Best places to live on the West Coast
For centuries, Americans and people from all over the world have heeded Horace Greeley's advice to "go west." The West Coast of the United States has been calling settlers ever since the early 1800s. From the Oregon Trail to the Gold Rush to 1967’s Summer of Love, there is something magnetic about the Pacific Coast of the United States that calls to the hearts of those looking to start anew.
And who could blame them? From the sun-drenched beaches of Southern California to the brilliant minds of Silicon Valley, the verdant forests of Oregon, and the lakes and towering mountains of Washington State, the West Coast is incredibly varied and dynamic. Thus, narrowing down the best places to live on the West Coast can certainly be a challenge.
Stacker compiled just such a list using data from Niche. Cities, towns, and suburbs in the following states were considered: California, Oregon, and Washington. A maximum of 50 places per state was included.
Some of these places are surely already on your radar, like tech-savvy Palo Alto, California, or the culturally cosmopolitan city of Seattle. Others may be a bit more under-the-radar, like Tualatin, Oregon, which is known for its quirky festivals. Many places on this list are suburbs of affluent and diverse metropolitan cities, while others are planned communities or older cities that have undergone revitalization projects. Cities with access to the great outdoors are ubiquitous here, as there is just so much raw, unspoiled beauty to be seen in the American West.
Whether you're looking to settle down and raise a family or are interested in hitting the town with your batch of new, educated friends, there’s a place on this list that will surely draw your attention. Each slide includes the city's population, median home value, median rent, and median household income.
How many of these places do you know? Is your town or city on the list? Click through to find the best places to live on the West Coast.
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#100. Mirrormont, Washington
- Population: 3,717
- Median home value: $590,300 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,310 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $118,542
A suburb of Seattle, Mirrormont is tucked in the forests of the Tiger Mountain foothills. The affluent suburb is known for its outdoor living due to its location at the entrance to the Tiger Mountain State Forest. The state forest is a 13,745-acre park veined with trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
#99. Port Townsend, Washington
- Population: 9,428
- Median home value: $308,600 (59% own)
- Median rent: $953 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $52,000
History and nature abound in Port Townsend, a city on the Quimper Peninsula in Washington. The Port Townsend Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, and the town has prime real estate near the Olympic Mountains.
#98. Tualatin, Oregon
- Population: 27,338
- Median home value: $397,300 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,223 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $81,118
Tualatin is an affluent town in the northwestern corner of Oregon perched on the edge of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to ample outdoor activities, Tualatin is home to high-end shopping centers and is known for community-bonding year-round events like the Tualatin Crawfish Festival and the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta.
#97. Liberty Lake, Washington
- Population: 9,382
- Median home value: $272,700 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,016 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $70,658
On the banks of the eponymous lake, Liberty Lake is a suburb of Spokane and a bedroom community for Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The small Washington city is known for outdoor recreational activities such as those to be found in Liberty Lake Regional Park. The park provides 3,591 acres of wetlands, lakeshore, forest, barbecue areas, and miles of back-country trail.
#96. Duvall, Washington
- Population: 7,811
- Median home value: $452,200 (92% own)
- Median rent: $2,043 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $156,205
Just 25 miles from Seattle, Duvall is a charming, affluent residential community surrounded by nature with easy access to one of Washington's top cultural centers. It's a small town known for its farmers market, hiking trails like the famous Cherry Creek Falls Trail, and its proximity to some of the best skiing in the state.
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#95. Durham, Oregon
- Population: 1,724
- Median home value: $559,600 (48% own)
- Median rent: $1,127 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $80,714
Small-town living is one thing, but then there’s Durham, which is less than half a square mile in size. It’s nestled in the Tualatin Valley near the cities of Tigard and Tualatin. Outdoor recreation is vitally important to its residents—so much so that 50 acres of land within city limits have been designated as parks and green spaces.
#94. Rockcreek, Oregon
- Population: 9,898
- Median home value: $387,500 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,305 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $85,625
Rockcreek is one of the best suburbs to live in the state, according to Niche. It is a small suburb of Portland known for its restaurants, coffee shops, excellent public schools, and parks. It's also an affluent suburb, where the median home value is more than $200,000 higher than that of the nation.
#93. Bellingham, Washington
- Population: 87,071
- Median home value: $347,100 (45% own)
- Median rent: $999 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $50,844
Not far from the Canadian border, Bellingham is a coastal city in Washington. It is a stunning part of the country and is known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, such as those at Mount Baker, a volcano known for its ski runs. Bellingham is near Lake Whatcom, which has fantastic boating and fishing. It is also near Larrabee State Park and the Whatcom Falls Park.
#92. Edmonds, Washington
- Population: 41,770
- Median home value: $480,000 (70% own)
- Median rent: $1,418 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $87,693
Just 14 miles north of Seattle, Edmonds is a lovely, historic city. Its Main Street is strewn with galleries, cafes, flower displays, and more. The town affords views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, popular spots where residents can spend their free time.
#91. Tigard, Oregon
- Population: 52,368
- Median home value: $375,100 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,159 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $75,795
A historic town that dates back to the mid-19th century, Tigard is a thriving cultural and outdoor-lovers’ community. From the Broadway Rose Theatre Company to the Fanno Creek Trail, golf courses, and shopping on Washington Square, this city is one of the top suburbs of Portland.
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