The best places to live in Washington embody the best of everything that makes calling Washington home. ,
Think Washington State staples like being the home of Starbucks, Grunge music, soaring mountains, and enough rain to make California extremely jealous.
But what makes the best places to live in Washington great are the down-to-earth people and creative, friendly communities. Some cities in the Evergreen State deserve special attention for standing out as truly extraordinary. This is why we created a list of the top ten best places to live in Washington for 2023.
We are not surprised that Washington has a massive demand for people moving to it as it ranks in the top 20 states to live in America. So Mercer Island has many people knocking down the door to get in.
After analyzing 121 of the state’s most populous cities, we came up with this list of the top ten best places to live in Washington in 2023 based on crime, quality of life, and things to do.
What’s the best place to live in Washington State?Mercer Island ranks as the best place to live in Washington for 2023 according to the most recent FBI and Census data,
Any place mentioned in the top ten would be a great place to call home, although some places are definitely on the pricer side of Seattle. But that’s what you get for your money: a safe, excellent place to live.
Read on for a detailed take on the top ten best places and a thorough explanation of how we figured out where to live in Washington.
For more reading, check out:
The 10 Best Places To Live In Washington For 2023
|Rank Last Year||1||–|
|Median Home Value||$1,683,600||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0177||0.0303|
Big congratulations to Mercer Island for holding onto the title of best place to live in Washington for the second year running. Located smack dab in the middle of Lake Washington between Seattle and Bellevue, Mercer Island has a lot going for it. Like the 2nd highest median household income in the state at $190,985/year. And the 23rd lowest rate of violent crime in Washington.
People in Mercer Island didn’t wind up so awesome accidentally. The local public school system scored a 9/10 on GreatSchools, so you know the next generation is well-situated to pick up the mantle of excellence Mercer Island has established. And with over 40% of adults having a master’s degree or higher, this early insistence on the importance of education definitely has an impact later in life. One thing to note about Mercer Island though is that the cost of living here is nearly three times as high as the Washington average, so you might want some savings and/or a lucrative job lined up before starting your island life.
Speaking of island life, an extra thing that makes Mercer Island special is the access to awesome beaches. The one at Luther Burbank Park is the most popular, but the west-coast Groveland Beach is the spot to be if you’re hunting gorgeous sunsets.
|Rank Last Year||3||–|
|Median Home Value||$1,139,100||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0096||0.0303|
Sammamish is no stranger to the Homesnacks spotlight — we’ve already named it the best city for families in Washington for 2023, and a lot of those same factors come into play here. Like having a perfect 10/10 education score on our SnackAbility ratings. And being the place with the 3rd lowest crime rate in the state, with the 6th lowest incidence of violent crime. Or having awesome family-friendly activities around like camping and boating at Lake Sammamish.
Word to the wise though, Sammamish is also the richest place in Washington, so we hope you’re comfortable rubbing elbows with the state’s elite. Homes in Sammamish are the 3rd most expensive in the state at $1,139,100. That’s no biggie for most residents though since Sammamish also has the highest median household income in Washington at $215,047/year. Along with the normal perks of wealth, Sammamish also has the 8th highest rate of health insurance coverage in the state at 97.8%. And it’s not like some people are getting left in the dust here, because Sammamish has a poverty level of just 4.1%, the 10th lowest in the state.
The secret is out on Sammamish and the city’s population has grown by almost 50% since 2010, so be sure to move quickly if you want to get in on the good times.
|Stat||Lake Forest Park||Washington|
|Rank Last Year||2||–|
|Median Home Value||$874,200||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0205||0.0303|
We’re sticking around Lake Washington but heading to the north shore to visit the 3rd best place in Washington, Lake Forest Park. Here you’ll find the 5th lowest poverty level in the state at 3.2%. Lake Forest Park also has the 26th lowest crime rate in Washington, so safety is hardly an issue.
Just know that to keep up with the Joneses in Lake Forest Park, you’ll want your household to earn at least $152,010/year. Especially with home prices up around $874,200. If you do decide to settle down here, you can get great views from the city’s highest point at Horizon View Park. And if that’s not cutting it, the Space Needle is just 20 minutes down the road.
|Rank Last Year||6||–|
|Median Home Value||$852,100||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0238||0.0303|
Snoqualmie is a King County city of 13,762 located about 30 miles east of Seattle. If you’re moving here, expect a lot of random visitors, because Snoqualmie Falls draws more than 1.5 million tourists each year. Those visitors are pretty respectful though because even with all the randoms coming and going, Snoqualmie experienced only 1 violent crimes in 2023, the 2nd lowest in the state.
Aside from crime, the economy of Snoqualmie is cause for considerable envy for other Washingtonians. The absurdly teeny poverty level of 0.3% is the lowest in the state. Unemployment is at incredibly low levels and 98.6% of residents have health insurance, the 2nd highest rate in Washington. Lastly, Snoqualmie’s median household income of $186,353/year is the 3rd highest statewide.
|Rank Last Year||4||–|
|Median Home Value||$1,026,400||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0355||0.0303|
We’re sticking around King County for our 5th best city in Washington, Redmond. Known as the home to both Microsoft and Nintendo of America, Redmond has a rock-solid economic base to work with. Which helps explain why Redmond residents earn the 6th highest median household income in Washington, $155,287/year. You kind of need to be earning big bucks to get by here, though, because homes go for around $1,026,400.
Redmond is also the youngest city we’ll be covering, with a median age of 34. These young-uns don’t have to go far to get to work, because at 23 minutes, Redmond also has the shortest commute of cities on this list. And if you’d rather do your part for the environment, Redmond is a highly-bikeable community and has been described as “the bicycle capital of the Northwest.”
Feel free to ride your bike down the Sammamish River Trail and return to a concert at Maymoor Park after you’re done.
|Rank Last Year||8||–|
|Median Home Value||$603,000||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0122||0.0303|
Camas, Washington, lies on the north bank of the Columbia River, in the southwest portion of the state. Though it sits in Washington, it actually forms a suburb of Portland, Oregon, located on the other side of the river. A half hour drive takes you to the center of one of the most thriving cities in the Pacific Northwest.
However, Camas gives its 26,387 residents more than access to a major metropolitan area. It provides the number 6 best home town in Washington.
An excellent economy offers one of the main draws of the area. The median income sits at $133,829, while the unemployment rate comes in at 2.4%. Crime is well below the national average. One thing to look out for, though: living in Camas can get expensive. The cost of living is about 30% above the typical U.S. standard. Meanwhile, the median home value in town is $603,000.
Beyond the city fun you can find in nearby Portland, Camas has its share of natural wonders as well. Check out Prune Hill, a one-time volcanic vent that gives shape to the town. Or take a day trip to Mt. Hood, about 2 hours down the road.
|Rank Last Year||12||–|
|Median Home Value||$937,700||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0246||0.0303|
Next up is Kirkland, a city of 92,015 located across Lake Washington from Seattle. Parents love Kirkland because it has an average GreatSchools rating of 8/10, with an emphasis on top-rated high schools. Employees love Kirkland because they earn the 15th highest median household income in Washington at $135,608/year. And everyone loves the fact that Kirkland has about a third as much violent crime as your average Washington city. Not to mention that as the 6th most densely populated spot in the state, you’ll never lack for action in Kirkland.
All of these great factors help account for Kirkland’s monumental rise in recent years. It is by far the fastest growing city in Washington, adding a whopping 85% to its ranks since 2010. And with a low unemployment rate of 4.7%, there seems to be plenty of jobs for all newcomers.
Being right on Lake Washington means there Kirkland has some of the most picturesque parks in the state, but we recommend Juanita Bay Park as the top choice.
|Rank Last Year||9||–|
|Median Home Value||$871,000||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0199||0.0303|
Normandy Park, ranked as the 8th best place to live in Washington for 2023, offers a high quality of life and a range of attractions for residents. Located in King County, Normandy Park is known for its low cost of living and home prices.
Despite its small population of 6,697, Normandy Park boasts a variety of activities and amenities. Residents can enjoy the beautiful beaches and waterfront parks, perfect for picnicking, swimming, or enjoying the scenic views. Additionally, the city’s proximity to Seattle and Tacoma provides easy access to city perks.
|Rank Last Year||14||–|
|Median Home Value||$803,000||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0131||0.0303|
Kenmore, located in Washington, combines suburban comfort with access to nature. Its 23,611 residents enjoy a high median income and educational attainment, with 58% of adults holding degrees. The housing market is competitive, reflected in the $803,000 home prices, and the job market is strong, with an unemployment rate lower than the national average.
Kenmore has the Burke-Gilman Trail, waterside parks, and marinas for recreation and is close to Seattle. Kenmore also benefits from being home to Bastyr University and Kenmore Air Harbor.
|Rank Last Year||19||–|
|Median Home Value||$891,500||$568,346|
|Crime Per Capita||0.0434||0.0303|
Issaquah, located in King County within the Seattle metropolitan area, is the 10 best place to live in Washington. Originating as a mining town, it has evolved into a bustling suburb with a population of 39,400. Its economic strength is evident with a 143,006 median income, bolstered by proximity to top employers such as Costco’s headquarters.
The city prides itself on having an 69 percent of adults with higher education degrees. The ease of travel offered by Interstate 90 and various public transit systems confirms Issaquah’s reputation for livability in Washington.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Washington
Best Places To Live In Washington Size Requirement
Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Washington, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Olympia, with a population of 55,151, against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This filter left 121 cities, 194 towns, and 169 small towns.
We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Washington have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’
Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Washington
Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.
We ranked each place in Washington across a number of criteria from one to 121, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Washington.”
The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher is better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Washington. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mercer Island at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Summary: The Best Places In Washington
If you’re looking at areas in Washington with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Mercer Island made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Washington for 2023.
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Washington according to the data:
- Sunnyside (Pop. 16,329)
- Shelton (Pop. 10,484)
- Union Gap (Pop. 6,512)
For more Washington reading, check out:
- Cheapest Places To Live In Washington
- Most Dangerous Cities In Washington
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Washington
- Best Places To Retire In Washington
- Richest Cities In Washington
- Safest Places In Washington
- Worst Places To Live In Washington
Best Places To Live In Washington Table
|Rank||City||Population||Unemployment Rate||Home Value||Median Income||Rent||Crime Per Capita|
|3||Lake Forest Park||13,462||2.9%||$874,200||$152,010||$1,992||0.0205|