10 great things about Seattle


Two of my favorite bloggers are moving from Chicago to Austin this summer, but clearly not because they disdain the Windy City. They’ve left on their own blog a top ten list of why they love Chicago, and challenged other bloggers to do the same for their home towns.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, moving up to Seattle for school long ago. I love it up here, and here are my top 10 reasons why:

1. Weather: It really doesn’t rain up here as much as you think. And when the weather clears, it can be downright stunning. Imagine standing on a lake beach two blocks from your house and seeing mountains in all four directions. That’s Seattle.

2. People: This isn’t a granola town, but it ain’t Manhattan either. People in the Puget Sound area have purpose, but are also polite and accommodating. I’ve found this city very easy to meet others, build a network of generous individuals, and quickly reach common ground on a variety of personal and professional issues.

3. Closeness to Nature: From where my wife and I life in Kirkland, it’s a 20-minute drive to downtown Seattle. It’s also a 20-minute drive into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and a 45-minute drive to skiing at Snoqualmie Pass. Not to mention a 15-minute walk to a natural preserve. Everywhere you look, nature is closeby.

4. Water: Seattle is wedged between the Puget Sound (right on Elliot Bay) and Lake Union, which feeds into the much larger Lake Washington. From mid-spring to early fall, boating season is in full tilt here. Fishing, tubing, or just floating with a glass of wine and friends. The water is a big part of Seattle culture.

5. Baseball: Yes, Seattle is a great baseball town! Very knowledgeable fans, strong attendance at Safeco Field, and a good overall appreciation for the game. The greater Seattle area also boasts two minor league teams (both affiliated with the Mariners, no less), which are great family experiences at a fraction of the major-league cost.

6. The Huskies: This is a great college sports town, with several area schools competing at high levels in their respective sports. But the University of Washington Huskies are still king, and despite a challenging couple of years still pull large crowds to Husky Stadium on Saturdays in the fall.

7. Canada!: It’s a faster drive to Vancouver, BC than it is to Portland, Oregon. Vancouver is a great city, especially in the summertime. Seattle’s proximity to Canada also gives us access to the Vancouver CBC channel. This means great hockey coverage on Saturday nights, and the best Olympics coverage I’ve ever seen (light years better than NBC’s recent efforts).

8. Summer Festivals: It’s this time of year that nearly every weekend is filled with one or another summer festival or fair around Seattle. This culminates in the early August Seafair, which features a weekend of hydroplane races and an air show starring the Blue Angels. This is a highlight of Seattle summer, and is an event that transcends the activities themselves.

9. Ferries: I think Seattle natives take these for granted, but the ferries are awesome. Tens of thousands of commuters use the ferries every day to travel from cities on the Olympic Peninsula to work in Seattle, but on a nice day in the spring or summer (or even the fall), these ferries are also just fun to ride for a round trip on the water.

10. Relative Isolation: Yes, it occasionally sucks that Seattle is tucked way up here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re not close to a lot of other major cities, people often complain about having to come all the way up here for something, and everyone assumes it just rains a lot and we all still listen to grunge music. Then again, that’s just fine with me. If Seattle’s going to remain our little secret, so be it. If you need me, I’ll be out on the lake…