Seattle is annually ranked one of the best places to live due to its beauty, nightlife,and the career opportunities that exist here. The largest city in Washington state, with a population of 3.6 million in the greater metropolitan area, Seattle is a hub of activity in the Pacific Northwest. The fastest-growing city in the United States as of mid-2013, Seattle has a booming economy and a diverse population. The city, located on an isthmus between Puget Sound in the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington, has access to ocean, lakes, rivers, mountains and forests, making it an ideal location for those who enjoy being outdoors. The city’s proximity to the Cascade Range and Olympic mountains make it a haven for hikers, skiers and mountain bikers. Seattle has a reputation for constant rain, but it is not entirely deserved. Though it is on average quite cloudy, with 201 cloudy days per year, the city does not experience any more heavy rains than other cities. The climate is temperate, explaining why many residents choose to use bicycles as a primary form of transportation.
As one of the main cities on the West Coast, Seattle is a cultural hub for artists, performers and musicians from all different walks of life. The city is famous for giving rise to the grunge movement of the early 1990s, spawning major acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. It is also home to influential record label Sub Pop, best known for its indie artists, such as Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Postal Service, Iron and Wine and Fleet Foxes. Seattle’s unique location as a port of call for many cruise ships, particularly those headed to Alaska, has encouraged it to develop a strong tourism industry and many cultural attractions, including art museums, film festivals, art and music festival Bumbershoot, and the Seattle Great Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels in the US. Then, of course, there’s the Space Needle, the 605-foot-tall observation tower that looms over the city and defines Seattle’s skyline.
Tech and innovation
Seattle has long been synonymous with creativity and innovation, and the city continues to be a leader in industries like technology, green building, design and start-ups. The city is also home to the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Starbucks and Nordstrom – and, of course, there’s Microsoft, headquartered in nearby Redmond. Seattle is a haven for intellectuals – a 2008 US Census survey found that Seattle had the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major US city, and it is consistently ranked as one of the country’s most literate cities. All that creativity clearly leads to caffeine cravings, as the city is also famous for its high levels of coffee consumption.