The Unique Aspects of Living in Bellevue and Kirkland
Situated close to each other on Lake Washington, Bellevue and Kirkland are often compared, but in reality, they’re more like siblings with distinct personalities. Although just a stone’s throw away from each other, each carries its own rhythm. Bellevue, with its bustling tech hubs and modern cityscape, contrasts with Kirkland’s laid-back, artsy vibe and scenic waterfront. One thing’s for sure, though: the decision to settle in either city isn’t about choosing the better – but embracing the different. So, if you’re contemplating your next move in the Pacific Northwest’s urban sprawl with the best movers Seattle has, join us as we explore the distinct allure of living in Bellevue and Kirkland.
History and Growth: Bellevue and Kirkland’s Evolution
Looking into the histories of Bellevue and Kirkland, we see distinct development paths driven by both ambition and community values.
Bellevue: From Farmlands to Skyscrapers
In its early days, Bellevue was primarily an agricultural hub, with vast stretches of fertile farmlands and lush meadows. The inspiration for the city’s name, which translates to ‘beautiful view’ in French, came from the picturesque vistas it offered of the Olympic and Cascade mountains.
The major turning point in Bellevue’s history was the completion of the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge in 1940. This bridge, one of the world’s largest floating bridges at the time, connected Bellevue to Seattle. It was marking the city’s transformation from a rural enclave to a booming suburb. With improved accessibility, the city began to attract a significant influx of residents and businesses and continued steadily, although with the help of movers Bellevue WA offers today.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and Bellevue’s growth trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric. With the rise of the tech industry, the city became a hotspot for innovation and enterprise. The skyline, once dotted with small buildings, now showcases architectural marvels. Today, Bellevue houses corporate giants, notably including a significant presence from Microsoft.
Kirkland: A Coastal Retreat with Rich Heritage
Kirkland’s history has a maritime hue to it. Founded in 1888, the city was named after British-born steel magnate Peter Kirk. He envisioned Kirkland as the “Pittsburgh of the West,” aiming to establish a robust steel production industry. While this dream wasn’t fully realized due to economic challenges, Kirk’s influence set the foundation for the city’s industrious spirit.
Kirkland’s coastal geography played a pivotal role in shaping its growth. In the early 20th century, the waterfront was a hive of activity. It was bustling with shipbuilding industries and ferries shuttling passengers and goods to and from the Emerald City, similar to shipping companies Seattle presents today. Over the years, as the shipbuilding industry faded, Kirkland transitioned into a desirable residential area renowned for its tranquil beaches and community-centric approach.
One iconic piece of Kirkland’s history is its art scene. Since the 1970s, the city has cultivated a rich artistic heritage, with local artisans establishing studios and galleries. It was paving the way for the vibrant arts community that thrives today.
Business Dynamics of Bellevue and Kirkland
Exploring the economic aspect of living in Bellevue and Kirkland reveals distinct business cultures and opportunities that shape these cities.
Bellevue’s New Players: From Healthcare Recruitment to Space Exploration
Bellevue is seeing a fresh wave of innovation and expertise, with notable companies in the healthcare and space sectors opting for the city as their base of operations. Under the umbrella of MEDLEY, the frontrunner in healthcare job search platforms in Japan, Jobley has chosen Bellevue as its operational ground. This specialized career marketplace offers a tailored job-search experience for medical professionals, with a primary focus on nurses and dental professionals.
Spaceflight, a game-changer in democratizing access to space, has had a remarkable journey. The firm works diligently to make space accessible, facilitating rideshare launches for a variety of clients, from commercial enterprises to governmental bodies. After being acquired by Mitsui in 2020, the company was on the hunt for a consolidated workspace, and Bellevue emerged as the perfect fit. Now, their integrated facility in Bellevue not only brings the team together but also doubles their operational space.
Kirkland: Fast-Evolving Into a Tech and Aerospace Destination
Amazon’s newly announced 172,000-square-foot satellite production facility in Kirkland is not just a monumental move in aerospace but also a significant boost for the local economy. This facility promises to introduce over 200 specialized jobs and will have the capability to produce up to four satellites daily, marking a transformative moment for the region.
Google’s new Kirkland Urban campus, alongside a commitment of $100 million to Washington state, is yet another sign of the tech giant’s growing presence in the area. The campus, which will stretch across 760,000 square feet, underlines Kirkland’s growing allure for global tech enterprises. With sectors like AI, Cloud, Cybersecurity, and VR/XR already flourishing, Google’s expansion further solidifies Kirkland’s standing in the tech world.
These significant investments from Amazon and Google emphasize Kirkland’s escalating role in the tech and aerospace sectors, making it an increasingly attractive location for professionals and businesses alike.
Living in Bellevue and Kirkland: A Glimpse into Housing and Living Costs
Getting familiar with these dynamic cities with thriving housing markets and distinct living expenses comes before booking a moving company Washington State residents recommend. Hence, our report provides an insight into the key housing metrics and the overall cost of living in both Bellevue and Kirkland areas.
Bellevue Quality of Life
While the average home value in Bellevue is around $1,312,832 (a 10.5% drop from the previous year), homes are snapped up quickly, often going pending in just a week. However, different neighborhoods offer varied experiences; Robinswood has homes averaging $1,113,545, while the upscale Phantom Lake stands at $1,321,229. For budget-conscious folks, Factoria is more affordable, with homes averaging $548,228.
Despite the dip in values, August 2023 saw Bellevue as a seller’s market, where nearly 40% of homes sold over their listed price. But Bellevue isn’t just about beautiful homes; it’s about a quality lifestyle, albeit at a premium. The city’s living cost is 66% above the national average, with housing taking the lead at a whopping 158% higher. Day-to-day essentials, like groceries, also come at a 25% premium. But many Bellevue residents would argue the city’s amenities and quality of life make the extra costs worth it.
Living in Kirkland
Kirkland’s housing landscape has seen notable shifts recently. The average home value hovers around $1,104,694, though it’s observed a 9.8% dip over the past year. But what does this mean for potential homeowners? A closer inspection of neighborhoods paints a clearer picture. For instance, the chic Market-Downtown area boasts a median home value of a whopping $2,881,681. In contrast, areas like Totem Lake offer a more affordable entry point, with a median home value of $464,377.
According to both Zillow and realtor.com, homes in Kirkland are snapped up quickly, often within a week of listing, hinting at a robust demand. In fact, as of August 2023, the market dynamics indicate a seller’s market, where demand overshadows supply. A striking 50.2% of home sales went above the asking price in July 2023, revealing eager buyers ready to outbid their competition and settle in with movers Kirkland WA offers.
Beyond housing, the overall cost of living in Kirkland surpasses the national average by 55%. However, this increase can be attributed mostly to housing costs, which are a staggering 121% above the national average. Other essentials, such as utilities, are only marginally higher, marked at an uptick of 6%, according to PayScale.
Transportation and Connectivity on the Eastside
Living in Bellevue and Kirkland provides easy access to the greater Seattle area, facilitating daily commutes, weekend getaways, and business trips.
Bellevue Transportation and Roads
Being a major city on the Eastside, Bellevue’s transport framework is extensive and well-structured.
- Public Transport: The King County Metro system serves Bellevue residents with numerous bus routes connecting to downtown Seattle and beyond. The anticipated expansion of Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail will further boost Bellevue’s connectivity with Seattle and other Eastside areas.
- Major Roads: With I-405 running north-south and SR-520 heading westward, Bellevue has direct routes to neighboring cities and downtown Seattle. The typical commute from Bellevue to Seattle is approximately 15-20 minutes without traffic.
- Ferries: While neither Bellevue nor Kirkland has a direct ferry terminal, the nearby Seattle ferry terminals offer routes to various islands and the Kitsap Peninsula. This is approximately a 20-30 minute drive, providing residents with easy access to scenic ferry rides across the Puget Sound.
As you can see, the Eastside is perfectly positioned to offer residents a seamless transportation experience. It delivers well-connected roads, efficient public transit, nearby airports, and ferry services.
Kirkland Transportation and Roads
Kirkland’s transport system, though compact, offers residents all the essentials for smooth commuting.
- Public Transport: The King County Metro bus system efficiently connects Kirkland to Bellevue and downtown Seattle. Depending on the time of day and specific route, a bus journey from Kirkland to Seattle can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Major Roads: SR-520, running through southern Kirkland, provides a direct route to both Bellevue and Seattle. The usual drive from Kirkland to Seattle is around 20-25 minutes without traffic. While Kirkland might not have the bustling highway of I-405, it has its own charms. Roads like Lake Washington Boulevard offer breathtaking lakeside views.
- Airport: Like Bellevue, Kirkland residents primarily use Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) for their air travel needs, which is roughly 22 miles away and offers a wide range of flight options.
Both cities’ proximity to Seattle and its major transport routes ensures that residents of the Eastside can enjoy the tranquility of suburban life while having easy access to urban amenities.
Cultural and Recreational Highlights: Events, Arts, and More
Discover the cultural epicenter of Washington’s Eastside, where both Bellevue and Kirkland flourish!
Bellevue proudly showcases its commitment to the arts through its key institutions and events. The Bellevue Arts Museum, a haven for contemporary art, craft, and design, frequently hosts exhibits that enthrall visitors. The energy of the annual Bellevue Arts Fair in Downtown Bellevue draws artists and aficionados from the Pacific Northwest, solidifying its cultural reputation. For theatergoers, the Meydenbauer Center Theatre provides a diverse array of performances ranging from ballets to orchestras.
Bellevue’s moniker as the “City in a Park” is aptly earned, given its vast expanses of lush parks and natural retreats:
- Bellevue Botanical Garden: A serene 53-acre oasis comprising manicured gardens, untouched woodlands, and wetlands.
- Mercer Slough Nature Park: This 320-acre wetland habitat in the heart of Bellevue is perfect for canoeing, nature walks, and environmental education.
- Kelsey Creek Farm Park: A throwback to Bellevue’s agricultural roots, this farm offers animal viewings, barn tours, and picnic areas. Ideal for families, the park has regular events and classes on farming.
- Lake Sammamish: Bordering Bellevue, it’s a hub for water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. The surrounding park areas are perfect for picnics and hiking.
Kirkland’s lakeside arts scene flourishes with events and venues. The Kirkland Summerfest is a testament to this, offering a splash of art and music along the waterfront. The monthly Downtown Kirkland Art Walk gives a platform to local talent, while the Kirkland Performance Center stages a spectrum of artistic performances.
Nestled along the shores of Lake Washington, Kirkland offers more than just cultural treats:
- Juanita Bay Park: This wetland sanctuary, with its bird-watching tours and boardwalks, lets visitors experience nature amidst an urban backdrop.
- Marina Park: Situated on Lake Washington, it’s a hotspot for boating, picnicking, and enjoying the Kirkland waterfront.
- Cross Kirkland Corridor: A 5.75-mile trail cutting through the heart of Kirkland, ideal for walking, jogging, and biking. The trail often hosts art installations, bringing together the best of nature and art.
Each with its own spectrum of arts, events, and recreational activities, Bellevue and Kirkland make every season lively and colorful! If you’re considering a move to either city, reaching out to local movers in Seattle can simplify your transition and get you quickly settled into these vibrant communities.
Embracing Eastside Charm and Elegance
Bellevue and Kirkland aren’t just places to live; they’re experiences waiting to be embraced. With a mix of cultural richness, scenic beauty, and community spirit, making a home and living in Bellevue and Kirkland promises an enriching and dynamic lifestyle. As the seasons change, so do the hues of life here, ensuring there’s always a new memory to be made.