Moving to Seattle from DC

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Chan_va
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Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Chan_va » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:24 am

Folks,

I am considering moving to Seattle from the Washington DC area. Looking for general thoughts from people who have made such a move.

- What would be a good area to move to? Job will be downtown, have young family, so need good schools, looking for a nice neighborhood that has good schools, reasonable commute, relatively affordable (3-4 bed townhome rental for about 2-3k/mo?). For people familiar with the DC area, looking for something similar to Vienna, VA.

Thanks!

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coachz
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by coachz » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:27 am

The traffic would keep me away. It's like DC ! You might read more here:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/seattle-area/

I'm liking Vancouver, WA myself. Right by Portland, OR

barnaclebob
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:51 am

For the traffic, do not go further north than greenlake (or maybe greenwood) if your job is downtown. Traffic downtown is absolutely terrible. Maybe light rail will help in about a decade or more...

Nova1967
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Nova1967 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:58 am

I'd consider the Eastside, Bellevue or Kirkland. They have good schools and low crime, although it's a 30 to 45 min commute over the Lake Wa bridge, Redmond and Issaquah are also nice but further out.
Close to downtown is very urban and borders the inner city.
Normandy Park near the airport is good but also 30 to 45 min from downtown.
Also north of the University district in North Seattle would be an option.
I know the real estate market has gone up in the last few years but should me more affordable than DC, plus not state tax. It's a great place to live if you like outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. It's also more casual and not quite as political as the DC area
Good luck.

davebogleheads
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by davebogleheads » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:26 pm

If you are able to do so from a job view, you might consider eastern Washington (Spokane, Tri-Cities) or some of the smaller cities of western Washington. I am familiar with both the Portland and Seattle areas, and one of the other posts is correct - the traffic situation is not good. Real estate in Seattle is really expensive, though I suspect less than in Washington, DC. The Pacific NW is a great place to live (I live in the NW but not in Seattle), very diverse, and unless the job requires you to do so, there is no reason to consider only Seattle.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:55 pm

Lived there for years and still have much family and friends in the area.

Your Vienna VA type neighborhoods are going to be across the lake in Bellevue and the surrounding burbs.

Personally I think Seattle is great for singles and the childless but life can be grueling for families. Traffic is just brutal and there aren't great public transit options compared to the DC area. Seattle is building out light rail trains but is decades away from having a comprehensive transit system. All the running around for stuff like soccer practice, piano lessons etc. will be brutal.

If you are moving there I wouldn't try to find a leafy modern suburb on the outskirts and expect to commute. I'd find something smaller like a town house close in and just live a more urban lifestyle. Especially if you are working downtown.

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goingup
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by goingup » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:01 pm

Hi-
The moving to Seattle topic comes up pretty often. Here's a thread from Dec. viewtopic.php?t=179805

Do a forum search to find others..

leonard
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by leonard » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:02 pm

Draw a 15-20 minute "commute line" around your prospective place of work. Realistically - due to traffic, that commute will be double or triple on bad days - even that close in.

Then, search within that 20 minute commute line. If you can't afford something that close - don't take the job. Anything further away - your life will get consumed by commuting.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

92irish
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by 92irish » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:11 pm

Coincidentally, I used to live in Vienna and moved to Seattle (but about 10+) years ago. I agree with all the previous comments - especially on the point of no good public transportation into downtown Seattle if that is where your job is. The eastside (Bellevue, Kirkland, even out as far as Issaquah) gives you the suburban family experience like Vienna.

One other choice not yet mentioned would be Federal Way (which is south on I-5 of Seattle). It is a suburban bedroom community to Seattle and will be much cheaper than the Eastside. The Eastside has a lot of tech companies pushing up housing prices. People who live in Federal Way and commute to Seattle will use a pretty good bus system / park-n-ride as a means of transportation. Not as nice as taking the Orange line metro straight into DC, but it works. Schools are pretty good in Federal Way, though the city admittedly will not have the charm of Vienna.

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Chan_va
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Chan_va » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:20 pm

Thanks all. Assuming we were willing to compromise on the "leafy neighbourhood" for a more urban location, what would be some options closer to Downtown with good schools and a reasonable commute?

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by WhiteMaxima » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:34 pm

Live close to where your work. Take public transport. Live close to I5 and I90 (eastside or Seattle). If you buying a house, buy close to the center. The traffic is terrible during rush hrs. I moved to Seattle from midwest 10 years ago. I like the mild weather and water and mountains Seattle.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Chan_va » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:46 pm

I think I may have misused the word "Downtown". The job will be more in the north of seattle - close to 500 9th Ave N. If that makes a difference.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by leonard » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:52 pm

Chan_va wrote:I think I may have misused the word "Downtown". The job will be more in the north of seattle - close to 500 9th Ave N. If that makes a difference.
That's virtually downtown - downtown/first hill-ish.

If you draw the 15 minute commute line - then further narrow for prices you can afford (unless you are taking a CEO job) - I suspect you'll only come up with a few neighborhoods that fit the bill anyway.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

petiejoe
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by petiejoe » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:27 pm

leonard wrote:
Chan_va wrote:I think I may have misused the word "Downtown". The job will be more in the north of seattle - close to 500 9th Ave N. If that makes a difference.
That's virtually downtown - downtown/first hill-ish.

If you draw the 15 minute commute line - then further narrow for prices you can afford (unless you are taking a CEO job) - I suspect you'll only come up with a few neighborhoods that fit the bill anyway.
It's SLU. I'm going to go out on a limb about who your employer will be - if I'm right, they'll have a lot of building scattered throughout SLU and it's very likely you will change buildings once every year or two. That makes it difficult to pin down an exact 15 minute commute radius like what other posters have commented. It is an urban campus and a lot of the single employees in the area live in apartments in Lower Queen Anne, belltown, SLU, or Capital Hill.

When I first moved to Seattle, I lived on the north end of Queen Anne. Upper Queen Anne is a great combination of close-in but feels like a quiet neighborhood. It's super expensive to buy there, but you may still be able to rent a house for the $2-3k range you're looking at. Busing and walking are viable options from there, although there aren't any great routes that go directly from Upper Queen Anne to 500 9th Ave N (plan on walking .5-1 mile each way in addition to the bus). I later moved to Federal Way because I wanted to buy a house. My bus takes 35-40 minutes to go from the transit center to the north side of downtown and then it's a 1 mile walk or trolley ride to 500 9th Ave N (if the trolley happens to go by while I'm walking there I'll take it, but it's not much faster than walking if you have to wait for another one to show up).

Bellevue/Newcastle is a fairly popular option for people who work downtown and have children. The Eastside is supposed to have better schools.

Hopefully that helps a bit. If you want a few more specific suggestions, you should define what you consider a "reasonable" commute. if you're thinking 15 minutes, you're going to be extremely limited. If you're thinking 30-45 minutes, you have a lot more options opening up.

ConcernedKid
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by ConcernedKid » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:37 pm

You can look into house rentals on RadPad. I have heard that the public schools are good if you live in Queen Anne, Fremont, Ballard, Greenwood, Maple Leaf, Ravenna, Laurelhurst, and Montlake areas. The school systems as a whole tend to be good on the east side of the lake or in Shoreline. You will be working in South Lake Union. This will require you to deal with the "Mercer Mess" which will make traffic a nightmare no matter where you live. Queen Anne, Cap Hill, Fremont, Magnolia and Ballard will be your closest options.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Elsebet » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:43 pm

I moved to Issaquah from Cincinnati, OH in 2013. In Ohio I was a very social person and participated in community theater and volunteered with several groups during the weekday evenings. My husband and I would often go downtown in the evenings for events even on weekdays.

Since moving here I noticed that because of the traffic and crowds I have become much more introverted and just go to work/home on weeknights. On weekends we do not go places as much either. It's good for the wallet but probably not so much for the soul. The only activity I do here is the WSU Master Gardener program. This year I had to go downtown once for an MG event and sat on a side street for an hour just to get on I-5, no accidents, just volume. I will never drive to that event again, if I do participate again I will figure out a public transport method or not attend.

I find that traffic downtown is tolerable coming from I-90 WB only if you shift to less busy times (like go in at 5-6am or 9-10am). Avoid I-405 South near Renton any time of day, it's a nightmare. I have no experience with the other highways but I hear they are bad.

If you are used to traffic in DC you will probably be fine, but coming from smaller cities all my life this area makes me depressed and I look forward to leaving in a few years.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

barnaclebob
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:57 pm

To be honest there arent that many bad places around Seattle as long as you aren't right on 99/aurora. Ballard would work well for you I bet, especially towards the north away from where they are building all of the condos (near the bar/restaurant area)

leonard
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by leonard » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:21 pm

petiejoe wrote:if you're thinking 15 minutes, you're going to be extremely limited. If you're thinking 30-45 minutes, you have a lot more options opening up.
The reality of traffic and commuting is when the least thing goes wrong, the commute can double. And, I mean the least thing: Mariners/Seahawks Game, excessive rain (yes, even in Seattle), wind, I90/520/I5 lane closures, accidents. And, it only gets worse with major issues - snow storm, major wind storm/power outage, etc. So, if you plan a 30-45 minute daily commute - you'll have many outlier days that will make you regret "only" going for a 30 minute commute. Guaranteed.

Also, living and commuting from the Eastside is a huge mistake - because when something goes wrong on I90 or 520 - you get a horrible commute. And, a lot goes wrong on I90 and 520 on a regular basis.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

quantAndHold
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:30 pm

From the middle of that location, your commute will be better if you're north/west of the office, and don't have to deal with any freeways, and don't have to deal with getting through the middle of downtown during rush hour. Queen Anne, Magnolia, Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Green Lake.

Expect to bike or bus to work.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Bmac » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:40 pm

quantAndHold wrote:From the middle of that location, your commute will be better if you're north/west of the office, and don't have to deal with any freeways, and don't have to deal with getting through the middle of downtown during rush hour. Queen Anne, Magnolia, Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Green Lake.

Expect to bike or bus to work.

+1

Those are all great places to live. I would add Phinney Ridge and Greenwood to the list. The majority of the best Seattle Public schools are in the north end. Each of those neighborhoods have terrific local shops and restaurants. Getting to downtown via Aurora/99 and 15th Ave are good alternatives to I-5. Real estate throughout Seattle has been going through the roof. Probably the biggest challenge will be finding affordable housing, but any of those neighborhoods are great for families and do not feel urban/big city for the most part. Lots of single family homes in the Craftsman style.

petiejoe
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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by petiejoe » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:00 pm

leonard wrote:
petiejoe wrote:if you're thinking 15 minutes, you're going to be extremely limited. If you're thinking 30-45 minutes, you have a lot more options opening up.
The reality of traffic and commuting is when the least thing goes wrong, the commute can double. And, I mean the least thing: Mariners/Seahawks Game, excessive rain (yes, even in Seattle), wind, I90/520/I5 lane closures, accidents. And, it only gets worse with major issues - snow storm, major wind storm/power outage, etc. So, if you plan a 30-45 minute daily commute - you'll have many outlier days that will make you regret "only" going for a 30 minute commute. Guaranteed.

Also, living and commuting from the Eastside is a huge mistake - because when something goes wrong on I90 or 520 - you get a horrible commute. And, a lot goes wrong on I90 and 520 on a regular basis.
Totally agreed. At least 2-3 days a month there will be something that doubles my commute time coming or going. I'm happy that I use the bus so I can just sit there and read. On days that I have a very fixed arrival time, I pad it by at least 30 minutes. If you're living within 15 minutes, you're probably looking at 2-3 miles and no freeway. Just getting on the freeway will take 15-30 minutes on a bad day. If there's ever a chance of snow, work from home because Seattle can't deal with any kind of snow (it doesn't matter that you can drive in the snow because nobody else can and traffic _will_ gridlock).

That said, I still don't think it's worth spending an extra $500k (minimum) to buy a house within 2-3 miles of SLU. That is definitely a personal decision based on my priorities. Renting can change that equation a bit, but rents are on an extreme climb right now, particularly for anything close to SLU (supply is struggling to catch up to demand from a particular employer building huge new office buildings in the neighborhood).
Bmac wrote:but any of those neighborhoods are great for families and do not feel urban/big city for the most part. Lots of single family homes in the Craftsman style
+1 more

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:37 pm

Bmac wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:From the middle of that location, your commute will be better if you're north/west of the office, and don't have to deal with any freeways, and don't have to deal with getting through the middle of downtown during rush hour. Queen Anne, Magnolia, Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Green Lake.

Expect to bike or bus to work.

+1

Those are all great places to live. I would add Phinney Ridge and Greenwood to the list. The majority of the best Seattle Public schools are in the north end. Each of those neighborhoods have terrific local shops and restaurants. Getting to downtown via Aurora/99 and 15th Ave are good alternatives to I-5. Real estate throughout Seattle has been going through the roof. Probably the biggest challenge will be finding affordable housing, but any of those neighborhoods are great for families and do not feel urban/big city for the most part. Lots of single family homes in the Craftsman style.
I'd also look at Eastlake and Montlake areas. Very easy bike commute. I lived next to the Montlake Bridge and biked into a job at the Seattle Times at their old location in the SLU area and it was an easy ride around Portage Bay that avoided all the hills. Seattle is a skinny city that has pretty good N-S transit options. Where it gets messy is when you try to do E-W as that takes you across most of the steep hills and there aren't very many through streets anywhere in the city that run E-W.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by obgraham » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:37 pm

I have two daughters living in that section of Seattle, actually just off the Capitol Hill district.

Their neighborhoods and the SLU district to me are the epitome of "yuppie". You've got loads of "Amazonians" who have loads of cash but no sense of value, and then you have the lost souls wandering the tattoo parlors of Broadway.

So it's fine if you seek that sort of lifestyle. But I go there often and I'm always amazed at how few children are seen there. It wouldn't be my choice for raising a family.

On the plus side, Seattle has a number of small very distinct neighborhoods, and one of these might be just what OP seeks. Choose wisely, and don't decide only on the basis of traffic.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by leonard » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:35 pm

A lot of armchair theory by folks who may or may not have sat in traffic on 405, 90, 520, or 5.

OP - I'd suggest identifying a couple locations you think you want to live, come to Seattle, and actually drive, bus, walk or whatever that commute a couple times. It will be eye opening and will give you true experience about the time, hassle and what to expect. Spending a morning or 2 doing that is time well invested when looking at the prospect of 5-10 years of that commute.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by TonyDAntonio » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:24 pm

My in-laws (wife's sister and husband) have lived in Ballard (North Seattle) for many years. We've visited often. While the traffic is bad if you can handle it it is a great place to live. He works in downtown Seattle but leaves for work early and stays late (high, high up in a big company) so he avoids traffic. If you are going to work north of seattle you might want to check our Ballard.
Chan_va wrote:I think I may have misused the word "Downtown". The job will be more in the north of seattle - close to 500 9th Ave N. If that makes a difference.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by Chan_va » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:05 pm

Update: We seem to have narrowed ourselves to two properties. One in the loyal heights elementary area and another near the university village at the university of Washington.

Thoughts on location, area etc for these 2 places?

Thanks.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by obgraham » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:09 pm

Univ Village is closer to where you work, but Ballard area would be a lot more relaxed area to live. Lots less hectic stuff and drunk/doped kids.

And some top class restaurants at Shilshole Bay.

Just my 2cents.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:05 am

U Village is going to be more convenient. Easier commute, close to the freeway, close to the light rail, close to the Apple Store and Din Tai Fung, easy to get to other parts of town. You'll also probably be living on a block with a bunch of college students.

Loyal Heights is a fairly arduous bus commute. You'll probably get a seat on the bus going into work, but be standing most of the way home. Driving isn't really any faster, and is much more expensive. The best parking I find is $18/day, and the major employer there only reimburses $160/month. The neighborhood is out by the sound, a long way from anything. So if you want to go anywhere on the weekend, you'll have to fight your way through a half hour of traffic just to get where you would have been if you lived in the U Village house. But, the neighborhood is quieter, more of a neighborhood with families and kids and normal life.

If I were making my choice, I'd probably pick Loyal Heights.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:17 am

Chan_va wrote:Folks,

I am considering moving to Seattle from the Washington DC area. Looking for general thoughts from people who have made such a move.

- What would be a good area to move to? Job will be downtown, have young family, so need good schools, looking for a nice neighborhood that has good schools, reasonable commute, relatively affordable (3-4 bed townhome rental for about 2-3k/mo?). For people familiar with the DC area, looking for something similar to Vienna, VA.

Thanks!
DW and I visited Seattle on vacation last fall. Charming area, but I'll never, ever, ever put myself in the position of driving in downtown Seattle again. Given a choice between the two, I'd take driving in DC hands down. And I don't particularly want to drive there, either.

That being said, Seattle is a great place to visit, and I look forward to going back again. I just will make much more use of taxicabs and whatever mass transit might be available.
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by baw703916 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:23 pm

I moved to Seattle from Northern Virginia last year. I agree with the various posters who say that you want to minimize your commute distance. I ended up moving to the northern part of Seattle, but as my work location and other considerations are different that yours, my choice of neighborhood isn't necessarily that relevant to you.

As a previous poster noted, the area where you will be working is referred to as South Lake Union. "Downtown" extends roughly from the end of Westlake Ave. (on the north end) to Pioneer Square (on the south end).

The two places you are considering seem pretty reasonable geographically. The Loyal Heights area is right at the north end of Ballard, which is a pretty trendy area in terms of real estate, meaning prices are going up quite substantially. It looks like there is a pretty direct bus route between SLU and that area. Longer term (many years in the future) the plan is to build a light rail line through South Lake Union to Ballard (this needs to be approved by the voters, who have derailed transit projects on previous occasions).

I know someone who lives just east of University village, and that neighborhood seemed surprisingly quiet (granted, this was the summer, not the UW school year). Just west of University Village is the "U District", which is very densely populated with students. So a few blocks may make a big difference in your environment depending exactly where the place you're looking at is located. The light rail line was just extended to UW (next to the football stadium) earlier this year, in a few years it will be extended to include the U District. But that goes downtown, and not really to South Lake Union.

All in all, I think I might choose Loyal Heights if I were you. But, if you are renting, rents might go up along with real estate prices in Ballard.

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Re: Moving to Seattle from DC

Post by htdrag11 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:52 pm

Child moved to Wallingford from DC this February but she works from home. She rented a one bedroom of 650 sq ft for $2k with parking. Taking the bus downtown is about 30 minutes, far better option than driving during rush hour. Drivers are much nicer out west than east, ANY DAY. Friend of hers works in Amazon downtown and she commutes from Bellevue, not pleasant but Bellevue has great school. She rented a 1,100 sq ft apartment for about $2k, parking extra.

Wallingford is only about 10 minutes north of UW (pronounced as you-dub). As someone pointed out, Ding Tai Fung is right in the UW Village but there is cheaper and better Taiwanese fare in Bellevue. She has not dealt with the winter rainy season yet, but loves the summer with low humidity. For DC folks, you know what I meant. There are Asian grocery stores in the Aurora/99 about 25 minutes north of UW, as well as the International District in downtown (Uwajimaya has great seafood selection).

Going to concert or sports in downtown is driveable, with free street parking within 3-4 blocks. Hope you and your family enjoy outdoor activities with all the parks and trails.

Traffic around 90 and downtown during rush hour is notorious, even with carpool lane for 2 or more people.

We would consider moving there from the NE, since it has no state income tax (yet) and much lower property tax. People are much more relax over there. Median home price is about $600k, a tad lower than Vienna, so you are getting a bargain :mrgreen:

Best of luck.

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