Pros and cons of living in Ellensburg, WA

Ellensburg, located in central Washington, is known for its charming downtown, outdoor recreation, and friendly community. While it offers a lot of perks, there are also some potential downsides to living in the area. In this article, we’ll explore both the pros and cons of living in Ellensburg, WA.


1. Scenic Location: Ellensburg is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, including mountains, hills, and rivers. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and skiing within easy driving distance.

2. Affordable Cost of Living: Compared to other areas in the state, housing and living costs are relatively low in Ellensburg. This makes it a great option for those looking for affordable housing and cost-effective living.

3. Small-Town Charm: Ellensburg offers a charming, small-town feel with a close-knit community. Many local events and festivals are organized throughout the year for locals to enjoy and connect. It’s a great place to raise children or to settle down.

4. Accessible Healthcare: Ellensburg offers excellent healthcare services with a hospital, medical clinics, and specialty practices. This means you don’t have to travel far for medical attention.

5. Economic Opportunities: There are several job opportunities in Ellensburg, from education, healthcare, manufacturing to retail jobs, and more. Plus, since the town is a major transportation hub, there are plenty of opportunities that come with working with logistics and transportation companies.


1. Extreme Weather: While central Washington offers beautiful scenery, it also experiences extreme weather. Summers can be scorching hot, and winters can be very cold, with snow and icy roads.

2. Limited Public Transportation: While Ellensburg is accessible by public transportation, it’s not extensive. It might be challenging for those without a car, and it may take time to get around once you’re here.

3. Limited Entertainment Options: While Ellensburg offers several community events and outdoor activities to engage in, it may lack some of the entertainment and cultural attractions found in larger cities. Nevertheless, Seattle is easily reachable, so it makes up for this drawback.

4. Limited Diversity: Ellensburg may not necessarily have a lot of diversity compared to larger cities in Washington. If you’re looking for diversity in your daily surroundings, Ellensburg may not meet your expectations.

5. College Town: Central Washington University is the major higher education institution in Ellensburg, which makes it a college town. While it offers some of the benefits associated with college towns, such as events and an active community, it may also have some drawbacks, such as crowded bars and intolerance for those not associated with the university.


Living in Ellensburg comes with several advantages and challenges. Despite its downsides, this town offers a high quality of life, especially for those who crave outdoor activities and affordable living costs. It provides a close-knit community with a small-town charm that’s highly coveted by many. However, it may not be ideal for everyone, so make sure to weigh the pros and cons and decide what matters most to you before making a final decision.

What are some of the major benefits of living in Ellensburg, WA?

Ellensburg, WA is a great place to live for a number of reasons. One of the biggest benefits is the small-town feel with all the amenities of a larger city. Ellensburg offers an array of restaurants, shops, and services, making it convenient to live in without having to travel out of town for everyday needs. The community is safe and welcoming, making it a perfect place to raise a family or retire in peace.

Additionally, the natural beauty surrounding Ellensburg is simply stunning. The city is surrounded by mountains, farmlands, and sprawling meadows that are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, skiing, hunting, and camping. The diverse landscape offers countless opportunities for recreation, from boating in the Yakima River to skiing in the Cascade Range. The weather in Ellensburg is also wonderful, with lots of sunshine and mild temperatures in the summers, and crisp, snowy winters that are perfect for outdoor winter activities.

Overall, living in Ellensburg is a great choice for those who value small-town living, outdoor recreation, and strong community ties. The city is full of friendly residents, delicious food, and beautiful natural scenery that make it a wonderful place to call home.

How does the cost of living in Ellensburg compare to other cities in Washington State?

Ellensburg is a charming city located in Kittitas county, Washington State. It is known for its beautiful scenery and rich history. When comparing the cost of living in Ellensburg to other cities in Washington, it is important to consider factors such as housing, transportation, groceries, and the general cost of basic necessities. When it comes to housing, Ellensburg’s cost of living is relatively affordable compared to larger cities like Seattle and Bellevue. However, it should be noted that the cost of housing has been increasing in recent years due to the growing demand. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Ellensburg is around $900 to $1000, which is significantly lower compared to Seattle, where the average rent is over $2,000.

In terms of transportation, Ellensburg is a small city, and most residents often choose to walk or bike to their destinations. However, for those who need to drive, gas prices are relatively lower compared to other cities in Washington. Groceries and other basic necessities are also affordable in Ellensburg. Fresh produce can be found at an affordable price in local farmers’ markets during the summer. Overall, the cost of living in Ellensburg is relatively balanced, where residents can live comfortably while maintaining a budget-friendly lifestyle.

In summary, while Ellensburg’s cost of living may not be as low as some smaller towns in Washington State, it is still relatively affordable compared to larger cities. It offers a balance between cost and quality of life, while also providing access to amenities and services found in larger cities. Whether you are a student, retiree, or young professional, Ellensburg is a great city to live in if you are looking for a budget-friendly lifestyle without sacrificing quality.

What are some of the biggest drawbacks of living in Ellensburg?

Ellensburg is a small town located in the center of Washington State. While it offers a peaceful and serene way of life, there are also some drawbacks to living in this small town. One of the biggest drawbacks is that there is a limited range of job opportunities available. With only a handful of businesses present in the town, finding stable employment can be quite challenging. This often forces people to commute to nearby cities such as Yakima or Wenatchee in search of jobs, resulting in long and tiring commutes.

Another drawback of living in Ellensburg is the lack of diversity. The population of Ellensburg is predominantly white, which means that there is limited cultural or ethnic diversity in the town. This can make it challenging for people with different backgrounds or beliefs to feel at home in the community. Additionally, the small-town vibe can be challenging for some individuals who prefer a bustling and vibrant city lifestyle.

Despite these drawbacks, Ellensburg holds a special charm that many people can appreciate. For those seeking a simpler way of life and prefer a close-knit community, Ellensburg can be an ideal place to reside in.

How does Ellensburg’s education system compare to other cities in the region?

Ellensburg’s education system is an excellent option for families looking for quality education in the region. Compared to other cities in the area, Ellensburg’s education system offers a range of opportunities for students of all ages. With a low student-to-teacher ratio and individualized attention, students in the Ellensburg school district receive a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college and beyond.

Moreover, the Ellensburg education system is well-funded and supported by local and state government. The funding allows for the school district to provide modern facilities, updated technology, and a diverse range of courses. The district also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including music, arts, sports, and clubs, which allow students to explore their interests and develop important social skills. Overall, the Ellensburg education system is a top choice for families seeking a high-quality education for their children.

Although many cities in the region offer competitive education systems, Ellensburg stands out for its commitment to academic excellence and a holistic approach to education. The district works to foster a safe and inclusive environment that supports students’ growth and development. Additionally, the district’s highly trained teachers are dedicated to helping their students succeed, and they provide personalized guidance and support to help students reach their full potential. Overall, Ellensburg’s education system is a shining example of what a community can achieve when it prioritizes the quality of education offered to its citizens.

What are some of the most popular recreational activities in Ellensburg and the surrounding area?

Ellensburg and the surrounding area have no shortage of recreational activities for visitors and locals alike. One of the most popular activities is hiking. There are many hiking trails in and around Ellensburg, ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs. The Iron Horse State Park Trail is a particularly popular destination, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a chance to explore old railway tunnels. Other favorite hiking spots include Olmstead Place State Park and the Manastash Ridge Trail.

In addition to hiking, Ellensburg and its environs offer plenty of opportunities for camping and fishing. Lake Cle Elum, just a short drive from Ellensburg, is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including kokanee and rainbow trout. There are also numerous campgrounds in the area, ranging from rustic to luxurious, making it easy for visitors to find the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Finally, for those who prefer indoor activities, Ellensburg also has a thriving cultural community. The Clymer Museum and Gallery, Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, and Kittitas County Historical Museum are all popular destinations for those who want to learn more about the area’s history and culture. Overall, Ellensburg and its surrounding areas offer something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts to cultural enthusiasts.