Seattle, Washington

A Boutique Cosmopolitan Enclave In The Middle Of Twin Peaks

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What's it like to live in Seattle?

What's it like living in Seattle? Be brutally honest please!

I still love it here. It’s not the indie/punk/cheap/dicey/old school place I fell in love with in the 1990s. But things change in 38 years.

I was never into the outdoors but if your in reasonably good shape, the hiking can change your life. And most of the coast remains untouched. Imagine that! (Though it’s often raining sideways).

You can find a 1 bd apartment for $2000 in the city

BUT the real issue is: what is your line of work?

If you want to live in the city, you’ll need to be making at least $75,000, and $100,000 to live “kind of comfortably”

If you get creative and don’t mind sharing a house, you could probably get by on 40,000 - 50,000, but that would be tight.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend showing up here without a solid career or work history

What's it like living in Seattle? Be brutally honest please!

I'll just go against the grain here for a second and say that compared to a lot of other big cities, the museums here are underwhelming, especially considering the general education levels and overall wealth. We should be doing better.

As far as living here, it's really expensive and even more so if you have kids. Even in public schools you get hit up regularly for activity fees, field trips, fundraisers, etc etc. Not to mention other activities. I don't even want to tell you what we used to spend on soccer and basketball. And of course you have to feed them as well.

But that comes with the territory because overall it's a pretty nice place to live. Great weather, green, water everywhere, good food/beer/coffee/pot/, safe (though property crime is a hassle). The people are generally leftist and well-educated and stay out of your business- to the point that it seems unfriendly. It used to be incredibly clean for a U.S. city but that's changing fast. Hope we can get that part back on track.

I think the schools get kind of an unfair rap. At the administrative level things can be broken but there are plenty of good schools on an individual level.

The other day I was talking to a guy about our kids' high school and he was sort of bitching about it. Then I found out his kid now goes to UCLA. So take the bitching with a grain of salt.

Local politics can be a bit annoying. The city council is sometimes dysfunctional and there are a couple of council reps who are so leftist that they push the patience of other leftists. And we have the Seattle Process, which is basically striving so hard for consensus that it can be hard to get important things done. Oh and expect a new mayor every election cycle because people will oust a good one over a snowstorm. That lack of consistency adds to the slow decisions. I doubt few people are 100% happy with their local politicians no matter where they live though.

What is it like to live in Seattle, Washington?

I was born and raised in and around Seattle, left for 13 years, and then returned here 4 years ago. The other major metropolitan areas I have lived in the US include Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC; so any comparisons will mainly be based off of my experience living there as well.

The Weather
Let’s just put it out there…the weather in Seattle isn’t for everyone. There are alot of overcast and rainy days here. Then again, as I write this, it is a beautiful sunny day. The weather is rather unpredictable, and can be cold and rainy in the morning and sunny and warm in the afternoon. For this reason, people often dress in layers. Seattle (and Pacific NW) winters can be long and dreary. I usually take all my vacation in the winter and fly somewhere warm and sunny for a break. But in my humble opinion, the summer days here are the best I have experienced anywhere.

  1. The Social Life

Seattle is interesting in that it is a major metro, but the night life typically starts to slow around midnight, and definitely ends at 2 AM. It definitely isn’t New York City or Atlanta or something where you end your night/morning at a 24 hour pizza place or Waffle House. I guess people here like their sleep.

The “Seattle Freeze” is a real thing. This is essentially where people will make plans to meet up and hang out, but then bail on those plans. Some people postulate that this is due to people not being genuine, but I beg to differ. I believe alot of it has to do with the topography and traffic (which I will address next) as well as the local economy (which I will address as well). But it can be difficult to make friends here, so you often have to make extra effort to build and maintain friendships.

  1. Traffic

I grew up here, so I didn't have a lot to compare to until I moved to Atlanta. Traffic in Seattle is bad but is nowhere near as bad as some other places. There are a lot of poor decisions made regarding roads and transportation in the Seattle area which contributes to the traffic. A huge contributor is the fact that, like most big cities, all companies want to start and end at the same time so the rush hours are terrible. This always made no sense to me in a city whose primary industry is tech, where rotating schedules are very possible. Another huge cause of the traffic is the topography. Technically Seattle is surrounded on 3 sides by water so there are a lot of bridges and ferries, which don’t help. Also, like many large expensive cities, more and more people cannot reasonably afford to live in town, so they live in the suburbs or exurbs. This means that more people are commuting longer hours in order to find reasonably priced housing. Going to see your friends can be hard when the traffic is bad most of the day, contributing to the “Seattle Freeze”.

What is it like to live in Seattle, Washington?

I'm loving it here! I live close to the Puget Sound and hike to it every other day or so. As I type this, I think we are having a record for no rain- 30 days? Here are some of my fave things about it:

It's very diverse. I came from a white bred town in Colorado, and that is just not the case here. There are many races prevalent here, including black, Asian and Hispanic, and Indian. There are many religions here as well. It's a beautiful tapestry of America!
No snow! Welllllll… hardly any snow. Lol. Once again, I came from buckets of snow and now if there's an inch everyone stays home.
Nov-March is the rainy season. But my experience is it's mostly very fine, misty rain that comes and goes with breaks in the clouds to clear blue or mostly clear skies. It rarely gets super cold here- typically 45°/35° in winter. Right now (July) it's mid to upper 70’s during the day and 55 at night.
I'm close to the mountains and close to the beach! Yay! I love them both so much! I'm enjoying exploring all the sea cratures at low tides! I love the water, and enjoy the ferries to various places.
They've got public transportation down! There's still a lot of work to be done on the highway systems to make them easier to travel! Lol. The traffic here is worse than Denver. But light rail is awesome and cheap!
The people are incredibly friendly! And I think very conscious people, generally. There's a great emphasis on hybrid/electric cars, composting/recycling, and overall health here.
The trees and all plants here are phenomenal. People mow their lawns all year and flowers grow all year. I have hummingbirds all year. It's so stunningly beautiful just about anywhere you go!
I'm loving it. I know it's expensive here, and that is unfortunately proven by our homeless population being one of the biggest in the nation. But I think there are lesser expensive areas that might be worth exploring if you are contemplating moving here. Seattle proper is a quite high cost of living.

I'll leave you with a few pics because a picture is worth a thousand words…

The Pros & Cons of Living in Seattle