Relocating to Seattle

The Greater Seattle Metro Area is home to nearly 4 million people, with over 600,000 living in the city of Seattle. Home to Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, Expedia, and more, the region is a leading center for advanced technology in aerospace, computer software, bioinformatics, genomics, medical devices, and environmental engineering.

The region, known as The Emerald City, offers the Olympic and Cascades mountain ranges; lakes, rivers, and waterways to the Pacific Ocean; and the year-round greenery of pines and other coniferous forestry, inviting year-round outdoor activities.  

For those looking to relocate, here are some helpful tips and links to get you started.


Arriving in Seattle

Seattle Tacoma International Airport (colloquially called “Sea-Tac”) is the primary airport in the Puget Sound area. Both domestic and international flights are served here (airport code: SEA). Visit the Seatac Airport Website for more details.

Seatac is approximately 15 miles from downtown Seattle and 17 miles from the Seattle Graduate Campus. Various public transport systems serve Seatac Airport, as well as taxis and shared vans. Visit Seatac’s Ground Transportation website for more information.


Living in Seattle

For basic information about living in Seattle, please visit the City of Seattle’s Living in Seattle resource site, which includes extensive information about housing, transportation, attractions, utility bills, and more. Please also feel welcome to email Northeastern University – Seattle’s Assistant Director of Admissions Recruitment and Student Services Gina Takasugi at with specific questions about living in Seattle.


Housing in the Greater Seattle Area

Seattle is a diverse city with many distinct neighborhoods. While renting in the Seattle area, there are various living options for both single and shared living. Many students live in apartment buildings with en-suite studio or one-bedroom apartments. Often, single-family houses are rented out with individuals living in the different bedrooms while sharing the kitchen and living area. 

Those closest to the Seattle Campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood are as follows:  

  • South Lake Union
  • Capitol Hill
  • First Hill
  • Eastlake
  • Queen Anne
  • Fremont
  • Wallingford
  • Ballard

To learn about local accommodations, visit the Housing Resource webpage.

For further information on neighborhoods and their amenities, please visit Another commonly used website is communal

For useful tips while apartment hunting, please check Northeastern’s Apartment Hunting Checklist.

Banking in the USA

Please see below for a sample of national banks that have banking centers throughout Greater Seattle: 

Before signing up with a bank, please check requirements for non-U.S. citizens and associated fees to accounts. 

Driving in Washington State and State Identification Card
Driving in the United States is on the right side of the road. New drivers in the US are required to take both a written and on-road driving exam. In order to obtain a United States drivers license, please visit the Washington State Department of Licensing or call +1-360-902-3900.

If you do not require a driving license, but would like a Washington State Identification Card, please visit the website Get your Washington Identification Card. Applicants are required to show proof of identity, including your Passport, home drivers license, and a form of proof of residency in Washington.  Please carefully read the requirements for Proof of Identity.

Orca Card Information for public transport: 
Seattle has a fantastic public transportation system called ORCA. If you would like to utilize this network you will need to purchase a Zone One month pass, which costs about $90 (find product list HERE) and can be purchased HERE. Remember, this card is for one month and is not prorated, so you will want to purchase a new card on the first of the month to maximize your value. The Orca card cover transportation on Seattle’s buses, trains, and ferries. 


Mobile Phones
Please see below for a sample of national mobile phones companies:

Emergency Contact
In an emergency, always dial 9-1-1. This is free from any payphone. It is always advised to carry insurance information and emergency contact details with you, including the phone numbers for your nearest consulate, doctor, health insurance provider, bank, and a local emergency contact.

Enjoying Seattle
There are endless ways to experience the city of Seattle through local museums, outdoor activities, and cultural events. As an introduction on insights to cultural customs of the United States, such as personal space and tipping at restaurants, please visit Northeastern’s U.S. Culture & Customs webpage.

Cultural Groups and Resources
As a city that embraces diversity, there are numerous cultural groups and societies in the Seattle Area. These groups include, but are not limited to, the following cultural and ethnic groups:

Furthermore, there are various places of worship in and around Seattle, including, but not limited to, places for those who are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, or Mormon.

While abroad, it is not uncommon to crave food from home. There are a host of international restaurants in Seattle. And when wanting to cook at home, the following grocers might have what you are looking for:

  • Kosher Delight: 1509 1st Ave, Seattle; ph: +1-206-682-8140
  • Mexican Grocery: Pike Place Market; +1-206-441-1147
  • Neelem’s Indian Grocery: 8560 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle; ph: +1-206-781-9347
  • Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods: 2248 NW Market St, Seattle; ph: +1-206783-8288
  • R&M Indian Grocery: 5501 University Way NE, Seattle; ph: +1-206-526-1793
  • Taj Mahal Emporium: 1501 Pike Place Market, Seattle; ph: +1-206-625-0519
  • Ukraine International Foods: 10410 Greenwood Ave N., Seattle; ph: +1-206-784-8309
  • Uwajimaya Asian Grocer and Gifts:600 5th Ave S, Seattle; ph: +1-206-624-6248

Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library brings people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. Here are some of the library services available to members:

  • Take DVDs home or download music
  • Take books home
  • Use print services (check with your local branch)
  • Listen to award-winning authors talk about their books
  • Enjoy a story time with your toddler
  • Get help with literacy or English as a Second Language.
  • Ask a Librarian by phone, email or online chat 24/7

Get started by getting your library card and visiting your neighborhood branch.

Parks, Museums, and Attractions
As in any metropolitan city, there are numerous local attractions, activities, museums, and outdoor spaces to enjoy in Seattle. Two of the most famous icons in Seattle are the Seattle Space Needle, which houses a revolving restaurant at the top for diners to enjoy a full view of Seattle over a meal, and the Pike Place Market, the nation’s oldest continuously operating public market and also home to the first-ever Starbucks.

For a comprehensive list of fun and educational activities to enjoy in Seattle, please visits’s Points of Interest.

Fun tip: Many local museums participate in the “First Thursday – Free Museum Day” whereby museum entrance is free on the first Thursday of each month. For a list of participating museums, please visit FreeMuseumDay.Org.

Seattle Sports Teams
Seattle is home to two major sports stadiums and many sports teams from intramural to professional. For more information or to buy tickets to a professional sporting event, visit the following team websites:

Additional Questions?

Please contact Northeastern University – Seattle’s Assistant Director of Admissions Recruitment and Student Services Gina Takasugi at