Ellensburg, WA
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#7. Ellensburg – Affordable Cities 2018

Located to the east of the Cascades, Ellensburg holds the unusual distinction of being the most centrally located city in Washington. Residents there spend 35% less on necessities than the average American, but in particular on transport, entertainment, and healthcare, where Ellensburg comes in second on this list.

Further, rent is well below national averages, with the median being $758 a month. This low cost of living, especially relative to major cities in the state, has led to a good number of Seattle’s residents making the shift over to Ellensburg, from which they commute to jobs located in the Puget Sound region via I-90.

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Why else is Ellensburg a great place to live? Well for starters, it’s much drier than your stereotypical idea of Washington — it gets less than nine inches of rain each year, and has 204 sunny days. (Compare that to Seattle, which receives nearly 37 inches of rain, and has 152 sunny days.) The city is also full of historic charm. Downtown Ellensburg is full of historic buildings dating back to the late 19th century. It’s also home to Central Washington University, which makes for a youthful and engaged population.

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The arts scene is lively to say the least; on the first Friday of each month, the town hosts a two-hour art walk where businesses, galleries, museums and the local community come together to celebrate the local art scene. Ellensburg hosts a wide range of festivals and events, including a farmers market, rodeo, microbrewery festival and jazz festival, but the annual Dachshunds on Parade is undeniably the cutest local happening. 

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