The best places to live in Washington offer all the variety of life in one of the most beautiful states in the country. The best cities in Washington have plenty to offer potential residents, whether you like the woods or the mountains, the city or the suburbs. You can rank your favorite places by their singles scenes for millennials or by their suitability for families.
If the coolest big cities like Seattle and Tacoma don’t seem as livable — whether they’re too busy or too expensive or just not your style — you can check out the best small towns in Washington, such as Lakewood and Bellingham. The best Washington city to live in will depend on what appeals to you most. Whether you're looking for the cheapest cities to live in or the top cities for raising a family and settling down, Washington should offer a world of opportunities for potential residents.
The best Washington cities to live in are rich and diverse, and you are bound to find at least one that suits your lifestyle and preferences. So check out the list of Washington cities below and vote up the places where you would most want to live.
Median income: $83,476
Median home price: $606,200
Pros: The Emerald City is one of the most prominent cultural centers in the U.S., as the birthplace of grunge music, a haven for the jazz scene of the early 20th century, and the home of Amazon. Located on the Puget Sound, it is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in the Pacific Northwest and is known for its iconic Space Needle, built for the World's Fair in 1962.
Cons: The cost of living is outrageously high (38 percent higher than the state average and 59 percent higher than the national average), and the crime rate is likewise astronomical, more than double the national average and 69 percent higher than the rest of the state.
Median income: $45,676
Median home price: $170,900
Pros: A theater district to be proud of, a revitalized downtown, and a commitment to the arts that shows in its many museums, Spokane has attempted admirably to respond to the downturn in the manufacturing industry by pivoting to a more service- and tourism-oriented economy. It has been mostly successful, but not without some growing pains.
Cons: Crime has proven to be a serious problem in Spokane, with rates more than double the state average and almost triple the national average. Household income and property values also remain depressed, with both well below the state averages.
Median income: $113,877
Median home price: $756,800
Pros: Bellevue is a medium-sized city beset on all sides by gorgeous wilderness and numerous hiking trails. The median income is well above the national average, and technology companies provided a wealth of job opportunities. Local K-12 schools consistently rank among the highest quality in the state.
Cons: Cost of living is high, with housing and transportation expenses significantly higher than the national average.
Median income: $57,064
Median home price: $265,148
Pros: The capital city of Washington, Olympia has proven to be a cultural touchstone in the heart of the state, as well as a dedicated protector of public lands. Its many parks include Priest Point, Burfoot, and Sunrise, and most prominent is perhaps the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area.
Cons: Despite high property values and a better-than-average educational system, Olympia lags behind the state and national average in household income, and the unemployment rate is 15 percent higher than the U.S. average. Crime is also an issue, with a crime rate 34 percent higher than the rest of the state.