Best Places To Live In Washington: Top 5 Cities Most Recommended By Experts

Dreaming about the Pacific Northwest? With some of the most magnificent landscapes in the country and the best outdoor recreation to take part in throughout gorgeous, sunny summers, what’s not to like? Washington offers numerous fun, family-friendly activities, a thriving foodie scene, and plenty of urban appeal, too. Among the “greenest,” the Evergreen State boasts one of the longest life expectancies in the U.S. If you’re looking for the right place to call home in Washington, we’re happy to help! To narrow down your search, we’ve compiled a list of 15 experts’ consensus top picks of the best places to live in Washington.

Did we mention sun? If you’re worried about the rain in Washington, you’re not alone. But the truth is, many areas of the state enjoy plenty of bright, warm days, according to Strategistico. Only about one-third of the state, in the northwestern part of Washington, is truly cloudy and gray much of the time. The state as a whole enjoys a nice balance of rain, snow and sun, not to mention the inspiring fall colors and spring blossoms that accompany the changing seasons.

There’s no competing with the West Coast when it comes to environmentally friendly states. According to a recent survey, Washington is the most electric car-friendly state in the nation, offering more than 8,000 public charging stations! The green Pacific Northwest offers fresh air and plenty of outdoor amusements to help you get active and stay healthy. Getting your kids outside can help them learn to be more environmentally conscious, too. Research shows that when kids feel connected to nature, they also feel happier and take more action to help improve the world around them.

Whether you’re moving to attend university, start a new job, raise a family, or even retire, Washington has something for everyone. In fact, Seattle is among the best places to live after retiring from the military. And if you’re just in it for the fun, Washington has some of the very best locations for hiking, biking, kayaking, chasing waterfalls — you name it! So, continue reading for our list of the top five best places to live in Washington.

The List: Best Places to Live in Washington, According To Experts

1. Redmond

Redmond appears on most lists, offering numerous jobs, relatively affordable homes and plenty of green space. Strategistico writes, “Redmond is another Seattle suburb that is probably best known as being the home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Nintendo. This tech hub has developed into one of the most sought-after destinations in all of Washington, as it boasts a great quality of life with a never-ending list of diverse amenities to enjoy. For example, the Redmond Town Center offers over 120 stores and 20 restaurants right in the center of the city. There is also plenty of park space with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails as well. Speaking of biking, Redmond is also well-renowned for its extensive biking infrastructure. It was even named the ‘Bicycle Capital of the Northwest.’”

“Redmond is home to the most popular park in King County, the Marymoor Park, whose 640 acres of sprawling space is used for picnics, sports, festivals, concerts, biking trails and more. The town also has a distinguished school system which has made the AP District Honor Roll several times,” The Crazy Tourist adds.

Placeaholic talks home prices: “For the relatively affordable price tag of $485,100 per house, you just can’t get any better deal than Redmond and that’s a fact.”

dog in a field
Marymoor’s off-leash dog park in Redmond (Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash)

2. Spokane

NewHomeSource pairs Spokane, Washington, and Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, together, as they are just 33 miles apart. “These two cities offer residents all the amenities of big city living but with the charm of country living. Spokane is known for its extravagant downtown scene, full of local theaters, art museums, and a steam plant turned restaurant and brewery.”

Like beer and/or wine? Not to worry, Spokane has you covered. “If you’re a beer enthusiast, you’ll really love all of the city’s many breweries, including the state’s only ‘incubator brewery,’ where aspiring brewmasters share equipment and space to make some of the best hop-filled drinks you’ve ever tasted. Oh, and there are many more wineries within the metro area and throughout the region, too,” says Zumper.

“If Seattle is not quite your style, Spokane is about as far away as you can get both geographically and culturally,” declares NomadLawyer. “This city to the east, close to the state’s border with Idaho, is known not for Big Tech but for its rich history of Native American art and culture. Once a trading post in the days of the Wild West, today, this city is one of the best places to raise a family and still has median home prices below the national average.”

Spokane at night
Spokane at night (Photo by Clay Elliot on Unsplash)

3. Seattle

Travel Lemming touts Seattle’s “big city amenities,” writing, “As the largest city in the state and one of the most popular cities in Washington, Seattle is full of worthwhile things to do. Visits to Pike Place Market, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Space Needle are among some of the best, but it doesn’t end there. You can experience live music shows and a prolific coffee scene. Taste your way through unique restaurants, bars, and breweries. Attend festivals, then wander through the many neighborhoods that give the Emerald City its flavor.”

“The city boasts a booming job market with industries like biotech, genomics, environmental engineering, lumber, and industrial machinery manufacturing, among others. Amazon, Microsoft, Zillow, and Boeing are significant employers. Despite the high cost of living in Seattle and rising rents, the city welcomes families and college grads looking for new opportunities. College students attend Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University,” says Apartment List.

Bellhop enthuses, “Seattle, Washington lands first on our list of the best places to live in Washington state, because it is a city of transplants, a rainy but vibrant haven for travelers, dreamers, creatives and entrepreneurs looking for a place to call home. There is something about Seattle that grabs you by the shirt collar and pulls you in. It is enticing. It is unique, like nothing you have ever seen before. It is Seattle.”

Seattle Space Needle
Seattle’s Space Needle (Photo by Robert Ritchie on Unsplash)

4. Sammamish

If you’re looking for a family-friendly suburb, Sammamish might be the place! HomeSnacks writes, “We’ve already named it the best city for families in Washington for 2022, and a lot of those same factors come into play here. Like having a perfect 10/10 education score on our SnackAbility ratings. And being the place with the 5th lowest crime rate in the state, with the 5th lowest incidence of violent crime. Or having awesome family-friendly activities around like camping and boating at Lake Sammamish.”

Chamber of Commerce adds, “Sammamish is an idyllic suburb of Seattle with an affluent, well-educated populace, a slew of lush public parks and a great school system. With Seattle just a short bus ride away, Sammamish is an excellent city to commute from for those working in Washington’s biggest city.”

“Living in Sammamish Valley offers residents an urban feel and most residents own their homes. In Sammamish Valley there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and young professionals live in Sammamish Valley and residents tend to lean liberal,” says Niche.

Lake Sammamish in Washington
Lake Sammamish (Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash)

5. Olympia

Solarity Credit Union says Olympia is also a fun, family-friendly locale. “The capital city has a lot going on. In addition to the apparent government hustle and bustle, Olympia boasts a great restaurant scene, the top-notch Evergreen College, and the incredible Olympic National Park. Olympia is also fantastically family-friendly. Fun locations like Heritage Park Fountain and the Hands-on Children’s Museum will keep your kiddos happy all day long.”

Apartmentguide touts its affordability: “First, it’s very affordable for renters and prospective homeowners alike. You can find spacious, family-friendly homes throughout the area in the 200s, 300s and up. For renters, apartments range from ultra-modern, new complexes near the city center or friendly apartment communities in established neighborhoods with plenty of greenery. You can find both one-bedroom and two-bedroom options at reasonable rates, as well.”

“Olympia is a hub for arts and theatre. Many residents enjoy the fine arts like the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and the Olympia Family Theater,” says UpNest.

beach in Olympia, Washington
A beach in Olympia (Photo by Jael Coon on Unsplash)

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  1. For Olympia that is not not not a beach in the Olympia area probably at least 2 and a 1/2 Hours away. it’s off the Pacific Ocean. You really need to be responsible and know what you’re doing.

  2. “Sammamish Valley…”????
    That’s pretty funny, sine the nickname for Sammamish on the Eastside of Seattle is ‘the Plateau’… In fact, you can’t get to Sammamish without making a 3-400ft ascent up a 12% hill…

  3. I’m sorry but what kind of study did you do? Spokane and seattle are some of the worst cities to live in. I’ve lives in Washington my entire life and I know to stay away from those two cities as much as possible.

  4. Don’t know where u got your info but in Redmond housing starts in the $700s, Seattle is a dump and super expensive, and that beach u have a picture of is not in Olympia, it is Ruby beach, it’s about 1 1/2 hrs away on the coast .

  5. My family homesteaded on Lake Sammamish in 1884 and that is NOT Lake Sammamish! And if you think you’re getting a house in Redmond for $485,000? Good luck, it’s probably falling down! Traffic in the neighboring cities of Redmond and Sammamish is a nightmare.

  6. These … cough..cough..cough…
    ” Reporting Agencies ” must have had been to some of the HOMELESS COMMUNITIES and SCORED some Good FENTENAL,HEROIN,METH,,
    etc. to say and STRESS that SEATTLE, OLYPIA,etc. Where just the CAT’S MEOW to live at !! I would NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH those places in FEAR of getting SHOT, CAR JACKED, ROBBED , etc !!!
    Yup… these ” Reporting Agencies” are TOTALLY OUT TO LUNCH !! GREAT DRUGS !!! EVEN RIDING PUBLIC BUSSES !

  7. 5 worst cities; drugs, traffic, street people, congested traffic and really high prices. Nope, you are very wrong here.

  8. Uhm….I’m sorry but this list is very inaccurate. Olympia is probably the only city on this list that I may agree with. And that’s a hard sell.

  9. Are you another transplant? You definitely don’t know what you’re talking about or what these places look like since you’re using wrong pictures to promote these “best” cities. Seattle is slowly dying from within. The small businesses are fleeing due to the cities inability to keep any kind of legal order. All these extreme left liberal transplants have been ruining this state for at least the last 10-15yrs with no end in sight. The I-5 corridor has the votes to pass these absurd laws that are affecting the whole state. This extreme left liberal utopia that is being created won’t stand the test of time though. It’s unsustainable & eventually will cave in on itself. Seattle is already cracking. Stop advertising Washington state as this utopia. It’s articles like these that people read & come flocking because you paint this town deep blue & they fall right in line to make this beautiful sate fall deeper into a tax greedy, inflated priced, homeless, drug addicted cestpool haven that it is now. Take some responsibility in your reporting. Know what you are saying & showing. It’s obvious to anyone who’s from this state, can see through this left liberal-infused “researched” article that you have no clue what you are talking about. Or….. maybe you do & you’re in recruitment to bring more people to continue in destroying this once great state. I’m so sick & tired of transplants coming here & not embracing local cultures but forcing their agendas once they plant their feet in our once rich soil. Their agendas have become the new Washington culture & it’s plain to see if you just step into one of these “best” cities, Seattle being the top influencer.

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