The Bay Area is a great place to live, but there’s no getting around the high cost of living. With more workers able to work remotely, many are now choosing to keep their tech jobs and live somewhere more affordable. Sky-high housing costs are also pushing workers toward other cities that offer similar opportunities in tech plus recreation and a great quality of life – with a lower cost.
If you’re leaving the Bay Area, you won’t be alone. In 2021, San Francisco was one of the top 5 metro areas for net outbound moves. The top destination? Seattle.
It’s easy to see the appeal of Seattle vs Bay Area living. Both cities have great public transportation and walkability, top cultural attractions, and beautiful bays. The cost of living in Seattle vs San Francisco is much lower (but still not low!) and it also boasts a huge tech industry with plenty of employment opportunities.
Here’s what moving to Seattle from Bay Area is like and what you need to know.
What’s it Like Living in Seattle?
If you enjoy living in the Bay Area but hate the high living cost, you’ll definitely love living in Seattle. Like San Francisco and other Bay Area communities, Seattle is a coastal city on a bay with a mild climate, diverse population, great cuisine and local seafood, a hilly downtown, tech jobs, and cultural attractions.
You’ll find many differences between San Francisco vs Seattle that you should prepare for.
The difference in climate is one of the first adjustments you’ll have to make. You may have heard people say that if you don’t go out in the rain in Seattle, you never go out. It’s true that Seattle gets more rain than the Bay Area, but if you’re fine with trading some sunny days for drizzle and more greenery, there’s plenty to appreciate about living in Seattle vs Bay Area.
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The Seattle rainfall is definitely overblown unless you absolutely hate rain. Seattle gets about 38” of annual rainfall, exactly average for the U.S., compared to 25” in San Francisco. The city does get far more rainy days than typical with 155 days of precipitation every year compared with 72 in the Bay Area and 106 for the U.S. You’ll be giving up about 100 sunny days per year when moving from SF to Seattle.
Many people describe Seattle as cleaner than San Francisco. People are generally more laidback than Bay Area residents and far less focused on maximizing earnings and getting into the “best” and most prestigious zip code. Seattle is known for its eco-friendly policies and health-conscious residents. It’s been named one of the best cities to live in America for 2022 the #1 best city for outdoor recreation, #3 best city for young professionals, and #8 best city for raising a family!
Before you move, make sure you’re prepared for the “Seattle Freeze.” You’ll hear this phrase a lot at first and it refers to the trouble many people have making friends after moving to Seattle. People may seem standoffish at first!
Benefits of Moving to Seattle from Bay Area
When you compare Seattle versus San Francisco and the Bay Area, you’ll find the Emerald City has so much to offer. Here are some of the biggest perks of moving from San Francisco to Seattle.
Great Public Transportation in Seattle
You won’t have to give up a car-free lifestyle you enjoy with San Francisco public transportation after relocating to Seattle! If you live in the urban core, you’ll find Seattle has a robust public transit system recently ranked #1 in the country in terms of commuters who use public transportation and average commute time which was the 3rd lowest.
Unlike many cities, mass transit ridership is on the rise in Seattle and the city is investing in growing its public transit to expand the light rail system out 50 miles by 2023 and 116 miles by 2041.
Lower Cost of Living in Seattle vs Bay Area
When you compare Seattle vs San Francisco cost of living, you’ll definitely see the Emerald City comes out ahead, despite being expensive too. In fact, more affordable housing, lower transportation and commute costs, and lower taxes are big reasons so many people are moving from the Bay Area to Seattle.
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Washington has no state income tax while California has the highest income tax in the country – plus a city income tax rate in San Francisco! You’ll pay less in property taxes in Seattle vs Bay Area despite home prices still being high. California’s Prop 13 offers protection against rising home prices, but your property taxes will still be based on your purchase price. In San Francisco alone, that means more than $10,000 in property taxes every year based on the current median price whereas the median property tax bill in Seattle is still under $7,000. High home prices alone have made it very hard for first-time buyers to buy a home in San Francisco and other Bay Area cities.
|Cost of Living: San Francisco vs Seattle|
|194 (San Francisco)|
|214 (San Jose)|
|Income tax||NONE||1-13.3% (California) + 1.50% (San Francisco)|
|Sales tax||10.25%||8.625% (San Francisco)|
|9.375% (San Jose)|
|Median rent||$2,190||$2,770 (Oakland)|
|$2,750 (San Jose)|
|$3,230 (San Francisco)|
|Median home price||$875,000||$1.025 mil (Oakland)|
|$1.38 mil (San Jose)|
|$1.54 mil (San Francisco)|
|Median property tax||$6,710||$19,100 in San Francisco (based on current median price)|
Seattle Offers Great Outdoor Recreation & Scenery
The Bay Area definitely has gorgeous scenery and tons of outdoor recreation with the ocean, mountains, lakes, and more easily within driving distance plus great weather for enjoying the outdoors. Still, don’t overlook what the Emerald City has to offer when you compare living in San Francisco vs Seattle!
Seattle has been named the best city in the U.S. for outdoor recreation and the best city for hiking for a reason. While living on the Puget Sound, you’ll enjoy everything from hiking and beachcombing to paddle boarding and whale watching.
Spend the weekend camping at North Cascades National Park and enjoy boating and hiking with breathtaking views of mountain peaks and brilliant lakes. Mount Rainier National Park outside Seattle boasts wildflower meadows, an active volcano you can reach by car, miles of hiking trails, and glaciers.
Take a ferry and explore Bainbridge Island or enjoy the snow and skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort, Summit at Snoqualmie, or Stevens Pass, all an easy weekend trip from the city.
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Huge Craft Beer Scene in Seattle
For craft beer enthusiasts, there’s no comparison between Seattle vs San Francisco living. Seattle has more breweries than any other U.S. city with 174 at last count. The brewing capital of America boasts one of the country’s most creative craft beer scenes with fresh hops as around 95% of the country’s hops are grown in the area.
There are also plenty of beer festivals to love like the Seattle Fresh Hop Beer Festival, West Seattle Beer Fest, Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest, Northwest Oktoberfest, and even Brew at the Zoo!
San Francisco to Seattle Movers
A long-distance relocation to another state is stressful enough, why try to do it all on your own? A San Francisco to Seattle moving company can give you the help you need for a smooth relocation.
You have better things to do than spend weeks packing and long days loading, driving, and unloading. You need to research neighborhoods and schools, finalize arrangements for your new home, and figure out how to transport pets. You may even be busy coordinating a job transfer, enrolling kids in school, and selling or buying a house. Here’s what licensed Bay Area movers can do to help with an interstate move.
- Dedicated move coordinator to oversee the logistics and plan the details
- No heavy lifting, bending, loading, or unloading
- Well maintained truck operated by a licensed mover
- Professional packing with the right materials and supplies to save you time and worry
- Storage at your origin or destination avoids moving twice and self-storage hassles
- Specialty moving and packing services such as custom crating for fragile, heirloom, or very heavy items
- Furniture assembly/disassembly, unpacking, and furniture arrangement give you an easy, fast move-in
Why AMS Relocation Is Your #1 Bay Area to Seattle Moving Company
As you prepare for the adventure of your big move, make sure you choose the right Bay Area to Seattle movers to avoid extra headaches and worry.
What to look for:
- A trustworthy Bay Area to Seattle mover is licensed and insured with a valid US DOT number for interstate moves.
- Verify they have years of experience performing similar moves
- Look for a low claims rate and high rate of referrals
- Interstate moves should be done with a dedicated fleet of trucks
- Make sure they have good reviews from past customers without concerning complaints filed with the BBB or FMCSA
- Verify the team of movers are experienced, uniformed, and background checked for your protection
AMS Relocation has been trusted by more than 100,000 Bay Area residents for local and long-distance moves since 1949. Our licensed, family-owned moving company is an award-winning Bekins Van Lines agent with a nationwide network, expertise, and commitment to superior service. We have been honored with awards for excellence and customer service, long-distance moves, and Agent of the Month thanks to our ultra low claims rate and great reviews. That’s why 30% of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers!
How Much Does it Cost to Move From San Francisco to Seattle?
Hiring professional movers when you’re moving to Seattle from the Bay Area doesn’t cost as much as you may think, especially when you weigh it against reduced stress and worry, countless hours saved, and all the heavy lifting done for you.
While local moves usually have an hourly movers rate, long distance relocations typically have a flat price. There are many factors we consider to give you a personalized quote including:
- Total distance and route
- Number of movers required
- Packing services
- Storage needs
- Volume and type of belongings
The best way to estimate your cost is to give us a call for a free, personalized moving estimate. We will perform a free in-person or virtual assessment to give you the most accurate and competitive rate.
San Francisco to Seattle Distance & Travel Information
With the truck loaded and the movers on their way, it’s time for the final stage of moving day: getting yourself and the rest of your family to Seattle!
The drive from SF to Seattle is 800 miles or almost 13 hours on I-5 North.
Moving from San Francisco to Seattle without a car? Don’t feel up to a 13-hour drive? There are other options aside from driving.
You can fly from SFO to Seattle. There are nonstop flights from SFO to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on United, Delta, and Alaska usually priced around $75 one-way. You can also take a train. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight route offers daily service from the Bay Area to Seattle. You can depart from stations in Emeryville, Oakland, and San Jose.
Now that you’ve compared the Bay Area vs Seattle, does the Emerald City sound like the perfect place for you? If you’re ready to make Seattle your home, give us a call at AMS Relocation for a free, personalized moving quote from our 5-star Bay Area movers!