Seattle Newcomer's Guide

Founded in 1869, the city of Seattle is located in the state of Washington on Puget Sound, 113 miles (182 km) from the U.S.-Canadian border. Seattle is a commercial, cultural and advanced technology hub of the U.S. Pacific Northwest and a major port city for trans-Pacific and European travel and trade. Surrounded by mountains and water, the Greater Seattle area features picture-perfect views and abundant recreational opportunities year-round.

DISCLAIMER: Information on this page is not all-inclusive and are only suggestions to help you in your move to Seattle. Other options may be available.

Temporary no-parking zones

If you need a permit to place a moving portable storage container or park a moving van, contact the Seattle Department of Transportation at 206-684-5253 or visit SDOT's temporary no-parking permits page.

Portable storage unit

If you need a portable storage unit, find information in SDOT's client assistance memo No. 2118, "Moving/Storage Containers and Residential Dumpsters."


Seattle City Light
Website: //

Natural Gas

Puget Sound Energy

Water, Sewer, Garbage

Seattle Public Utilities
Website: //


CenturyLink 866-642-0444
Comcast/Xfinity 888-485-3514
Wave 866-928-3123

Internet Service Providers

CenturyLink 866-642-0444
Comcast/Xfinity 888-485-3514
Wave 866-928-3123

Cable Television/Satellite

City of Seattle Office of Cable Communications 206-684-8498 //
CenturyLink 866-642-0444
Comcast/Xfinity 888-485-3514
Wave 866-928-3123
Directv 888-777-2454
Dish Network 844-409-5483

King County Metro

Metro operates a fleet of about 1,300 vehicles – including standard and articulated coaches, electric trolleys, dual-powered buses, hybrid diesel-electric buses and streetcars – that serves an annual ridership of 100 million within a 2,134-square-mile area.

King County Metro's mission is to provide the best possible public transit services that get people on the bus and improve regional mobility and the quality of life in King County.

To access or subscribe to rider alerts, visit

Trip Planner

The Trip Planner provides information for public transit in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, including Sound Transit's regional express bus routes, Sounder commuter rail, Washington state ferries and the Seattle Center monorail.

Metro Bus Tracker

The Metro Bus Tracker provides real-time bus information for a specific timepoint or geographic area. Unlike traditional bus schedules, the Metro Bus Tracker lets you see and track the actual status of your bus, so you know when your ride is really coming. Instead of waiting at the bus stop, use the Metro Bus Tracker to help you spend your time the way you want to – running another errand, finishing up another project or simply waiting inside.

Sound Transit

The agency's mission is to plan, build and operate regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for central Puget Sound. The system includes high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access improvements, ST express bus routes, Sounder commuter rail, Link light rail and new park-and-ride lots and transit centers.

Be prepared for emergencies – use the online Trip Planner and note your options for your regular commute. Subscribe to Sound Transit's email and/or text alert system or, for recorded rider alerts, keep Sound Transit's rider information number handy: 1-888-889-6368.

The City of Seattle offers information on education, schools and learning at Other education resource information is listed below.

Seattle Public Schools 206-252-0010
University of Washington 206-543-2100
North Seattle College 206-934-3600
Seattle Central College 206-934-3800
South Seattle College 206-934-5300
Seattle Vocational Institute 206-587-4950

WorkSource Washington

WorkSource Washington is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington. Services for job seekers include free use of computers, copiers, phones, etc.; Internet access to jobs; job referral and placement; workshops on getting and keeping a job; access to unemployment insurance; translation services and more.

City of Seattle Employment

Visit the Seattle Department of Human Resources website for information about employment opportunities with the City of Seattle.

License your pet

In Seattle, you are required by law to license your cats, dogs, miniature goats and potbellied pigs. A pet license helps reunite you and your pet should he or she become lost. Additionally, the funds from Seattle pet licenses help the Seattle Animal Shelter carry out its lifesaving work. For more information, visit the shelter's pet licensing website, or contact 206-386-4262 or

Off-Leash Areas

In most of Seattle's parks, you are required to keep your dogs leashed. Seattle Parks and Recreation offers 14 off-leash exceptions. Visit the Parks and Recreation website to learn more about the rules for animals in Seattle parks and for off-leash area locations.


Seattle has a Mayor-Council form of government. From 1911 to 2013, Seattle's nine councilmembers were elected at-large, each representing the entire City. Following a voter-approved charter amendment and starting with the 2015 election, seven councilmembers are elected by district, and two are elected for citywide at-large positions. The City Attorney and Municipal Court judges are also elected offices.

Elected Officials

Branch Position Name Website
Executive Mayor Bruce Harrell
Legislative Councilmember, District 1 Rob Saka
Councilmember, District 2 Tammy J. Morales
Councilmember, District 3 Joy Hollingsworth
Councilmember, District 4 Maritza Rivera
Councilmember, District 5 Cathy Moore
Councilmember, District 6 Dan Strauss
Councilmember, District 7 Robert Kettle
Councilmember, Citywide Vacant Vacant
Councilmember, Citywide Sara Nelson
Law City Attorney Ann Davison
Judicial Seattle Municipal Court

Seattle Population and Demographics

The Office of Planning and Community Development publishes population and demographic information. Visit the OPCD website to learn more.

Neighborhood Information

The My Neighborhood Map site offers a guide to city services located within your neighborhood.

King County offers lists of helpful, non-emergency numbers for your area, by ZIP code.

Information for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

The Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens provides programs and referrals to services that support independent living, social and civic engagement and healthy aging to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities.

Housing Information

The Seattle Office of Housing builds strong, healthy communities and increases opportunities for people of all income levels to live in our city. The Office of Housing develops policies and manages programs that support affordable housing production.

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections offers information about renting in Seattle, including rules about landlords' and tenants' rights and responsibilities.


Seattle Parks and Recreation manages a 6,200-acre park system of 465 parks and extensive natural areas. Parks provides athletic fields, tennis courts, play areas, specialty gardens and more than 25 miles of boulevards and 120 miles of trails. Parks also manages many facilities, including 26 community centers, eight indoor swimming pools, two outdoor (summer) swimming pools, four environmental education centers, two small craft centers, four golf courses, an outdoor stadium and more.

The P-Patch Community Gardening Program, part of the Department of Neighborhoods, oversees 88 P-Patches distributed throughout the city. Community gardeners grow food on 14.9 acres of the land and in addition steward 18.8 acres for the public for a total of 32 acres.

To become a Washington state resident, you must take action that proves you intend to live in the state on more than a temporary or transient basis. For example, you can:

For more information on becoming a Washington state resident, visit the Access Washington website at

Visit the Washington State Department of Licensing website for more information about getting a Washington state driver license. You can also call 360-902-3900 (TTY users call 360-664-0116) or email

You can register to vote through the Washington Office of the Secretary of State or through the Washington Department of Licensing. Please visit either of the state websites for more information.

Seattle Police Department

Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: 206-625-5011

Seattle Fire Department

Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: 206-386-1400

Seattle Office of Emergency Management

General Information: 206-233-5076

Harborview Medical Center

General Information: 206-744-3000

Customer Service Bureau

Address: 601 Fifth Ave., First floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94726, Seattle, WA, 98124-4726
Phone: (206) 684-CITY (2489)
Fax: (206) 256-5160
Contact us
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday (except holidays)

Our hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.