• $1200   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1362   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1982   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northwest US)

99% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
traffic jams, winter's darkness
temperate climate, museums, local professional sports, outdoor recreation, hiking, water recreation, ferries, fresh seafood, stunning views 6
sketchiest McDonald's on earth, best asian food variety, best view of downtown, OG Starbucks, Yachterranean, boat rentals for that IG pic, cell phone cameras, leg workout, scandinavians, actual forest, Grey's Anatomy ferry, can't hear you bro these damn planes, college kids on dad's boat, and retired grunge community are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Seattle roommate rundown:

Are you outdoorsy? Would you like to be outdoorsy almost all the time, including when you can't see the sun?

Seattleites love their healthy outdoor fun. An invigorating outdoor stroll plugs a hole in your soul you didn't even know was there! Until you're enthusiastically hiking it all away . . . while sipping delicious coffee from your travel mug. You're surrounded by mountain ranges and water and trees, all staying Emerald City green forever. With Lake Union and Green Lake within, and Lake Washington and Puget Sound around, kayaking and recreational boating abound.

And there's little you can't do year round.

There's not enough snow in summer for skiing and snowboarding in the Cascades, but you can always hike those mountains instead. Along with the forests, coastlines, and ship canals. You can hike and bike and paddleboat your way through the rest of Seattle's lush undergrowth as well. The trails go through the inspirationally large acreages of park, with longer urban trails connecting it all, all seasons of the year.

Like the Burke Gilman!

Or if you're feeling lower key, you don't have to be so athletic. You could just walk around instead! That's perfectly respectable!

As Seattle weather hardly ever stops anyone from anything, festivals and street fairs are also year round. And then summer, the only time that's reliably sunny, is like one much loooooooonger fair. And, they all need an audience!

Between May-September, you probably won't get one single solitary weekend without something educational or enlightening presenting itself as a possibility. And something is probably free, including the resident watching . . . but all under gray depressing skies?

Sometimes! The stereotype of Seattle is the sky is always gray. In winter, FAIR!

But spring through fall, not at all. In summer, daylight often remains from sunrise around 5 a.m. until almost 10 p.m. Contrary to public perception, Seattle features less precipitation than most cities in the East and Midwest. And despite the northern latitude, the Pacific Ocean moderates the climate, so precipitation is almost always rain, not snow, unlike on the other side of the mountain range.

So the rain is overstated, but the cloud cover is not. It could drizzle any day . . . just not a lot, if it's not winter. So especially if you walk in and out frequently, best to wear layers, so you can vent or bundle back up, as you will. And you will.

(Also, locals don't use umbrellas, they wear hoodies, and don't appreciate pokes with spokes.)

Cruising on boats is another low key love. All the boats; it's a seaport. Luxury ocean cruises take off for Alaska and western Canada. Local cruise lines offer tours of Seattle, usually with local commentary plus drinks and snacks. Or you could just ride a ferry. Most of the views from ferries are stunning, mostly less than ten bucks.

And if you've got a commute, and ferry is a choice, best to take it. Most of Seattle's public transport isn't bad, but their rush hours are, and traffic often bottlenecks around the bridges. There are a few.

Also a lot of buses, electric trolleys, streetcars and ferries, plus water taxis, and they're expanding the light rail. Seattle is bicycle-friendly in parts, if you don't mind hills. It's mostly King County Metro and Sound Transit and RapidRide. And there's an online trip planner, to help you find your quickest route, with real time vehicle locations and alerts.

Meanwhile, it's not impossible to drive around Seattle, but it's really not recommended where it's dense. There's nowhere to park for free downtown or Capitol Hill, and paid parking is very expensive and often fills up quickly. You can drive in the suburbs, but to and from Seattle around any rush would be worse. And medium density neighborhoods like Fremont and Ballard are in between . . . you could park a car but it's kind of annoying for everyone.

Mostly, you and your roommates will enjoy Seattle the most while walking around, whenever possible. Especially if it's not a dark and stormy night in the middle of the day!

If winter darkness gets you down, get a coffee. Because yes, another stereotype is true too. Seattle has an absurd number of coffeehouses. Inventing Starbucks brought Seattle's reputation for heavy coffee consumption to a boil, along with caffeine-related snobbery. Wherever you are in Seattle, there is a Starbucks near you.

But do so many Starbucks mean fewer not-Starbucks coffeehouses? NOPE!

Coffeehouses here tend to beget even more coffeehouses in a cascading chain of caffeination. Starbucks will be right on the same street as multiple independent coffeehouses too. There are multiple Starbucks across the street from each other. Also three Starbucks in the same strip mall. If too many Starbucks is upsetting to you, you can't move anywhere near Puget Sound, as it is Starbucks saturated.

While coffee remains the drink for most, bubble and boba milk tea are increasingly popular. But Seattle didn't slow down their coffee consumption in favor of adding some tea, nope. They just added these tea drinks too, like on top. So Seattleites are SUPER FOCUSED!

Seattle also gets the best seafood at the best prices on the West Coast. Along with the excellent salmon, clams, mussels, oysters, and Dungeness crab, the Sound specifically loves its locally harvested geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck"). That's a saltwater clam with a neck up to 6 feet long, weighing around ten pounds, with a shell as large as a football. Not popular with most Americans, outside Seattle, they're usually exported to Southeast Asia, where many regard them as an aphrodisiac.

They live about 140 years . . . if you don't eat them. But in Seattle, where they definitely do, locals recommend you stir-fry or hot pot with spicy chilis! You can also eat them sliced raw, with wasabi and shoyu.

But that'll be a fairly crunchy experience.

The rest of the Seattle roommate lowdown:

  • northernmost major US city, about 100 miles south of Canada
  • largest city in the PNW, an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington
  • about 800,000 in the city, about 4 million in the surrounding metro
  • Seattle is covered in trees that mostly stay green, lending the nickname, "Emerald City"
  • climate is mild but cloudy a lot of the year, severe weather and snow are both rare
  • bustling seaport, gateway to Alaska and the Yukon
  • outstanding public library system
  • hosts the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Seawolves (MLR), Seattle Kraken (NHL), Seattle Storm (WNBA), and the Seattle Reign FC (NWSL)
  • over 100 wineries a few miles away, mostly in Woodinville
  • home to Cornish College of the Arts, Antioch University, Bastyr University, Seattle City University, University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University, and Seattle University
  • headquarters of Amazon and Microsoft, still plenty of jobs for programmers
  • motorcycles get preferred parking many places downtown, along with preferred boarding on ferries
  • Washington has no state income tax, and Seattle has some of the highest minimum wages in the country, with tips in addition on top. They find funding via their higher sales tax of 10.25%, but you don't pay it on groceries or prescription drugs. Some products like liquor are also subject to higher taxes.

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Seattle's:

  • Seattle Aquarium: On the downtown waterfront since 1977. The otters are extra frisky.
  • Seattle Symphony Orchestra: Founded in 1903, they provide a lot of enthusiastic educational resources encouraging music appreciation along with concerts and tickets.
  • National Nordic Museum: Celebrating the Nordic history and heritage of many local residents. There's a Northwest Trolls program, and you and your roommates can get in free the first Thursday of every month.
  • Columbia Center: Tallest building in the PNW. You can view the city from their observation deck. It's not 360-degree-wraparound and it doesn't revolve like the Space Needle? But you can still see far on a clear day, and it's free.
  • Fremont Fair: Live music and locals getting drunk on microbrews. Then a nude bike ride!
  • Pike Place Market: Along with lots of fresh flowers and produce stands, home of the country's most famous fish market and the original Starbucks Coffee.
  • Beth's Cafe: Seattle's no frills breakfast-all-day diner since 1954. There's a 12-egg omelette.
  • Twice Sold Tales: Used bookstore and cat sanctuary.

Here's the city of Seattle's official .gov for newcomers, covering stuff new roommates might need like utilities, pets, community resources, and driver licensing.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.