Of all the great reasons to live in this area, here’s one that we often overlook: The Tri-Cities is a great place to retire. With great weather, plenty of outdoor and exercise opportunities, fun things to do like wine tours and arts performances, a solid economy, and access to high-quality health care, the cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland offer retirees a great place to call home.
And you don’t have to take my word for it, either. Twice in the past few years, the Tri-Cities has been recognized as one of the best places in Washington to retire.
In July 2021, Kiplinger put Richland on its list of “7 of the Best Places to Retire” list. And by “Richland,” Kiplinger is actually referring to the Tri-Cities as a whole. Kiplinger specifically said that “retirees will appreciate access to first-rate health care, an affordable cost of living, a low crime rate and a variety of outdoor entertainment venues.”
On top of that, the Tri-Cities also ranks highly every year on Smart Asset’s list of the best places to retire in Washington, which is based on how long $1 million will last in retirement. Smart Asset considers things like housing, food, and healthcare expenses. For 2020, “Kennewick” (i.e., the Tri-Cities) was rated #2 in the state. We’ve been in the top three every year since 2017!
Why Tri-Cities is a Good Place to Retire
Here are a few reasons why the Tri-Cities ranks so highly as a destination for retirees.
1. Great weather. Unlike Seattle, it rarely rains here — we only get about 7-8 inches per year, compared to 38 inches in Seattle. We get all four seasons here, but extreme weather is usually very short-lived. Yes, we’ll hit 100 degrees in the summer — but it usually only lasts for a few weeks in July/August. Unlike Seattle and other cities on the west side of the state, central air conditioning is common here, so locals brush off warm weather as a concern.
We get snow in the winter, but most years it only snows maybe 3-4 times all winter. And we usually only get a couple inches on the ground each time, so it’s not a big deal. There are some years when we get a big snowfall or two, and that’s when you’ll always see neighbors out helping each other with shoveling or whatever they need. It’s always great to see the community spirit when we do get more snow than usual.
2. Great healthcare. In its writeup, Kiplinger says the Tri-Cities has “first-rate health care” — it’s true! — and cites our three large hospital systems: Kadlec (based in Richland), Lourdes (based in Pasco), and Trios (based in Kennewick). They also mention the Prosser Memorial health care system, which is just about 20-25 minutes west of us. Be sure to check out their websites and/or HealthGrades.com to learn more about the services each system offers, their accreditations, awards, and so forth.
3. Lots to do outdoors. We have 10 great golf courses to challenge players of all levels, plus indoor and outdoor tennis courts and much more. We have some great walking/hiking/running/biking trails in the area, and opportunities to walk or hike the trails on some of the surrounding mountains. (Badger Mountain is a favorite of mine — ask me about it!) The Sacagawea Heritage Trail is perfect for walking, running, or biking — it offers 23 miles of fully-paved trail that touches all three cities on both sides of the Columbia River. We have several parks right along the river, too. Columbia Park is the biggest, and you’ll find the Hanford Reach Museum there. In Richland, Howard Amon Park runs along the river and also features Gallery at the Park, the top art gallery in the Tri-Cities.
4. Cost of living. The Tri-Cities are affordable, especially for retirees coming in from bigger cities. Generally speaking, our cost-of-living is about 30-40% lower than Seattle and 20-30% lower than Portland. Even though our home prices are rising (as they are in those two cities and MANY others), retirees who relocate from the west side to the Tri-Cities often find they can get “more house” here for far less money. (See our Tri-Cities housing market updates for the latest details on home prices.) Another impact on our cost-of-living that out-of-state folks especially appreciate: There’s no income tax in Washington.
5. Safety & low crime. The Tri-Cities has frequently been ranked as one of the safest places to live in all of Washington. In 2018, West Richland ranked in one study as the 3rd-safest city in the state, and the rest of the Tri-Cities ranked in the top half of all cities. The same thing happened in 2019 and twice in 2020.
If you’re thinking about retiring in the Tri-Cities and currently live outside the area, don’t miss my article and video, 7 Things to Know About Moving to Tri-Cities, WA. If you have questions about the area, get in touch with me anytime! I’d be happy to learn about what you’re looking for and can set you up to get email alerts as new listings hit the market.
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