Every year, Money magazine selects their top picks for the best places to live in the country, and in 2017, Mercer Island made the list at #89. Now they’ve selected the #1 city or town in every state, and Mercer Island was selected as the best place to live in Washington.
To receive this honor, Money uses data on cities and towns with populations between 10,000 – 100,000. According to the article, they eliminated places that had “more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity.”
From there, they used 170,000 different data points provided by Witlytic and realtor.com. These categories included economic health, cost of living, public education, crime, ease of living, diversity, and amenities. Money placed the most emphasis on economic health, cost of living factors, and public school performance. To make sure they included intangible factors that aren’t reflected in statistics, the reporters conducted interviews with residents and checked out the neighborhoods themselves.
Money identified Mercer Island’s “affluent residential areas, preserved parks and nature, and miles of scenic shoreline,” as well as our local events, including the Mercer Island Farmers Market and Summer Celebration, in its highlight of our community.
Here are our 10 reasons why Mercer Island is one of the best places to live in Washington and in the US:
- Safety – Mercer Island has an exceptionally low crime rate. Mercer Island residents can follow crime activity by reading the Mercer Island Reporter’s “The Blotter” column, consisting of Mercer Island police officer’s accounts of local incidents, mostly related to property theft and mischief. The Mercer Island Police Station and Fire Station host community safety events throughout the year, such as National Night Out in August.
- Great schools & educational opportunities – The Mercer Island community prides itself on the excellence and diversity of our local educational opportunities. The Mercer Island elementary schools are frequently recipients of Washington Achievement Awards. The Mercer Island High School was ranked 7th in Washington state in 2017, making it a gold medal high school by the US News & World Report. Mercer Island is also home to 18 preschools and offers several private school options, including the French-American School of Puget Sound (Multilingual Pre-K – 8th grade program); Northwest Yeshiva High School (Washington State’s only Jewish high school); St. Monica’s Parish School (PreK – 8th grade Catholic education program); and the Yellow Wood Academy (customized different learners / special needs / gifted K-12 program). Additionally, Mercer Island is also located in close proximity to the University of Washington, one of the Top 100 Schools in the Nation.
- A strong sense of community – It’s easy to get involved and enjoy a sense of community on Mercer Island. With a variety of community organizations including the Mercer Island Preschool Association, Mercer Island Women’s Club, Mercer Island Rotary Club, and Chamber of Commerce, there are lots of opportunities to connect with your neighbors over common values, goals, and causes.
- Proximity to Seattle & the Eastside – Unique as the most populated island in a lake in the U.S., Mercer Island is perfectly positioned between Seattle and Bellevue. Hop on I-90, and you can be downtown in either city in 10 or 15 minutes. Additionally, some of the largest and most well-known corporations in the world, including Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, and Nordstrom, are located in the greater Seattle area. Mercer Island provides a convenient commute to many of these corporation’s campuses and headquarters.
- Outdoor activities – Mercer Island has 475 acres of parks and open spaces, with several playgrounds perfect for a fun afternoon outside. Mercer Island has also been recognized as one of KaBOOM’s Playful City USA for the past 10 years.
- Lake Washington – Surrounded by Lake Washington, Mercer Island has fantastic views and provides easy access to recreational water activities. We have several public beaches on Mercer Island, where you can swim, fish, paddleboard, kayak, or just relax during the summer months. We also have several private swim clubs along Lake Washington, and Mercer Island’s Boat Launch provides ease of access for boating.
- Community-building events – In addition to community-building organizations, Mercer Island has fantastic events, big and small, every week and month of the year that foster health, education, community, and support our local businesses. From June to October, Mercer Island hosts a weekly Farmers Market. Every year in July, the city hosts Summer Celebration, full of food, fun, performances, and games for all ages. Check out our annual events calendar here.
- Philanthropy – Mercer Island community members are actively involved with service projects and helping the local, greater, and world community. In the spring and summer, there are weekly park clean-up and planting events. Throughout the year, community members dedicate their time and resources toward supporting local schools, Mercer Island Youth & Family Services, Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Treehouse, YMCA programs, Mary’s Place, Summer Search, The Kiran Anjali Project, and many other organizations.
- Strong leadership and engaged & involved citizens – The City of Mercer Island has an experienced team of staff; a dedicated board of council members; and is supported by a plethora of volunteer boards and commissions, including the Arts Council, Civil Service Commission, Community Services Board, Design Commission, Disability Board, Mercer Island Library Board, Open Space Conservancy Trust, Planning Commission, and Utility Board. Additionally, Mercer Island schools are supported by active and dedicated PTA organizations and volunteers. Every day, people on Mercer Island are dedicating hours of their time toward improving their community and supporting their neighbors and local programs and organizations.
- A great Town Center and beautiful neighborhoods – Mercer Island’s Town Center is the dynamic and evolving commercial hub of the Island, and has lots of great shopping, dining, and fitness studios. From the north end to the south end, Mercer Island has beautiful neighborhoods, picturesque parks, and lovely gardens and landscaping. Additionally, historic points of interest throughout the island, including the VFW Hall, the Roanoke Inn, Sunnybeam School, the old dairy barn ruins and administration building in Luther Burbank Park, as well as the diverse architecture of homes make Mercer Island an interesting and beautiful place to live.
What do you love most about Mercer Island? Let us know in the comments below!