We are considering a job move from SoCal to the Seattle area... w/ kids! Schools are key, but so is EZ access to activities - where should we look?

Asked by california.mommy, Los Angeles, CA Mon Nov 12, 2012

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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
California Mommy,
You have so many good answers so far. I've attached a link to a site where you can compare school districts to each other and even individual schools to get a sense of how they are doing. I'm a native Washingtonian so I'm biased, but I suspect you'll love the area once you arrive.
Yes the weather will take some getting used to and some of my friends from California still complain, but we have lots of opportunities for activities, employment and enjoyment.
I've lived all over the area, but predominately on the eastside of Seattle; Bellevue, Issaquah Sammamish Redmond and Kirkland are all great places with great schools and a range of homes from affordable to downright luxurious. Any of these locations can get you to downtown Seattle in less than one hour in traffic and as little as 20 to 30 minutes without.
If you provide more information about the type of activities you enjoy or other preferences for your next home here, we can easily make more specific suggestions.
1 vote
Ray Akers, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
You have a good selection of school districts in close proximity to Seattle, including the Seattle school district. There are good schools in Seattle, with north Seattle neighborhoods garnering the most accolades. I like Mercer Island, just a mile across Lake Washington from Seattle. Mercer Island is quiet, with a suburban feel, but quicker to downtown Seattle than some Seattle neighborhoods. There's also Issaquah, located along the I-90 corridor, which has an excellent reputation for schools. Bellevue has good schools as well. It depends on what you can afford, and if you prefer an urban environment, or a suburban community. The choice is yours. Good luck.
1 vote
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
This is difficult to answer without a price range, and the type of activities you're interested in.
1 vote
Gideon Sylvan, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Queen Anne may be your best bet. It's very family friendly with the Seattle Center, the Space Needle, and a lot of space to run around. You can hop on the monorail or get on your bikes and be downtown in a few minutes, or take a stroll past hip restaurants and be at Lake Union even faster. If you have more specific questions or you want to tour any places while you're in town feel free to call or text my cell anytime 206.351.3250 : )
1 vote
curt, Home Seller, Seattle, WA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
I'm selling my house in KENMORE/Kirkland area right now. LOVE this house. It is already remodeled (4 bed/2.75 bath) and 1/3 acre lot. I'm at $435,000 currently. Right next to Bastyr/St Edwards Park too. North side of the lake and best School Disctict you can find. :)

WorldResults@gmail.com is my email. Had the house 12 years, but moving closer to work.
0 votes
Dan Edwards, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Sat Nov 17, 2012
What are some of the activities you and your family are already involved in? Perhaps I can direct you to a community that would be a good fit.
0 votes
Jirius Isaac, Agent, Kenmore, WA
Tue Nov 13, 2012
You have so many great answers already it is hard to add to them. Once you know where the job is, that will help you in deciding where to live. Activities are easy & plentiful here so I think you will be happy with your options. Schools are critical and you want to be north & east of Lake Washington. From Kenmore at the north end of the lake all the way around the east side of the lake & I would add Issaquah as well to that list. Bothell & Kenmore would have the least expensive homes & Mercer Island, Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond would be the most expensive. Two years ago, Kenmore was named by Family Circle magazine as one of the 10 best places to raise a family in the United States. I can send you more info if you want me to. I am also a lender in case you want to discuss loan options. Contact me directly if you need anything.

Good luck to you in any case,
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate Team
Champions Real Estate Services
TriStar Finance #MLO-107799
Office: 425-483-6849 Cell: 206-841-9976
Winner of Seattle Magazines 5 Star
Real Estate Agent Best in Client Satisfaction Award
Mortgage Loan Originator Best in Client Satisfaction
0 votes
Karen Mcknig…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Hi California Mommy,

You have a variety of answers,. so I will just add a couple of my own tools.

I have a beautiful book on the Seattle area that I can snail mail to you. It includes maps, photos and descriptions of towns, neighborhoods and sites to see.

If you go to http://www.karenmcknight.com and click on the button on the left called About the Area, you will find Area Links to Towns and Neighborhoods, Schools (including all the local school districts plus the Washington state ratings of schools, Local news and more.

If you go to http://www.buyandsellseattlerealestate.com , you will find do it yourself searches. Once you have created a search, you can research demographics and other insightful information about each area you search.

Much of where you locate depends on your commute times and price range, so once I know that, I can give you some great guidance because I have sold Seattle area real estate for over 20 amazing years.

Good luck and let me know how I can help.

Warm regards,
Web Reference:  http://www.karenmcknight.com
0 votes
Both sites are helpful - thank you! I appreciate the book offer - we are in the preliminary stages, but if we decide to pull the trigger I may take you up on it.
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
Phil Leng, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Here's a tip: http://goo.gl/40EUa That will give you an "insiders" view of Seattle life, from the heart to the fingertips. Such an open-ended question could develop hundreds of pages of response. Save yourself some time (and phone calls!) and check out: wa.gov

Love to talk with you about your needs but don't want to give you inaccurate or inappropriate information - when you define your geographical needs we can help you refine your housing needs. No worries, we will be here when you need us.

Regards and respect,
James L
Phil Leng, Managing Broker, Team Leader
Phil Leng Team/Keller Williams Real Estate Eastside
Real Estate Market Center
0 votes
Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Issaquah, Bellevue, Mercer Island in that order...but it does depend on the ages of the children somewhat. I am including Mommy and Daddy activities in that lineup. :) A lot depends on price range as well as whether or not you are considering private vs public schools.
0 votes
Krisanne Hei…, Agent, Lynnwood, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Depending on price range, Redmond, Bellevue, Woodinville, Mercer Island, or Bothell if you like more suburban environments. If you like more city environments Shoreline, Wallingford (Seattle), Ballard (Seattle), Maple Leaf (Seattle), Ravenna (Seattle).
0 votes
Dan Edwards, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Ok here is my plug for the Eastside.(this would be east of Lake Washington) Some of the top school districts in the state are located on the Eastside. In addition to great schools the Eastside offers easy access to all the City of Seattle, and your close to the outdoor activities, swimming, boating, wake boarding, wake surfing, skiing, hiking, camping and more. All the things that make living in the northwest great.

Start with Bellevue http://www.eastsiderealestateblogger.com/bellevue-wa
then check out the City of Sammamish http://www.eastsiderealestateblogger.com/sammamish-wa

Sammamish has 2 fantastic school districts Lake Washington and Issaquah.
0 votes
Jamie Flaxman, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
I agree with all the previous answers. The Seattle area offers you many fabulous choices, but without more info it's hard to direct you. Age of kids? Employment? Specific interests?

I was a southern CA transplant 20 years ago so I know Seattle area extremely well.

Jamie Flaxman
Coldwell Banker Bain
0 votes
Nicole Demer…, Agent, Mercer Island, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
I agree that most people tend to think Mercer Island is the best for schools. But Bellevue, Queen Anne, Greenlake, Magnolia, or Ballard are still great options with access to a lot of kid activities.

Meetup.com is a great resource, for play groups when you first move here, especially if you are stuck in corporate housing for the first few months.

I am more than happy to share with you info on some of the local mom's groups.

Good Luck,

Web Reference:  http://www.greatschools.org
0 votes
marcia h cha…, Other Pro, kirkland, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
With easy access to seattle over the I-90 bridge or the eastside, i might suggest Mercer Island...if affordable, Mercer Island has the best public school system...their education is excellent and the opportunities for the kids is huge!...additionally, another suggestion, would be to rent for a year or so which would give you the opportunity to get to know the Seattle area...

marcia chase
chase property management
0 votes
Robert Luecke, , Laguna Beach, CA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Our company does business in So Cal as well as Seattle and the Eastside. Just let me know what areas you like in So Cal and I can give you some recommendations of comparables in the Seattle area.
0 votes
Dave Skow, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
What do you mean by "activities"?
0 votes
Wendy Hughes…, , Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 12, 2012
Where you setlle in the Puget Sound area should be largely based on your commute needs. What will you be doing for employment here? Traffic here may not be as bad as L.A, but I believe Seattle area traffic is #3 horrible in the country so really needs to be taken into consideration unless it is shift work and not based on the 8a-5p work cycle.

If you can tell me where your employment center will be, I might make some suggestions based on that. If your household is a telecommuntig household and can live anywhere, then you truly can choose your location strictly based on schools. Try SchoolDigger to research schools and their ratings. http://www.schooldigger.com/go/WA/schoolrank.aspx
0 votes
Let me know if you want some help getting relocated. I am getting pretty good at it!
Flag Sat Nov 17, 2012
thank you for all of your input, wendy!
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
OK last one in Snohomish proper, walking distance to historic district: http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/apa/3400753043.html If you see a Craigslist advertised property follow the contact instructions and you don't need me. If you see one on the first list that I gave you a link to (which has my picture at the top of it), those are listed in our Multiple Listing Service and I have key access. I will be honest, the two out of state rentals I did both rented sight unseen. Rental rates are very high and many properties rent withint 24 hours of being advertised. If you see something you love you should jump on it. OK that is it frmo me for now unless you have a question.
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
Here is something a little too far to commute, but it is classic small town - it is east a long ways from where I am from. My sister lives in Startup and they had snow flurries last weekend, so it may not be for you. House sounds delish tho. http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/apa/3404926855.html
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
Based on this further information I am going to recommend Snohomish. Snohomish has an old downtown and the schools are pretty good and there are a lot of activities. Getting to the north parts of Seattle are not so bad. I grew up in the woods on 5 acres in unincorporated Snohomish county about equal distance from Woodinville, Monroe, and downtown Snohomish (10 miles). My parents still live there and many of my school friends still live there or nearby. Snohomish history: http://www.snohomishvic.com/biography.html I have selected some rentals (see link), NONE of them are where I was hoping for. But I think they would be okay anyway based on what I know of the area. You could also try Craigslist. Contact me if you want to talk more. Recent rental relos I have done are from AZ to Everett and MN to Kent/Covington. http://www.matrix.nwmls.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=1876693XK4WK&p=DE-21373822-433
Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
The company is based in North Seattle & from the blogs, it sounds like we want to avoid crossing floating bridges during typical commute hours. As far as budget, it depends on a number of things - primarily, it will depend on a lifestyle choice. I want to choose an area that serves our needs/wants - GREAT public schools, town center & a place with character, easy access to quality extracurricular activities for the kids (currently baseball/dance/gymnastics), walkability (something we don't have in our current home), clean/safe - and then house size/type will be figured out. My goal would be to rent first - but rent where we plan to buy, so my kids don't have to make more than one school transition.

From what I've seen, I like certain parts of Seattle but am a little reticent because I haven't seen them in person (Magnolia, Ballard, Ravenna). Additionally Edmonds & Kirkland have hit the radar.

Flag Mon Nov 12, 2012
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