Kent is located in King County, in the heart of a sprawling metroplex that stretches from Seattle (18 miles to the north) to Tacoma (18 miles due southwest). Kent is Washington’s sixth largest city, an economic powerhouse that claims to be the fourth largest center for manufacturing and distribution in the United States. It is home to about 125,580 people (estimated 2014 U.S. Census) and covers 29 square miles.
The area around Kent was first settled in the 1860s and known as Titusville. The climate was ideal for cultivating hops, and local farmers found a good market among the breweries in Europe, where hops production was severely impeded by aphids. The city incorporated in 1890, at about the time the aphids put an end to local hops production. The area’s agrarian roots ran deep, however, and it eventually became known as the world’s lettuce capital. Today, Kent boasts world-renown strengths in aerospace and high-tech manufacturing. In 2015, residents celebrated the city’s 125 years.
With 39 inches of annual rainfall, Kent is only slightly wetter than the U.S. average (37 inches). The coolest month, January, sees an average low of 34°F. The warmest month, July, sees high temperatures scrape the upper 70s. Moderate temperatures and a relatively low humidity give Kent a comfortable climate. What’s the weather like in Kent, Washington, today?
Among the major roadways serving Kent are Interstate 5 and State Routes 167 and 516. The King County Metro transit system provides bus transportation throughout the area, and Sound Transit provides commuter rail service across the metroplex. Local shuttles serve downtown and offer commuter connections from local business to Sound Transit stations. Numerous bicycle and pedestrian paths connect to the Green River Trail and the Interurban Trail. These ways offer environmentally friendly and scenic options for navigating the urban area. As for air transportation, Kent is only seven miles from the SeaTac International Airport, the largest air hub in the Pacific Northwest.
Cost of Living in Kent
The cost of living in Kent is most influenced by the cost of housing, which is about 1.5 times more than the U.S. average. The median monthly cost for homeowners with a mortgage is $1887. The median cost to rent a place is $1012. How much will it cost you to live in Kent, Washington? Here are two good resources for assessing your buying power.
The Kent School District serves Kent and nearby communities across an area of approximately 72 square miles. It operates 28 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools, and three academy schools. Two out of three teachers hold a Master’s Degree. Higher education options in the greater Kent area include four universities and eight community and technical colleges.
There are 35 hospitals within 30 miles of Kent, including the Valley Medical Center (Renton); St. Joseph Medical Center and Madigan Army Medical Center (Tacoma); and Harbor View Medical Center (Seattle). Valley Medical Center is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, serving over 600,000 residents. Kent is part of the Seattle and King County network for public health, with a walk-in clinic located at Kent Hill Plaza Shopping Center.
Kent Real Estate
There are about 36,400 housing units in Kent, Washington, and a little over half are owner-occupied. The median value of owner-occupied houses is $251,000. If you are looking to buy or rent a home in Kent, you might start with an online search.
Kent is home to several popular names in hospitality, including Best Western, Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn, Red Lion, and Extended Stay America. Advertised rates are as low as $48 and go up to $150 or more for suites. Additional options are available in nearby Seattle and Tacoma, including more choices for luxury accommodations.
There’s a plate for every palate in Kent’s wide range of highly rated restaurants. From barbecue to Italian to Asian and just good old American, you’ll find a lot to drool over. You might start your meal plan by reading reviews. Or look at a map to see highly rated restaurants close to you.
Things to Do in Kent
If you like the outdoors, you’ll be right at home in Kent with 73 parks, miniparks, playfields, skateparks, greenbelts, and other outdoor facilities. Among these, the Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks stands out as a public park, an engineered retention center for storm water, and a stunning example of landscaping as environmental art. If you enjoy sports, keep your eye on the marquee at the ShoWare Center. Regular home teams are the Seattle Thunderbirds (junior ice hockey), Tacoma Stars (soccer), and Seattle Mist (women’s football).