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Smells Like Seattle

Two years on

This week, I began my third year in Seattle. Since I’ve written so little about my time I thought I’d use the anniversary as an excuse to fix that situation. Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize I’m no travel writer.

Previous drafts of this post came across as too snarky or too saccharine. None managed to capture the essence of it all, so I’ll fall back on a handy writer’s crutch: the bullet list.

12 things about Seattle

In no particular order:

  1. There are really only two seasons: the rainy, mild, “winter” and the absolutely perfect summer.
  2. The beauty of the mountains ranges and giant, volcanic mountains on every horizon seem almost cliché but will regularly cause you to stop what you are doing and soak it all in.
  3. A monoculture has developed (thanks to the influx of thousands of monied workers all employed by the same few companies) that’s rolled over the rougher edges that were the heart of city’s character — the first skid row was in Seattle, after all.
  4. The architecture is vanishing as blocks of the city are converted into generic condos.
  5. The side streets of two of my preferred neighbourhoods (Capitol Hill and Ballard) are being revitalized by independent shops, record stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
  6. Everyone drives so transit is horrible…or vice versa.
  7. Those few who bike treat it as a fitness-inspired lifestyle, not merely a mode of transportation.
  8. Happy hour means two pitchers can be had for the price of one Toronto/New York pint.
  9. The coffee (with a notable exception) is the best I’ve ever tasted.
  10. When in doubt, Linda will provide a good venue.
  11. Multiple music festivals — be they street-closing, downtown, or in a gorge — provide the best and cheapest way to see some incredible bands.
  12. From the city, it’s is a three-hour drive (or, even better, a four-hour train ride) to either Vancouver, B.C. and Portland, OR.