Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, enjoys a mild climate and beautiful natural setting of mountains and water, with Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains to the east, and Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the west.
Let's see....three national parks (Mt Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic), ocean beaches, the San Juan and Whidbey islands, the Cascade and Olympic mountains, both rain forest and high desert, half a dozen ski areas, hundreds of hiking trails, Mt St Helens volcano, the Columbia River gorge....it's almost too much. There's a lot to distract you from your research....
Seattle's quality of life is outstanding. Neighborhoods are safe and interesting, and although Seattle is not inexpensive, housing prices are generally lower than California and the Northeast. The city is filled with bookstores, cafés, and restaurants. Sports fans cheer on the area's pro football, baseball, WNBA, and soccer teams, as well as the Washington Huskies. Fans of the fine arts enjoy the Seattle Art Museum, Symphony, Opera, Ballet, and some of the best mainstream and fringe theater in North America, while those looking for live music will have dozens of options to choose from. The area boasts an extensive system of parks and bike trails, hosts major film and music festivals, and provides any number of entertaining diversions to accompany the area's natural wonders.
Seattle is a major Pacific Rim port, with a strong economy anchored by leading companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, REI, and Boeing. There is a large biotech sector, led by the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Despite its reputation for rain, Seattle gets fewer inches of rain than most cities in the eastern US....not that we're insecure about it or anything. Temperatures seldom go above the low 80s during summer or below freezing during winter.
Simply put, summers are gorgeous (the best in the United States, even). Winters are overcast, although not especially cold, and the snow stays up in the mountains where it belongs. Spring has cherry blossoms and tulips and Fall mixes beautiful sunny days with clouds and light rain.
Don't just take our word for it. Seattle consistently ranks high on lists of America's best cities, including these awards:
Outside magazine: #2 on list of best cities in the US (although we really should be #1)
Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine: #2 on list of best cities for the next decade
America's Most Literate Cities: second most literate city
Walk Score: top ten most walkable US cities