Seattle as a place to live?

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pointyhead
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Seattle as a place to live?

Post by pointyhead » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:17 am

Any Seattle area folks here? I am retiring from one job this fall and have had a job offer in Seattle. Wife and I are seriously considering moving there from the east coast. Having only visited the city we really don't know what it is like to live there. Of course, I always here about the 9 months of rain and overcast gloom, but it looks like a great place for outdoor activity. What I don't know is…is where to live? My job offer is in the Columbia City-Beacon Hill area. From online reading it appears that this is an up and coming area. Does anyone have any experiene with this area? Any recommendations on neighborhoods? We REALLY want to live in a neighborhood that is walkable…ie…walk to shops, restaurants, movies, grocery store etc or ride our bikes to commute. The downtown area looks great for that but living there would make us "house poor" so that isn't really an option. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Have a great weekend!

:D

gkaplan
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by gkaplan » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:04 am

Gordon

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wilpat
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by wilpat » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:11 am

It has been 46 years since I lived there, so there may be some changes! :wink:
We always said that the summer of 1965 was really nice --- It came on a weekend!
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Johm221122
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Johm221122 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:22 am

Legal marijuana 8-)
Is one change
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Kenkat
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:34 am

No first hand experience but a guy at work lived in Seattle and absolutely loved it and would probably go back if not for other family constraints pulling him back to the Midwest. The west coast in general seems to be pretty fabulous from all I have heard and experienced myself. The only downside I can think of is that it's not cheap to live there although I am not sure about Seattle itself.

boglety
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by boglety » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:37 am

I live in a suburb of Seattle and definitely the housing prices of Seattle have skyrocketed in the past 3 years. The busing system is the best I have seen compared to other cities I have lived in. My recommendation is to rent for 6 months to 1 yr to figure out what kind of neighborhood you like. There are still affordable pockets, but may have to deal with some very old homes. Good luck!

void
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by void » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:40 am

I moved to the east coast ~7 years ago, but previously lived and grew up on north Beacon Hill. Family still is there - I visit there a couple times each year.

If I were to move back, I would not live on Beacon Hill.

Other than having our cars broken into 4 times, stolen 3 times, having a window shot out by a BB gun, and an attempted break-in (2 years ago) we never had a problem. However, three of our immediate neighbor's houses were broken into and robbed.

There's a pretty good neighborhood blog. Here's a link to the crime entries: http://beaconhill.seattle.wa.us/category/crime/

PM if you want more info.

Diogenes
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Diogenes » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:41 am

We have lived and worked in Seattle in the recent past. It depends what you desire. The downtown area is great but pricey. Other areas on the fringe of downtown, not so much. Beacon Hill is near one of the more crime ridden areas- Rainer Valley. Walking at night as a retired couple would not be enjoyable or recommended in those areas. Otherwise Seattle is fairly low crime. The city is wacky politically but more mainstream in the suburbs.
Weather is actually mild compared to the East Coast but dark in the winter.

If you want to go for it and be walkable live in downtown or slightly North, perhaps Queen Anne. Bicycle commuting is possible but bus is easier. It is wet and there are hills and heavy vehicle traffic.

Summer and Fall downtown are fantastic. Summer usually starts in mid July.

reisner
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by reisner » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:06 am

Much buzz in the Seattle area about how Portland has done so many more things right--traffic, public transportation, open space. Seattle traffic can be horrendous. And while there are some charming neighborhoods like Ballard, the city as a whole has a cold feel to me. A local free newspaper runs a column, "Ask an Uptight Seattleite." The Doonesbury series about such folks that ran a couple of years ago hit the hobnail on the head as far as I'm concerned. Widespread vitamin D deficiency may account for what appears to be widespread borderline Asperger's syndrome.

retdinsb
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by retdinsb » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:30 am

My daughter lives in the Phinney Ridge/Greenlake Neighborhood and we've visited a number of times. Nice neighborhood to walk in. Green Lake has a very nice walking path. She don't have a car and walks or buses everywhere. Good restaurants on Phinney Ave and Herkimers Coffee is my favorite. Downtown is a short drive but I typically don't go during rush hour so can't really comment on traffic.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by obgraham » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:53 am

I go there a lot, as 2 daughters live in Seattle, in the downtown (Capitol Hill) area.

It depends what you are used to. Traffic can be really difficult, as only one freeway through the center. Parking is either nonexistent or very expensive. And the rain is for real there, not a myth. Politically it is a mess.

To me, like many other urban areas it is a young person's place: lots of freaks, dirty, crowded, dopers and criminals, no children. But if you like nightlife, clubs, glitzy restaurants, and "being close to the action" then it is fine. A whole revitalized neighborhood has arisen devoted to "Amazonians" who live, work, and spend their cash there.

The suburban areas are much more like the rest of the country, but access to downtown remains a difficult problem.

tacster
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by tacster » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:05 pm

reisner wrote:Much buzz in the Seattle area about how Portland has done so many more things right--traffic, public transportation, open space. Seattle traffic can be horrendous. And while there are some charming neighborhoods like Ballard, the city as a whole has a cold feel to me. A local free newspaper runs a column, "Ask an Uptight Seattleite." The Doonesbury series about such folks that ran a couple of years ago hit the hobnail on the head as far as I'm concerned. Widespread vitamin D deficiency may account for what appears to be widespread borderline Asperger's syndrome.
Harsh.

To the OP:

I lived in the First Hill area for a few years during and after college. That's pretty close to Rainier Valley, as is Beacon Hill, and crime was an issue, mostly car prowls and that type stuff. If you're parking on the street better have a removable stereo or someone else will remove it for you. Not to overemphasize it but those things do happen. Other areas like Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont, Ballard, etc are probably more secure and walkable but you'd have to commute crosstown.

The thing I disliked the most about the city was the traffic. Much of the time it's simply horrendous. The bus system is good, and lots of people get around on bikes but I'm not going to tell you that's safe (although I used to do it and it can be an adrenaline rush riding through traffic :) ).

On the plus side, I found Seattleites in general to be friendly and helpful people. Seattle has its share of cultural activities but may be a bit of a letdown from your East Coast background. Yes there is an abundance of outdoor activities. The Cascade Mts are nearby and the Olympics across the Sound. If you have time maybe consider an extended visit. Thoroughly check out some neighborhoods and get a feel for the place and where you'd like to live.
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dgdevil
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by dgdevil » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:12 pm

If you can work in some telecommuting, there are some pretty, tulip-laden rural areas about an hour north - small towns of La Conner and Mount Vernon. I echo other commenters re: weird, unsettling vibe among Seattlites. Vancouver is even creepier. Cameron Crowe did a good Seattle movie, though - Singles.

Wikipedia: The climate of Skagit County is similar to that of Northern France (not sure that's a good thing!), with millions of tulips grown in the Skagit Valley. In 1998, Mount Vernon was rated the #1 "Best Small City in America" by the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:15 pm

I have one friend who moved there from Atlanta. She grew up in Atlanta, worked there after college.

She loves it. Yes the rain. Yes the traffic. The different relationship with sports than they have in Atlanta. But she absolutely loves Seattle.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:17 pm

dgdevil wrote:If you can work in some telecommuting, there are some pretty, tulip-laden rural areas about an hour north - small towns of La Conner and Mount Vernon. I echo other commenters re: weird, unsettling vibe among Seattlites. Vancouver is even creepier. Cameron Crowe did a good Seattle movie, though - Singles.

Wikipedia: The climate of Skagit County is similar to that of Northern France (not sure that's a good thing!), with millions of tulips grown in the Skagit Valley. In 1998, Mount Vernon was rated the #1 "Best Small City in America" by the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities.
I don't know Seattle, but I do know Vancouver.

I found Vancouverites to be the friendliest people of any big city I have ever visited (London and Toronto being the big cities I am most familiar with, New York to a much lesser extent).

So 'weird vibe'? I had this suspicion someone had drugged their food, they were such laid back and polite drivers. If that's what you mean ;-). You make it sound like Twilight or Twin Peaks ;-).

Seattle has been called 'the American city most like Canada'. Although that might be Portland, these days.

I agree 'Singles' was a very good movie-- dryly satirical.

kanvused
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by kanvused » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:22 pm

I moved to Seattle about 5 years ago from Chicago. It is much more temperate here, which I appreciate, especially when the Polar Vortex hits the rest of the country. The first neighborhood I lived was near the Green Lake and Ravenna area. I loved it over there. Great area for walking or bike rides. I also like the Queen Anne neighborhood, but these areas are getting expensive. Renting would probably be best initially until you get an idea of the area. Plenty of people commute to and from Seattle, but I think the traffic is worse than Chicago's. Overall, this is a great part of the country to live. The rainy perception is a bit exaggerated and is actually quite moderate and a good place to do some motorcycling :)

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by SpaceCommander » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:32 pm

Just moved from Seattle due to work. I would love to go back. Great city. I can see myself going back to retire there. 2nd the Queen Anne recommendation. Or consider a suburb like Bellevue. Very nice.
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baw703916
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by baw703916 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:38 pm

reisner wrote: Widespread vitamin D deficiency may account for what appears to be widespread borderline Asperger's syndrome.
Of course that same statement about borderline Asperger's has been made about most technology meccas, including ones that get a lot more sun (e.g. silicon valley).
Most of my posts assume no behavioral errors.

Peckhammer
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Peckhammer » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:38 pm

I've lived in Poughkeepsie, NY, Buffalo NY and Boston MA before moving to Seattle. Seattle is a better place to live than these places in my opinion. The weather is also better than those three places, although the mild nearly snowless winters are long and the days are short. Seattle is, however, the most East Coast city on the West Coast. Here are my list of pros and cons:

Pros:
Mild winters, temp range 40 - 50 degrees, with an occasional cold snap.
Mild summers that seems to start in July, Average July high is 77 degrees.
Not as much rain as people believe.
Low humidity.
Lots of good jobs in tech and bio engineering.
Good music, film and cultural scene.
Beautiful mountains and plenty of outdoor activities.
No State income tax; lower property taxes than many places.
No need for air conditioning, or window screens; very few flying insects.
Utilities cheap because of mild year round-weather.
Great beer and many breweries, distilleries and brew pubs.

Cons:
Earthquakes, probably the most dangerous place to live in the contiguous US. Multiple faults run under the downtown core, and then there is the Cascadia Subduction Zone. There is evidence to support that the area is capable of magnitude 9.0, sustained for 3 minutes. Tidal waves are a real threat too.
Volcanos, and lots of them. Mt. Rainier is not a mountain, even though many locals haven't figured that out yet.
Traffic is worse than Boston; nearly as bad as LA.
Housing prices are ridiculously high and housing stock is of poor quality.
Expensive to live here; 42% higher than national average.
High property crime, although the murder rate is low (that's a pro).
Long dark winters can really get to you.
Passive Aggressive.
Locals cannot drive in the snow and they wont go outside if the temperature is more than 80 degrees.
Last edited by Peckhammer on Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gnirk
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Gnirk » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:57 pm

I grew up in the Ballard area of Seattle, and loved it. But I haven't lived there in 41 years, and now don't even recognize Ballard.
However, my youngest daughter lives on south Queen Anne. A very walkable neighborhood. South Lake Union seems to be an up-and-coming area as well.
I would not live on Beacon Hill or Rainier Valley because of the crime.
If you don't mind the rain and cloudy skies it is a fantastic area. Summers are the best ever. There are so many outdoor activities. Good skiing (with real mountains) just an hour away. Boating on Lake Washington or Puget Sound. Mountain hiking in the Cascade or Olympic range. Walking, biking or jogging around Green Lake.

Politically, Seattle is extremely liberal.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by freebeer » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:58 pm

We live in a Seattle suburb and spent the prior dozen years living in the city itself. I don't know well the specific area where the job would be (Columbia City / Beacon Hill) ... as others have said it's near some sketchier areas, but I know it's gentrifying fast. If I were working in that area and finances permitted I would look at living on the "Gold Coast" ( Leschi / Madrona / Mt. Baker... I esp. like Madrona), all lovely areas on the lake and you could walk/bike to work in minutes. But you've got light rail station so you could really be lots of places N or S and still get there conveniently.

Seattle can have wet winters (and springs, and sometimes even summers) but this year's been dry - the trails are dirt not mud. The fog's burning off now (10am) and it's sunny and should hit at least 50 today ... I'll be spending it at our beach shack and on a boat... not bad for late January. The days can be depressingly short in early December (sunset 4:20pm) but are already getting noticeably longer (sunset 5pm today). And summer and especially fall is glorious and I'll take some short days in the winter in exchange for 16 hours of light in summer (admittedly we typically take a short winter break somewhere sunny, usually around new years).

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Ged » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:17 pm

I grew up in the Boston suburbs, my brother who is an aerospace engineer eventually moved to the Seattle area to go to work for Boeing and has lived in the area for 25 years now.

He really likes it. The weather is milder than Boston and there are a lot of fun things. Very scenic. He has a sailboat and participates in a lot of running events - he was a track man in high school, did marathons as an adult. Now he's in his 50's so has slowed down to half marathons.

His wife was a teacher for many years but burned out eventually. From her stories I'd be careful of the school situation.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by MoonOrb » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:30 pm

I'm a Seattlite. I moved here in 2001 from Pittsburgh.

I love Seattle and chose to move back here after moving away for two years about a decade ago.

Some thoughts for you:

1. I would probably rather not live in the Columbia City/Beacon Hill neighborhoods, all things being equal, although there is generally more stuff going on in them now that they have access to light rail. They would have the advantage of being very close to work for you, though. You might want to consider the Mount Baker neighborhood if being closest to work is your highest priority. Whatever you do, don't live on the east side or in a far north or southern suburb, because the traffic will drive you crazy. If you're going to work in the city, live in the city.

The city's nicest neighborhoods, in my opinion, are north of Lake Union: Green Lake, the University District, Fremont, Ravenna, Greenwood, Wedgwood, Wallingford, etc. Magnolia, Queen Anne and Ballard are amazing neighborhoods as well, but these days it seems like it takes forever to get to and from those neighborhoods to get anywhere. West Seattle is also a good option for people working south of downtown; in fact, I'd probably check out West Seattle first. I live in the University District and it's got just about everything I could possibly want within 20 minutes walk of my house: a library, several independent movie theatres, bookstores, dozens of restaurants, parks, access to public transit, the UW campus, the dealer where I have my car serviced, my dentist, and a zillion other things--Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, gyms, bike paths. Much of this stuff is within a 10 minute walk, in fact.

The tradeoff is that housing is somewhat expensive, although that's a relative term. We've owned a house for the past 3+ years, but prior to owning we rented a very nice place in a prime Green Lake location (1/2 block from the lake) for $2000/mo. It was way more space than we needed but the location was amazing and it was nice.

2. The weather. It's up to you how much this is an issue. I'll tell you this, though: I grew up on the east coast and, moving here from Pennsylvania, think the weather is better here than back east. You don't get extremes. It rarely snows in the city--go to the mountains, an hour a way for snow! The rain hardly ever prevents you from doing anything because when it does rain, it's more often than not more like a drizzle or light rain. So, you basically trade rain for snow in the winter, but you get a lot of rain. It's why it's so green and beautiful here. Right now it's in the 50s and blue skies and sun, and it's January 25th. That's another thing about the weather here: it's totally possible to get stunning beautiful, mild days in the middle of winter. It happens a lot, actually. But it's also true that winter feels very long: it starts getting rainier in October, and you'll have a lot of gray all the way through May. Even in June its cooler than you expect. I remember my first summer here wearing a jacket in June, and not liking it, until I realized that I wasn't humid and miserable, and I adjusted. Most June days are really nice, though. The summer is glorious. Glorious. There's no better summer anywhere, I'm convinced. The days are perfect and stretch on forever.

3. Stuff to do. If you love the outdoors, Seattle is a great city. It's 1-3 hours from absolutely spectacular things to see and do. I can't imagine how anyone would get tired of all of the opportunities: skiing, 3 national parks within 3 hours, the Hood Canal, the Washington coast, sailing and kayaking on the Sound, fishing, the endless hikes in the Olympics and Cascades, waterfalls, the blooming flowers in the spring in the Skagit Valley, floating the Skagit River in the winter to see hundreds of bald eagles, biking, camping, and the list goes on. It's a blessing to live in a modern, vibrant city with all of those outdoors activities so easily accessible. But Seattle's big enough that there's a lot here, too: many independent bookstores and movie theatres, good local music and the opportunity to see national acts at some very good venues (like the Gorge in central Washington--wow!), ethnic restaurants of all assortments, high quality grocery stores, farmers markets, university life, pro sports if you care for that (well, kind of--we have the Seahawks, at least), a great public library, and all kinds of other stuff.

4. Other stuff: Seattle has a pretty progressive, laid back vibe for a big city. If you're really conservative, you might feel out of place, but I have many conservative friends who live here and love it, so I don't think it's a big deal, but if you're going to be uncomfortable with that, that's something to think about. The cost of living is expensive, but less than California and many other larger cities.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by jasg » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:44 pm

I have lived in Seattle since 1989 and love it. Had lived in Pittsburgh, DC and Northern California.

Good friends of mine just downsized into a new townhouse development in Columbia City and love it. Just a short walk from the light rail, so easy access to downtown and the airport. Columbia City is rapidly gentrifying, with lots of interesting shops, restaurants, pubs etc.

steve_14
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by steve_14 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:14 pm

I think any west coast city, Vancouver to San Diego, offers a high quality of life. Which you choose depends mainly on what kind of weather you prefer.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Ken. » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:47 pm

I live in North Beacon Hill and have lived in Seattle for 20 years. I've lived in the University District, Queen Anne, Bellevue, and Issaquah. Beacon Hill and Columbia city are places that are coming up. It used to be a more of a working-class area, but now there are more middle class folks moving in, due to cheaper house prices and convenience to work, and the I-5 and I-405 freeways. So it's an eclectic mix of people now.

Like a previous poster said you generally want to live away from Rainier valley and live up on the hills on either side, Beacon hill or Mt Baker.

Columbia city is also an up and coming area and if you want to be near shops and restaurants etc, you should check it out. Beacon Hill also has it's share of shops and restaurants within walking distance but it's not as lively as Columbia city.

Seattle gets a bad rap for weather, but I remember in an almanac of most livable cities in which Seattle at that time was #1, it's weather was rated as #12 in the nation.
Last edited by Ken. on Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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tetractys
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by tetractys » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:48 pm

Columbia City is nice. Really just about anywhere in Seattle is pretty nice. Land here and then look all around. The main difference with weather is that Seattle is a lot milder than the East coast. Also the air is much cleaner, having come across the ocean rather than across the polluted country. And the water is certainly better, with the faucet topping the bottle any day. Infra-structure wise though, hold your breath; Seattle is underway with major overhauls. -- Tet

pointyhead
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by pointyhead » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:36 pm

I really appreciate all the insight. Lot of information to research and digest. We visited almost 2 years ago and it rained most of the time but as some of you noted it was usually just a drizzle. I liked the Capital Hill area as I really liked the diversity and funky vibe. However, I think my wife and I looked really out of place because I am a middle aged military officer and pretty much look like one. We didn't feel uncomfortable there even though I think we looked out of place. Capital Hill kind of reminded me of the Hillcrest area of San Diego, kinda funky but good places to eat, shop, and hang out. I really appreciate the comments!

Thanks,

PH

Beverage
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Beverage » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:02 pm

I live across the lake in Bellevue, but my wife works near (maybe in) Columbia City. I would also be concerned about crime -- my wife teaches at an elementary school and at one point discovered a bullethole in one of the classroom windows (nobody was there when the bullet was fired).

I would take a look at West Seattle. It is a nice walkable neighborhood, is pretty close to the area where you will work, and I think crime is less of an issue. The only problem I am aware of is that it's not centrally located so can be a hassle to get to other parts of Seattle or the suburbs.

pointyhead
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by pointyhead » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:07 pm

live across the lake in Bellevue, but my wife works near (maybe in) Columbia City.


How's the commute from Bellevue to Columbia City?

When we visited there we had lunch at a great Dim Sum Restaurant in Bellevue and looked at some condos…seemed quite nice.

MoonOrb
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by MoonOrb » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:17 pm

I'm a former military officer and still look it and approaching middled aged and I could totally live in Capitol Hill and no one would bat an eyelash. But I don't live there because of the expense and the parking and because it's an awesome place to visit (in my opinion) but not as great as a place to live. I agree that it's like the Hillcrest of Seattle, only 100x more awesome than Hillcrest (sorry San DIego!).

I don't think you said, but do you plan on buying or renting? We rented when we first moved here in 2001, and again when we moved back, and it made a lot of sense, even though after both times we bought houses. But as a result of our renting we had very good ideas of where to buy and were very happy with our purchases as a consequence.

At the risk of offending Bellevue residents, Bellevue is kind of dull, honestly. We go there quite a bit because our best friends live there (Factoria area, up on the hill). If you have school aged kids, Bellevue would be much more appealing because the schools there are generally of very high quality, and it's got the safe, suburban atmosphere a lot of people strive for as far as raising kids goes. But if it's just the two of you, the idea of commuting across the lake and back every day just in order to live in a suburban hub of Seattle would make me twitchy. I realize that's just me, though, but it sounds like we might like some similar things.

I would say this additional thing about the weather: if you think that a lot of gray days are going to bother you and what you crave more than anything is sunshine, don't move to Seattle. Seattle is gray more often than not from October until some time in June, and when April and May roll around and it's not blue skies and super warm every day it feels like winter is just going on forever. That's also in part because winter in Seattle is so mild that the difference between January and April is not as profound as it is in other parts of the country. But if the gray doesn't faze you or if you adopt the mindset that you will squeeze every bit of joy out of the nice days and not let the gray days stop you from doing what you want, you may love it here. When it isn't gray here it is freaking gorgeous--today was freaking gorgeous, for example, and I drove around with the top of my car down, in January.

Are you retired military? If so, the VA is right in Beacon Hill and JB Lewis/McChord isn't too far away, although it's too far of a drive to go to the PX or commissary unless you happen to be down in Tacoma for some reason. North of Everett there is also an NEX and a commissary, although even when I was stationed in Everett (I lived in Seattle) I rarely shopped there as it was just not convenient. But those resources do exist, making Seattle perhaps an attractive alternative.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:05 am

I live in Boulder, CO, which is reputed to be very pretty.

Went to Seattle in August, 2008 and was stunned by how GORGEOUS an area it is. Warm, sunny - no rain - amazing vistas, the works. IMO, Seattle when I was there is much prettier than Boulder.

One of the nurses at work was born/raised in Seattle. I was asking her what it was like there as a child. She said that until she went away to college (in Arizona), she had no idea that kids didn't play in the rain/drizzle everywhere all year 'round. "Would you ever move back?" "Never." And she hasn't.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Beverage » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:04 pm

How's the commute from Bellevue to Columbia City?

When we visited there we had lunch at a great Dim Sum Restaurant in Bellevue and looked at some condos…seemed quite nice.
The closer you live to I-90 the better the commute is. We live 2 min from I-90 so it's an easy straight shot across the lake. In general if you have to switch from 520 or I-90 to I-405, or if you have to go on I-5 for an appreciable distance, your commute will be bad.
At the risk of offending Bellevue residents, Bellevue is kind of dull, honestly. We go there quite a bit because our best friends live there (Factoria area, up on the hill). If you have school aged kids, Bellevue would be much more appealing because the schools there are generally of very high quality, and it's got the safe, suburban atmosphere a lot of people strive for as far as raising kids goes. But if it's just the two of you, the idea of commuting across the lake and back every day just in order to live in a suburban hub of Seattle would make me twitchy. I realize that's just me, though, but it sounds like we might like some similar things.
No offense taken. That is exactly why I didn't suggest Bellevue even though we live there. We live here mostly because my wife trusts Bellevue schools more even though she teaches in Seattle.

pointyhead, it sounds like the condos you visited were in downtown Bellevue, which is the walkable urban part of Bellevue. That could be a good option depending on what kind of atmosphere you are shooting for -- it's relatively fancy/modern compared to a place like West Seattle which has a more relaxed/homey feel I would say. Every time I go to downtown Bellevue I feel like I should buy a new sofa so I try not to stay too long. If you don't have kids and want a walkable area that is the only part of Bellevue I would look at. From downtown you could take Bellevue Way to I-90, so the commute should be reasonable.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:41 pm

Live as close to your job as is possible. Do NOT talk yourself in to "just a little bit further for more house" or whatever the rationalization is. The reason: even a short commute in Seattle can take hours if "something goes wrong" - rain, wind storm, football game, soccer game, etc etc. And, as you may guess - something goes "wrong" all the time - sending 30 minute commutes to an hour fifteen plus commutes. So, I would recommend targeting a 15 minute rush hour commute and use that as your definitive - no compromise - guide to housing choices. The closer toward Lake Washington you go from Columbia city and beacon hill - generally the better the housing situation. Areas around Seward Park are very nice as well. But, keep in mind that that area also becomes a nightmare during Seafair weekend - due to the Hydro races and staging area near Seward.

If you will work in Columbia city or beacon hill - put off as long as possible your first trip to Borachini's Bakery on Rainier Avenue. Phenomenal Italian food and baked goods - sausages, breads, brownies (just regular even though it's seattle), and all kinds of great food. They have their own brand of cookies and cream ice cream that's incredible. But, once you try them - you will be hooked and they will be not far away. That's good or bad depending on your self control.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:44 pm

Beverage wrote:
How's the commute from Bellevue to Columbia City?

When we visited there we had lunch at a great Dim Sum Restaurant in Bellevue and looked at some condos…seemed quite nice.
The closer you live to I-90 the better the commute is. We live 2 min from I-90 so it's an easy straight shot across the lake. In general if you have to switch from 520 or I-90 to I-405, or if you have to go on I-5 for an appreciable distance, your commute will be bad.
At the risk of offending Bellevue residents, Bellevue is kind of dull, honestly. We go there quite a bit because our best friends live there (Factoria area, up on the hill). If you have school aged kids, Bellevue would be much more appealing because the schools there are generally of very high quality, and it's got the safe, suburban atmosphere a lot of people strive for as far as raising kids goes. But if it's just the two of you, the idea of commuting across the lake and back every day just in order to live in a suburban hub of Seattle would make me twitchy. I realize that's just me, though, but it sounds like we might like some similar things.
No offense taken. That is exactly why I didn't suggest Bellevue even though we live there. We live here mostly because my wife trusts Bellevue schools more even though she teaches in Seattle.

pointyhead, it sounds like the condos you visited were in downtown Bellevue, which is the walkable urban part of Bellevue. That could be a good option depending on what kind of atmosphere you are shooting for -- it's relatively fancy/modern compared to a place like West Seattle which has a more relaxed/homey feel I would say. Every time I go to downtown Bellevue I feel like I should buy a new sofa so I try not to stay too long. If you don't have kids and want a walkable area that is the only part of Bellevue I would look at. From downtown you could take Bellevue Way to I-90, so the commute should be reasonable.
OP - you would be absolutely insane to commute from Bellevue to Columbia City.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:49 pm

OP - I suggest using this URL every weekday Pacific Time from 5 am to 9 am in the morning. Also, from 3 pm (yes, things can start getting ugly that early) to 7 pm Pacific Time. The URL is the traffic flow map maintained by the Washington Dept of Transportation (WSDOT).

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/seattle/fl ... idges.aspx

After a very short time monitoring this - you will quickly understand why it's critical to live near your job or spend a lot of time in your car or on a bus. You will see the I90 commute gets bad. Although the Seahawks home games are done for the season - you will see that if there is any big event in the SODO stadiums - traffic is horrible. Corporate events at one of the stadiums (Microsoft Company meeting for example) can snarl traffic.

So, this tool will give you an idea over time how bad these highways can be.

Just to eliminate any ambiguity - DON'T LIVE A LONG WAY FROM WHERE YOU WORK in Seattle. If you do, it will be one of the biggest mistakes you have made in your life. No exaggeration.

BTW - if you do move to Seattle-Puget Sound, please don't complain about how hard it is to make friends and the "Seattle Freeze". The Seattle Freeze is real and long time resident don't want to hear about.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by ShortInSeattle » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:01 pm

I'm a native, although we were in the burbs for 8 years, we've lived downtown for the last five years. (currently in Belltown)

I second the advice to rent for a while. Perhaps get yourself an apartment in Capitol Hill and explore the city by bus, foot, and light rail for a while. I've always loved our region but became a truly happy Seattleite when we moved downtown. Hop on a bus and the city parks become your backyard. Walk 10 minutes and end up at the waterfront, or a museum, or Pike Place Market. Theater, hiking, a great library, all within walking distance. Light rail will have you to Columbia City or even the airport in a jiffy.

Contrast this to our time out in the burbs east of Bellevue and we spent 10-12 hours a week commuting. So I'd say prioritize a short commute.

Housing is expensive downtown, but the amenities are great, so I'd say it's worth trading square footage for location. We have 1\3 the space but a freakin amazing quality of life. Capitol Hill is a 10 minute bis ride or 30 minute walk from downtown, so it's still quite central.

Just remember if you move here to spout the party line: It is ALWAYS raining. It is NEVER sunny. All the people are mean. (wink) After all, we don't want traffic to get worse. :mrgreen:

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by baw703916 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:09 pm

leonard wrote:OP - I suggest using this URL every weekday Pacific Time from 5 am to 9 am in the morning. Also, from 3 pm (yes, things can start getting ugly that early) to 7 pm Pacific Time. The URL is the traffic flow map maintained by the Washington Dept of Transportation (WSDOT).

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/seattle/fl ... idges.aspx

After a very short time monitoring this - you will quickly understand why it's critical to live near your job or spend a lot of time in your car or on a bus. You will see the I90 commute gets bad. Although the Seahawks home games are done for the season - you will see that if there is any big event in the SODO stadiums - traffic is horrible. Corporate events at one of the stadiums (Microsoft Company meeting for example) can snarl traffic.

So, this tool will give you an idea over time how bad these highways can be.

Just to eliminate any ambiguity - DON'T LIVE A LONG WAY FROM WHERE YOU WORK in Seattle. If you do, it will be one of the biggest mistakes you have made in your life. No exaggeration.

BTW - if you do move to Seattle-Puget Sound, please don't complain about how hard it is to make friends and the "Seattle Freeze". The Seattle Freeze is real and long time resident don't want to hear about.
I'm wondering if I would be appalled by the traffic given that I've lived in DC for the past 20 years. :?: Living where you can minimize your commute is a good idea though, certainly where I live.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by tuckeverlasting » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:53 am

We tend to be a city of introverts. Personally, I love it. (I live in Magnolia neighborhood).

And don't miss the

Seattle Rain Festival
Jan 1-Dec 31

<joke> :D
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by boomergeneration » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:22 am

Lots of good advice already but I want to mention 3 things that I love about Seattle that I haven't seem mentioned yet. Seattle has one of the best library systems in the nation. Over the past 10 years or so most of the branches have been remodeled. I think all of them are open 7 days per week. There is an outstanding collection of the latest books and dvds. You can access Morningstar, including all of their monthly newsletters, and Value Line from your home computer through the library. The downtown library has an auditorium that presents visiting authors throughout the year. If an author is extremely popular, there is another venue that the library uses, called Town Hall, that can seat more people.
In fact, Town Hall deserves a mention of its' own. It is a cultural center and performance hall housed in a building that used to be a church. Library-sponsered events are free and most other programs are only $5.00. There are events there every day of the year. In the past year I have heard Margaret Atwood, Linda Ronstadt, Bill Bernstein(yes, OUR Bill Bernstein)and Isabel Allende speak.
The selection of movies is the other thing I love about Seattle. I first visited here in 1974 and the first thing I noticed was all these great old movie theaters showing foreign and independent movies. I had been living in Baltimore, which had nothing to compare. The Harvard Exit, The Seven Gables, and the Grand Illusion are in intimate, homey buildings with ambiances not found at a Regal or AMC. Seattle also has a fantastic film festival in the month of June, with lots of independent directors speaking after their films are shown.

As many other posters have noted, the worst thing about Seattle is the traffic. It can't be stressed enough. My spouse commutes only 10 miles to work, but it sometimes takes ONE HOUR for him to get home. I have found the only time you can guarantee there will be no traffic is early Sunday mornings. Living close to where you work will be a big plus.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:30 pm

baw703916 wrote:
leonard wrote:OP - I suggest using this URL every weekday Pacific Time from 5 am to 9 am in the morning. Also, from 3 pm (yes, things can start getting ugly that early) to 7 pm Pacific Time. The URL is the traffic flow map maintained by the Washington Dept of Transportation (WSDOT).

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/seattle/fl ... idges.aspx

After a very short time monitoring this - you will quickly understand why it's critical to live near your job or spend a lot of time in your car or on a bus. You will see the I90 commute gets bad. Although the Seahawks home games are done for the season - you will see that if there is any big event in the SODO stadiums - traffic is horrible. Corporate events at one of the stadiums (Microsoft Company meeting for example) can snarl traffic.

So, this tool will give you an idea over time how bad these highways can be.

Just to eliminate any ambiguity - DON'T LIVE A LONG WAY FROM WHERE YOU WORK in Seattle. If you do, it will be one of the biggest mistakes you have made in your life. No exaggeration.

BTW - if you do move to Seattle-Puget Sound, please don't complain about how hard it is to make friends and the "Seattle Freeze". The Seattle Freeze is real and long time resident don't want to hear about.
I'm wondering if I would be appalled by the traffic given that I've lived in DC for the past 20 years. :?: Living where you can minimize your commute is a good idea though, certainly where I live.
Appalled or not there is simply no reason to waste a large portion of one's life in traffic - if it's avoidable.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by upperleftcoast » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:57 pm

Moved from east coast to Seattle in 1988. Most of the advice prev posted is spot on. My 2 cents:
As a geographical hub, it is great. National Parks, ferries / islands, Canada, Oregon coast (WA coast is so-so), etc.
Best areas to live are all shockingly expensive. Greenlake, Queen Anne, Magnolia, a few others. I rent.
Crowded; horrible traffic on all major routes. Much better to live close to work and utilize public transportation. Don't even try to drive back to town after a 3 day holiday weekend.
Weather is not bad at all. Mild. Rain is exaggerated, about 40 inches per year, similar to NYC. I actually like winter so find Seattle frustrating. Summer can be surprisingly warm (hot?), and getting warmer. Last year we had 40 days over 80 degrees (typical is 25 days), some over 90. And that's in the shade. Too hot for me.
Lots to do, great beer, major airport right down the road. All things considered it's a good place to live.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:39 pm

I generally think trying to discuss the merit of moving to a city is bad without a reference point, and by reference point I mean somewhere real not Lake Wobegon.

Traffic is bad in Seattle, sure maybe when compared to Louisville or Asheville, but not compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco or the NYC metro fo example.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:48 pm

denovo wrote:I generally think trying to discuss the merit of moving to a city is bad without a reference point, and by reference point I mean somewhere real not Lake Wobegon.

Traffic is bad in Seattle, sure maybe when compared to Louisville or Asheville, but not compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco or the NYC metro fo example.
"Only" 8th worse in the nation. Must not be too bad then, right?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/car ... s/2127661/
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:55 pm

leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:I generally think trying to discuss the merit of moving to a city is bad without a reference point, and by reference point I mean somewhere real not Lake Wobegon.

Traffic is bad in Seattle, sure maybe when compared to Louisville or Asheville, but not compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco or the NYC metro fo example.
"Only" 8th worse in the nation. Must not be too bad then, right?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/car ... s/2127661/
Exactly, especially if you're moving from somewhere that is 1-7.

My theory behind this is simple, traffic is bad where people want to live. (at least in America). I'll take Los Angeles over Fort Worth any day of the week.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

leonard
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by leonard » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:16 pm

denovo wrote:
leonard wrote:
denovo wrote:I generally think trying to discuss the merit of moving to a city is bad without a reference point, and by reference point I mean somewhere real not Lake Wobegon.

Traffic is bad in Seattle, sure maybe when compared to Louisville or Asheville, but not compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco or the NYC metro fo example.
"Only" 8th worse in the nation. Must not be too bad then, right?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/car ... s/2127661/
Exactly, especially if you're moving from somewhere that is 1-7.

My theory behind this is simple, traffic is bad where people want to live. (at least in America). I'll take Los Angeles over Fort Worth any day of the week.
Huh didn't think I needed the sarcasm icon. But, evidently I needed to make it crystal clear for some.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by MoonOrb » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:29 pm

The traffic is bad enough here that you can simply say "the traffic is really bad here," and don't need to qualify it in any way. The traffic is bad here. I mean, there are only so many places for cars to go when Seattle is located on a narrow strip between Elliott Bay and Lake Washington and has Lake Union smack in the middle of that, too.

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:00 pm

Worked with someone years ago who commuted from Seattle. He said one must love rain year round.
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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by Ignacious » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:10 pm

People say it rains often in Seattle, but it's not really that bad. It only rains once per year: from September to May. :happy

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Re: Seattle as a place to live?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:25 pm

We loved living in Seattle, but it was quite some time ago.

It was the U district.
Quick hop on the bus downtown.

As for the rain, it was mostly "drizzle", but yes, a lot of the time.
So we always had jackets with hoods, and some sort of rain-gear/waterproof boots or shoes, and we just "went".
When people (who had not lived elsewhere) said "It's POURING", what that typically meant was "It's really raining, not just drizzling".

Did I mention that drizzle/rain was a lot of the time?

But the area is GORGEOUS.

Backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula. One day through a (REAL) rainforest, and the next, through an alpine meadow.

Other direction, skiing an hour away (closest area), with other skiing 1.5 - 2 hours away.

On those days when there was snow in the Cascades, and the sky was blue, the campus was EMPTY.

We get back there once or twice a year, and still remark on the beauty each time.

In the winter, there are evergreens all around, and in the higher elevations, snow-covered evergreens.
(This year, not so much. Major snow is yet to arrive.)

Compared to elsewhere in the country, where in the winter, it can look more like "dead trees covered in snow".

But the traffic? *BAD*.

When I lived there, the major highways were (relatively speaking) pretty empty most of the time.
Rush hour wasn't bad at all. Not "bad traffic", just "traffic".
But the main N-S route (I-5) has nowhere to expand, so it's far, far more traffic on those same lanes.
The other major highways (405 or I-90) have been able to be widened a bit, but the population has exploded to the East, and the roads can't really keep up with that traffic.

What used to be a "Why would anyone drive ALL THAT WAY for a picnic or to swim?" is now a "close in" bedroom community, not even a distant bedroom community.

If we weren't pretty much wedded to the community we are in, we'd consider moving back there.

Nah.

We are getting old.

SoCal is sounding more and more appealing.
(But the traffic isn't a tie breaker, obviously...)

RM

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