Seattle First Impressions

It’s taken me longer than it should have to post an update on the Great Seattle Move of August 2014. Honestly, I can hardly believe I’m here. And have been here, for almost a month now. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of a month: getting our bearings, apartment hunting and finally nesting in our new place (I liked that last bit best).

It’s been really stressful at times, wonderful at others, and only now am I able to sit down and take stock of my new situation. So here goes:

I Will Never Not Hate Apartment Hunting

Maybe that is less of a Seattle observation than a personal one, but it has never been more apparent.

Before we even bought our plane tickets, I knew that apartment hunting was going to be the worst part of moving. Sayulita pretty much pounded that into my head , and although we had the advantage of more time, no language barrier and a much larger selection here in Seattle, it was still an incredibly stressful experience.

It was made worse by an apartment that fell through at the very last minute, leaving us to start our search from scratch nearly two weeks in. Luckily a chance Craigslist ad, a last minute apartment visit and a split-second decision landed us in an even better situation: a condo for rent by owner, just a couple blocks away from the first apartment, with more light, more space and a cheaper price tag. Hooray!

Capitol Hill is Awesome

We looked at a few different neighborhoods around central Seattle, but I’m so happy we landed in Capitol Hill. Sure it’s a bit loud, and some of the residents are a bit strange, but it’s never boring. It’s the hip, urban center of Seattle, home of Dan Savage, grunge music and more. There are so many bars and restaurants that I just don’t know how we’ll ever try them all (of course we have to try them all, I’m a completist). There is a brilliant Sunday farmer’s market, a place down the street that sells 32-oz of horchata for $2 and you can walk to Pike’s Place in like 20-minutes. I will be a happy, busy girl here.

Owning Things is Still Really Weird

We live here?!

Last month I shared my ambivalence about furnishing an apartment, and that still holds true. As Mike and I sat in our freshly-painted, totally empty apartment, it was clear we needed to do some serious shopping to make the place liveable. Lucky for us, the landlord threw in a comfy couch and bed, but we still needed desks, plates, towels, a blender, a dresser, the list just went on and on.

The shopping bit was fun, and I still get an electric shot of joy every time I walk into my new, well-stocked kitchen, but I still can’t get over the feeling that we live in a very homey AirBNB. I think it may take a few months to convince my brain that we are in fast, at home.

People in Seattle are Crazy Nice

In fairness, she has to be nice to me, she is my best friend

Maybe it’s my inherently business-like East Coast nature, but I can’t get over how warm and friendly everyone is here. From the checker at the supermarket to the lady at the gym, everyone is just super, super nice.

Of course there is still the infamous Seattle Freeze to contend with (is it a myth? I hope so). Luckily we have quite a few friends in the area already and we are open to making more.

Nature is a Big Deal

Most big cities that I have lived in in the past have been somewhat divorced from their natural surroundings. Seattle isn’t like that. In fact, it’s nickname as The Emerald City makes so much sense, with leafy trees and parks everywhere, the sound, several enormous lakes, and mountains rising up in the distance. Soon, I’m told, there will be water pouring from the sky as well, but at this point it’s been about 95% delightfully sunny days.

It’s not surprising that hiking, camping and kayaking are all popular here, and people flock out of the city into the wilderness on the weekends. While I’m not much of a camper myself, I can certainly appreciate the incredibly natural beauty that surrounds the city.

The Food is Whoa

Heirloom Tomato Benedict from Portage Bay Cafe

Not a surprise really, and one of my main motivations for wanting to move here. The food in Seattle is fantastic. A ton of variety, with a strong international representation (particularly Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean… still looking for good Chinese) and an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. I’ve only dipped my toe in and I couldn’t be happier.

Seattle is Basically Exactly What I Expected

So many times I have moved abroad without any real idea of what I was getting myself into. This time things are different, and I had a pretty good idea of what life in Seattle would look like. It has definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s beautiful and it’s full of opportunity. Basically, I think we’re really going to like it here.

25 thoughts on “Seattle First Impressions”

  1. I am moving to Olympia, WA in July – and maybe will also live in Seattle, and commute to my job! Did you venture to Olympia? Any advice on somewhere to live, or is Seattle the PLACE to be? Love theses posts and your site ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. literarypirate

      I haven’t really spent any time in Olympia but I hear it’s nice. Probably a little far from Seattle for commuting- I think they are a good hour apart from each other. I think you could probably live in Olympia for much much cheaper than in Seattle.

  2. Try the International District for great Asian food! You’ll want to go to Jade Garden for Dim Sum, and Wing Wah for Chinese food. There are also fantastic places for Vietnemese, Taiwanese, and Japanese tucked in there, all very affordable and authentic. I lived in the center of Capitol Hill for a while, but recently moved off the Hill due to rising rent prices! :-/

    Seattle-ites are very friendly, but we’re a slimming crowd! Seems like most of the city is filled with transplants. But if you wear socks and sandals, people will think you’re a native ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy you like it here!

  3. (Belated) welcome to Seattle! I wouldn’t say the freeze is real, or at least as big a deal as people make it out to be. People are nice here, but we also respect other peoples space, so if you look busy/stressed/not receptive to conversation, we aren’t going to push it on you.

    Cap hill is a great place (lived there for five years, have lived in Ballard for the last three). It really is a city of neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has at least one thing it does really well. I’m sure you’ll have a great time exploring and finding out each.

    I can second/third the recommendation for Judy Foo’s. They’re delicious. We don’t have as much good Chinese as we do Vietnamese and Thai. For Vietnamese, check out Long in Belltown. For Thai, Pestle Rock in Ballard is legit Isaan Thai food.

  4. Aww, it looks like you’re creating such a nice home for yourselves! Congrats on getting settled and have fun exploring your new city! It usually takes about two months for a new place to feel like home to me, so give yourself some time!

  5. Congrats to you two! Seattle sounds like such a cool city, I’m looking forward to some more posts about the area! As for the apartment, I’m sure it will start to feel like yours very soon.

  6. I sadly don’t know much about Seattle, except for its rainy reputation, Starbucks, and murmurs of good food. And I had never heard of the “Seattle Freeze” – glad your first impressions have been positive! Good luck on the move, looking forward to learning more about the city!

  7. I’m so happy you love it in Seattle! I am a native here and don’t think I’ll ever move from this place. Haven’t found a city that offers ALL of what you listed above to beat it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I always love meeting up with my travel buddies so let me know if you’d like to grab some food sometime out in our city. I live in Greenlake, only about a 5-10 minute drive from Capitol Hill. Welcome home!

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