my personal impresssions
First things first: I’m not a native. I moved here in 1986 from Boston (by way of Ann Arbor and before that Cleveland). I’m fond of saying, I have to leave in order to stay. Seattle is beautiful, laid back, progressive, diverse, and totally hip. That’s why I moved here (and stayed). It’s far from perfect but I’m not leaving any time soon. My perspective is undoubtedly skewed because I have three kids born and raised here, I have a buncha close friends in town, and I live and work in West Seattle, arguably Seattle’s best neighborhood IMHO.
If you’re visiting Seattle as a tourist
Forget your preconceived notions about Seattle. No, it does not rain all the time. Cloudy, yes. Summers are wonderful but way too short. Winters are long but it usually only snows once a year. Drive less than an hour and ski in the mountains all you want.
We take our coffee and beer seriously. When in Seattle, do not go to Starbucks. Let me repeat that: don’t drink Starbucks in Seattle. There are scores of independent coffe houses in Seattle. You can only enjoy them here. So while you’re visiting, seek out indie coffee shops and buy beans to take home made by local roasters.
Microbrewed beer is all over town. Explore the microbreweries, many of whom are in neighborhoods outside of downtown. Ask what local beers are available whenever and wherever you eat. Many breweries only do kegs sold through bars and restaurants. Wine, you’re on your own. I’m a beer guy.
Ignore The Blue Map. Ignore the area between the stadiums and Seattle Center, the water and I-5, a.k.a. the ride free zone. Leave downtown and get out into the neighborhoods.
If you’re thinking about moving to Seattle
Please don’t. There are enough people here already, there isn’t much vacant land in the city itself, and the suburbs are godawfulugly. Commute? You have no idea what you just said.
Oh. Are you moving from somewhere else? Have you looked at Seattle real estate prices lately? If not, you’re in for sticker shock like you won’t believe.
So just stay put.
If you live in Seattle
City or burbs? Own or rent? 99 or I-5? Weekly or Stranger? Starbucks [Y/N]?
If you live in Seattle, north or south of the canal? Do your kids go to public school? PCC [Y/N]? McGinn [Y/N]? And what about the f*cking viaduct? Tunnel? Seawall? Rail, light or otherwise???
When was the last time you set foot on Rainier? Ever? Name two Port of Seattle commissioners. Heck, how many are there total? How many people do you know who work at Boeing or in high tech? Ever eaten lutefisk?
You realizde the bagels here are for sh*t, don’t you? I used to bring them back in my luggage when I went back to Boston or New York.
I tend to avoid the natives and gravitate towards other out of state refugees.
There are less trees here than you’d think. White folks cut them down a long time ago. The beaches in town are pristine compared to elsewhere. The default politeness practiced here flips out of towners out, especially New Yorkers. Heart healthy or not, I’m bored with salmon. Bald eagles and coyotes are extremly common in my neighborhood (98116-1661). People bike everywhere, all the time. If you like blackberries, you’ll be glad to know that they’re weeds here. The good news is that very few people, including the City, spray.