I managed to move to Seattle about 2 years ago after "casually" trying for about 10 years. Was in the DC metro area, which was "home" but that I had been desperately trying to escape for something new.
I finally ended up changing my address in monster.com to the Seattle Public Library in an attempt to get monster to honor my location preferences. I still got most of my recruiter calls and emails from DC, SoCal, and various "flyover" states, and I still do today. I figure those are simply places hurting for techs because techs don't want to live there.
Believe everything you hear and read about the culture in Seattle. They're the nicest, most polite, least jaywalking people you'll ever meet. And they probably don't want you here, particularly if you're from California. They work hard. They play hard. They have an internal energy that keeps them warm from within, and drives them through the long, cold, wet, dark seasonal affective disorder (SAD) season.
I took a pay cut and self-relocated my family across the country. I also don't get nearly unlimited overtime like with my federal contracting gig. I bought a bike, then another, and a set of cross-country skis for the family. We get a lot of use out of our annual state and national park passes all year round.
There's a huge cottage industry of tech contracting firms (Volt was extremely nice, Insight Global was more "just business" but had a lot of contacts in industry). All of the people who do real work for MS and others are mostly contractors, just like everywhere else. A lot of contractors at MS would work for 1 year and then take 3 months off to avoid getting paid real benefits like healthcare and vacation. I live in Redmond by work downtown Seattle, which is good, since rush hour traffic actually is worse to/from the MS campus.
I figure we'd hang out here for about a decade or so until the kids go to college, making sure to hit most of the trails and mountains and islands on our ever-growing list of PNW things to do, then probably take a big fat offer with relocation for somewhere else. This has been something of a working vacation for us, but it certainly isn't for everyone.