Best Places to live in Washington State
Washington State got its start as part of the Oregon Territory. But it wasn’t always called “Columbia.” In fact, the name changed several times over the course of its history.
The territory was named after George Washington, who had been elected president just three months earlier. He’d already served as the nation’s first secretary of war under President John Adams.
In 1818, Congress passed a law officially changing the name of the territory to Washington State. This came about because the area was being considered as a possible capital city.
But there was another reason why the name change happened. The original name of the territory was Columbia. And the state had gone by the name Columbia since joining the Union in 1889.
So, what does the name Columbia mean? Well, it’s derived from the Latin word columbo, meaning dove.
And while you might think that’s a pretty generic name, it actually refers to the mythological bird that carries off souls into heaven.
Redmond is located in central Washington, about 16 miles north of Seattle. It is bordered by Lake Sammamish to the east, Issaquah to the south, Kirkland to the west, Bothell to the north, and Bellevue to the northeast.
The population of Redmond is approximately 58,000 according to 2010 census estimates. The median age is 37.4, compared to a national average of 38.3.
There are 2,858 households out of which 31.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% are married couples living together, 7.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% are non-families. 27.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.46 and the average family size is 3.03.
In the city, the population is spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who are 65 years of age or younger. The median age is 39.5 years. For every 100 females, there are 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 103.0 males.
A place called Sammamish exists in King County. It’s located about 25 miles north of downtown Seattle. This small town is known for being a great place to live and raise a family. In fact, according to Zillow, the median home value stands at $609,600, making Sammamish one of the most expensive cities in the state. But what makes Sammamish special? Let’s take a look.
Pullman is a town of 30,000 residents located in Whitman County, Washington, United States. The population grew by 2.2% from 2010 to 2016, according to US Census estimates. Pullman is a part of the Seattle metropolitan area.
What attracts many people to scenic pullman is its low cost-of-living in relation to the perks that it offers: low crime rates, high numbers of restaurants, shops and entertainments options, good educations and a plethora of outdoor activites.
You can rent a two bedroom single family house in Pullman for $700 (below national average), whereas home values in the area stand at an affordable $220,000 on average.
That’s LOW for an area thats been awarded numerous national awards and received honorable mention for its beauty.
Washington state university is located nearby, where about 20,000 college students attend classes.
Idaho is also minutes away from Pullman, since it is located near the Idaho Border, just across from Moscow, Idaho.
Issaquah is a suburb located just south of downtown Seattle. It is known for being one of the best places to hike in Washington state, due to its abundance of mountain ranges and lakes. It is also home to one of the biggest retail chains in the US, Costco.
The city itself is very spread out, with many neighborhoods separated by miles of rural land. Most people live in single family homes, although there are some apartments popping up around town. Rents average about $1,500 per month.
The small town of Richland sits in the heart of Washington state, about halfway between Seattle and Spokane. With a population of around 50,000 people, it’s one of the most populated cities in the state. But despite being such a large place, there’s still plenty of things to do here.
For starters, you can take advantage of the nearby golf courses. Four different courses are located within 10 miles of each other, meaning you could play 18 holes every day for a month without ever having to travel too far.
There’s also a lot to do outside of the sporty stuff. You can go hiking, fishing, camping, boating, swimming, horseback riding, and even skiing. If you want to see some wildlife, you can spot bald eagles, deer, moose, elk, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, owls, hawks, and even black bears.
With a median house price of $207,100, you might think that housing costs would be high in Richland. However, according to Zillow, the cost of living here isn’t much higher than the rest of the nation. In fact, the median rent is actually cheaper than the national average.
6. Bainbridge Island
Located in Kitsap County, the town of Bainbridge Island is the perfect blend of rural charm and urban convenience. With over 23,000 people residing there, it’s no wonder why CNN named it one of the best places to live in America.
The island is home to an eclectic mix of professionals, retirees, families and students. The diverse population ensures that everyone gets along just fine. In fact, the city boasts a rich history, thriving businesses and beautiful natural surroundings.
With such a large number of residents, the schools here are excellent. There are four elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. Students attend either Bainbridge High School or South Kitsap High School depending on where they reside.
There are plenty of opportunities for recreation too. Residents can enjoy boating, swimming, kayaking, biking, running, walking, golfing, tennis, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping, bird watching and more.
In addition to being a great place to live, Bainbridge Island offers a wide variety of amenities. From shopping centres to restaurants, parks to beaches, museums to theatres, there’s something for everyone.
For those looking to buy property, the area is known for having some of the most affordable real estate prices in Washington State. Homes start around $150,000 and go up to well into six figures.
The city of Snoqualmie is located in King County, Washington, about 10 miles north of Seattle. In 2010, the Census Bureau reported that there were 11,823 people living within the city limits, making Snoqualmie one of the smallest cities in the United States. However, the area around Snoqualmie is home to many large communities, including North Bend, Fall City, Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Carnation.
In 2011, the median age in Snoqualmie was 42.5 years old, while the median age in the rest of the state was 37.4 years old. There were 4,964 households residing in Snoqualmie, and 2,906 families residing in the city. Of those families, 3,633 had children under 18 years old, and 1,928 of them lived alone. The number of single parents in Snoqualmie was 703.
As of 2009, the median income in Snoqualmie was $56,921, compared to $51,039 in the rest of the State of Washington. The percentage of people living in poverty in Snoqualmie was 13.3%, compared to 14.1% in the rest of the nation. As of 2008, the unemployment rate in Snoqualmie was 5.2%.
According to the 2000 census, the racial makeup of Snoqualmie was 83.4% White, 0.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 8.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
There were 9,934 housing units in Snoqualmie, of which 87.6% were owner occupied, and 12.4% were renter occupied. Home values in Snoqualmie averaged $465,200, with the median value being $375,000.
Kirkland is one of the most underrated cities in Washington state. Located just north of Seattle, Kirkland is home to 85,000 people, making it the 12th largest city in the state. This small town is located in King County, where you’ll find beautiful lakes, hiking trails, and great shopping.
You might think that living here would cost too much, but there are some great deals to be had. Residents earn about $92,127 annually on average, which ranks them among the highest earners in the area. They also enjoy low crime rates and a strong sense of community.
Bellevue is a French name meaning “beautiful view”, and that is exactly what the city in King County is – beautiful views abound. Located in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, Bellevue sits along the shores of Lake Washington, and is bordered by two lakes, Lake Samamish to the east, and Lake Washington to the West.
There is a trail called the Lakeside Trail which connects the two lakes, making it easy to travel around both areas and experience the many outdoor activities offered in each. But Bellevue’s beauty goes far beyond its stunning lakefront views.
The city of 135,000 people is set against the backdrop mountain ranges, including the Olympics and Cascade Mountain Ranges, and the natural scenery provides a great setting for many outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, golfing, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, camping, horseback riding, and much more are all popular choices in this scenic location.
However, Bellevue is more that just a natural jewel. With a population of over 135,000, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends and make lasting connections. Whether you’re looking for a career change, want to start your own business, or simply want to live life to the fullest, Bellevue offers something for everyone.
Woodinville is a suburban town located approximately 30 miles north of Seattle in King County, Washington. It is part of the greater Seattle metropolitan area. As of 2010, it had a population of 10,926 people.
The name “Woodinville” is derived from Chief Sealth, a Native American chief who lived there during the early 19th century. He named his settlement “Wauwut,” meaning “at the place where trees stand thick.” In 1853, the United States Army established Fort Lawton near what is now downtown Woodinville.
In 1854, the Hudson’s Bay Company built a trading post nearby. The post closed in 1867, and in 1871, the land became the property of John Bower Wilson. After he died in 1886, his son William inherited the land and renamed the area “Woodinville”.
During World War II, the Boeing Plant 2, later known as the Northwest Aviation plant, was established in Woodinville. The plant produced P-51 Mustangs, B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, and A-29 Superfortresses.
Today, Woodinville is home to many large companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco Wholesale, Amazon, Zulily, and others.
11. Maple Valley
Maple Valley is one of those cities where the outdoors are a special feature. Located in King County, the city is home to many parks, lakes, and forests. And while the rest of the state is experiencing a drought, Maple Valley is actually getting rainier.
The city is known for being green, too. Its schools were awarded the prestigious Green Ribbon Award in 2013. The award recognizes schools that promote sustainability and environmental awareness.
And while the city doesn’t boast much in terms of culture, it does offer something else: affordability. Homes go for about $290,100 on average, according to Zillow.
Kenmore is a small town located in King County, Washington. With a population of just over 21,000 residents, it is a suburb of Seattle. Located on the northeastern shoreline of Lake Washington, Kenmore is bordered by Woodinville to the north, Kirkland to the east, Redmond to the south, and Issaquah to the west.
The name “Kenmore” originates from the Native American word “Kenowma”, meaning “beautiful lake”. In 1853, the area around the present day Kenmore was purchased by William W. Smith, who laid out the townsite along the shores of Lake Washington. The original platting included the land now occupied by the Kenmore neighborhood, the Kenwood neighborhood, and the Kenmore Highlands neighborhood.
In 1883, the railroad reached Kenmore, making it accessible to commuters and tourists alike. By 1890, the village had grown into a bustling commercial center, complete with hotels, restaurants, banks, and shops. However, the Great Depression hit hard, and many businesses closed down. As a result, the population dropped drastically, and the village became largely residential.
Today, Kenmore is home to some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the Puget Sound region. Residents enjoy easy access to Downtown Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond via Interstate 405. There are several parks within walking distance of Kenmore, including the Kenmore Community Center Park, the Kenmore Golf Course, and the Kenmore Aquatic Park.
Olympia is one of the smallest capitals in America, with a population of just over 50,000 people. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. This city located in Thurston County offers everything a person could want in terms of housing, jobs, entertainment, and public transport.
The state government is the largest employers in the city, with more than 25 thousand staff to call on for its smooth running. As with many cities across the United States, the crime rate in the state capital is low, with violent crimes being rare occurrences.
With a population of just under 50,000 people, Olympia is a great place for those seeking affordable living options. Homes in the area are priced at around $250,000 on average, making it a good option for younger couples and families alike.
What really sets Olympia apart from other cities is the fact that there are plenty of green spaces to enjoy. There are forests and parks scattered throughout the city, offering residents a chance to relax and unwind.
14. Mercer Island
Mercer Island is another geographical representative that only goes to show how great of a place it is to live in King County. It is home to slightly over 124,000 residents and generally considered one of the better places to live in Washington state. Mercer Island is the most densely populated freshwater island in the US, with more than 25 thousand people living in an area just under 6.3 square miles. Public school systems can hold their own with some of the very best in the nation, with six schools located on the island alone. There are several popular activities for everyone, including swimming, fishing, tennis and basketball, softball, biking and hiking. The island is extremely diverse, with many restaurants, bars and clubs of note that also provide live entertainment.
The largest city in Washington state is known for being a tech hub, but it’s far more than just that. With over 650,000 residents, Seattle is the second-largest city in the Pacific Northwest region.
There are many reasons why Seattle is such a great place to live, including affordability, diversity, culture, and natural beauty. In fact, the city is consistently rated among the best cities to live in the United States.
Seattle is located along Puget Sound, making it the perfect location for water sports enthusiasts. Residents enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, waterskiing, and even scuba diving.
In addition to waterfront activities, Seattle offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. From hiking and biking trails to skiing and snowboarding, there is something for every type of outdoor enthusiast.
If you love shopping, Seattle is the place to be. Whether you like browsing local boutiques or hitting the big box stores, there is no shortage of things to do.
For those looking for entertainment, Seattle boasts some of the best venues in the world. Some of the most popular attractions include the Space Needle, KeyArena, Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field, and the Experience Music Project.
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