Should I Move to Poulsbo? The Pros & Cons of Living in Poulsbo, Washington

If you are thinking of moving to the Western Washington area, Poulsbo should be high on your list of possible places to live. My husband and myself lived in that pretty town for ten years before moving south to Port Orchard, and as a resident and realtor, I know what is best about Poulsbo and what’s not quite so good!

So here I’d like to give you a heads-up on the five things that are massive positives about Poulsbo but also have their downside. So, is Poulsbo a good place to live?

5 Pros and Cons of Living in Poulsbo

Pros of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: The Charm

Poulsbo is the smallest of the four cities of Kitsap County and has a population of just over 10,000. That small town feel is so endearing and it truly is a friendly and welcoming community.

Poulsbo is a little bit of Norway dropped into Washington State. My husband is from Norway so can attest to that being true! The architecture and the setting give you a real feel of the fjords and small towns of Scandinavia, and when my mother-in-law came to visit she said the waterfront reminded her of home. Not only does it feel Norwegian, but it celebrates Norway’s Independence Day on May 17th every year with an incredible festival.

Cons of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: The Tourists

And the con of all this charm? Any pretty town is bound to be popular with tourists, and Poulsbo is no exception. While extra people on the streets isn’t much of a problem, and neither is the extra money it brings into the local economy, it can be irritating to head to the store and find almost no where to park.


Pros of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: Seattle is Close

Wondering how long it takes to get from Poulsbo to Seattle? If you take the short ferry ride from Bainbridge Island, you can be in downtown Seattle in just an hour. Seattle is a great city, not only for employment but things to see and do. Pike Place Marketthe Great Wheel, the Woodland Park Zoo are some of the top tourist attractions, but of course there’s plenty of places to eat and great entertainment, too.

Cons of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: Commuter Traffic

Unfortunately, being within commuting distance of Seattle means that the traffic to and from the ferry can get pretty congested. When you add that the Poulsbo public transport system is not as good as it could be, you can understand why driving around at certain times of day is not the breeze you might hope it to be. It’s par for the course with living near any great city, but it’s something to consider.

Pros of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: You’re On the Water

Poulsbo is built on the shores of beautiful Liberty Bay, and there’s water everywhere! If you like boating, like we do, it is heaven! The marina in old town Poulsbo is a cool place to spend time and has excellent facilities, and the nearby waters safe.

Cons of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: The Rain

The town, with its Scandinavian buildings and waterfront, and the country round Poulsbo, particularly in the fall, are simply stunning. The mountains, forests, and beaches all make it a breath-taking place to live but… You don’t get that verdant landscape without rain.

There’s no hiding that it can be pretty rainy and cloudy for quite long periods, though on the other hand it never gets super cold, either. So while you will want to invest in rain gear and proper footwear if you move here, you cannot deny it is one of the most picturesque places in the US!

Pros of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: Waterside Dining

There can be very few places in the country that can boast so many quality restaurants in such sensational settings! Poulsbo is a great place to be if you love eating out, especially if you enjoy seafood. The Loft, to pick out just one example, has wonderful food and is built actually over the water. Imagine that being your regular haunt!

Poulsbo is also home to THE best doughnut shop (bar none), the renowned Sluy’s Bakery, which is just across the street from my absolute favorite coffee shop, Hot Shot’s Java. Yum!

Cons of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: High Quality of Life Comes at a Price

Unfortunately, you can’t live in such a beautiful, vibrant place without paying for it! Poulsbo is the most expensive area of Kitsap County, with the exception of the rather sought after Bainbridge Island. The house prices here are around 26% higher than the US average.

Median house price hovers around $436,000, well above the national norm, but far less expensive than Seattle itself. I have another blog post that goes into Poulsbo’s cost of living in greater detail, so that’s the place you need to go next if you’re serious about growing roots in Poulsbo.

But if you want or need to live in the Western Washington area, then Poulsbo will definitely get you out of the overcrowded city and living at a slower, more human pace if that’s what you are looking for, and any negatives can be ignored, or at least you can learn to live with them. After all, literally nowhere is perfect.

Pros of Living in Poulsbo, Washington: A Great Place to Raise a Family

Finally, Poulsbo is a great place to raise a family. Peaceful, friendly and is home to some of the best schools in the county.

I’ve lived in this area for a long time and know the area inside out. I’ve seen the pluses and the minuses! If you’re looking for Poulsbo homes for sale, I’d love to help you find the perfect place to call home.

Poulsbo is special, but all of Kitsap County is a wonderful place to be, so there’s going to be somewhere that’s absolutely perfect for you. Visit my website to find Poulsbo homes for sale (and homes elsewhere in the area), read my blog for more information, or contact me with any questions you have and I’ll be happy to chat with you!

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