|The view from Kerry Park in Queen Anne, which was about a 10-minute walk from my house in Queen Anne - before I moved to Wallingford recently.|
Seattle has a lot of what we were looking for. We live right in the middle of the city (in Wallingford) and for me it's a 10-minute bike commute (to the Google office in Fremont) along the shore of Lake Union, with views of downtown, the Space Needle, and Mount Rainier. It is a fantastic neighborhood with shops, bars, restaurants, playgrounds, and one of the best elementary schools in Seattle (John Stanford) just a few blocks away.
I realized at one point that I probably know more people in Seattle than any other city -- including Boston -- with the University of Washington, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google all here I had this large pre-fab social network already in place. The tech industry is huge here and there seems to be a very active startup community.
|This is totally the view from my house in Wallingford. Yes, I would like for that damn tree to not be in the way, but what can you do?|
It is no surprise that Seattle is a far more relaxed and progressive place than Boston. A lot of this is, of course, the West Coast vs. East Coast distinction, and in a lot of ways Seattle exemplifies the West Coast aesthetic, much as Boston does the East. Way way more fixie bikes, tattoos, farmers markets, lesbians, hippies, and hippie lesbians with tattoos riding fixie bikes through farmers markets here in Seattle than anywhere in New England. In a lot of ways it's like San Francisco Lite -- a bit less edgy, more approachable, more gentrified, but still very forward-thinking. I feel very much like I belong here, whereas in Boston I always felt like a bit of an outsider.
So far I'm digging the restaurant and cocktail scene in Seattle, which is more adventurous and less stuffy than what you find in Boston (although Boston has some damn good food). I miss really good Chinese food (which is harder to find than you would expect), and surprisingly Seattle doesn't have a ton of great Mexican food options, although I happen to live about a block from the best taco truck in town. Thai and sushi are excellent here, and there seems to be a lot more casual, foodie-type places all over town which do crazy shit like Korean comfort food and ice cream sandwiches.
What am I not so crazy about? Well, I'm on the fence about the weather. The summer has (mostly) been beautiful - 75 degrees, sunny, no humidity at all. Mixed in have been some cooler rainy days that feel out of place for the season. The first couple of months we were here, in April and May, it was rainy and overcast pretty much every day. I take it this is typical for Seattle. The long term question is whether I will be more or less content with this pattern than Boston, which has a much wider temperature range, a couple of months of unbearably cold and snowy weather each year, and sweltering humid summers. It remains to be seen.
Second, everyone in Seattle appears to be white. This is not true of course, but at least in the neighborhoods where I spend most of my time, there is a lot less racial and cultural diversity than Boston. My understanding is that this is due to largely historical reasons where minorities were shut out of many neighborhoods, but the effects persist today. I will ponder this more deeply the next time I'm sitting at a sidewalk café with my dog while sipping an organic soy latte and checking Google+ on my MacBook Pro. It's the thing to do here, you know.