What's great about Seattle?
March 16, 2014 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Why should I move to Seattle from the east coast?

I've been offered a job in Seattle, which I was initially quite excited about because I know it's known as one of the USA's great cities. As part of my due diligence I read through askmefi's archive of 'Should I move to Seattle' posts, and the major things that stuck out to me were:

-It's unusually hard to make friends
-The weather tends to suck most of the time, unless you like cloudy drizzle
-Traffic is terrible

Perhaps I was unconsciously looking for negatives, but this is the impression that I got. The first point is particularly concerning to me, because I'm a somewhat introverted single guy and don't know anyone east of the Mississippi. The third point (maybe) makes this worse, because my job would be on the east side of the eastside, meaning I would probably live in Bellevue, since long commutes make me insane and it sounds like the bridges are a disaster during rush hour.

So I suppose my question is, what makes Seattle great, particularly for youngish unconnected people (or is it)? What counteracts the above negatives - or am I overstating these? Would I be setting myself up for misery if I were to move to Bellevue alone and without a network?

Btw I'm unfortunately unable to visit before making a decision on the job.
posted by btkuhn to Grab Bag (33 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Probably be helpful to know what city you're coming from and what cities you have lived in and enjoyed. I don't know that traffic is any worse than other large major american cities. Weather can be pretty grey, but it's generally temperate in my experience frequently visiting. Can't speak to the unfriendliness, but people do seem to agree it's a thing.
posted by mzurer at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2014

Sorry, I'm coming from NC; I've lived in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro, and generally liked all three. I guess I don't have much experience living outside the southern US so I don't have much to compare them to.
posted by btkuhn at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2014

My old lady is a Seattle (Bellevue/Samammish) native and I have spent some time there over the past decade. The weather is not as bad as they say. Mostly a PR effort by the locals to keep people from moving there. Also when it rains in Seattle in the winter it snows in the Cacades and you have great skiing a short drive from the city.

The people are awesome. Locals and transplants. I have never heard or experienced that it's hard to make friends - just the opposite. If you like the outdoors and outdoorsy people, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more ideal area.

The traffic is indeed horrible. Lake Washington makes East-west travel a hassle. OTOH there are decent bicycle paths on the East side.

The biggest challenge for someone from the East Coast is having to listen to people say "dang" instead of using a proper adult swear word.

Go. I grew up in Philly so maybe my threshold of unfriendly is high. Compared to any city in the Northeast, people in the Northwest are annoyingly friendly. Trust me, you could do a lot worse than Seattle.
posted by three blind mice at 11:38 AM on March 16, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm living in Durham currently, but I love Seattle. Seattle has a great big-city energy that Raleigh or Greensboro do not have (I have no experience with Charlotte). In particular, I like the variety of Seattle's neighborhoods. They are lovely to walk around and often have wonderful parks with enjoyable views. I'm into coffee and beer, and Seattle has a variety of both.

Seattle also has access to mountains and an ocean (as do many places in NC). The winters in both are also mild.

I do think that people in NC are friendlier right off the bat than people in Seattle, but I don't know that it's harder to make friends in Seattle. Everyone I know who has moved there has found a robust social circle within a year.
posted by Handstand Devil at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2014

Oh and the view of Mt. Ranier and the Olympics on a clear day is magic. The Puget Sound - well served by ferries - makes a fantastic weekend getaway. For someone from NC, lack of summer humidity in Seattle is a also nice bonus.

If my current home were not simply the best place on Earth, I would definitely consider Seattle.
posted by three blind mice at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Assuming this is a gig at microsoft or similar, you might also want to consider taking public transportation (or if it literally is microsoft, the company shuttle) and living in seattle. It'll be about an hour depending on where you live but you may find the tradeoff acceptable if you're not actually driving.
posted by inkyz at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2014

I've lived on the East Coast (NYC), midwest, and Seattle. Of those places, Seattle is by far my favorite. Everyone talks about the Seattle freeze, but haven't I really experienced it much at all. Making friends as an adult can be hard in general, but when you're a transplant, you often find other new transplants to befriend. Or you can find one person to introduce you to an established group. I find that the easy distances allow for pretty good hangout opportunities, and I really had no trouble finding friends.

The weather depends on what you like. The summers are sunny but never too hot, so no one owns air conditioners. The winters are never too cold, and it doesn't downpour very often. Coming from colder climates, I am happy to be able to jog or ride a bike or just get outdoors during all the seasons. The scenery is pretty year-round, but when the sun comes out, it's absolutely glorious. Right now the dogwood trees are blooming, the grass is green, and flowers are everywhere. Maybe you are more used to a good springtime coming from the south, so it might not be as excellent for you as it is for me.

Traffic is a pain, sure, but what city doesn't have it's traffic problems? The public transportation options aren't bad. You may have commuter bus options that will make transit a much better experience than if you choose to drive. Being stuck in traffic is much more tolerable if you can read a book or catch up on your email while sitting on a bus.

Anyway, this is all just my opinion, but I think that Seattle is the best. It has all the benefits of a big city without being too physically huge or spread out. It has a good outdoor scene and a good arts scene and the food is delicious. Also, the mountains are stunning, there are views everywhere, and there are almost no mosquitos at all.
posted by MsMartian at 12:04 PM on March 16, 2014

I live in and love Seattle.

It's true that people are a bit more introverted than people in other cities, but once you find a friend group you are in for life. I wouldn't worry too much about that, particularly if you'll be working at a company that employs many other people in your age group etc.

I think Seattle is best for people who:
-Love the outdoors and/or are bookish/geeky
-Do have an interest in settling down someday (there's definitely an online dating scene and such, but people do tend to settle down in their 30s...it's a great place to have a family)
-Like to hang out in restaurants, breweries and coffee shops
-Are generally progressive, liberal or libertarian
-Like making long-term connections with people and groups of friends

There were two things that gave me pause in your post:

1. I personally would find it really difficult to move somewhere without having been there ever...are you sure you couldn't visit just for a weekend? (Especially since you're coming from the South, which is very different in a lot of ways.)

2. That you plan to live in Bellevue. This may be my personal bias but...how do you feel about suburbs? What types of cultures do you like living around? What's important to you to have in your city? My friends who live in Bellevue really only come into Seattle on Saturdays/Sundays, so it really depends more on how you feel about Bellevue than how you feel about Seattle. Is the job at Microsoft? If so, I'd really recommend looking into the company shuttle and living in Seattle. But again, that's my city bias. :)
posted by leitmotif at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Ok, one last thread-sit update...the job is at Boeing's Bellevue office, which is close to Lake Sammamish. I haven't heard of them having a company shuttle to Seattle, and I guess I formed the impression that a commute there (either driving or public transit) from Seattle would be 45 minutes to an hour each way, at least much of the time. Thanks for the responses thus far!
posted by btkuhn at 12:17 PM on March 16, 2014

I've lived in Seattle for 20 years now, and I love it best out of all the places I've ever lived. Here's why:

1. Yes, the weather is shit. But the CLIMATE -- the climate is tremendous. We don't have terrible heat, we don't have horrible sticky humidity, we don't have freezing cold for weeks and weeks and weeks. We don't have snow -- I mean, we do as an event, but not as a constant condition. We don't have ice storms. For most of the year, the temperature stays pretty reliably between 40 and 80. (Also, we don't have hurricanes or tornadoes.)

2. The diversity of the landscape is AWESOME. Islands? We got 'em! Rain forest? We got that too! Some of the best skiing in the world? a two hour drive away. River fishing? We have so many rivers! Ocean fishing? OMG the ocean is right over there! Want to visit the desert? Hop over the mountains! If you like to sail, or hike, or ski (downhill or cross-country), or canoe, or kayak, or rock-climb. . . Seattle is your town.

3. Like arts? We got arts! We're never going to compete with big, old-money towns like NYC or Philadelphia or Chicago, but the Seattle Symphony is pretty great (disclaimer: I sing with the Seattle Symphony), the Pacific Northwest Ballet is well-regarded, and the Seattle Opera draws audiences from all over the world. And what we lack in legacy endowments, we make up for with a strong participatory culture; there are a LOT of small regional ensembles around, so if you'd rather play than listen, there are a lot of opportunities. If you prefer your music a little more amplified, Seattle is a great rock music town too, with a long and proud history.

4. I think the people here are awesome. We tend towards the introverted, yes, but I am a crazy extrovert and I have made a ton of friends here. I met my husband here! I find Seattle people to be kind, thoughtful, and considerate. And it's a pretty deep blue town, too, if political affiliation matters to you.

I could go on and on -- feel free to memail me with specific questions if you want!
posted by KathrynT at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2014 [11 favorites]

You move for a job across country, away from your friends and family because it's a GREAT job, for a GREAT company at GREAT money. The job should propel your career significantly up the ladder, either in responsibility or in title or in the ability to broaden your skill-set.

You move because you don't like where you are, or you're ready for something new. You move because the place is somewhere you've always wanted to live and it's too much of an adventure not to move.

Unless there's a compelling reason to move, you shouldn't.

It really is that simple.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

Ha, I was just entertaining the idea of moving back to Seattle because many of the best people I know and like are living there now.

If you're coming from the South, what I'd say is that people are a lot less chatty to strangers. There's very few instances of light chitchat, the kind of social interaction that's really common in the South (as an example, when my wife and I moved to Atlanta and went grocery shopping, we bought a pork roast, and the cashier and I had a ten minute chat about the best way to cook it while the wife was like "Do you even know her? That was so weird." and I was like "What?"). And I found very few instances where it was like "Hey, 20 of us that all work in the same office are all going for margaritas, wanna come?" So I think that's where Seattle gets its reputation for unfriendliness, but I wouldn't say it's negative, more...everyone wants their social space and gives you your social space, you know? In my experience, it was a lot more of a "small group" town rather than "the entire office is going to TGI Friday's for drinks after work."

But once you make friends with people, everything's fine.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ahh. Boeing. This changes lots of assumptions; I was going to ask how it was possible you hadn't visited when they flew you out to interview, e.g.

The climate will you make you soft (the air is so unbelievably clean). Clouds are more interesting here and there are nice mountains to look at in the distance.

So you really are moving to Bellevue because I agree: busing over to Lake Sam is probably not worth it. The infrastructure of Downtown Bellevue is perniciously shaped by classist mall developers; as side effect, its indoors areas are roosting ground for well-coiffed women of all ages and outdoors are well-timed pipes for private vehicles. But you can drive over to the park and ride and then bus into Seattle and access the culture / slightly-more-geographically-concentrated nerdery that others have described.

No alums from your department to ask? What's your alternative: another Boeing job in Charleston? (sorry, pot shot)
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:48 PM on March 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seattle is definitely hard on new comers. But if you see her once with the openness she deserves, it's impossible not to fall in love with her. All of the below here are my own personal opinions.

- Seattle is a therapeutic city where nature and beauty are actively integrated with concrete/buildings.
- You will eventually figure out that rain can't really depress you or even prevent you from going on a run around green lake.
- Seattle has an excellent public transit system. There are busses to everywhere and some of them even have free wifi.
- One of the few cities where you can be vegan without blinking an eye.
- It's a city where people have deeper weather conversations.
- No one's in a real mad rush like NYC or LA . There is traffic however if you commute during the peak commute hours. Take a bus instead.
- People are not known to be super friendly. But I did meet progressive people and could have solid high quality conversations faster than I have had at most other larger cities.
- There are 3 glorious months in summer and practically everyone is out and about.
- I think Seattle is a very reasonable city to live in. I really like that regular people can still afford to live in this city without having tech or Wall St jobs.

A place is like a person. Seattle is not larger than life like NYC or SF where the personality of these cities themselves are a big force to reckon with. She's a much more cool, laid back. You may not really mind leaving her to upgrade to SF or NYC at some point. But you will miss her and think of her fondly like an old friend.
posted by gadget_gal at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I moved to Seattle from the east coast in 2001. I unabashedly love Seattle.

Here are the things that I think are great about it.

1. It's beautiful. I never, ever, ever, ever get tired of seeing the sun set over the Olympics, the sun rise over the Cascades, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay, Mount Rainier, or anything else around here. I've never lived anywhere prettier.

2. The stuff to do here is the stuff I like to do. Things I've done/do in Seattle or in very close proximity: hike in the mountains only an hour's drive from home, kayak, bike, ski, taste wine, sail, scuba dive, browse used book stores, listen to live music, hang out in pubs, have great vegetarian food, visit art galleries, see movies at independent theaters, and watch college/professional sports. This is stuff that is all doable either in Seattle itself or within a one hour radius.

3. There are cool things to do and see within a few hours' drive: Vancouver, Portland, Lake Chelan, the San Juan Islands, the Hood Canal, the Olympic Peninsula, Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Victoria, wine country, east of the Cascades where it's sunny, the Columbia River Gorge, the Skagit Valley, etc. If you like to get out of town and explore, there are tons of things to see.

4. Seattle is big enough that it is easy to get out of town to a number of cool places by air. In addition to all the places I've mentioned, you can get to California, Vegas, or Salt Lake City in a 2-2.5 hour direct flight, fly direct to Hawaii in about 5.5 or 6, or fly to Alaska in about 4.

5. The weather is better than what I was used to on the east coast. I hated freezing icy winters and humid, muggy summers. Seattle has neither. Seattle has the most glorious summer and early fall weather of anywhere I have lived. It also is dark and gray and rainy for much of the rest of the year, although the rain rarely prevents you from doing anything you want to do (because it's not typically heavy) and on any day of the year it could be spectacular. It's not uncommon to have amazing, clear winter days that feel like springtime even in January and February. Those days aren't typical, but they happen often enough that you appreciate the beauty of Seattle even in the dead of winter.

6. I like that people are, generally, polite. Seattle has, hands down, the nicest drivers of any large city where I've spent any amount of time, which is a big plus considering that the traffic is pretty gross. What I find about Seattleites is that they're unlikely to be intrusive. So, on one hand, I don't always know my neighbors. But on the other, people respect your privacy, are usually polite and nice to you, and it's a civil place to live.

7. I like the politics here. If you don't like the politics, well, I guess you won't. But it's super nice for low-key generally liberal people like me to feel at home.

8. There are a lot of super cool neighborhoods. If you're commuting to the Lake Sammamish side of Bellevue, it limits your options, but Seattle is a city of great neighborhoods and there are just tons that will have stuff you might like if you're like me--cafes, movie theatres, good bars and restaurants, great grocery stores, bookstores, and so on. This is true in many parts of the city, not just in a handful of neighborhoods.

9. If you're going to live on the East side, and I'd urge you not to (sorry Eastsiders), but if you must, consider Kirkland.

It would be hard to move here not knowing anyone. And the culture here isn't such that people will welcome you into their homes with open arms--they'll give you space and be nice to you, and people overall are generally agreeable. If you're in some apartment complex in Bellevue that is about the same as any other apartment complex in Bellevue, Seattle would probably feel like a pretty isolated place, especially because it's not like you can go back to North Carolina for the weekend very easily. If I were moving to Seattle alone, I'd actually live in the city and just deal with the commute out to Bellevue (which might not be as bad as you think).
posted by MoonOrb at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2014 [7 favorites]

I only visited Seattle for a long weekend a few years back, and I loved it. The weather wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been led to believe, and there was so much to do without the kind of congested overload I get in NYC. (For the record, I really like visiting NYC, but I don't think I could live there.)

I have a few friends who live in Seattle, so I'd probably be a little more reluctant to go there if I had no built-in network. But I consider myself especially awkward, so you may have it easier than I.

The two things that jumped out the most to me about Seattle in the brief time I was there were the food and the arts. My friend who played tour guide said Seattle was a foodie city. I'd never heard that before and remained skeptical until she took me around to some of the eateries. Amazing. And affordable. Seattle also has a robust literary community, which is perfect for a writer and bibliophile like me. (It also helps that said friend is a fixture of said literary community. YMMV.)
posted by xenization at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I started to write up the positives, and then I saw MoonOrb did a great job there. (One addition: on politics, I had zero problems being someone who didn't agree with a lot of the politics in the area--I found people to be very live & let live, so if you don't like the politics, not to worry.)

On your concerns:
  • Friends: here's the thing about cities--there are a lot of people in them. Any generalization about making friends is an over-generalization. How would you make friends? Activities? Meetups? Work? Bars? All good options in Seattle. And people in Seattle are nice, so you are unlikely to find people aggressively mean while you go through the always-awkward thing of trying to find your people.
  • Weather: it's going to be cloudy a lot, and it will sometimes be misting/drizzling. But because the rain doesn't get that heavy, and it doesn't get cold, you can still go outside and enjoy yourself! The winter will actually be milder than you're used to in NC, so you'll buy a raincoat, continue to live your life when it's cloudy. In no time you'll have good memories of being out and doing fun things while it's overcast, and this won't bother you.
  • Also, summer is glorious. 70-75 and not humid, which is perfect for city living.
  • I can't really address your traffic point as I only lived in the city, but outside of rush hours I never found moving around the area to be a problem at all. It's certainly not like DC, where there will be random terrible traffic jams when I try to drive through Virginia on a weekend. Find a workable commute and this won't bother you.
I grew up in Seattle, am currently in DC, have also lived in Boston and Charlottesville, VA, and I'd go back in a heartbeat!
posted by _Silky_ at 1:42 PM on March 16, 2014

You couldn't pay me enough to live in Bellevue, which to me is suburbia at its worst. I love Seattle, and lived there for 20 years (mostly on Capitol Hill). But if that commute is intolerable, you might consider living east of Lake Sammamish--say in Duvall, Carnation, Fall City or North Bend. The real estate might be a little cheaper, the commute might be simpler, and you'd be closer to the mountains. But then, I haven't lived in Seattle since 2000: maybe that area has been absorbed by the Borg-like forces of Eastside "development" so that now it's like all the rest. I say: find a way to visit for a few days, and explore. To your specific bullet points:

-people are remarkably friendly and surprisingly hard to get to know
-it does rain a lot during the winter. It's usually more of a heavy drizzle than an actual rain, however, so it doesn't really get in the way. What CAN get in the way sometimes is the limited daylight in the winter. Seattle is quite far north, so on a rainy day around the winter solstice it can seem to get dark before it ever fully got light. The flip side is that an early summer evening goes on forever.
-there is probably an objective measure of how bad the traffic is in the Seattle area, but I would have to say that, yes, it sucks.
posted by baseballpajamas at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2014

Anthony Bourdain did an episode of The Layover in Seattle that did, I thought, a surprisingly good job of capturing the feeling of Seattle, up and down (he disdains hipsters but forgives them when they make a really good cheese -- and they're friendly to boot). The takeaway: it's a place with a lot of energy -- not of the frantic, East Coast variety, but of the sort that fuels new ideas. People will try things out here, they'll experiment and rally behind the stuff that works. The cutthroat element is missing. The result is a lot of terrific restaurants and stores and good neighborhoods and shows of all kinds. It's a gorgeous spot in the world, too.

The Eastside, though, might as well be in a different state with the same weather. Conservative, upscale, suburban, mall-ridden.
posted by argybarg at 2:11 PM on March 16, 2014

And by the way, yes, winter nights are long, and we're farther north than most of the rest of the continental U.S. On the other hand, Seattle is about the same latitude as Paris, and thus south of anywhere in the U.K. It's not exactly Svalbard.
posted by argybarg at 2:14 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I live in Portland now, and lived in NC -- Chapel Hill/Carrboro and WNC -- for years before I came here. You might really hate the weather from late fall through spring. And summers start really late. However, what the Pacific Northwest lacks in good winters, it makes up for in picture-perfect summers. Do you love summers in NC, or do you find yourself avoiding the heat and humidity and mostly hanging out inside? Summers in the PNW are exactly the time to get out and do stuff -- it's rarely too hot and rarely humid.

It actually rains less out here, too, surprisingly. It's just that the rain comes in drizzles rather than storms. You will rarely hear thunder or see lightning, which is an odd difference.

You know how in NC everyone talks about how great it is to leave near the mountains and the beach? Well, NC has nothing on Seattle. You can see a gorgeous, amazing mountain from town, and get there fast, and the ocean is close too. But the ocean isn't so warm you actually want to swim in it.

If you are outdoorsy and like to hike, etc, this is a great place to live.

Good luck with your decision!
posted by bluedaisy at 2:16 PM on March 16, 2014

I work in Bellevue and live in Seattle - yes, the commute can be daunting but living in Seattle proper is absolutely worth it to me. Why:
-Seattle has so many gorgeous neighborhoods and parks, so it's truly enjoyable to take an evening stroll (yes, even during the rainy season - the rain isn't like east coast downpours, more like a London mist)
-many neighborhoods are built in such a way that you don't have to drive to get to a grocery store or bar or pharmacy
-locally owned, good, non-pretentious coffee shops everywhere
-killer food - really imaginative stuff, made by people who live in the neighborhood
-specialty shops that only sell one type of thing and do it really well - be it cheese, meat, wine, or sweaters
-the commute really isn't THAT bad every single day, and is downright breezy if your schedule has some flexibility. For example, traffic is light if you leave home at 7am and leave Bellevue by 4 - I can get to the eastside within 20 minutes when I do those hours. That said, avoid driving during rush hour when there's a Mariners or Sounders game AT ALL COSTS.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2014

> the job is at Boeing's Bellevue office, which is close to Lake Sammamish

O hai. I used to work there in a previous life, commuting from Capitol Hill. That area is not well served by public transit (or at least it wasn't in my day). You'll want to find a VanPool or drive. Living in Bellevue will give you a much better commute, but you'll miss out on the hipster scene.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:00 PM on March 16, 2014

It's been pointed out that winter days are short, and they really are. But the obverse is that it's light until nearly 10 in the summer.
posted by wotsac at 3:21 PM on March 16, 2014

So great to see all the Seattle love! People did a great job of outlining the city's strengths. So now that you're convinced (just guessing), let's talk about where you should live:

-Driving over the bridges absolutely does suck (I do it every day - Wallingford to Issaquah). But @joan_holloway is right, if your work hours can be flexible, you could definitely do it in much less time.
-If you do want to look into flex hours or vanpools to live in the city, you should really live somewhere on the east side of the city. Whatever you do, don't get a place in Ballard. I think Boeing is near I-90... if so, you want to find somewhere close to I-90 in Seattle so you don't have to get on I-5 to get to work. Capitol Hill, the Central District, North Beacon Hill and Leschi would all be obvious choices for this.

-If you're not convinced by our entrties to live in Seattle, I guess you'll end up in Bellevue, sigh.
-If young and single, you'll probably want to get an apartment or townhouse in the core downtown area where you can walk to things ("things" in Bellevue being the various fancy malls)
-If you're a little older/have a family/want a house, the area near Robinswood Park isn't bad, and there are several nice/[boring] neighborhoods near Lake Sammamish

-If I had to live in the suburbs, I'd choose Kirkland. It's just north of Bellevue, is right on Lake Washington, and has lots of walkable options

In general, if you do decide to move here, it may make sense to sublet somewhere for a couple of months while you get your bearings and figure out where you want to live. Good luck!
posted by leitmotif at 3:29 PM on March 16, 2014

Are these the Boeing offices at Eastgate, right by the I-90/I-405 interchange ? I worked across the Robinswood forest from them for 10 years and commuted from South Lake Union.

As a single guy I definitely preferred living in Seattle proper. My commute was flexible and it only became a drag when I wasn't able to get home for family dinners until 8 without being willing to stare at brakelights for an hour.

The new Park-and-Ride at Eastgate was built to serve Bellevue (Community) College, and when I had office hours the 554 Express was an easy transit option.

When you get here take a sunny weekday morning off and hike up to the viewpoint at Mt.Si. If that doesn't convince you that you're in the right place (and it will), pack back up.
posted by Kakkerlak at 4:50 PM on March 16, 2014

I have a close family friend whose son currently works at Boeing and lives in Kirkland. IIRC, he wasn't super enthusiastic about the public transit options, mostly bc they didn't always jive with his need to put in OT at times. I think he does the carpool thing on the days that he knows his schedule is fixed.

If you'd like, send me a PM with your email and I will try to get you in touch with him. He's a transplant from the East Coast (eastern PA) and he absolutely loves Seattle, and couldn't imagine living anywhere else at this point. He's in your general demographic, late twenties and not married, so I think he'd be able to give you some ideas on places to check out and whatnot.
posted by cardinality at 6:04 PM on March 16, 2014

Living in Bellevue as a single person is no way to go through life. Metro Transit 271 and Sound Transit 554, 555, and 556 all serve Eastgate Park and Ride right next to Boeing's Bellevue office. If you want to go full Seattle, get a bike to cover the trip from Eastgate to the office. The Central District, Cap Hill, north Beacon Hill, and Mount Baker will all get you reasonably close to the Rainier Ave freeway stop on IH-90. Living near Northgate Transit Center (I like Lake City but its "main drag" through the neighborhood, Lake City Way, may be a little underdeveloped for you) or Montlake or near the University (for Montlake Freeway Station) all get you access to ST 555/556. Join us on the westside, you'll like it.
posted by fireoyster at 3:08 AM on March 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

You guys are leaving out the most important point about moving from the east coast to the west coast.

You are gonna need to get a new butter dish.
posted by bensherman at 9:47 AM on March 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

> Would I be setting myself up for misery if I were to move to Bellevue alone and without a network

I don't know Bellevue that well, but I think you might be. On the plus side (maybe! depending on how you think of these things), Bellevue is more diverse, racially, than Seattle is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:51 AM on March 17, 2014

I lived in Seattle for 5 years and just left for a job in DC. I miss it A LOT right now, and here is why (please note that I miss it so much that I couldn't bring myself to read the whole rest of the thread, so there are probably some repeats):

- I personally found the weather amazing. It's almost never too cold to be outside in the winter, and it's never too hot to function in the summer. The typically winter day is cloudy but not rainy (maybe a bit drizzly) with temps in the 40s or 50s (not that it doesn't rain, but just not as much as people say). The sun does come out in the winter, but not every day. The typical summer day is in the 70s, sunny, and not humid, with delightfully cool evenings. If you're from the South, the cooler summers and overcast winters might be a problem, but I really liked the weather.

- I'm pretty sure it's the most beautiful city in the US. Snow-capped mountain ranges to the east and west, Mt Rainier to the south, and water all around. And because of all the precipitation, it's always green and lush.

- Really interesting, intelligent people. People are really into culture (books, movies, music, theater) and love to talk about it. Also, if you're a "hobbies" type person, Seattle is great: lots of communities built around hobbies and group activities, which I imagine is good for an introvert.

- In general, things just work well. Parks are well-cared-for, streets are clean, services, both private and public, are functional and accessible. (There are notable exceptions but I'll leave those out as this is the "what's good about Seattle" thread)

- Great Asian food, especially Vietnamese and Japanese. Great seafood in general. And since the climate is so good for farming, lots of local produce and excellent farmers' markets.

- Healthy place to live. In addition to the fact that you can be outside all year round and the plentiful local produce, there's the fact that people in general live more balanced lives than many of the other big cities I've lived in. Even in the tech sector, people are really into their work, but they leave it at the office - people are much less likely, for instance, to ask you what you do for a living right when meeting you. Also, the medical professionals I saw in Seattle were all great.

To address the "Seattle Freeze" thing - I did not find it more or less difficult to meet people there, but there is definitely a unique culture that I had some trouble adjusting to at first. I was coming from the northeast, so for me it was that people were a LOT less direct than I was used to. This made for a few awkward social moments at first. Coming from the South, it may be less of an issue for you, or may show up in a different way.

It did take me a solid year to really feel like I had my people in Seattle, but honestly, I think that's pretty normal when moving to a totally new city as an adult. Seattle is full of introverted tech-folks, so you'll probably find a lot of kindred spirits.
posted by lunasol at 2:26 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I did this about a year and a half ago, moved from the east coast to Seattle, without having been here previously, without any social network, on very short notice. I choose the hip neighborhood/long commute option. But as it turns out, if you spend a lot of time working and a lot of time commuting, and the culture is that no one goes out of their way to be friendly, it actually is pretty hard to meet people.

I do like the dramatic clouds though.
posted by fbo at 10:31 PM on March 17, 2014

I lived in Seattle for 6 years - I moved back to my native Boston about 13 years ago. So I've been gone for twice as long as I was there and, honestly, I still miss it sometimes. It did take me a couple of years to get friends and any kind of social network, however.

One thing to do when considering where to live is to check out the general traffic patterns. The WSDOT has a traffic website that shows live or near-live conditions.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:46 PM on March 19, 2014

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