This may sound strange coming from a Tri-Cities real estate agent: There are pros and cons to living in the Tri-Cities.
“What?!? Cari, aren’t you supposed to love the Tri-Cities?”
Well yes, I DO love the Tri-Cities. My family has lived here since 1994, and we wouldn’t have stayed so long if we didn’t love the area. But let’s be honest: No place is perfect, right? There are things I love about living here, but there are also some things I don’t love.
Whenever I work with people who are thinking about moving to the Tri-Cities, they’ll inevitably ask what I like and don’t like about the area. It’s a great question, so I’ve put together this article and video to answer.
1.) The weather!
We get all four seasons here, and it’s probably the most moderate weather you’ll find anywhere in the state of Washington. We get snow in the winter, which is new to me as a Southern California native. I don’t love snow, but I love that we get some every year because there’s always the chance we’ll have a white Christmas. Pasco averages about four inches of snow per year — far below the U.S. average of 28 inches, and way less than Spokane’s average of 44 inches per year.
We have rainy springs, but again it’s far more moderate than the west side of the state. We get about eight inches of rain per year, compared to 37 inches annually in Seattle. We do get hot in the summer, and it will reach 100 degrees and above. We call that “August.” But it seems like temps start to cool down as soon as the calendar reaches September, and we have the most wonderful fall season you can imagine!
2.) We’re the perfect size: not too big, not too small.
A few years ago, when Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives came to the Tri-Cities, everyone got super excited. It was all over the news and all over social media, just like you’d expect when a national TV star visits a “small town.”
But if you put all of the Tri-Cities together, we’d be the second-biggest city in the whole state! We have a lot of the amenities you’d find in much bigger cities, but without a lot of those big-city problems.
3.) Our beautiful rivers and mountains
This area is really beautiful. I understand that it’s really different from what people in heavily-wooded/forested areas are used to — i.e., we don’t have a ton of trees. But we do have a different kind of beauty.
The Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers all converge here. You’ll find plenty of beautiful waterfront parks and trails in all three cities — and some incredible waterfront homes, too! (But they don’t often become available for sale.) Even if you’re in the car, you’ll love driving along Hwy. 240 or Columbia Park Trail and seeing the Columbia out your window.
We also have a few smaller mountains (Badger is a favorite of mine) with great trails. So you’re just a short hike away from getting a bird’s eye view of the beautiful rivers!
4.) We have a ton of great wineries.
I’m not a huge wine drinker, but I do really enjoy getting together with friends at one of our local wineries and sipping a chilled, sparkling white wine. There are 200 wineries within an hour’s drive of the Tri-Cities, and most of them offer beautiful grounds and/or spectacular views of the area. And some of the top restaurants in the area are at our local wineries — if you want some recommendations, drop me a note.
We have several local businesses that offer winery tours, so you don’t need to worry about getting behind the wheel after a day of wine tasting with friends or family. It’s a great way to spend a weekend!
5.) Our amazing farmer’s markets.
SO. MUCH. FRESH PRODUCE! From late spring to early fall, the McGee house is filled with strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, and more — all picked fresh from our local farmer’s markets.
Farmers and vendors come in from Moses Lake to the north and Hermiston to the south. All three cities have weekly farmer’s markets, and they each happen on a different day of the week so you can shop the one that’s most convenient. West Richland is also starting to host its own market; right now, it’s happening every other week and maybe it’ll also become a weekly fixture in the years ahead.
1.) Hard water
We had hard water when I was growing up in Southern California, but we also had a water softener, so it didn’t bother me. You’ll want to make sure you have a water softener at your home in the Tri-Cities, too. The hard water can stain your glass shower door; we wipe ours down every day as soon as the showers are finished, and regularly use glass cleaner on the door, too. It can also stain your windows and fences if you don’t have your sprinklers aimed properly.
2.) It can get really windy.
As I said above, we generally have great weather in the Tri-Cities. But it can get really windy, especially in spring. It’s not unusual to have days where the winds are 20-30 mph, with gusts up in the 40-50 mph range. The high winds can last as little as a couple hours, but sometimes will continue for a couple days in a row. If you have outdoor furniture on your patio, you’ll get used to “battening down the hatches” a few times every spring. The wind can be difficult on anyone who works outside and/or anyone who suffers from allergies.
3.) I miss some of my favorite stores and restaurants.
We’re blessed with some great local restaurants in the Tri-Cities, but I really miss In-N-Out Burger — it was a staple of my childhood. I also wish we had a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods Market nearby. (There are rumors that Trader Joe’s will be moving into Pasco soon, so my fingers are crossed!) On the fashion side, I’d love to have a Nordstrom here, too. These are all places I took for granted when they were convenient in my childhood.
Even if I miss a few of my favorite stores, the reality is that the Tri-Cities has so much more to choose from today than we had even 10 years ago. Our growth has opened the door for the big national chains to establish a presence here, but even better for so many great local shops and restaurants to open and find success.
When it comes to weather, it’s pretty awesome that some windy days are about the worst thing we can complain about. And yeah, the hard water is a pain in the you-know-what, but you learn to live with it.
Have any questions about what you’ve read here, or questions about the Tri-Cities? Leave a comment below, email me here, or send a text to (509) 430-5342.
If you’re thinking about buying a home in the Tri-Cities, I recommend your first step be to join our free VIP Buyers Club so you get emails with our newest homes for sale up to a day before they hit the market. If you’d like to learn more about the process of finding and buying a home, or getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, my email and phone are above — I’d love to help.