wineries.

Love Wine and visiting Washington? Read our guide on the 11 best wineries and vineyards in Washington state.

Sports fans rejoice!

Yes, with an assortment of sports teams to watch, it’s hard not to feel the spirit of the state when sports seasons are in session. Whether you love football, soccer, baseball, ice hockey, college vs. professional, and even neighborhood team, you’ll find you’ll have a home here.

Football fans rejoice because the city comes alive during football season. If you have the funds, enjoy a seahawks game down at century field.

If not, do what the rest of us do and watch it at the nearest pub or sports bar; personally, it’s a ton of fun, and we appreciate the energy but laid-back feel of those sceneries more.

If you love baseball, you’ll appreciate a day out eating and drinking while watching the mariners at the T-mobile field, they are the red sox or the Yankees, but they may surprise you!

or enjoy watching some good ole ice hockey from the krankens or

soccer from the seattle sounders.

Robust economy

Washington has shown some insane growth in the past couple of decades when you take a look at the big corporations that have moved here and created thousands of jobs.

From Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon, Starbucks, and way more, there’s no shortage of tech and corporate jobs for people to apply for, especially since they are all centered around Western Washington, where a good chunk of the population resides.

Due to the increase in job opportunities, it’s no wonder why the economy in Washington has grown stronger. It also makes Washington a favorite state to move to for new college graduates for this very reason.

If your goal is to move to the rural parts of Washington, the job demand for higher-paying jobs is lower because there are fewer opportunities for tech and corporate jobs. However, teaching and anything in the medical field do just fine in these regions due to the number of public schools and medical offices in these areas.

There are also no entry jobs in both eastern and western where you can start fresh off the block with relatively little experience. These areas include agriculture, retail, the food industry, and others.

Diverse communities: urban

Living in the urban areas of Washington, such as Spokane, Seattle, and Tacoma, will give you larger communities that are filled with more range of diversity. The rural areas will have some diversity, but nothing in the leagues of urban areas. So if you’re looking to find friends with similar values or tastes, keep that in mind when choosing an area to live in.

Looking to visit Washington first before making the plunge to living there? Make sure to visit both parts of Washington, the rural and urban areas. Also, if visiting western Washington, make sure tp check out Seattle for fun things to do!

seattle public transportation system underground metro
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excellent public transportation: Urban

While Seattle isn’t new york with its amazing subways system, it still has a decent public transportation system that works relatively well if you live across the route of the link light rail; this transportation system is easy to use, and if you happen to nab a job that offers orca card then you can ride the light rail for free most likely.

The light rail goes from the North Seattle area up to the southern parts, with plans to expand each route further and create a west line that will connect. If riding the light rail does seem to work for you, you can also take the bus system, which goes all over the Seattle area, and cities like Tacoma and Spokane also offer similar offerings.

Pets galore! Bring them. We love them!

Dog Lover?

Washington is the state to be in if you love pets; the number of dog owners and amenities for dogs is insane! There are dog hotels, dog day cares, dog parks, dog meet-ups, and tons of dog-friendly areas.

Just make sure to follow local laws and keep an eye on your pet, especially if it’s a popular breed such as Frenchies. Unfortunately, in any city, pet thieves are real.

We have a dachshund, and he loves coming out with us when we run errands and visit dog-friendly cafes and dog-friendly parks.

There are also a ton of pet-friendly parks at the state level, city level, and national levels. So if you love hiking and the great outdoors, then Washington should definitely at least be a pit stop for you and your furry friend. Just make sure to follow leash laws!

Cat lover?

We love cats! We love all animals, actually, and it’s our dream to open up a pet sanctuary after we have explored the world.

In Washington, there are many cat owners and crazy cat ladies (guilty). From cat hotels, cat pet sitters who specialize in all kinds of cats, and pet-friendly areas that allow cats on leashes.

Trust us, do not let your cat off without a leash, others always take their dogs off-leash in leash areas only, and the last thing you want is your cat getting jumped.

It happened to us when we walked our cats; luckily, we had them leashed and close to us, so we scooped them up and scared the dog away.

Feather friends and everything in between?

I’ve seen pet birds, hamsters, and bunnies in stores, at parks, and out and about in the streets of Seattle. So don’t feel like you can’t bring your parrot or bunny. The only thing I would caution against is to keep them in a carrier because of other fewer desirables in the area, and a random dog could spook them.

Unfortunately, dog owners in Washington are a little entitled regarding leash laws; that’s why we stopped walking our cats in the city parks. We kept getting ambushed by loose dogs and inconsiderate dog owners.

The moral of the story is always to keep an eye on your pets, whether they are small dogs, older dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, or anything. Something could happen in a blink of an eye, so it’s important to follow local laws and guidelines and keep an eye on your pet, not your phone!

welcome to washington the everygreen state sign
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9 Cons To Living in Washington:

The Seattle freeze or Seattle chill

Everyone heard of it, but no one really knows what it stems from or how it even became such a clear-cut way to represent the Seattle vibes, heck, the whole entirety of Washington state, if we are being honest.

If you have no idea what we are referring to when we mention the big chill or Seattle freeze, then let us explain that real quick, the Seattle freeze is also commonly referred to as the Washington chill. It is how the locals treat others, you’ll rarely catch a Washington person going out of their way to talk to you.

The same can be said about “we gotta hang out sometime” it never happens, and honestly, we mean it, but our introverted selves almost always choose home life instead of going out.

What can we say? We also relate to this feeling of secludedness. It’s not like Los Angeles. Where you can run into some strangers and become best friends almost immediately.

Instead, we are reserved and stick to our own paths and never really stick our noses in others’ business. Although in the past few years, that may be slowly changing since the desire to be around others has grown due to previous large-scale events ?

So moral of the story, while the Seattle chill is very much real, we don’t think you should be too worried because Washington people are generally not mean. We are just introverts, and time flies by so quickly that we lose track of the events we are supposed to be attending.

view of washington traffic in seattle
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Hello, rush hour: Urban

Traffic is horrible in just about every big city across the globe, and Washingtons’ big cities are no different.

While smaller cities won’t suffer the same rush hour jam that their big cities counterparts will. It’s still something to consider when deciding between rural areas vs. urban.

Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and other cities will have relatively large traffic jams during morning hours and 4-6 rush hour when everyone is getting off work. We have fewer freeways here when compared to bigger cities such as new york city or la, so the two main freeways can get jammed for hours.

We highly recommend, if you can, choosing a schedule that is outside typical rush hour time or, even better, a completely remote job or hybrid version. Also working in the suburbs areas of the bigger cities will offer better traffic flows.

homeless sign that says can u help
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Homelessness

Homelessness is a sad issue that has grown over the past decade. You’ll notice it pretty easily in large cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Bellevue, and the suburban areas nearby. The rise in the cost of living and the rising drug crisis has been hard on the community, and the ending result is a higher rate of homelessness.

While the homeless camps are usually concentrated in certain areas of the city, it is normal to see them in various areas.

Please be kind to them, and remember homelessness can happen to any of us.

High cost of living: urban

As mentioned above, the rising cost of living has increased drastically in the past two decades, and while it seems to have slowed down a bit. It still makes a living in the city areas almost too difficult and out of reach for most people.

Forest Fires

Forest Fires aren’t as bad in Washington as they are in dryer states like California. However, it’s still a big enough issue that we want to mention it. Forest fires usually happen during the drier season of summertime. Typically towards the middle of it and peak heat, which is around July.

The forest fires can cause the air quality to plummet, and we’ve had the smokey sky and haze for weeks before. It’s important to have good air filters and to keep your windows closed during these times.

Seasonal depression:

It’s one of the things everyone talks about when they visit Washington and other similar states, such as Oregon. The gloomy rainy weather and lack of sunshine, especially in the western part of the state, has earned itself a reputation of having season depression plague its populations. We’ve noticed it, from time to time, affects our mental health as well.

Especially when we first moved to western Washington and were originally used to drier and sunnier climates. The sudden rain and constant cloudy days made us not want to leave the house or do anything really.

After a while, you do get used to it, and honestly, we kind of like it now, especially because rainier and cloudier days mean less traffic and mellow days. Just make sure to take care of yourself; vitamin D deficiency is common, and you’ll want to make sure your getting some fresh air every day and exercising.

raining in the quad at university of washington with cherry blossoms
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Rain, lots of it: Western Washington

It rains, it is better to get used to the idea of wearing rain boots and invest in a lightweight and warm rain jacket, because boy, does it rain! While we don’t have it as bad as some other rainier states and cities, we still get a decent amount of rain that we are known for it. Especially because everyone dressed in Seattle like it’s raining, even on nonrainy days ?.

High Taxes

With no state income tax, it’s a no-brainer why states lacking state income tax will normally have higher taxes on everything. Especially near the bigger cities like Spokane, Seattle, and Tacoma. The tax as of early 2023 is around the range of 8%-10%, and that adds up! So brace for that when you move here and wonder why your typical shopping sprees are way higher than normal ?.

Rural Area? You better have a car.

The last thing we want to mention is that unless you plan on living in urban areas such as king county, Spokane area, or Tacoma area, public transportation is pretty much nonexistent in rural areas and smaller towns. Sure, there will be some buses, but trains and major metro lines will not operate in these areas.

It’s actually normal to only use your car in rural areas, and that is also because everything is spaced out miles apart. If you tried walking, it would take all day to get a grocery trip done. So make sure to keep that in mind depending on what part of the state you plan on living in.

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