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Seattle’s cool, just not the “coolest”

Soaking in the sunset over the mountains. Jim in Seattle

SEATTLE — Anyone who lives in or around Seattle knows that our city is cool. Unfortunately, we’re not the coolest. We’re actually number two. That’s according to the latest list of coolest cities from Forbes and Sperling’s Best Places. San Francisco tops this year’s list.

According to Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling’s Best Places, he says that what people have said they’re looking for in a place to live, it seems to be in San Francisco. It includes a higher than average ration of local vs chain restaurants, museums, sports teams, good hiking with stunning views and reliable mass transit.

But Seattle definitely has its charms as well. The people who voted said that recreational options like sporting events, parks and zoos were important to them. For that, Seattle took the top spot.

We also won the battle for liquid refreshments with 83 coffee shops, roasters, and craft beer breweries per 100,000 thousand people.

According to Forbes, being the coolest comes with a cost. They write that San Francisco is becoming increasingly unaffordable. According to Sperling’s Cost of Living Comparison, the city by the Bay is 54 percent more expensive than Seattle. Giving that a real dollar amount, Sperling estimates that if you’re making $50,000 right now in Seattle, you would need to earn more than $77,000 just to break even.

Part of the reason for the higher cost of living is that rents are some of the highest in the country and home prices continue to jump up.

But before you point and laugh at friends and colleagues who may live in SF, a little smackdown for us in the Emerald City.  According to Seattle-based Zillow, home values around Puget Sound are growing twice as fast as the Bay Area. Right now in Seattle, the median home value is about $455,000. Of course, it’s still nowhere near SF’s median value: $1,052,500. The national media is near $203,000.

Zillow says Seattle the fastest appreciating housing market and the 2nd fastest appreciating rental market in the country.

Here’s a look at the full list. You’ll notice that six of the top 10 all along the West Coast.

  1. San Francisco
  2. Seattle
  3. San Diego
  4. New Orleans
  5. Portland
  6. San Jose
  7. Los Angeles
  8. New York
  9. Boston
  10. Denver
  11. Charleston, S.C.
  12. Honolulu
  13. Austin
  14. Miami
  15. Madison
  16. Houston
  17. D.C.
  18. Las Vegas
  19. Orlando
  20. Tampa, Fla.