Our Insider Tips for Moving to the Pacific Northwest
Moving to a new place can be thrilling — and unnerving. Leaving behind your favorite grocery store, brunch spots and friends? Getting to know a new place and all it has to offer? It can all be quite the project.
But when you’re making the move to the PNW, you can be sure to find something new and extraordinary to steal your heart. Moving from the Midwest? Check out our mountains. From the hustle and bustle of Manhattan? Try unwinding with a book and a cup of coffee at one of our local coffee shops. From the heat of the South? Enjoy the always-mild climate of your new home.
We’ve rounded up some of the best advice for those of you who are moving to the Pacific Northwest and looking to take advantage of all the goodness Washington and Oregon have to offer.
1. Get some good rain gear
Perhaps this goes without saying, but here in the PNW, you can’t get by without some quality rain gear. From October to May you’ll see plenty of the weather we’re famous (infamous?) for — but, like everyone else here, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. Just come prepared with a great everyday raincoat and some warmer, water-resistant layers for outdoor activities like hiking and biking (or even just walking!) during the winter months.
Bonus: If you’re a runner hoping to keep up your outdoor running routine year-round, there are plenty of awesome running routes that are partially covered for a (slightly) drier route in both Portland and Seattle.
2. Join a hiking/biking/running club, or a local yoga studio
Whether you’re a beginner or an enthusiast, activities like yoga are great ways to meet people and connect with your new community. Having a fitness buddy is one of the best ways to help keep you motivated during a workout, and a club full of like-minded people will be an even greater boost.
Here in the PNW, fitness buffs are incredibly friendly, and it shouldn’t be hard to find a club, pick-up team or studio that fits your fitness interests. With everything from rowing groups to snowshoe outings, you’re sure to find a community to join.
3. Familiarize yourself with the foodie community
Are you the kind of person who loves nothing more than a great meal? If so, you’re among friends here in the Northwest. Washington and Oregon both boast expansive foodie communities, with everything from homegrown treats at year-round farmers markets to healthy local delicacies at organic and sustainable eateries.
4. Prepare for bikers (and consider becoming one yourself)
People here love to bike. For many of us, it’s how we tackle our morning commute. If you’re moving from a less biker-friendly area, be prepared to slow down and yield to the many bikers sharing the streets.
After a couple months, you may find yourself itching to try out the whole biking thing for yourself. If you’re considering biking as a mode of transportation, make sure you play it safe with good reflective gear, a suitable helmet and a bright (waterproof!) windbreaker. Also, consider getting a waterproof backpack for your stuff (you’ll thank us later). Soon enough, you’ll be zipping around like a local. Our bike expert breaks down the different bike options.
5. Expect the unexpected
Maybe it’s due to our fickle weather patterns, but the Northwest has a quirky, unique culture all its own. We love listening to local bands in concert, dressing up for Halloween (or even just for random Thursday nights), skiing when it snows, and kayaking when it’s sunny. We don’t even mind scraping mud off our boots a long day of hiking. The reward is always a big meal. We might have a reputation for being introverted, but we love showing off our favorite spots and having adventure buddies. Please invite yourself along.
Sure, moving is hard. But moving to the Pacific Northwest is also a great opportunity to hit the outdoors, eat really well and meet a fun-loving group of people. Welcome home!
Check out the tips below from our ANW Facebook community for some more inspiration. Also, visit our Actively Northwest Neighborhood series and scope out what several PNW neighborhoods, like West Seattle’s Alki Beach, have to offer.