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Seattle People: What can you tell me?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Looks like my first outta college job might just be in the Seattle area (not sure of exact location yet). I know about the skiing in Seattle, but what I don't know is everything else....Oh wait, I know about the traffic

I have a loving fiance who is scared to death to move away from the nice, homey feeling of the midwest. Quite frankly, I'm a little scared myself. We will love the winters there as our weekends will surely be full of travels to some great skiing destinations in the area. SHIZZAMMM!! We can't wait.

But what about the other things in life? What about the summers? We love to waterski (she actually skis in a local club and has skied professionally from time to time). Is there such a thing in the area? Can we get out of the hustle and bustle quickly? Can we find a reasonably price, decent place to live?

I guess what I'm trying to get out of this post is; what do you love and hate about the place. We all love to ski, so don't waste your time stating the obvious. I'm looking for the not so obvious benefits as well as things you just wish would go away.

You don't need to sell me on the place as I already am. She's the one that needs comfort. Post here, PM me, or email ktrubin at mtu dot edu if you so desire. I think a trip is in order....
post #2 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrubin
What about the summers?
Summers in Seattle are quite pleasant, and actually dry, contrary to widespread public belief.

Quote:
We love to waterski (she actually skis in a local club and has skied professionally from time to time). Is there such a thing in the area?
Waterskiing -- like boating-type stuff in general -- is big in Seattle. Indeed, it is one of the several places where waterskiing was (independently) invented in the early 20th century. Seattle is, after all, on a large lake. There are other lakes nearby that may be better (smaller and calmer) for waterskiing. There's a lot of wakeboarding lately too. The water is colder in the summer than people in other parts of the country may be used to, but that's what wetsuits are for.

Quote:
Can we get out of the hustle and bustle quickly?
Yes.

Quote:
Can we find a reasonably price, decent place to live?
Probably not.

Actually, there's a bit of a trade-off here. If you go aways outside of the city, there are areas where things are more reasonably priced. In Seattle (excluding dicey areas) housing is extremely expensive. Don't expect anything "upscale" unless you've got seven figures to spend. Although, if you live and work in many parts of the City of Seattle (e.g. Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Madison Park, Madrona, Leschi, Mt. Baker ...), and don't need to get in or out at rush hour,* traffic isn't really that big a problem.

One option some people who work right downtown are fond of is Bainbridge Island. You commute by walking on to a ferry. Not real convenient to the mountains, though.

*Unlike most places, rush hour tends to go both ways: to the east, it's actually heavier in "reverse," that is it's harder to get in to the city during evening rush hour, and out during morning.
post #3 of 42

Sjjohnson is right . . .

I agree with Sjjohnson on almost all fronts. Good and Bad. Traffic in certain corridors is horrible at peak hours. It's grey and dark in the winter (now through end of Feb) but the midwest is consistently colder and almost as dark.

City living is great. Rents aren't that bad for two employed people living together. Real estate prices are steep vs midwest, so buying is a little tougher. North Bend is a great spot if you don't need to live in the city. Easy access to great outdoors. 1/2 hour from Alpental, close to Tiger for Mtn biking on the way home from work etc. Lots of hiking option close in.

Where is this potential job located?
post #4 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shin-to-win

Where is this potential job located?
Shin,
not really sure yet. I just got the call today from the corporate headquarters and they really didn't know as the HQ is in Syracuse, NY. I'll post the exact location when I know....I'm chomping at the bit because I hear that your location makes a big difference with traffic.

So if you know anybody that's selling heating, ventilation, and AC equipment on a commercial level in the Seattle area, let me know
post #5 of 42
My sister-in-law lived there for a few years, and liked it a lot. She wasn't making a lot of money at the time, and couldn't afford to live downtown, but she found a nice apartment in Lynnwood for around $800/mo. It's about 20mins north of downtown, as long as the traffic's moving.
post #6 of 42
I have to agree with the previous posts. Seattle can be a delightful place. The summers are usually fantastic. Lots of boating, both fresh water and salt. Lots to do, hiking, biking, etc. Wilderness areas in every direction. The Lake Sammamish Water Ski Club might be a good place to start for water skiing: http://lswsc.org/ Real estate prices are pretty stiff. You can find less expensive places if you get out of the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond core. I left 12 years ago. While I can get to Seattle fairly easily (1.5 hours) I only go 3 or 4 times yearly, mostly because of traffic. It's beautiful here too, and lots less people.
post #7 of 42
Thread Starter 
I'd love to be in Bellingham, but the job's in Seattle Sh!t happens, and I'm still stoked.
post #8 of 42
What makes Seattle so delightful makes it a pain to get around in. The city and surrounding suburbs are populated with rivers, hills and lakes making developing a road system a nightmare. Traffic is Seattle's number two problem behind the closing of the Rainier Brewery some years ago.

While you'll bemoan the workweek you'll love the weekend's there. You'll have easy access to the San Juan Islands, Cascade Mountains, a fun variety of ski areas, real culture, great seafood & Asian food and some great coastal areas. You are lucky to be starting in such a nice city.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrubin
I know about the skiing in Seattle...
There's skiing in Seattle? Who'd a thunk it?

I hate Seattle. I try never to go there. There's point five million in the city and three point five million people in the suburbs and they all drive alone.

Affordable? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! You can get a ghetto place for the price of a very nice 7 bedroom midwest place. On acreage. Seriously. When you see the cost of living in Washington, you will have serious sticker shock.

I really think it sucks the way the hordes have moved into North Bend. A sleepy little Cascade town turned suburb. Welcome to America. On the other hand, it is so damn expensive here in ********* that only the wealthiest can live here, so I guess people are stuck with Lynnwood and all the other clone suburbs.

On the other hand, if I had to choose between Seattle and any, repeat, ANY place in the midwest, it would be an easy pick.
post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
There's skiing in Seattle? Who'd a thunk it?

I hate Seattle. I try never to go there. There's point five million in the city and three point five million people in the suburbs and they all drive alone.

Affordable? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! You can get a ghetto place for the price of a very nice 7 bedroom midwest place. On acreage. Seriously. When you see the cost of living in Washington, you will have serious sticker shock.

I really think it sucks the way the hordes have moved into North Bend. A sleepy little Cascade town turned suburb. Welcome to America. On the other hand, it is so damn expensive here in ********* that only the wealthiest can live here, so I guess people are stuck with Lynnwood and all the other clone suburbs.

On the other hand, if I had to choose between Seattle and any, repeat, ANY place in the midwest, it would be an easy pick.

While bitter, this is the kind of stuff I want to hear in conjunction with the good stuff. Thanks for the great posts! I hope we have many more..
post #11 of 42
My bad if I come across as bitter. I'm not at all. I don't live in Seattle, and I manage to avoid going there more than once or twice a year. That makes me quite glad actually. I live in one of those towns that everyone in Seattle wishes they could move to, but they can't because they are not independantly wealthy.

I would not care to live in Seattle or (Ullr forbid) in the suburbs, but it would still be a long shot better than most places in America.
post #12 of 42
I have to admit I agree with Harry. Seattle traffic is nuts. Then again I use to live near Cleveland and I also have to agree that the relative hell of Seattle beats the snot out of the midwest
post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know what the dominant religion is in the areas? I'm sure there are pockets, but in general...
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrubin
Does anyone know what the dominant religion is in the areas? I'm sure there are pockets, but in general...
I'm not sure but it seems to be centered around coffee worship.
post #15 of 42
Indeed. Remember, this is a 'blue" state.
post #16 of 42
Pretty white bread waspy greeny. 10-15% Asian. 5% African American. Burbs are full on agnostic yuppie. Pockets of Jewish settlements in Mercer Island and Mt Baker neighborhood (not THE mount Baker). Plenty of Bible thumpers too. Concur on coffee worship.
post #17 of 42
There is no dominant religion like in some cities. Lots of folks from many backgrounds. The pockets here and there are not like eastern cities, much more diluted.
post #18 of 42
Seattle area is great. My mother, step-father and brother live in the burbs and have for nearly 15 years. Parents play tennis every Mon, Wed, Fri all year long- rarely a day that they can't play. Brother rides a road bike and mountain bike, rollerblades, wind sails, skis, and hikes regularly. When he first moved from the University of Kansas to Portland, he had a very tough time with the gray, drizzly winter the first year. Now I never hear him complain about Seattle. No one likes the traffic, but it happens when so many people are drawn to an area because of all the attractions. Unless there is a major storm, my brother usually bikes 20+ miles to work in downtown. Huge trail network around the area. Lots of different activities in the Seattle area to always learn something new- from symphony to Native American art, etc. And the views!!!

I've considered relocating to Seattle from Boston a couple of times, but haven't taken the plunge so far. The prices in Seattle are steep. Not really more than Boston on average, but for similar "accoutrements" it seems to be a little more. Interesting architecture- not a bunch of "boxes" like some areas of the country. I can tell you that some of the houses I looked at 10-12 years ago for 250-300K are now 700-800K+... and that is pretty sobering.

As far as places to live, I've lived in Denver, Atlanta, KC, St. Louis, Cleveland, Portland, Boston, Maine. I traveled extensively throughout the Midwest when I first graduated from college and have since made it to every state in the US except Alaska and DE. I'll just say that if you look for the good in every location you'll find it... and vice versa.

My wife is originally from KC, so she too had a difficult time with the transitions- especially Cleveland to Boston. However, I think you'll find that it all works out in the end. Now she doesn't want to leave the Boston area.

Good luck in Seattle!
post #19 of 42
Shin-to-win: the Jewish community is centered in Seward Park, not Mt Baker (a little farther south on the lake). 3 orthodox synagogues. There is a day school and an excellent high school.

Unlike Harry I happen to like Seattle a lot- great proximity and access to outdoor sports (skiing, climbing, lots of road cyclists and mt bikers, kayaking, rowing, running, etc- you get the idea) with a vibrant arts community (great symphony, opera, chamber music, jazz). Winter weather can be dreary at first but you get used to it. And it does make everything green and lush. Traffic is everything that has already been said and more. Public transportation is pretty dismal. I think it is key to live on the side of the lake that you work on- you do NOT want to be fighting the bridge traffic (or the S curves) twice a day. Housing costs are very high (but of course we managed to lose money when we moved, timing the sale of our house perfectly to just before the big upswing in prices.)
post #20 of 42
I moved from KS to Seattle in '87. Could live on W coast, NE or Austin - traveled throughout US but can't fathom anywhere else in US for combination of work opportunities, quality of life, cultural assets, tolerance, etc.

Seattle is pretty secular (I believe lowest rate of church attendance among major US cities). Everything is open on Sunday and there are many organized events on Sunday mornings (e.g. soccer matches) -- something you'd never see in KS.

Seattle still feels very parochial for its size. For contrast, visit Vancouver BC - much more cosmopolitan feel. Perhaps related, I know many people who've moved to Seattle feel we are rather cliqueish. Hard to meet people and infiltrate their circles. Seattle used to be pretty sleepy, but there are many more restaurants and late night entertainment options now. A big contrast from Chicago, Austin, etc. -- perhaps because there are so many outdoors activities and nature is so omnipresent that people substitute getting up early and hiking for staying up late and drinking. Coffee houses are the social hub as opposed to the bar.

Agree with others - renting is pretty affordable. Buying a house is brutal. We just bought a house on Queen Anne for $630K. Would have been well under $200K in Kansas where my parents live. Median price in Seattle city limits is something like $300K if I recall correctly but I've never actually seen a house at that price in any halfway desirable area of town (you might find an empty 5000 sq ft lot in city for that, if any exist).

People that don't like Seattle seem to fall in several categories: can't handle winter (but if you ski, you just mentally transform rain into snow during winter); cultural snobs from SF or NY/NE; those who feel it is too parochial.

One weird observation: People from Boston seem to like Seattle. There's a strange connection between the two cities. Seattle feels a little bit like a transplanted Boston.

I think Seattle is a good choice if you're interested in outdoor activities, want to live in a large city, want moderate weather, want to live in a liberal/tolerant city, want decent economic opportunities and can deal with rain, traffic and lack of public transportation.

Politically, if you're uncomfortable living in blue states, you certainly will be frustrated in Seattle. WA voted for Kerry 60-39, I'd guess it was more like 80-20 in Seattle as we often elect democrats to statewide offices by winning only the three Seattle metro counties.

When I drive back to KS, I can always find my car by looking for the bike/ski rack. No one else has one. That doesn't work in Seattle.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by darrellcraig
People that don't like Seattle seem to fall in several categories: can't handle winter (but if you ski, you just mentally transform rain into snow during winter); cultural snobs from SF or NY/NE; those who feel it is too parochial.

I think Seattle is a good choice if you ... want to live in a large city.
There are those of us who simply don't care for cities.
post #22 of 42
Like you, I moved to Seattle for my first job. I grew up in Portland, so I knew what I was getting into with the weather. The traffice can be bad, but no worse than any other metropolitan area that I have been to. I live on the Eastside (Issaquah) but work downtown. It only takes me about 25 minutes on the bus to get to work. I have lived in cities in the past, but having a young family, I preferred to live in the suburbs. If you fiance likes to waterski, she will have no problem here. I generally get out on Lake Sammamish at least 2 days a week before work. You've got to get out early if you want good water on one of the closer lakes, though. Incidentally, most of the major waterski/wakeboard manufactures are located in the Seattle area.

The Seattle area is great. I can't speak much about the city other than downtown near where I work. The suburbs are all very nice places to live if you do not want to be in the city. Most everyone is very friendly. We live in a neighborhood with a lot of first time home buyers so it has been very nice to get to know our neighbors, most of whome are in a similar situation with us. Housing definitely causes some sticker shock. My parents still can't believe how much our house cost and it can be frustrating to talk to my sister in Phoenix who spent half as much ad got a house twice the size. But she has to live in Phoenix.
post #23 of 42

Traffic? What Traffic?

I guess people posting on these boards never had to drive in the Bay Area or So. Cal? It's no worse than what you would find in Boston, I would imagine but it's been about 7 years since I last dealt with Boston traffic. And, hello, MA is a blue state. Has everyone forgotten where John Kerry is from?

You've heard the rest about all the great outdoor opportunities and yes there are tons of fun outdoor things to do in the state of Washington. If you're into mtn. biking and road biking like I am, you will find great places to ride both sets of wheels. And for you folks who can't give up the car, I happen to have an awesome commute on my bike to work. There are alternatives to vehicles in Seattle. Anyone from NJ care to comment on your mass transit system. (No, I'm not talking about the PATH train from Hoboken to Manhattan.)

The people of Seattle are about as nice and easy going as it gets. You get a lot of CA transplants who can't take the cost of living, and you guessed it traffic problems in CA. Of course CA transplants have to deal with our wonderful WA winter grey.

Depending on what you want out of housing, rent or own, it can be pricey to buy a home here. I guess Seattle has lots of millionaires who want big houses because that's about all anyone builds out here these days. The "poor" people live in places like Lynwood and Renton or gasp, Tukwilla and dare I mention Kent. There, I've gone and done it and insulted the masses in Kent, my apologies. Kent, you have a very nice town. It's just different.

Lots of good restaurants and who knows you may even find that fresh troll caught pacific coast salmon does actually taste better than that stuff you call Atlantic salmon.

But, please don't tell anyone else how great it is out here. We have too many people and it's causing a traffic problem.
post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phatty
I live on the Eastside (Issaquah)
Hey, I grew up in Issaquah! Lived on Lake Sammamish when it was out in the country (At least for my earliest years. It moved to the suburbs when I was in High School), and graduated from Issaquah High. A friend of mine made a "Ski Issaquah" poster when we were in HS. It featured a skier in full rain gear and a sou'wester hat skiing down the gravel pit (no snow, of course).
post #25 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadman

But, please don't tell anyone else how great it is out here. We have too many people and it's causing a traffic problem.

I'll ride my bike to work.

Thanks for all the great posts!
post #26 of 42
I am pretty much a Seattle area home boy. After having lived in some other parts of the country for short periods of time, I have come to really appreciate the temperate weather here, cooler in the summers, may or may not get lowland snow in the winter. Our weather is delivered by the Pineapple Express, an all year jetstream from Hawaii.

Seattle is full of well developed parks - very nice. Young people run up and down 3,000 feet of Mt. Si in North Bend, about 30 minutes from Seattle. I took a fourteen year old guy up Mt. St. Helens this last August. He is from Florida and was thrilled.

I now live south of Tacoma and Mt. Rainier is my outdoor temple - I can get up in the snow any day of the year. July and August are prime months for easy hikes on Rainier, Sunrise on the North side, Paradise on the South side. If you can make it to the top of Mt. Si, then you can make it to Rainier-Camp Muir at 10,000 feet by way of a two mile long snowfield.

Join the Mountaineers... http://www.mountaineers.org/
Join a dragon boat team... http://www.clubsake.com/

Other Summer things:
Seattle Seafair, Torchlight Parade (Seafair Pirates really scare me!)
Hydroplane Races, Blue Angels, party at a friends house on the lake.
Sunset at Golden Gardens Park - North Seattle
Camp out on the Pacific Ocean beach
Hang out at Alki Beach in West Seattle
Boat cruise around Lake Washington, check out the rich people homes, including Bill Gates
Walk around/hang out/rollerblade Green Lake - North Seattle
Feed the squirrels at Volunteer Park - stair climb the water tank if you can find it.
Do the Zoo
Fish off the waterfront dock.
Watch the fish window at the Ballard Locks
Run up Mt. Si after work.
Drink Microbrew beer in Pioneer Square
Mariners Baseball - a summer must do.
I used to rent a canoe at the University of Washington boat house, and paddle around the passages of the Arboretum. (watch out for the nudies).

- July 4th fireworks at Gasworks Park .. and many other places.

- Drive/Ferrie to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, stay at a bed & breakfast, drive across the Island to Roche Harbor, for July 4th fireworks and check out all the rich people in their big boats.

If your are insane, there is University of Washington Husky Football and tailgate parties.

... and Seahawk Football.
post #27 of 42
I worked downtown Seattle for many years and for 5 years I lived in the Issaquah area and the commute was HORRIBLE. I later moved to Tukwila where homes are very affordable and the drive was very quick, though I had to deal with some airplane noise from Boeing field....(trade-offs). I now work in Snoqualmie and live in Enumclaw where you can still find homes for under $200k, its quiet and close to the mtns. I rarely go downtown since I hate the crowds and traffic, but the waterfront is fun to hang out on now and then. If you don't mind to commute there are some people that are buying, living east of Snoqualmie Pass where the housing is MUCH cheaper and the weather is warmer/drier in the summer, but a bit colder and snowy in the winter.

Not many other places were you can snow ski/water ski and visit rain forests all in the same day......
post #28 of 42
You can ski (on snow) year around. Not too many places on earth that you can go from your home to snow in less than an hour.

I hope when you mean Seattle, you mean Puget Sound area..... living IN the City of Seattle itself would be a real drag!

My 2 cents.
post #29 of 42
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I do mean Puget sound area. I'm not exactly sure which suburb the job is in, and this of course will have quite the effect on where I choose to live.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrubin
Sorry, I do mean Puget sound area. I'm not exactly sure which suburb the job is in, and this of course will have quite the effect on where I choose to live.
Just figure, south of Seattle is cheaper to live then east or north. South of Seattle is cheaper because it is in the airplane path of Boeing Field and/or SeaTac airport. The noise really isn't a big deal because you get used to it and after awhile don't really notice it much.... Ski areas are within 1-2hr drive.

FWIW....
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