Washington, nicknamed The Evergreen State, is known for its tech-savvy inhabitants and evergreen forests. 60% of its population lives in the Seattle metropolitan area. In the Spokane area, another popular location for those moving to Washington, you’ll find a mecca for outdoorsman, with 77 lakes and numerous parks, and hiking trails.
As a major political stage, Washington D.C. attracts people from all over the world. Some are visiting, and some, like you, are looking to make the city their new home. Relocating can be a stressful, frustrating experience, especially when you’re moving into a big city. Larger cities are alive with their own culture and, more often than not, there are sets of unwritten rules that newcomers must learn the hard way.
Washington’s climate varies greatly from west to east. A Mediterranean Climate predominates in western Washington, and a much drier semi-arid climate prevails east of the Cascade Range. Major factors determining Washington’s climate include the large semi-permanent high pressure and low pressure systems of the north Pacific Ocean, the continental air masses of North America, and the Olympic and Cascade mountains. In the spring and summer, a high pressure anticyclone system dominates the north Pacific Ocean, causing air to spiral out in a clockwise fashion. For Washington, this means prevailing winds from the northwest bring relatively cool air and a predictably dry season.
Expats moving to Washington DC are more often than not surprised by just how physically small the city that is arguably the most powerful and influential in the USA, and indeed the world, can be. The massive concentration of agencies, departments, businesses, consulates and young eager professionals makes Washington DC so dense with potential that expats seem to be magnetically drawn to it.
Moving for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
There are other jobs in Washington apart from working in government. The private sector is strong with banking and finance, IT, education, healthcare and many other occupations being well represented.
I live with my family in Skagit Valley in Northwest WA, my dad actually used to live in Pennsylvania. It's fairly rural, with lots of farms, but still feels suburban. We're close to Seattle, but also far enough away to avoid some craziness (everyone still went insane when the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl again). We live in Mount Vernon, the county seat, and it's a great area. Lots of places to hike and adventure, the PNW is a really beautiful place to be. Bellingham is a really cool nearby town, you should look into it.
It's a little bit rainy here, with a lot of sandals and socks type weather. It's miraculously been hot here for most of the summer, which has been a great opportunity to visit the many lakes, rivers, creeks, bays and other forms of water that seems to be everywhere. We get snow a few days of the year, and sometimes it even sticks.
It's been a cool place to grow up.
If you're into desert living, we live in south east Washington (Tri-Cities). Lots of fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, etc. Cost of living is also low. Apartments are ranging from $600-1100, depending on the area.
We get all four seasons but winters are usually pretty mild, not too much snow.
I lived in Washington DC area with my Army husband from 1993-1998. We had two girls in 1994 & 1996. We lived in a great neighborhood call Fairlington Villages, right off of the King St exit, exit 5 off of 95 South. If I remember it was about 10 miles from the downtown mall. This complex was built during WWII to house the military members coming into DC. You can pick from apartments to townhouses to duplexes. The only problem is that the rent for our townhouse back then was $1,000. The upside was that the neighborhood is extremely safe, great playgrounds, several pools. The schools weren't so great but you won't have to worry about that. It's near the Shirlington Village area. There were lots of preschools, including a coop one at the neaighborhood Baptist Church that took children as young as 6 months. The parents volunteer as assistants once a month to keep the cost down.
Anyways you may want to check out Fairlington Villages. I think they have a main office which would know what is for rent, maybe ??? All the untis are privately owned but they did have an office for maintenance issues etc..
That's about all I know. We choose further out this time for the great schools, just north of Herndon.
I grew out east, Pittsburgh, but I've been out here for 15 years, and when I go back to Pennsylvania to visit family, I don't feel at home anymore. Living in Washington is such an amazing experience. The mountains are visible pretty much all day for me, and I never get tired of seeing snow-capped volcanoes in the distance.
Just keep in mind that many people out here feel that east coasters are pushy and rude; they don't take direct attitudes very well.
Wife and I moved here from Kentucky about 5 years ago and love it. We're WA lifers now. It is more expensive out here, though, than it was living back east, but we get paid so much more than we did living in KY. We both stayed in our same professions and both of us are making pretty much double what we made in Kentucky in the same fields before we moved. Groceries, gas, etc. are all slightly more expensive out here, but housing is where we saw a big jump in cost. The jump in cost was exceeded by the jump in our salaries, though, so it sounded a lot more scary than it actually was. We have much more disposable income/money to save now. Also, no state taxes here, but sales tax is higher and set by each community. It was weird at first, but it's easy enough to get used to. I'd recommend Snohomish County (one county north of Seattle/King County between King and Skagit counties), but Skagit is nice, too, and would be cheaper than Snohomish. Smaller job market there, though. Snohomish is also closer to the Seattle area if you plan on going down there much as well. We lived in Monroe for about 4 years, which was only about a 45-50 minute drive from downtown Seattle, 30 minutes to north Seattle* (*offer not valid during rush hour) and had affordable rent. We now live on Camano Island, and like the Stanwood/Camano area much more than Monroe. Some places I'd look into as 'starter' places to live for a few years before deciding where you might want to settle down are Monroe, Bothell, Snohomish (the town), Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens. Any towns around Everett in the middle of Snohomish county would offer a decent chance of finding affordable (but not necessarily cheap) housing without being too far from a good-sized job market or the city. Also, you're pretty close to camping/hiking/other outdoor activities there too. Lots of stuff down Highway 2 or the north Cascades would be nearby. You really can't go wrong living in Snohomish, Island, or Skagit counties....it's more about how 'rural' you actually want to be when choosing among those places. Look for hikes in Skagit, or around Darrington or Granite Falls. Snohomish (the town) is great for antique stores, but most towns around here have fun junk shops/antique stores. Maltby has a good one, too. Anyway, feel free to PM me if you want more info....I've rambled quite a bit here.