Thinking of moving to the Pacific Northwest? You're not alone. In 2017, Seattle and Portland were the 1st and 3rd most popular cities for relocating residents*. With bustling economies, a diverse variety of cuisine, and endless recreation possibilities, it's no wonder. But how do you choose the perfect neighborhood in these big cities?
If you're considering a move and you're unfamiliar with the region, you may assume it's either Seattle with the Space Needle or Portland and its bridges, and the choice is easy. After all, they're both in the fresh and green Pac NW, right? But Seattle and Portland are much more than just a city with lots of ferries and the place where all those food trucks are.
One thing you should know: the Seattle and Portland greater metro areas really are big. When I moved to Seattle from Denver in 2006, I didn't realize how big Seattle is; how many suburbs it has, and how each community has a very distinct look and feel. There's a lot of history and culture nestled in neighborhoods in and around both these large cities that extends from far north of Seattle (Everett and Marysville) to south of Portland (Lake Oswego and Oregon City).
Seattle was ranked number 6 in US News' Best Places to Live in 2017. Its net migration rate from 2011 to 2015 was 4.97 percent. With a metro population of over 3.5 million, Seattle includes four major cities, and over thirty smaller suburbs spread across over 5,000 square miles.
Portland topped Forbes' Best Places for Business & Careers in 2017. It was number 15 on Travel and Leisure's Top 15 Cities in the US. With a metro population of almost 2.5 million, Portland includes five major cities, and over forty smaller suburbs across over 6,000 square miles.
Two cities, dozens of suburbs, miles of scenery, healthy economies and a plethora of choices. Seattle and Portland both have it all, from busy downtown neighborhoods to quiet and relaxed countryside. There’s no shortage of opportunity for every dreaming homeowner, whether you have a big family or you’re an ambitious single looking to kick-start a new life (hey, that’s what I did).
*Most popular metro areas for U.S. families to move to in peak season, based on United Van Lines summer 2017 moving volume data