Travel Guides

Seattle: Healthcare Employment Location Guide

Seattle is known for many things: views of Mt. Rainier, easy access to tons of outdoor adventures, its cloudy and rainy skies, and the beautiful coastal area surrounding the city. Seattle is a great place for travel nurses to work and have a variety of experiences to choose from. 

Where to Live: Best Neighborhoods

Capitol Hill: The community here is all about individuality and enjoying life. The neighborhood offers access to one of Seattle’s biggest outdoor spaces, Volunteer Park, as well as local beer companies, music venues, and the city’s largest bookstore, Elliot Bay Book Company. In general, short-term apartment rentals are a bit pricey, and Capitol Hill is at the top of the list for cost of living. 

Fremont: This part of the city is home to Google and Adobe Systems. There are cool markets and high-end boutiques. Rent is similar to capitol hill, but more apartments are listed versus single rooms for rent.

Queen Anne: There are more 2+ bedroom apartments in this charming area of Seattle. The one-bedroom apartments are $1500-$2000. The Space Needle is in Queen Anne, as well as several sports arenas. The neighborhood sits on the city’s highest hill and is named for the style of homes in the neighborhood. It is known as an affluent area of Seattle. 

Ballard:  This neighborhood is quickly growing. It is rooted in its Scandinavian culture. The maritime feel and local food make this area worth a search. There are microbreweries and hip new bars scattered throughout the charming streets.

Belltown: Right in the center of Seattle and all the action. Pike Place Market separates this neighborhood and Pioneer Square. Both have cozy apartments at high prices. Expensive garage parking contributes to the increased prices of apartments. You are right outside of downtown and close to everything here, including some of the major hospitals.

West Seattle: A bit more of a laid-back beach vibe and close to Alki Beach Park, West Seattle has some great views of downtown and beautiful sunsets. There are tons of unique eating and brewing experiences here. 

Cost of Living in Seattle

Most of the short-term furnished apartments are in and around the same price range. A single room can vary from $800-$1300/month. A studio apartment is generally $1100-$1800/month. 1 bedrooms range between $1500-$2500/month. 2+ bedrooms start around $2500/month and increase upwards.

Travel Nursing Hospitals in Seattle

Explore Seattle travel nursing jobs posted on Vivian at these facilities and more.

These are some of the top facilities in Seattle that hire travel nurses:

Swedish Medical Center First Hill: Located among an array of other hospitals the center of the city, this facility is part of the Swedish Medical Center system. There are multiple Swedish campuses throughout Seattle. First Hill is a primary stroke center with 620 beds. 

Harborview Medical Center: Washington State’s only level I adult and pediatric trauma center. It is a 413 bed teaching center and known for serving the under-served and developing trauma practices that are put into place across the country. I’ve known a few nurses who have had great experiences here. 

Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center: This hospital is known for its innovative programs to reduce the operating costs of healthcare. It is a 336 bed teaching hospital. It is ranked among the best hospitals in the country and is renowned for putting the needs of patients first. 

Seattle Children’s: Pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, and one of the top pediatric research centers in the US. The facility has 407 beds and is the main site for most of Seattle’s pediatric medical and surgical residents. 

UW Medical Center Northwest: 281 beds and associated with the University of Washington. This medical center is located outside of ‘downtown’ Seattle and may have more affordable living nearby without the long commute to the center of Seattle.

Travel Nurse Pay Rates in Seattle

There are tons of jobs available in Seattle for a wide variety of specialties. With so many jobs available, there is a huge range of pay. The highest paid travel nurse jobs in Seattle are currently those in CVOR and PACU (particularly peds), and PICU. These positions are paying close to $3000/week right now! There are Med Surg/Tele jobs available from $1600-$2200/week! ICU and Step-Down/PICU travel nurses are going to find jobs for $1700-$2000/week.

In Town Attractions

Pike Place Market: Local food and brew, this market is one the most iconic spots in Seattle. You can eat 3 meals a day here and walk around for hours without getting bored. The artisan goods and lively seafood markets will feed all of your senses. 

Space Needle: The most recognizable landmark in Seattle, aside from the Mt. Rainier views. Take a trip to the top and experience the 360-degree rotating glass floor!

Multitude of Parks: There are so many outdoor spaces right in the city of Seattle, you may find it hard to leave and explore the forests! Volunteer Park is one of the largest, but locals recommend Green Lake for a special experience.

Waterfront: The Seattle waterfront area really conjures up those Pacific coastal vibes. Spot fishermen and dine on the freshest seafood you will find in the city. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or visit the aquarium to see the magic of Puget Sound.

Chihuly Garden and Glass: Located in the Seattle Center, right next to the Space Needle, this 3 part museum exhibits the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. Explore the gardens, glass house, interior exhibits, and 90 seat outdoor cafe. 

Japanese Gardens: 3.5 peaceful acres of stone work, waterways, bridges, and eye catching flora, these gardens are a must visit when in Seattle. This attraction is closed December through the end of February.

BONUS: Snowqualmie Falls: This natural wonder is not in Seattle, but is less than 45 minutes away. Depending on the time of year, the waterfall can be massive. There is a free parking and viewing area to take in the 270 foot tall cascade as it thunders over the edges of the cliffs. 

Foodie Spots 

The Pink Door: Unique and delicious food venue featuring trapeze and burlesque nights on Sundays and Mondays in the bar area. This is one of Seattle’s more well known restaurants and has fantastic waterfront views. The food has always been locally sourced and is Italian-American themed.

Lola: One of Seattle’s best brunch spots. Hearty portions with drool-worthy sides attract diners for weekend breakfast, but Lola’s also touts a pretty impressive lunch and dinner menu. Located near Pike Place Market.

Staple and Fancy: A member of the Ethan Stowell restaurant collection, this is sure to never leave you disappointed. Stowell truly has something special at each of his restaurants, and the dinners here can be ordered a la carte or as a chef’s tasting menu for the whole table (my personal preference).

Elliot’s Oyster House: Classy ambiance and freshly shucked oysters on this waterfront location will have you craving fresh seafood long after you’ve (reluctantly) walked away. The oysters and dungeness crab here will leave lasting impressions. 

Seattle Coffee Recommendations: Most people want to visit the original Starbucks when they visit Seattle, but right down the street is Coffee Works. Here you will find a more personal experience and unique coffee aromas that you will never find at Starbucks. Also check out Vif Wine and Coffee to prove that dreams really do come true.

Off the Rez Cafe: Off the Rez started out as Seattle’s first Native American food truck. Thankfully they’ve opened up a permanent location near the U district (University District). Stop in and try some of their amazing fry breads.

Champagne Diner: A fancy twist on the classic American Diner, this greasy spoon joint is guaranteed to warm your soul- and not just because they serve good booze. 

Bars and Nightlife

Seattle isn’t exactly known for its club scene. More popular with folks that live here are breweries, pubs, wine bars, and local hipster joints. Here’s a few ideas but you’ll find Google is loaded with tons of options!

Russell’s: Located near Fremont, this bar is popular with locals for late night hours and tasty snacks. End or start your night here for some laughs and good vibes. 

Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar: Irish fare and a vibrant atmosphere. Who doesn’t love a good Irish Pub? Also known for being one of Seattle’s most haunted bars!

Pike Brewing Company: 12 rotating delicious beers on tap with seasonal specials. The menu is bar food with a Seattle-esque twist. People are laid back and happy to be social.

Bathtub Gin & Co: A bar with a speakeasy like ambiance and specialty cocktails with funky names. Look for the wooden door in the ally to get in. Avoid going at busy times (weekend nights) to avoid lines.

Club Contour: Self-named a ‘restaurant lounge and boutique nightclub’, people come here to dance to the DJ beats Saturdays and Sundays. Monday night is karaoke night!  

Day Trips and Exploring

Mt. Rainier: That epic mountain in all those pics of Seattle? That is Mt. Rainier. Mt Rainier Park sees millions of visitors each year. There are plenty of day hikes, and camping to explore this beautiful mountain.

Olympic National Park: A 2 to 3 hour drive from Seattle, this park has it all! Lord of the Rings-like forests and beautiful coastline, it deserves more than a day trip! Explore the town of Port Angeles (Or check the open Port Angeles jobs on Vivian for a truly local experience!) There are tidepools to explore, day hikes to be taken, and wildlife to photograph!

North Cascades National Park: If clear blue aqua lakes, majestic mountains, and epic scenery isn’t your thing, then stay away! This park is full of views and hikes to legendary waterfalls and lakes. 

San Juan Island: Just across the sound from Seattle is a captivating collection of 3 islands that are just waiting to be explored. Rolling farmland and hypnotizing coastlines that are home to dozens of orcas make this a popular place to visit!

Anacortes: An hour and a half north of Seattle, on Fidalgo Island, this small town has beautiful beaches and distant mountain views. This is a great place to start exploring the San Juan islands. 

Bainbridge Island: More views of Mt. Rainier amid green forests and stunning coastal views. The island is known for its historical culture, so take in one of the many museums when you visit.

Public Transportation 

There is a light rail that runs through the main part of Seattle, almost straight down the center of the city. Seattle is also served by a well connected bus system, several street cars, and a monorail lies above the busiest parts of the city. If you live in Seattle proper or its immediate surrounding metro areas, public transportation is very easy and often more efficient than driving a car. 

Weather and Best Time to Take a Travel Nurse Job in Seattle

Summers are the sunniest in Seattle! The rest of the year, especially the winter, is plagued by clouds and frequent rainy weather. Temperatures are relatively mild due to Seattle’s coastal location, but cold and wet are common terms used to describe the climate of the Pacific Northwest United States. 

But, if you like to ski or snowboard, there are tons of opportunities for this in the wilderness areas surrounding Seattle.

Hospitals will hire year-round and demand remains relatively constant. Summer is the most popular time to travel there due to the weather, and housing becomes a bit more difficult to secure June- September. Pay remains steady and just about matches the cost of living year around.

If Seattle seems too busy or too expensive for you check out the surrounding areas including Tacoma, Puyallup, Issaquah, and Olympia.

Rachel Norton BSN, RN

Rachel Norton became an RN in 2007 and has been part of the Vivian team since 2019. She has always worked in critical care, and spent the first 12 years of her career working in a surgical neuroscience trauma ICU. She's also worked as a flight nurse, started travel nursing in 2010 and continued working in the ICU until joining Vivian full-time in 2022. As a user researcher, Rachel advocates for healthcare workers to help bridge the gap between employee and employer expectations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular on Community Hub