Seattle vs San Diego

Last weekend Kelli came down from Seattle. We went out for dinner and I got to hear great things about The Emerald City. I have to visit this place. If it weren’t for the rain, I’d have my bags packed already.

The next day I decided to compare Seattle with San Diego on things not having to do with weather. When it comes to weather only Hawaii can beat San Diego.

Population (12+ Metro as determined by RadioAndRecords)
San Diego: 2,497,000
Seattle: 3,257,200

Cost of Living (per $1000 as determined by
San Diego: $1000
Seattle: $678 (32.2% cheaper)

Job Count (search results for “ASP.NET C#” on Metro Search)
San Diego: 58
Seattle: 194

Border Town
San Diego: Tijuana, Mexico
Seattle: Vancouver, Canada

Seattle is cheaper with more job opportunities than San Diego (for me). If weather can be ignored then Seattle looks like a winner on paper. The big question is can weather really be ignored? I need to find out.

UPDATE: I just remembered that Kelli said there is no state income tax in Washington. That is correct. According to Wikipedia, the California state income tax is 9.3% for income over $39,000. That’s a huge difference.

Legacy Comments


A true Southern California girl at heart, I never (ever) thought I would give Seattle a second thought. But let me tell you that the weather is definitely worth overlooking (at least to some of us).

The “rain” up here is hardly rain, especially if you’re raised in the Midwest and have spent any amount of time on the East Coast. Even at that the rain would still be a small price to pay for such an incredible city.

I could go on and on, but you’ll just have to come visit. You’re both welcome anytime, I had a great evening out with you guys.


I did confirm from that Columbus OHIO has more inches of rain per year than Seattle.


Yea, I think that we traditionally have less rain than New York City and Miami Florida also. The cloud-cover can get old during the winter, but sunlight from 4:30am – 10:00pm in the summer more than compensates.


When the weather is clear and you can see the giant volcano on the horizon, it’s one of the coolest places in the world.


I’ve probably spent about ten weeks in Seattle if you total all of my time spent there. I can only recall it raining three times in those ten weeks. Maybe it was a fluke thing, but I couldn’t figure out why Seattle gets its wet rep.

With the mountains, the ocean and the hip, cosmopolitan city, you can’t go wrong. I *heart* Seattle!!!


I *heart* Seattle too. Though it does have it’s issues. Unfortunately collecting no income tax means that citizens have to vote on many funding issues and what seem to be relatively simple government services tend to become a huge election-day battle.

The one real thing that Seattle lacks is comprehensive mass transit. I could go on for hours about the topic (preferably over a lot of wine). The bus system does a surprisingly good job of meeting most needs, but a kick ass subway would absolutely take Seattle over the top.


I’ve not lived in Seattle, but my grandfather was commander of the Naval Air Station and lived on Whidbey Island from retirement til he passed… and from visiting I can tell you yes, it rains. But I think the big “ooooo there’s lots of weather” hoo ha is a ruse to keep us away. Yes, it rains. probably most days, but it also clears up most days… so if you carry an umbrella or some rain gear, no problem. Plus it makes everything so green and smell so fresh… and the flowers they bloom….

I’m fast coming to the conclusion myself that I don’t have to live in California….(i’m obviously a little slow)


Also, don’t forget that the SuperSonics are about to get a lot better (going to get either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden) … even if you don’t care for sports, a great sports team only helps …


Add yours

  1. Well, I grew up in Seattle and moved to San Diego when I was 26. I lived in San Diego for 12+ years. I’m now 40 and have been back in Seattle for a little under 2 years. My wife, son and I are moving back to SD for several reasons. I love both Seattle and San Diego so it’s bitter sweet for me. There are a few things that haven’t been pointed out. I am a renter (not a homeowner in Seattle) and I feel that is cheaper in SD for a few reasons:

    Utilities. You hardly need to use any utilities in SD. It’s always 70ish. Utilities are very high in Seattle and you need to use them at best, 9 months out of the year.

    More to do in SD. When it is sunny, everyone flocks to the same destinations to have fun so the “fun” spots are too over-crowded.

    Traffic is horrible in Seattle. You would think that all of the traffic citations that they give out in this city would go to help building the roads for the people who live here. SD is built for tourism so there are many boulevards, on/off ramps around the county so you can always get where you need to go pretty quickly.

    Restaurant / night life in general is more expensive in Seattle. Everything costs money. Have you tried to go up the space needle? It’s $25 a person. For me and my family (Seattle residents) it would cost us $75+ just to ride the elevator up! I would think they should have a discount for residents, as Southern California residents get for their theme parks and tourist attractions.

    Health. I was way more active in SD. I learned to surf, I walked much more when you add it all up (beach, theme parks, general outside activities). It’s a lifestyle, and I didn’t feel like I had to work on my health as much when in SoCal.

    I work in Tech. The job market in SD is very diverse. The job market here in Seattle area is dominated by MS, Amazon, and now Google is moving in. Trust me, if you work in tech, you really don’t want to work for these companies. You wont be happy.

    In general, I hate to be so negative on Seattle but it just doesn’t work for me and my family. There are so many beautiful places to be in Seattle and it truly is amazing place; the spirit of Seattle will be in my heart forever. I look forward to my NW visits!

  2. @John – Thanks for the comment. I wrote this post 4+ years ago, before I moved to Seattle. I am still torn between the two cities. In a perfect world, I’d live in San Diego from November to May and the rest of the year in Seattle.

  3. Hi MAS, that’s funny. I would do the opposite. I would live in SD for the summer and in Seattle for the Winter. I actually love the rain in Seattle; tribal, relaxing. When it is sunny in Seattle, is where I really miss SD. It is so pretty here in Seattle during summer though so I would love to spend a month here during the summer. I dunno, I’m so torn between both places, its hard.

    One thing that I forgot to mention in my post – the people in Seattle are great. For the most part, they don’t play a role or part like they do in SD. They seem more real. Real friendships. SD friendships can seem a bit shallow. Overall, I wish I could live in SD and have the people from Seattle in SD. That would be the greatest. I love being able to stand in line at the market or anywhere and be able to converse with the person next to you. You don’t get that in most places in SD. It’s more of a stare up and competition on what you’re wearing or how good you look. I guess that could be a good thing in some ways …you wear a bit less, so you make sure that you are in better shape. You can pile the layers on in Seattle to hide any parts you feel are undesirable haha.

    Take care and good luck wherever you decide to stay…

  4. @John – Your observation about conversations while in line, matched mine.

    Yesterday while at a San Diego car wash I got a disturbed look when I accidentally made small talk with a few of our locals. After that SoCal faux pas, I stood back and watched 5 San Diego strangers spaced evenly apart not making eye contact with each other as they waited for their cars to be cleaned. That scene would not have happened in Seattle.

  5. MAS – Great blog! I am a fellow coffee lover and fitness enthusiast that has lived in San Diego for the past 11 years. I’m contemplating a move to Seattle next year for a job transfer opportunity. That’s how I came across this post. I appreciate and agree with the comments about both cities posted by you and John.

    I’ve visited Seattle several times (for short periods) and find that I love much about the city. I’ve spent the most time in Ballard; enjoying the great farmer’s market, Ballard Market, area restaurants and bars, and stops at Aster and over to Herkimer.

    Having been in Seattle for several years now (and documenting your survival of each winter) do you have more seasoned insight or advice to make the smoothest transition for someone contemplating the move that you made?

    Kind regards…

  6. @Daniel – My first winter was tough. I’m still not sure I’ve gotten used to winter. In 2009, I got the right idea and went to SE Asia for a month. Might do that again.

    I live in Ballard and agree with your assesment. Welcome!

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