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Seattle PSers, I need your help!

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,660
My DH was recently offered a position in Seattle, and it looks like we will be moving there in the fall! I'm excited, but I have never been there so I have no knowledge of the city other than what friends/acquaintances and Google Earth have told me. We're planning to go for a weekend at the end of the month to scope things out, but unfortunately it is literally the only time my DH will have this summer, so we're going to have a LOT to do in only a couple days (my boss isn't overly pleased about me leaving, so I don't want to ask for too much time off). And we're moving from Philly, so it is a LONG trip!

Anyway, we will need to do as much apartment-hunting as possible, even though it's unlikely anyone will be renting for September this early on. At least, we need to find neighborhoods to concentrate on. His job will be downtown, not far from where the aquarium is, and we hope to keep the commute under 30 minutes. He is enamored with the idea of living on an island and taking a ferry to work because it would remind him of his childhood commute to school, but I'm afraid we wouldn't get to know the city very well if we did that. And I don't have a job lined up there yet, so depending on where I (hopefully) find one, I might have to deal with a long commute for awhile :knockout:. But that's one of the reasons we want to rent first and make more permanent decisions after we've been there awhile. So, what neighborhoods would you recommend? We enjoy good restaurants and nearby shops, parks, etc. We do have a car, which we share (I don't know if parking in Seattle is as horrendous as it is in Philly?).

Also, I would love to hear about the city in general! What to do, what to see, where to go? Any info or advice is REALLY appreciated!
 

sunnyd

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I'm going to ramble for you a bit...I've lived in a Seattle suburb for the last 15 years, and LOVE it! Seattle is the greatest city, I'm quite convinced of it!

For a 30 minute commute, you have tons of options. Until last year I was working downtown and taking the bus from the burbs, and it was about 20 minutes. We do tend to have the worst traffic in the country though, and parking is really bad. Really bad.

If your DH wants to take the ferry, you would look to Bremerton. I know people who do that everyday, but it seems like kind of a hassle to me. And Bremerton is a quiet area, as far as I know. So it depends on your taste.

Neighborhoods - Queen Anne is a cute and artsy place just north of downtown. It's on the pricier side, but totally worth it. Lots of shops, food, etc. Same with Ballard, which would require driving into the city. Both really good places to live though! Some of the best bars are in Ballard. Green Lake is a good area too, and has a great lake/park/trails system.

I live on the Eastside (across the Lake Washington floating bridge on I-90), which I love. Bellevue is really developing up their downtown area, and they have amazing food, lots of stuff to do, etc. Issaquah is cheaper to live in than Bellevue, and just a bit further east. We're looking to buy next year in Renton. Renton and Issaquah are more suburb-y, as in they don't have true downtowns to just park and walk around, but I like that better than the city. Personal preference, I suppose!

I'm just leaving work now, but I'll come back later with ideas of stuff to do!
 

iheartscience

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Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Very cool, Octavia! (Except I just moved to Philly and wanted to meet you at some point! :cheeky: )

I've been to Seattle several times and I love it! My sister and brother both lived there and I also have friends who just moved there last fall and they LOVE it. The live in Queen Anne and although it is definitely on the pricey side, they love it and think it's worth it for sure.

I also have an aunt and cousins there but they live in areas that I think are more suburban. My cousins grew up on Mercer Island and now they live in Bellevue. And my aunt lived on Bainbridge Island for a while and I visited her there and it was gorgeous.

I don't have any practical details but I love Seattle so I'm excited for you! :cheeky:
 

MichelleCarmen

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Messages
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Octavia|1306967413|2935707 said:
. He is enamored with the idea of living on an island and taking a ferry to work because it would remind him of his childhood commute to school, but I'm afraid we wouldn't get to know the city very well if we did that. quote]

Hi,
I've lived in WA all my life...I can say from experience NO ISLANDS!!! You are asking to live on hell on earth. Four reasons I can think of off-hand 1) Ferry fare will eat up HUNDREDS of dollars in commuting costs per month - no joke! 2) During the peak season/summer, people flock to islands to visit and there can often be 2+ hour long ferry lines/waits 3) Your life is literally controlled by the ferry. Depending upon where you live, you may not be close to a normal store, like Target or whatever, so if you wanna go run errands, you have to pay for the ferry fair and then schedule your day around the ferry times (aka - it suddenly costs you $20 just to GET to Target !!!and 4) Living expenses are higher, in general.

Um, yeah, okay, aside from my obvious hate of islands, I can say some are not as bad as others. Also, some have 20 minute rides and others have 45 min.

(Just my experience - I lived on an island for 8 years. lol Then did it again two other times - both for short periods of times and they've all been blech!)

Good luck in your move.

Seattle's a great city!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Just to add - I would NEVER move away from here ever. One amazing thing about living in Seattle is no matter which direction you look, you see mountains on the horizon. It's so beautiful!
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 28, 2007
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Thanks for the info, sunnyd! I had no idea there were so many places within 30 minutes. It feels like it takes forever to get anywhere in Philly, so I'm not used to easy accessibility. My DH said he really doesn't want to drive to work, so we'll need to find someplace either public transit or bike-friendly. I'm really looking forward to your ramblings, part 2 :bigsmile:

Thing, I want to meet you at some point, too...I'm not moving for a few months, so we'll have to have a Philly GTG (that actually happens) sometime this summer! Or even a mini-GTG, I'm always up to look at shiny things whether I'm with 1 or 10 other people. Hehe. And I'm sure we'll be back in Philly now and again, too, as we still have lots of friends in the area. Thanks for the info about your friends in QA, it seems like an area we'll be concentrating on and it's always good to have recommendations from people who know the area!
 

sunnyd

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As for stuff to do in Seattle, you need to check out Pike Place (duh :cheeky: ) and walk the waterfront. The Argosy harbor tours are great, and a fun way to see the city skyline from Puget Sound. DH and I rode the Ducks last summer, and it was awesome!! They take you all around downtown and then into Lake Union for a tour. Good fun! Let's see...if it's a good day, you could go up the Space Needle. The Experience Music Project (at the base of the Needle) is interesting if you're really into music, but DH and I thought it was kind of overpriced.

If you're here for a weekend, that's what I'd recommend. :)

Ooh, another neighborhood that is up and coming, South Lake Union. Capitol Hill is cool too, for food and shopping. There are a couple of colleges up there and it's considered the gay district, so there's always lots of fun people around! Lots of people seem to like Belltown, but I don't get it. It's super expensive and lots of bars, which to me = lots of shenanigans and crime. But I don't live there, so maybe I'm missing something!

Hopefully this helps some, let me know if you have any other questions. And good luck!!! :wavey:
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
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MC|1306979726|2935859 said:
Octavia|1306967413|2935707 said:
. He is enamored with the idea of living on an island and taking a ferry to work because it would remind him of his childhood commute to school, but I'm afraid we wouldn't get to know the city very well if we did that. quote]

Hi,
I've lived in WA all my life...I can say from experience NO ISLANDS!!! You are asking to live on hell on earth. Four reasons I can think of off-hand 1) Ferry fare will eat up HUNDREDS of dollars in commuting costs per month - no joke! 2) During the peak season/summer, people flock to islands to visit and there can often be 2+ hour long ferry lines/waits 3) Your life is literally controlled by the ferry. Depending upon where you live, you may not be close to a normal store, like Target or whatever, so if you wanna go run errands, you have to pay for the ferry fair and then schedule your day around the ferry times (aka - it suddenly costs you $20 just to GET to Target !!!and 4) Living expenses are higher, in general.

Um, yeah, okay, aside from my obvious hate of islands, I can say some are not as bad as others. Also, some have 20 minute rides and others have 45 min.

(Just my experience - I lived on an island for 8 years. lol Then did it again two other times - both for short periods of times and they've all been blech!)

Good luck in your move.

Seattle's a great city!
MC, I remembered your dislike for islands, but I don't think my DH will believe me if I say "this woman from an internet forum I'm on says don't do it." Haha. And some of his soon-to-be coworkers apparently live on some island (not sure which one) and told him it's great, so that's what put the idea in his head. I'm thinking I'll put it off for now by saying I really want to be close to the action, at least at first (which is true). I'm used to paying almost $400 per month for my current commute (parking, gas, and tolls) so anything less than that would be a plus for me, though! But ferry fares for two of us...probably not doable.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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sunnyd|1306980242|2935871 said:
As for stuff to do in Seattle, you need to check out Pike Place (duh :cheeky: ) and walk the waterfront. The Argosy harbor tours are great, and a fun way to see the city skyline from Puget Sound. DH and I rode the Ducks last summer, and it was awesome!! They take you all around downtown and then into Lake Union for a tour. Good fun! Let's see...if it's a good day, you could go up the Space Needle. The Experience Music Project (at the base of the Needle) is interesting if you're really into music, but DH and I thought it was kind of overpriced.
:
We finally went to the Experience Music Project during the folk life festival last weekend. The festival was CRAZY. So crowded. Anyway, the EMP is great if they have an exhibit you wanna see! Right now, they have Battlestar Galactica stuff. lol Plus, Nirvana, of course. ;-)
 

sunnyd

Ideal_Rock
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Octavia|1306980122|2935869 said:
Thanks for the info, sunnyd! I had no idea there were so many places within 30 minutes. It feels like it takes forever to get anywhere in Philly, so I'm not used to easy accessibility. My DH said he really doesn't want to drive to work, so we'll need to find someplace either public transit or bike-friendly. I'm really looking forward to your ramblings, part 2 :bigsmile:
Ha! Done and doner! The transit downtown is pretty good. Seattle is really bike friendly as well, which is good unless you're driving, because those a-holes will zip all around you and it freaks me out! LOL.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Messages
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Octavia|1306980429|2935873 said:
MC|1306979726|2935859 said:
Octavia|1306967413|2935707 said:
. He is enamored with the idea of living on an island and taking a ferry to work because it would remind him of his childhood commute to school, but I'm afraid we wouldn't get to know the city very well if we did that. quote]

Hi,
I've lived in WA all my life...I can say from experience NO ISLANDS!!! You are asking to live on hell on earth. Four reasons I can think of off-hand 1) Ferry fare will eat up HUNDREDS of dollars in commuting costs per month - no joke! 2) During the peak season/summer, people flock to islands to visit and there can often be 2+ hour long ferry lines/waits 3) Your life is literally controlled by the ferry. Depending upon where you live, you may not be close to a normal store, like Target or whatever, so if you wanna go run errands, you have to pay for the ferry fair and then schedule your day around the ferry times (aka - it suddenly costs you $20 just to GET to Target !!!and 4) Living expenses are higher, in general.

Um, yeah, okay, aside from my obvious hate of islands, I can say some are not as bad as others. Also, some have 20 minute rides and others have 45 min.

(Just my experience - I lived on an island for 8 years. lol Then did it again two other times - both for short periods of times and they've all been blech!)

Good luck in your move.

Seattle's a great city!
MC, I remembered your dislike for islands, but I don't think my DH will believe me if I say "this woman from an internet forum I'm on says don't do it." Haha. And some of his soon-to-be coworkers apparently live on some island (not sure which one) and told him it's great, so that's what put the idea in his head. I'm thinking I'll put it off for now by saying I really want to be close to the action, at least at first (which is true). I'm used to paying almost $400 per month for my current commute (parking, gas, and tolls) so anything less than that would be a plus for me, though! But ferry fares for two of us...probably not doable.

Yeah, which island makes a huge difference, so I guess that could be it. Maybe rent a cabin for a week on the island the co-workers live on and travel into the city each day that week and to get an idea of how it feels? Some people truely LOVE being where there are and maybe that will be you two. I'm a firm believer in there are island people and non-island people! ;-)
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
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sunnyd|1306980566|2935877 said:
Octavia|1306980122|2935869 said:
Thanks for the info, sunnyd! I had no idea there were so many places within 30 minutes. It feels like it takes forever to get anywhere in Philly, so I'm not used to easy accessibility. My DH said he really doesn't want to drive to work, so we'll need to find someplace either public transit or bike-friendly. I'm really looking forward to your ramblings, part 2 :bigsmile:
Ha! Done and doner! The transit downtown is pretty good. Seattle is really bike friendly as well, which is good unless you're driving, because those a-holes will zip all around you and it freaks me out! LOL.
Yeah, I'm not good on bikes and DH is skittish now because he had an accident a couple years ago (nothing serious, but it freaked him out) so I think we'd only be biking if it was on dedicated paths. Philly has a high percentage of REALLY AWFUL bicyclists, I hate them as a driver and especially as a pedestrian. I was hoping it would be better there...we'll see I guess!

I love the idea of seeing the skyline from the harbor, so I will definitely put that on the list. DH was raving about the food when he got back from his visit there when he got the job, he says he already has lots of places he wants to take me. And we have a friend who lives all the way up in Bellingham, so I don't think we'll get to see him when we're there this time, but I'm looking forward to going up there eventually.

I'll add your recommendations on neighborhoods to check out to our list, too. Thanks so much!
 

Kunzite

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If I had my choice of neighborhoods (and no baby at home...) I would love to live in Queen Anne, Ballard, or Capitol Hill. Fun neighborhoods and easy to take transit. Ballard always feels really far from the highway though (unless we just don't know a better way to go!).

It's really good that you're a one car family too. Parking isn't easy. We only have one car and it's never been a problem, quite the opposite, a second car would be a problem for us!
 

rainwood

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Seattle native here, Octavia, and I believe we share the same occupation. Here's my take on things.

I'd also advise against living on an island at this stage in your life and career. The main commutable island is Bainbridge, which is lovely, but it's basically a child-oriented suburb that just happens to be an island which may not be what you're looking for. And your life would be ruled by the ferry schedule. That's not easy to manage if you work long hours or your schedule isn't easily controlled.

If your husband's job is going to be downtown near the waterfront, it would be best to stay on the Seattle side and not commute across Lake Washington or Puget Sound. The commute will be much less time-consuming. The closest neighborhood to your husband's job would be Belltown. Unless you want to be in a high-rise with lots of clubs and restaurants and the stuff those activities bring, you should skip it. It's probably the Seattle equivalent of living in Center City, but not the ritziest part.

The other neighborhoods that are also on the west side of the city like the waterfront would be Ballard and Queen Anne. I'm biased because I live in one of those neighborhoods, but both are great in different ways. Ballard was the sleepy Scandinavian fishing section for many, many years but is now one of the hottest neighborhoods for young professionals. If I was your age, that's probably where I'd move. Old Ballard has a wonderful feel to it with great restaurants and shops. It's one of the closest things we have to the historic parts of Philly. It's jus that our history only goes back about 130 years. There are lots of new apartments and condos in Old Ballard and it's just a great feel. It's a little further from downtown, but the commute is still doable.

Queen Anne is also delightful. There's upper Queen Anne which is a little quieter, less densely populated, not quite so "hot" as Ballard, but more expensive. There are apartments and condos, but much of it is single family homes, and has a quieter more residential feel than the central part of Ballard. Good restaurants and shops, really walkable neighborhoods, and fabulous views and parks. Lower Queen Anne (also called Uptown) has a totally different vibe, densely populated, lots of apartments and condos, close to the Seattle Center, and an easy bike ride to downtown.

Another part of town that may be worth looking at is the Pike/Pine corridor on the south end of Capitol Hill. It's also gentrified a lot in the last 10 years or so. To the extent that any part of Seattle can be called the gay center of the city, it's probably Pike/Pine now. My guess is that housing prices are higher here than Ballard, but maybe less than upper Queen Anne.

Another possibility is Fremont, which is just north of Queen Anne Hill, across the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Fremont Bridge. Fremont is a little funkier than any of the other places and that's part of its charm. Who else would have a giant statute of Lenin (direct from Russia after the fall of communism) and a giant concrete troll that has swallowed a real Volkswagen? Lots of great restaurants, and a wide variety of housing. Probably on par for cost with Ballard, but I could be wrong about that.

A little further to the west from Fremont is Wallingford, another great neighborhood. More single-family residential than Fremont, but also lots of great restaurants.

Any of these neighborhoods would be a great place to live, and you should explore each of them and see which one appeals to you most. Hope this helps.
 

rainwood

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Edited to eliminate double post. And Wallingford is east of Fremont, not west. Ack!
 

Octavia

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Thanks kunzite and rainwood, it seems like you both have similar thoughts on the neighborhoods so I think, given our time constraints, we will probably just focus on the ones mentioned here. Belltown is probably out, though, since we currently live in a high-rise amidst lots of bars and it is decidedly NOT what we want! Even if we were staying, we had planned to move to a saner neighborhood soon. Something less crowded but still walkable and vibrant is our general criteria. The only thing is, my hubby's commute now is one block, so he is very spoiled that way and will have to adapt...

Rainwood, I think we are in the same occupation and that's actually one of my only worries about the move. I have no idea what the profession is like out there, and I have not been licensed long enough to waive in. Plus, I've always been fortunate to get jobs through my school's connections and resources, which obviously won't be the case in Seattle (although I do plan to network with any alums who might be there, if only to get advice). So I've never really had to do a full-scale job hunt and I'm feeling pretty intimidated by the thought of it! I'm sure it will work out eventually, but this is very definitely a move that benefits my DH's career over mine, for the time being at least.
 

iheartscience

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Octavia|1306980122|2935869 said:
Thing, I want to meet you at some point, too...I'm not moving for a few months, so we'll have to have a Philly GTG (that actually happens) sometime this summer! Or even a mini-GTG, I'm always up to look at shiny things whether I'm with 1 or 10 other people. Hehe. And I'm sure we'll be back in Philly now and again, too, as we still have lots of friends in the area. Thanks for the info about your friends in QA, it seems like an area we'll be concentrating on and it's always good to have recommendations from people who know the area!
Yes, we definitely need to do either a real GTG or a mini one before you move!
 

April20

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Octavia, I left Seattle five years ago but lived there for six. I lived in two suburbs south of the city along the water. I took the bus tonwork most of those years and it was great. Work subsidized it, which was great because as others have mentioned parking can be a nightmare.

I'm also going to throw in another voice screaming NO FERRIES!!!! I worked with several people that lived on Bainbridge and Bremerton. Their lives were ruled by that ferry! They walked on to get to the city so getting on wasn't really an issue but if a meeting ran late or something came up they were toast. I really, really advise against it.

You've gotten great input on neighborhoods and I've been gone too long so I'll stay out of that. :)
 

TooPatient

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I've lived in Washington my whole life (26 years). Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Everett, Redmond, Sammamish. One of the things I LOVE about western Washington is how much variety there is. You've literally got your choice of super isolated, country life but close-ish to city (horses, cows, farms, etc but within 30 min or so of a city), suburban, city.


I work with a guy who has a house on an island -- NOT a good idea. His life when he goes up there is ruled by the ferries - long waits, expensive fares, mechanical problems, accidents (I think it was last summer the ferries kept running into each other & the docks), cancelations due to weather, etc, etc, etc.


If you're willing to take the bus, you've got a lot of options to get into Seattle. There are buses that run every 30 minutes or so (I think 15 or 20 minutes at peak commute times) and get you into Seattle as fast (or faster) than a car can ----- which is good because driving in Seattle STINKS. Cars swerving. Narrow lanes. Pedestrians everywhere, crossing when & where they feel like. Bicycles swerving, weaving all over. Utter INSANITY.

Issaquah, Sammamish, Bellevue, and Redmond are great. Buses are readily available and a fair number go straight into downtown Seattle (something like 15-25 minute bus ride I think). You've got lots of different options in these areas -- appartments in each of them (including downtown Bellevue), houses available to rent in lots of locations, more towards country living (parts of Sammamish and even Bellevue are great this way).....
You get the idea.


Take a look online at crime information for the neighborhoods you might consider. I know there are some areas around here that are really not that safe but I don't want to say a blanket "don't live in X city" because there are usually some really great neighborhoods nearby.
Also take a look at the Washingto State DOT website and see what sort of major road work they are planning. That could either significantly improve or completely ruin commutes from some places.
 

Octavia

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TBH, I'm surprised my DH's colleagues take the ferry. The job requires working until the late evening pretty often, so I'd be worried about missing the last ferry and having to sleep at the office! I guess it must work for them, but I agree it's not something I'm really keen to test out. I'm probably part of MC's "not island people" category, except for short periods of time like vacations. But I tend to like my vacation islands with palm trees and 80-degree waters!
 

MichelleCarmen

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TooPatient|1307035481|2936290 said:

Take a look online at crime information for the neighborhoods you might consider
. I know there are some areas around here that are really not that safe but I don't want to say a blanket "don't live in X city" because there are usually some really great neighborhoods nearby.
Also take a look at the Washingto State DOT website and see what sort of major road work they are planning. That could either significantly improve or completely ruin commutes from some places.
Yep, crime info is a good idea. You can look online at every city and find out all the police calls that happened every week for months and months back. You won't get an exact address...you'll get something like "the X block of X Ave police were called after hearing a disturbance," or "car was broken into, nothing taken." Basically, you learn which blocks of which streets are not good ones to live by or even take walks on and/or which ones have positive reports..."cat was lost and later found and returned to owner..." ETA - there is also a sex offender locator for WA :knockout:

I also LOVE the greatschools.org site. I've mentioned this in other posts, but will say again that what I love about it is you can look up schools in the neighborhoods you're interested in and it'll give you a school ratings for that area and if the ratings are low (IMO) you can consider that there is less of a good vibe in that community. (it's great even for those w/out kids! ;-)
 

TooPatient

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Here is a LINK to a crime website. I don't think it is a complete listing of crimes, but the map feature is kind of interesting and lets you zoom out to get a view of surrounding areas. You can search by neighborhood (or even just city) or specific address. They even show the location of registered sex offenders (you can even click to get a box with more information and a picture).
 

GingerP

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Commuting in the Seattle metro is not nearly as bad as other major metropolitan areas (e.g., Los Angeles, DC, New York); I've only been through Philly once, so I don't know how it compares. From what I hear many natives find the traffic to be horrible because population booms and urban sprawl have considerably changed the landscape in the last 5-10 years. There are pockets that are slower, but that's to be expected. If you live in or travel through the northern parts (where many of the desirable neighborhoods are), then you'll have a longer commute...and a higher rent bill, which is logical. In my opinion, I think some of the traffic woes are due to the peculiarities of the area and WSDOT planning (lack of merge lanes, variable speed limits (why they reduce it from 60 to 40 mph during rush hour, I will never understand), closure of downtown streets to bus traffic only, HOV lanes are on the left in most areas but some are on the right, metered ramps, limited travel routes due to the big lake, etc. etc.). It probably does reduce accidents, but it doesn't expedite traffic. Also, you'll find that drivers in Seattle tend to follow the speed limits more closely than drivers in other cities and are not as used to moving over to the right.

Seattle drivers are more polite generally. And Seattle is the only major city where I've seen the pedestrians use and follow the crosswalk signs so religiously. Parking is very expensive, and you have to contend with some steep hills in spots. People say the bus system is great; I've only used it for transportation to the airport. There is no subway system, but there is a light-rail that travels through a limited area. I like I-90, dislike 520, hate 99, and find I-5 to be a necessary evil. If you live any area surrounding the lake, you will have a commute of 40 minutes or fewer from downtown.

If you want to live the city life the islands are NOT a good idea. They are very rustic/secluded, do not have much in the way of retail or cultural activities, and generally have an older population. As many have stated the ferries are also expensive and restrictive. The Eastside probably would not fit the bill either. It's more suburbia and not as walkable. Bellevue is up and coming but is a new city; it has more of the "town center" feel, more nouveau riche.

I'll echo other posters who say that many young professionals reside in Ballard and Fremont, and Green Lake and Queen Anne are other hot spots in the city. Generally anything north of downtown is safe. Also to note, Seattle is not "cosmopolitan" in my mind. It has a more relaxed, earthy, indie, quirky feel, if that makes sense. It's a great city.
 

MichelleCarmen

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TooPatient|1307038125|2936316 said:
Here is a LINK to a crime website. I don't think it is a complete listing of crimes, but the map feature is kind of interesting and lets you zoom out to get a view of surrounding areas. You can search by neighborhood (or even just city) or specific address. They even show the location of registered sex offenders (you can even click to get a box with more information and a picture).
Here's an example for Bellevue Police Dept...has the 911 dispatch reports

http://bellevuewa.gov/crimemap/

5/30 was a busy day:
http://bellevuewa.gov/crimemap/DailyCrimeText.aspx?crimeDate=5/30/2011

All city police departments have these!
 

rainwood

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1,481
So Washington doesn't have reciprocity with PA? That's too bad. Although your timing is pretty good if you have to take the exam. You could take a review course in the fall and sit for the December exam. It's been a long time since I took it, but I didn't think it was that hard. Washington doesn't have a killer exam and low pass rate like some states (e.g., NY).

The bottom fell out of the legal biz here like everyone else, but how badly depended in part on your area of practice. There are signs that the general economy may be starting to turn around out here, and the legal market may follow. I'm no longer in private big firm practice so I'm not as up to speed on the hiring side as I used to be, but Seattle draws people from all over the country so you may not be as "connected" as you were when closer to your alma mater, but lots of people are in that same boat when they come here.

And if you're limiting your apartment hunting to Ballard, upper Queen Anne, Fremont, etc., you don't need to worry about crime. It's pretty safe in all those places. Belltown and lower Queen Anne are a little more sketchy, but probably no worse than where you live now. And the drivers are not worse than in Philly. We had a tour guide drive us to the Italian Market when we visited Philly and we thought we would be killed for sure. Philly drivers are insane! Seattle drivers look tame in comparison although no one would mistake us for angels.

The rental market is really strong in Seattle and the neighborhoods you're looking at are high demand areas. Be prepared for sticker shock. My guess is you'll be paying more here than Philly. But Seattle is a really great place to live. We have a lot of wet, gray weather (especially this year), but in exchange we have some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet and a mild climate where it rarely gets really hot or really cold. August in Seattle is extraordinary.
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,660
TooPatient|1307035481|2936290 said:
If you're willing to take the bus, you've got a lot of options to get into Seattle. There are buses that run every 30 minutes or so (I think 15 or 20 minutes at peak commute times) and get you into Seattle as fast (or faster) than a car can ----- which is good because driving in Seattle STINKS. Cars swerving. Narrow lanes. Pedestrians everywhere, crossing when & where they feel like. Bicycles swerving, weaving all over. Utter INSANITY.

***

Take a look online at crime information for the neighborhoods you might consider. I know there are some areas around here that are really not that safe but I don't want to say a blanket "don't live in X city" because there are usually some really great neighborhoods nearby.
Also take a look at the Washingto State DOT website and see what sort of major road work they are planning. That could either significantly improve or completely ruin commutes from some places.
Your description of traffic sounds JUST like Philly. It took this country girl a long time to get used to driving in Philly and I still hate it, but it's a necessary evil for me. DH was raving about how nice Seattle drivers were when he got home, so it makes me think it's a matter of perspective ;))

Good ideas about the crime statistics and DOT sites -- I will definitely take a look.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,066
Octavia|1307046345|2936402 said:
TooPatient|1307035481|2936290 said:
If you're willing to take the bus, you've got a lot of options to get into Seattle. There are buses that run every 30 minutes or so (I think 15 or 20 minutes at peak commute times) and get you into Seattle as fast (or faster) than a car can ----- which is good because driving in Seattle STINKS. Cars swerving. Narrow lanes. Pedestrians everywhere, crossing when & where they feel like. Bicycles swerving, weaving all over. Utter INSANITY.

***

Take a look online at crime information for the neighborhoods you might consider. I know there are some areas around here that are really not that safe but I don't want to say a blanket "don't live in X city" because there are usually some really great neighborhoods nearby.
Also take a look at the Washingto State DOT website and see what sort of major road work they are planning. That could either significantly improve or completely ruin commutes from some places.
Your description of traffic sounds JUST like Philly. It took this country girl a long time to get used to driving in Philly and I still hate it, but it's a necessary evil for me. DH was raving about how nice Seattle drivers were when he got home, so it makes me think it's a matter of perspective ;))

Good ideas about the crime statistics and DOT sites -- I will definitely take a look.

Probably!

I learned to drive on the backroads of Snohomish & Lake Stevens and most of my driving (I didn't drive my first few years in Redmond/Sammamish) has been on nice wider streets mostly with light traffic and often two-lane only at relatively low speeds.
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,660
rainwood|1307045585|2936396 said:
So Washington doesn't have reciprocity with PA? That's too bad. Although your timing is pretty good if you have to take the exam. You could take a review course in the fall and sit for the December exam. It's been a long time since I took it, but I didn't think it was that hard. Washington doesn't have a killer exam and low pass rate like some states (e.g., NY).

The bottom fell out of the legal biz here like everyone else, but how badly depended in part on your area of practice. There are signs that the general economy may be starting to turn around out here, and the legal market may follow. I'm no longer in private big firm practice so I'm not as up to speed on the hiring side as I used to be, but Seattle draws people from all over the country so you may not be as "connected" as you were when closer to your alma mater, but lots of people are in that same boat when they come here.

And if you're limiting your apartment hunting to Ballard, upper Queen Anne, Fremont, etc., you don't need to worry about crime. It's pretty safe in all those places. Belltown and lower Queen Anne are a little more sketchy, but probably no worse than where you live now. And the drivers are not worse than in Philly. We had a tour guide drive us to the Italian Market when we visited Philly and we thought we would be killed for sure. Philly drivers are insane! Seattle drivers look tame in comparison although no one would mistake us for angels.

The rental market is really strong in Seattle and the neighborhoods you're looking at are high demand areas. Be prepared for sticker shock. My guess is you'll be paying more here than Philly. But Seattle is a really great place to live. We have a lot of wet, gray weather (especially this year), but in exchange we have some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet and a mild climate where it rarely gets really hot or really cold. August in Seattle is extraordinary.
There is reciprocity, but it's basically "see what the state you're barred in requires to be admitted on motion, and that's what WA will require of you." PA requires active practice for 5 of the preceding 7 years, and I was only admitted in 2010, so that's a no-go. What I'm REALLY hoping is that I can find a federal job (I'm currently a fed) because that would make life easier in so many ways. But my current agency doesn't have an office there, so I definitely can't be reassigned. I've always preferred the idea of public service to private practice, though of course I won't rule out working for a firm if one will have me. I'm trying to work my gov't connections, though, so we will see.

Yes, Philly drivers are nuts. I'd love to blame it all on the people who come over from South Jersey but PA has it's share of ridiculous drivers, too.

I've been looking at Craigslist to get a general idea of prices in the neighborhoods recommended here, and it looks comparable to Philly. We currently live in a 700-sf one-bedroom and pay $1450 inclusive of utilities, plus $185 for one parking space in a nearby garage. We also have a small storage unit which we hopefully won't need after we pare way back for the move. So I'm hoping we won't pay too much more overall, especially if I'm not working right away. Yikes.
 

sunnyd

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,353
Octavia|1307048111|2936426 said:
Yes, Philly drivers are nuts. I'd love to blame it all on the people who come over from South Jersey but PA has it's share of ridiculous drivers, too.
I like to blame bad Seattle driving on all the SoCal transplants! :cheeky:

I don't have comparison to Philly, but Seattle's cost of living is one of the highest in the country.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
I almost typed "U District" but then paused - there are some good and bad areas there. But they have many restaurants and fun places to go. I'd say, Wallingford, because it is relatively close and is considered a very nice community.

Eastside is very nice and very safe. If you are exploring places to live on the Eastside, do not forget Kirkland. They have an interesting area on the waterfront, with artisan's stores, artist galleries, restaurants. If I were to choose where to settle on the Eastside (and did not have young kids), I'd say, Kirkland. Much more fun than Issaquah, although more expensive. But the waterfront reminds me Vancouver, BC, definitely one of best cities in the world.

Redmond is also nice just because many young couples settle there. (Microsoft).

If I were young and unburdened by kids, I'd still settle in Seattle, not on the Eastside. Seattle is more fun, has several museums (nothing comparable to Philly), good movie theaters showing independent films. Opera and Symphony are becoming better and better. The only thing that makes me hysterical is parking.

Much has been said about hiking and biking if you like it; it is not my cup of tea but we have rockhunting trips here and they are fun.

I shall ask my son who lives in the U District to make a list of good restaurants for you and post it. I shall keep on posting places to visit in WA. (Not in one day, of course). We just came from the Bavarian village in Levenworth, definitely a place to see.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy it here.

And, oh - my colleague lives in Bremerton, and commute is horrible. Not a good idea.
 
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