Seattle Suggestions

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    Jan 12, 2013 6:41 AM GMT
    I have been invited to interview with one of the large Seattle employers. I was hoping for a few concrete suggestions regarding the areas listed below. I'm looking at moving to Seattle based on the few days' exposure I'll have while interviewing, so I'd like to make them informative days -- I'm actually less concerned about the gay "scene" than other relevant factors, for the moment. (I play volleyball and pool, and drink plenty of beer, so my social scene usually evolves that way.)

    (1) Housing -- I would like to live in Seattle proper, commuting to work outside the city. My understanding is that Capital Hill is the "gayborhood," which sounds just dandy to me. If anyone could point me to Capital Hill's center of gravity, from which to start looking at apartments, I would greatly appreciate that. Further, suggestions of specific buildings or developments, and alternative neighborhoods, would be appreciated. I was happiest when living in Chelsea or Ft. Green, Brooklyn, while living in New York, if that helps inform any suggestions.

    Do people walk to the grocery store? Is there actual foot traffic year-round? Are there actual shops, or merely the faces of apartment and office buildings and the occasional restaurant? What neighborhood is most welcoming to, or most full of new settlers? Etc. etc. etc.

    (2) Transportation -- Do I need my car if I move to Seattle and live in the city, assuming I get free transportation to work? If so, what would I be missing out on if I don't bring my (truly crappy) car?

    (3) Out of Town -- On the off chance I can get out of town for half a day, what's the one "thing" or area I should go see that might blow my mind?

    (4) Intangibles -- I assume the recruiters will send me off to watch attractive men throw fish by some dock, and I'm sure I'll love it. But beyond the obvious tourist attractions, are there any areas or establishments that one should see if considering Seattle? (Sorry if that's terribly vague.)

    Any and all responses would be appreciated, and if you would rather send a direct message then please do! Thanks in advance for reading too many words, and for sending a few back or leaving some in return.

    -- Adrian
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    Jan 12, 2013 6:56 AM GMT
    Don't even think about trying to commute in the seattle area. Life is too short to spend it that way. If you can find a place within a few miles of work, bicycling is probably faster. But you'll have to do it in the rain.

    If you had a whole day out of town, you could drive up to Mt. Ranier (not sure which roads are open in the winter) or go to the San Juan Islands. For half a day, maybe take a ferry ride somewhere.
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    Jan 12, 2013 7:25 PM GMT
    Don't know if I'm the best person to respond since I only visited Seattle in the summer of 2011. I really liked the city. I stayed downtown and found walking around the city extremely easy. People who live there might better tell you, but I didn't find it a perticularly gay city. What it is is open, fairly alternative, and young. The population seems squed toward the younger end of the spectrum.

    Capitol Hill was walking distance from our hotel. Again, didn't find it gay so much as young and alternative. I think there are regular street concerts on the Hill. Also remember two grocery stores there, one on the corner of CH and East Pike, I think, and another one up the Hill a bit; both adequate.

    Only found a couple of gay bars on CH, one, Neighbors, which is kind of a landmark (though I walked past it unaware the first night I looked for it) and another farther up on the opposite side of the street. Both were OK but smaller than what you'd expect for a city the size of Seattle.

    Couldn't tell you much about housing. I saw some fairly expensive looking apartment buildings between downtown and Capitol Hill.

    Overall, I liked Seattle and would consider going back. One negative: there were a lot of homeless people panhandling.

    If you like restaurants, you have to try Sullivan's. Best dining experience of my life.
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    Jan 12, 2013 7:50 PM GMT
    Housing is expensive. Not as high as NYC or SF, but close. The in-town neighborhoods are pedestrian-oriented, but you pay for the convenience to downtown. If your job is on the east side of the lake, you'll have a horrible commute since most young, single folks want to live in town. A cool area on the eastside though is Kirkland. Crazy expensive if you want a view.

    Get used to the rain/drizzle. Doesn't rain every day, just seems like it. However it turns dry after July fourth through Labor Day which is the best time to enjoy the surrounding mountains. If you don't mind chilly weather and layering your clothes, then you can get used to the dampness.

    Skiing at Stevens is a day trip and for a long weekend, easy drive up to Vancouver and Whistler.

    I lived there for three years and enjoyed it. Glad to be back in the South though for mild weather and blue skies.
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    Jan 13, 2013 3:38 AM GMT
    So for housing things are yes more expensive here than some places but all depends on exactly where you are. Capitol Hill is the "gayborhood" as they say and there are some great places to live here. There are several new condos just built right on Broadway which is the main drag on the Hill. But there are also several nice apartment buildings right on Broadway or just off of it. Myself I live about a mile off Broadway. I'm easily close enough to walk to anything I want to do on the Hill or even to downtown proper itself. It just depends on exactly how much in the mix of everything you want to be. I chose to live more off Broadway cause it is a bit quieter and you actually get more of a place to live without the price because you aren't mainly paying for location.

    All the bars are relatively close to each other so it is easy to bar hop on any given night. Grocery stores are pretty easy to get to no matter where you are and can be walked to as well. Just depends on how much you are buying and want to carry home. Plus depends on if you want to walk in the drizzle. There are always people walking every where. I pretty much walk every where except going to work or if I"m venturing to something away from downtown or the Hill depending on distance.

    As for other neighborhoods if you decide not on Capitol Hill or downtown proper itself....there is First Hill which is in between downtown and Capitol Hill. Other nice neighborhoods would be Belltown, Queen Anne, Fremont, Wallingford, Ballard or Green Lake. Each one getting progressively further from the downtown area. All neighborhoods are pretty accepting and open. I will warn you though Seattle has a tendency to be very polite but not very friendly....if that makes sense.

    For transportation, several people own cars but don't drive them much. Our bus system is pretty good here so easy to get around on. Plus the lightrail is growing. If you want to get rid of your car there are other options like Zip Car where you pay a monthly fee and just reserve a car online and it will be waiting for you when you want to use one.

    For getting out of town for your half day, if you are into wine there are several wineries just a short drive north in Woodenville. Of course there are several ski areas around in the mountains. You could take one of the ferries from the water front to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton and check those places out. Ferry ride is less than $8 if you walk on and free on the ride you get some great views of the city. Can venture up to Snoqualimie Falls and check it out (depending on weather).

    For other things around the city to check out. Venture up to Kerry Park on Queen Anne. Great view of the Space Needle and downtown from there. Pretty much the closest view of the city you can get if you were visiting Fraiser's apartment. If want to some quick history can check out the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square. Of course Pike Place Market....that is where they throw the fish. If you go there venture down to Post Alley though and check out the gum wall. You can add to it if you so choose to. There are other cool things like the Fremont Troll and Gas Works Park but all depends on what you want to check out.

    If you have other questions feel free to hit me up.
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    Jan 14, 2013 5:10 AM GMT
    Thanks gents! I'll check out as much as I can -- they've invited me to stay over the weekend, so I should have time to look around. If all goes well I would be working in either Redmond or Bellevue, and given the comments on commuting (i,e., that it sucks) I may have to look there, too.