Seattle August 23, 2016
10 Things You May Not Expect When Moving To Seattle
Seattle is a city unlike any other―and that’s a good thing. Nestled between the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges on the shores of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it’s both visually stunning and impressive to all who visit. Moving to Seattle is amazing, but there are a few things you should know before you decide to call the Emerald City home.
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1. It doesn’t actually rain as much as some people think…
Yes, there are all those statistics that will tell you we only have 71 rain-free days a year. But Seattle actually does have a lot of beautiful days, and more often than not, the rain doesn’t last for 24 straight hours. If you can deal with a few drizzly hours in your day, you’ll do well here.
2. … but the winters are long, and they are very gloomy.
Seattle winters are tame by most people’s standards―temperatures rarely dip below freezing, and you (usually) won’t see piles of snow. But they are gloomy, dark, dreary, and yes, often rainy.
3. The rent isn’t as bad as they say it is. It’s worse.
The unfortunate reality is that rent prices are skyrocketing due to the higher than average wages in Seattle (and a lot of other factors). The City Council has been trying to figure out a rent control situation, but in the meantime, your best bet is either finding an older building or renting a house directly from the owners. You can still find better-than-average deals, but it takes time and patience. Plan and budget accordingly.
4. You might see whales. Seriously.
Whales are often spotted in the Puget Sound, especially near West Seattle. And when it happens, it’s amazing.
5. The Seattle Freeze is a myth… sort of.
The “Seattle freeze” is thought to come from the Scandinavian factor. Once upon a time, Seattle had a heavy Scandinavian population, and they were known to be polite but also guarded. That’s how many Seattleites are perceived today—polite but guarded, and frequently flaking on plans. The reality is that most of us are incredibly busy with our jobs and all the fun things to do. If you want to make plans, suggest a date and time and get something on the calendar. You can make some wonderful friends in Seattle, it just takes time.
6. There are a lot of festivals and conferences, and they’re amazing.
Bumbershoot. Emerald City Comic Con. Sakura-Con. Vegfest. There’s something for everyone here. Sometimes you’ll walk by the Convention Center downtown and see a comic book character come to life.
7. Stick around all summer. It’s so worth it.
For most people, summertime means travel time. But from late June until mid-September, Seattle turns into a magical warm, sunny place where people are always smiling. Our higher Vitamin D levels are practically palpable. The outdoor activities, free public concerts and Mariners games are so fun, it’s tough to tear yourself away from the city. Stick around and enjoy the summer months. You can save your vacation time for winter.
8. Your niche is out there. Find it.
There’s a club, social group, volunteer organization or niche market for everything in Seattle. Are you into feminist Sci Fi novels? There’s a book club for that. Want to socialize your dog? Meetup.com will have a group for it. Seattle is a melting pot of the best kind of weirdos who are eager to talk about their quirks with others.
9. You’ll spot chickens in people’s backyards.
Seattle might be an urban oasis, but there are a lot of free range people who raise their own chickens. Building backyard chicken coops is an actual profession here.
10. You’ll want to allow extra time for your commute, even if it’s not “rush hour.”
Rush hour in Seattle is always happening, at least on I-5. Traffic is pretty abysmal, but fortunately the public transportation is improving every year. If you live on Capitol Hill and you have dinner plans in Ballard, for example, give yourself 30 minutes longer than you think to get there. If you’re early, you can always order a drink…. Seattle bars serve incredible local beers and the best cocktails ever.
Moving to a new city always brings unexpected challenges and struggles. Seattle isn’t for everyone, but for those who can deal with its imperfections, it’s an amazing place to live.