With its natural beauty and laid-back culture, there are many excellent reasons to move to the Seattle area. But the city has seen rapid population growth in recent years, along with an increased cost of living — causing a drawback for some. Fortunately, there are plenty of cities near Seattle that offer fantastic alternatives for every lifestyle.
Whether you’re looking for a safe suburb to raise a family in, a home base for outdoor excursions or a hip neighborhood with a thriving nightlife, there’s a city that offers what you’re looking for, all without traveling more than 30 minutes or so outside downtown Seattle. Consider adding the following places to your list.
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 11.1 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,069 (down 3.1 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $2,521 (up 5.8 percent since last year)
Located on the Northeastern shore of Lake Washington, Kirkland offers easy proximity to downtown Seattle combined with a wooded, suburban feel. Many families find Kirkland appealing as an alternative to Seattle. They can find more space, excellent schools and the opportunity to live close to an urban center.
The city of Kirkland is on the waterfront. Its popular public parks on the lake offer opportunities for boating, swimming and beach volleyball. It also showcases a picturesque collection of restaurants and shops, perfect for an evening out.
Commuters to Seattle will enjoy a short drive into downtown, or you can choose the excellent public transit connections.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 15.3 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,141 (down 7.3 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $2,712 (down 5.8 percent since last year)
Redmond is perhaps best known as the home of Microsoft. A resulting concentration of tech talent has attracted other tech companies as well as their employees, creating a diverse community of young professionals and families.
Redmond is sprawling and spacious, with wide sidewalks and plenty of trees. Many streets have bike lanes and paved bike paths connect to other nearby cities.
The city is in a beautiful natural setting and is home to Marymoor Park, which hosts outdoor concerts and features dozens of sports fields and a climbing wall.
Redmond also has excellent schools and a pleasant, walkable downtown core with many shops and restaurants.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 14.9 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,425 (down 1.4 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,767 (down 1.8 percent since last year)
Des Moines is a quiet, affordable waterfront city located midway between Seattle and Tacoma along the Interstate 5 corridor. The municipality stretches along the water, with many options for stunning views of Puget Sound.
The small downtown includes some great restaurants and waterfront walks, with plenty of nearby trails and parks that offer hiking, biking and even camping.
Des Moines is on a rapid transit line that makes it easy to access nearby SeaTac and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or commute south to Federal Way or Tacoma.
The city will appeal to families and young professionals seeking an affordable option without sacrificing livability.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 17.2 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,013 (down 13.0 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $2,389 (down 14.7 percent since last year)
The city of Issaquah spreads from the Sammamish Highlands down across the valley and into the hills known as the Issaquah Alps. Homes on these hills have beautiful views of the valley, while those in the lowlands are close to the quaint downtown core, which offers restaurants, cafes and many shopping options.
A dispersed, suburban city with an excellent school system, Issaquah has long been a popular choice for families. Recent development has also added housing choices for young, single professionals seeking an option outside the city.
There are plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, including hiking and mountain biking trails at the popular Tiger Mountain. Close enough to the wilderness for the occasional cougar sighting, Issaquah is also near enough to Seattle for an easy commute along Interstate 90.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 21 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,665 (up 1.0 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,945 (down 2.5 percent since last year)
The Sammamish Plateau is known for world-class golf courses, but that’s not all it has to offer. This city to the east of Seattle frequently appears on best-of lists for livability, yet it is still more affordable than many similar cities nearby.
Some areas of Sammamish have an almost rural feel, while others are much denser. It’s possible to find a home that feels tucked in among the woods or an urban apartment, all in the same city.
In addition to golf, outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the bike path around nearby Lake Sammamish and the proximity to wooded trails in the mountains.
Families will appreciate the above-average schools and quiet, safe streets.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 28.5 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: N/A
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,699
If you’ve chosen to live in the Pacific Northwest for the outdoor adventure opportunities, Snoqualmie has a lot to offer. Just under 30 miles east of Seattle along I-90, Snoqualmie is perhaps best known for the iconic Snoqualmie Falls, which are not only a scenic tourist attraction but also power generators that provide electricity to the town.
Natural beauty surrounds Snoqualmie, with plenty of opportunities to get out and explore the surrounding Cascade foothills in all seasons.
While it has become increasingly popular as a bedroom community for Seattle, Snoqualmie retains its own identity and small-town feel. It has a vibrant arts community, restaurants and shopping options.
In 2019, it was rated the safest city in Washington.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 28.6 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,570 (down 6.1 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,758 (up 3.6 percent since last year)
For those looking for an urban feel at an affordable price, Everett offers a great alternative to Seattle.
With an economy historically based on manufacturing for companies such as Boeing, Everett retains a blue-collar sensibility that does not prevent it from offering a vibrant art and culture scene, as well as many interesting restaurants and bars.
Sports fans can cheer on the Everett Aquasox, the local minor league baseball team, and for hockey enthusiasts, there is the Everett Silvertips. The Angel of the Winds Arena is one of the major sports and concert venues in the region, offering plenty of entertainment options.
With Puget Sound to the west and the Snohomish River to the East, Everett, like many nearby cities, has a deep, natural beauty that adds to the appeal.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 29.3 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: N/A
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,014 (up 12.9 percent since last year)
North Bend is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Its location amid the Cascade mountains’ foothills puts you close to hiking trails, mountain biking and winter skiing opportunities.
Popular local hikes, such as Mount Si and Rattlesnake Ridge, are just minutes away. Even for those who are less inclined to search for adventure, picturesque peaks provide a gorgeous backdrop for everyday life.
Famous as the filming location of the TV show Twin Peaks, North Bend has a genuine small-town feel, with a quaint downtown featuring cafes, restaurants, boutiques and breweries.
North Bend has grown rapidly in recent years, with many of its 7,423 residents choosing it for its rural location. Despite the remote vibe, it is just over 30 minutes from Seattle along I-90, making it a popular choice for commuters.
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- Distance from downtown Seattle: 33.9 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,734 (up 11.2 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,978 (up 13.1 percent since last year)
Tacoma is a city with a lot to offer at an affordable price.
The historic downtown faces Puget Sound, with gorgeous waterfront views. You’ll find great restaurants and shopping options. The downtown area is compact and walkable, but you can also get around easily by bus and rapid transit.
In the downtown core, you’ll encounter young professionals and students from the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
Up the hill, you’ll find residential neighborhoods, each with its own unique feel. Families enjoy good schools and quiet neighborhood streets.
Anyone who has driven through the city will have seen the Tacoma Dome, an event space that hosts events from car shows to concerts. Those in search of culture will also enjoy the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass.
On the waterfront, Point Defiance Park is a popular destination for hiking, boating or picnicking with a view.
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Photo source: City of Lake Stevens, WA / Facebook
- Distance from downtown Seattle: 36.6 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,500 (up 22.5 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: N/A
Located on the lake for which it’s named, Lake Stevens is a growing community that is particularly popular among families with children.
With more affordable prices than many surrounding cities due to its slightly longer drive time to Seattle, Lake Stevens has a small-town feel with an emphasis on community. The city is a good option for those looking for a calm, quiet location well outside of Seattle.
Lake Stevens is a popular boating destination in the summer, and the town and its surroundings are full of natural beauty.
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Make one of these cities near Seattle your next home
Find a home that’s right for you in one of these Pacific Northwest cities. Your next apartment near Seattle awaits.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory pulled in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.