with kids

The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Seattle with Kids

July 27, 2021

Seattle is one of the best places to live in the United States. With its great job market, top-tier schools, and low crime rate, it’s unsurprising that many families relocate to the Emerald City. The diversity of Seattle neighborhoods offer myriad cultural attractions and recreation hubs, so there are plenty of offerings for activities for the Seattle family.

However, moving to another city takes research and planning. From walkability and school districts to local attractions to check out once settled in, here’s a primer on Seattle neighborhoods for the prospective homeowner.

Know Which Seattle Neighborhoods Fit Your Lifestyle

Seattle neighborhoods are varied—and so are families! Be sure to pick the neighborhood that matches yours best. You’ll find some areas peaceful and quiet, while others offer a more youthful, upbeat energy. Here are some of the most popular family-friendly areas:

  • Queen Anne. This neighborhood is chock-full of shops, sights, and restaurants. Named for the Victorian-style houses and townhomes, it’s quiet and residential (and has breathtaking views of the mountains and Puget Sound) but still only minutes away from city center. Queen Anne has some of the best public school districts in the state.
  • Wallingford. This neighborhood was named one of the safest in Seattle. Like Queen Anne, Wallingford is stacked with diverse retail and dining options. However, it’s nearer to large green spaces like Woodland Park, making it a good pick for outdoorsy families.
  • Sammamish. This neighborhood is perhaps one of the most expensive in Seattle. Spaced at a bit of a distance from the city center, Sammamish offers peace and quiet. This neighborhood is great for families who enjoy their privacy and can budget for it.
  • Ballard. Just north of downtown, Ballard is unique in its combination of low-and high-density living spaces. The area has several parks and is near Puget Sound. However, it is also a short cab away from downtown, so you have max accessibility.

Determine The Right School For Your Kids

Seattle takes education seriously. The city was named the United States’ most literate city in 2017, with 63% of its population having a college degree. Seattle school rankings also show that the city has many top-notch public and private schools to choose from.

Here are some top public primary, middle, and high schools scattered throughout Seattle neighborhoods. Keep in mind, however, that there are many other schools in Seattle that offer quality education.

Primary Schools

  • Northwood Elementary. Part of the Mercer Island School District, Northwood is rated the 5th best public elementary school in the state as of 2021.
  • Bennett Elementary School. Rated the 2nd best elementary school in Washington State, Bennett is part of the Bellevue School District. reports that more than four in five students score high math and reading proficiencies.

Middle Schools

  • Woodward Middle School. This Bainbridge Island school is known for its high-caliber teaching staff, and offers a plethora of programs for gifted students.
  • Washington Middle School. A highly-rated public school known for prioritizing collaboration within its student community. Much like the other schools mentioned here, Washington Middle prizes a low student-teacher ratio to ensure maximum attention.

High Schools

  • Roosevelt High School. In addition to its high ranking, Roosevelt High is also known for its sports programs, if you have a budding athlete in the family.
  • Garfield High School. This school is known for its best-in-class academic programs and college prep courses.

There are also plenty of private institutions for parents looking for specific academic programs.  Parents can rest assured that no matter which Seattle neighborhoods they are considering, they will have plenty of options.

Family-Friendly Spots in Seattle Neighborhoods

Seattle is known for tourist attractions such as the Great Wheel and the Space Needle. However, those are only the tip of the iceberg! Seattle neighborhoods are littered with libraries, museums, landmarks, cultural centers, and urban parks to explore—not to mention the islands and coasts, if you’re a seafaring family.

Once you’re settled in, check out some of these fun attractions:

  • Artists at Play. This music-themed outdoor playground in Seattle Center is packed with interactive activities such a 35-foot climbing tower, a long tube slide, and ADA-accessible swings.
  • Seattle Bouldering Project. This gym is famous for its indoor climbing area. But they have an area built specifically for kids, so the whole family can get their climb on!
  • Alki Beach Park. With its gorgeous shores, scattering of tide pools, and abundant playgrounds this park is a regular haunt for West Seattle families.
  • Full Tilt Ice Cream. Full Tilt has a massive array of dairy and vegan ice creams, but it’s the arcade games and live music that make this a busy gathering space for families.
  • Pike Place Market. This world-renowned farmers’ market may be touristy, but locals also love it. Food, drink, book stores, toy shops, antiques—there’s a store for everyone here.

What to Consider When Moving to Seattle

Moving is exhausting. From choosing Seattle neighborhoods and school districts to the hard packing and selling and, well, physical moving, it can overwhelm even the most prepared, and it’s easy to overlook the little things. To make sure you don’t forget anything, here’s a checklist of simple, but crucial, things to accomplish leading up to moving day:

  1. Talk to your kids. Moving takes a toll on everyone, but especially your kids. Make sure to prepare them emotionally and mentally for the move.
  2. Prepare your kids’ school records. Make sure to inform your kids’ current school about your move and secure school records. This makes it easier to transfer once you choose a new school.
  3. Organize family medical records. Let your family doctor and dentist know you are moving and have them forward your records to your new doctor or dentist. Or, if you haven’t found one yet, ask your doctor for referrals.
  4. Book your movers. Schedule an appointment with a moving company roughly a week in advance. Inform them of the number and types of items you will be transporting so they show up with the right equipment.
  5. Arrange for a babysitter. At least a few days before your move, hire a babysitter. Moving day will be hectic, and there’s a chance you won’t be able to simultaneously care for your kid while managing the logistics of your move.
  6. Prepare a moving day bag. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to unpack everything on the day you relocate. So prepare a moving bag of valuables, clothes, medications, and bath items so you don’t have to rummage through your packed boxes as soon as you arrive.

Hire a Nanny or Babysitter in Seattle

Seattle neighborhoods are very welcoming, and the city is one of the best for young families. However, moving is never easy. Consider hiring a nanny for your move. With their help, you can be more hands-on in overseeing the moving process while still ensuring that your kid is in good hands.

When looking for that moving-day or just-moved nanny, Nanno’s got you covered. Nanno is a babysitter booking platform designed to help you find qualified child care professionals on-demand. Nanno thoroughly vets their nannies according to an array of rigorous standards so you can be sure about the quality of care your little ones will receive.

Share this article
Author image
About Wynona March
Seattle, WA
Wynona is a writer and mom, with three children under age 6 and a penchant for crafting. She loves guiding her kids through projects of all kinds, from cooking to crafting to building a better robot.

Need a Sitter?

Seattle with Kids is brought to you by Nanno, the first true on-demand app for booking a trusted, vetted babysitter near you. So if you need a babysitter in Seattle, check us out.

Book a Sitter


Nanno babysitters in the Seattle metro area


Percent of Nanno babysitters in Seattle with special needs experience
Percent of Nanno babysitters in Seattle with education training or experience