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  1. #1
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    Move to Washington... Seattle?

    My girlfriend and I are looking to move to Washington some time next year, just wanting an idea of where to begin. In our mid 20's, I enjoy the outdoors, she is a ballet/contemporary dancer/teacher. We would like to be somewhere we don't have to drive all the time. Would like to be able to walk/bike and use public transportation. any suggestions of outdoors and decent nightlife in the same area?
    Thanks

    BTW, moving from dallas/fort worth, so I know the mountain bike trails are going to be awesome.

  2. #2
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    I'd say it's very unlikely that you can eliminate driving for your commute AND for your outdoors activities. By and large, arts things & nightlife are in the neighborhoods around downtown Seattle and mountain biking is well east of the city. (East of Bellevue, actually. Issaquah, Sammamish, etc.) And of course public transportation is stronger the closer you get to downtown, as at least the half bus lines tend to run to/from/through downtown. If you like that sort of thing, it can be great to live in an apartment downtown. You get lots of stuff within walking distance, easy highway access for going riding, and direct bus lines to almost any other neighborhood. But it's urban and not green/leafy like most other neighborhoods.

    You can look at the map of riding places on our Trail Guide site to see where various riding places are, though you may have to read the pages a bit to figure out what's worthwhile and what's not. Evergreen Trail Guide

    For dance info, I think DanceNet is a good place to look: Seattle DanceNet | Welcome to DanceNet, created by and for dance artists, advocates and audiences, living and working in the Seattle area. You didn't say what you do for a living...

  3. #3
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    I am part time student/bike mechanic, I haven't settled into any real career yet. I appreciate the reply though.

  4. #4
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    If you're going to be going to the UW, I believe there's an on-campus bike shop and a bike club/team or two, plus a few decent bike stores nearby like Recycled Cycles. No lack of decent bike shops around Seattle, but I have no idea how the job market is these days.

  5. #5
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    from my experience if you are stuck on the 9-5 schedule. it takes about an hour to drive from downtown to decent bike trails for midweek after work rides.

  6. #6
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    I freaking love Seattle, but for me there are some big deterrents.
    1. Weather. It doesn't rain as much as people say it does, but it is cloudy, and drizzley a ton.
    2. Traffic. It blows. You might as well walk during rush hour. They do have pretty good public transport there.
    3. Cost of living. Its quite a bit more in Seattle, especially for housing.

  7. #7
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    I'd look at Moscow, ID for ease of getting around with out a car, good scene (college town), and access to the outdoors. The biking is excellent for both road and mtb. 9 miles away in WA is the city of Pullman which is home to WSU, another college town. It isn't the big city by any means, but Spokane is 1 1/2 hours away.

  8. #8
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    Look at Bellingham,WA. takes abit more effort to find work, but you could live without a car at all, if you wanted.

  9. #9
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    she is a ballet/contemporary dancer/teacher.
    Come on guys, read the above. It's Seattle or Seattle or Seattle for a combo of the arts and biking. Our smaller cities like Bellingham are awesome, but not if you're trying to make a living in the arts. Bellevue might work, it's starting to grow up, but I have a hunch it would still be tough for her to make a go of it there.

    clbaumer, live south of Downtown, close to I-90. You can get to the trails in 40 minutes and downtown in 10 minutes if you're in Leschi, Madrona, Mt. Baker or Beacon Hill.

    I'd look closely at Beacon Hill. Light rail to downtown, rents and house are better priced there (still high compared to Texas), and close to everything. The neighorhood can be a little rough around the edges, but if you're right up near the light rail station it's a pretty cool place.
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
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  10. #10
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    I appreciate the responses, I will check out some of the named places.

    I have looked into Bellingham a little, I like the size and how it is between Seattle and Vancouver, although juice is right, I don't think they have the art scene that the girlfriend needs.

  11. #11
    gravity fighter
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    What's drawing you both to Seattle? It's a great city (with the well documented weather and traffic challenges) but I wouldn't go without solid work options lined up.

  12. #12
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    Well.... I grew up in Ohio, and prefer colder weather. My gf has never lived outside of Texas. We are looking for a drastic change from the hot 9 months a year, no view, no options for mountains or oceanic activities. I am tired of feeling landlocked in Dallas/FW. I also don't enjoy downtown in either city. Overrun by homeless people and illegal immigrants bugging you about work. All the nice areas to hangout are a bunch of snobby rich people with nothing better to do than pretend they are better than everyone else. I enjoy outdoors and cold, gf enjoys art and nightlife. We figure Seattle is the best option, and closest thing to not being in DFW.

  13. #13
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    hows the capitol hill area?

  14. #14
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    hows the capitol hill area?
    It's great. I think it's the most vibrant walkable neighborhood in the city, lots of night life, great restaurants, interesting people and you can walk to downtown. Also easy access to all the freeways for biking. Capitol Hill is expensive, so just expect to rent/buy a smaller place than you would in other parts of town.

    Seattle has it's own homeless issues, so that's one area where it might not be an improvement over DFW. The weather itself here isn't bad, but the dreary gray and lack of light can get a little depressing in winter. Summers are freaking unbelievable here, and on a winter day if the sun manages to pop out it's stunning. Yeah, that's about three times all winter, but it's gorgeous.

    If you're looking at Cap Hill, I take back my Beacon Hill recommendation. Capitol Hill is way more urban feeling, way more dense. If you're considering Cap Hill, there's really just Cap Hill, no other neighborhoods are near as exciting except maybe Belltown. South Lake Union is a newer neighborhood that is starting to get that urban feel, and it feels very new and shiny.
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
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  15. #15
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    Yep, Bellingham has a small regional dance company, but it's nothing like Seattle with the PNB and other major dance opportunities. No question.

    Juice gave good suggestions. Access to I-90 should be a priority if you want easier trail access. I'd avoid Ballard, Magnolia or anything on the north side of the ship canal bridge....those can easily add 1/2 hour or more to get over the lake.

    Cap Hill is rad. Dense, urban, great nightlife and restaurants, lots of students and young people and a vibrant/diverse community. That said, its more expensive and has more homeless folks. Beacon Hill, Mt. baker or Columbia City are good "south end" options and can be very different block to block in each of those areas. We owned a home on Judkins Park for a decade and that's a sweet little pocket, but it's also a couple of blocks from some of the usual shady stuff that happens in/near the Central District...but I could be on I-5 or I-90 in 5 minutes and downtown in 10 minutes.

    EB

  16. #16
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    Capitol Hill changes in character from the west side between I-5 and Broadway where it's mostly apartment buildings to east side where it's mostly single family houses and the mix gradually gets less young and more affluent. It's pricey overall.

    Lots of coffee shops and restaurants. I don't know that I'd say that it has night life. Lots of bars, but not a lot of clubs. In fact, if you want to go clubbing or dancing, or stay out late, you may find Seattle disappointing.

  17. #17
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    This is Mrs. FoldsInHalf poaching on this account.

    Have you considered Denver? We're both native Texans, from Austin, and have lived in an RV for 10 years traveling around, guided mostly by mountainbiking destinations for the last several years.

    Seattle is great--we're here right now. A couple of years ago, we spent from early November to June in the vicinity, two months in Portland and the rest in Seattle. I can't emphasize enough what an adjustment it is to go from the wide expanses of Texas to a place where you don't see the sun for weeks, maybe months, at a time, and the sun goes down at 4:00 in the winter, but not that that matters because it was never really up in the first place and even if it was, you probably couldn't see it.

    You might feel landlocked in Dallas, but you're liable to feel cloud-locked in Seattle and it can be oppressive.

    I'm suggesting Denver mainly because of the weather and the excellent biking that's close to town. It gets very hot in the summer, true, but it's drier than Dallas. We've spent several summers there and especially if you're used to Dallas, it won't be too hot. We've also spent winters there and it gets cold but it's usually sunny so it's the fun kind of cold, which will be easier for your girlfriend to get used to.

    Downtown Denver is vibrant, but there are a lot of homeless there (they like nice weather, too). On weekends and evenings, it's a much more active place than downtown Dallas; lots of people live there and most of the arts stuff is there, as well as a lively pedestrian mall, and the football, baseball, and basketball stadiums are all downtown.

    There is a lively arts scene, although I don't know about dance in particular. The town itself is very bikable and it has pretty good public transportation but you'll want a car to get to rides. Unless you live in Golden, where there is excellent riding right from town, but there's a ton of fabulous biking in the area that you have to drive to.

    Denver obviously has no connection to any ocean, but you also mentioned mountains and you'll have those. My only real knock on Denver is the air quality--I don't like looking at that haze. Traffic is bad, but it's bad in every major city although I think it may be a bit worse in Seattle. I try to stay of rush hour traffic in general.

    You can go to the front range forums if you want more info. There's a sticky for people wanting to move to the area. (Personally, I like Boulder the best, but I don't think I could ever afford to live there.)

    I'm not dissing Seattle--I really do like it here. My main hobbies are indoors (Carey's the biking warrior) so I didn't think the gloom would affect me that much, but it does, so I think it's something people should seriously consider if thinking of moving to the area. The gloom is probably a good thing--but for that, there would probably be a hundred million people living here. I'd probably be one of them.
    "Rollin' on 20s and 27.5s" ride reports and more at WWW.DEBCAR.COM : Debbie and Carey's RV Travel Website

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the reply Mrs/ foldinhalf, and others. I am familiar with Denver, spent a year there last year for school. I thought it would be my favorite place in the world, outdoors, weather, sports, all awesome. Unfortunaltely, you can't walk corner to corner without 3 different homeless people asking for money. And that is no exaggeration. I live in capitol hill, well near, 2 blocks from colfax. I lived on 12th and washington, and I couldn't get anywhere without beggars, or seeing people take smoked cigarettes out of public ash trays and asking for a light. It was annoying/depressing/sad.

    the only other places I have considered are Salt Lake, and Minneapolis. Minneapolis I think would be too cold for the gf, and Salt Lake too.... odd.

  19. #19
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    I think you are deluding yourself if you think that Seattle will have less poverty/street people/homeless. It's pretty endemic to any major metropolitan area. And as for SLC being "odd" ( assuming you are referencing the Mormon culture) you might be surprised. There is a whole other culture there of outdoors and other people that really don't give a hoot about the Mormons.

  20. #20
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    ^^ I know, I understand every city will have that, but its got to be less somewhere. I also totally understand the mormon slc thing being overdone, same as seattle and its rain. The thing about slc is also that it has no ocean, and the odd' mromon thing would be the same reason i dont look into portland, the odd hippie thing. I'd like to have a nice balance. Seattle seems to be a nice balance. At least from research, although I am on here asking for opinions and options, so thanks

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoldsInHalf View Post
    This is Mrs. FoldsInHalf poaching on this account.

    Have you considered Denver?
    You can go to the front range forums if you want more info. There's a sticky for people wanting to move to the area. (Personally, I like Boulder the best, but I don't think I could ever afford to live there.)

    I'm not dissing Seattle--I really do like it here. My main hobbies are indoors (Carey's the biking warrior) so I didn't think the gloom would affect me that much, but it does, so I think it's something people should seriously consider if thinking of moving to the area. The gloom is probably a good thing--but for that, there would probably be a hundred million people living here. I'd probably be one of them.
    Ironically, I was the OP of that sticky thread. I made it 7 months in CO, before coming back to Seattle. I can live anywhere in the country, but I think WA-OR coastal area is the best (Portland-Seattle-Bellingham). You should take Mrs Foldsinhalf's advice very seriously though. The weather is MUCH better in Denver (I was actually in Boulder, but had friends in Denver). The bike culture in CO is different, better in many ways. But the riding is not nearly as good, and the Rockies can't hold a candle to the Cascades. When I moved to CO I was doing ironman stuff, so there was a lot of that around, it is one of the meccas for endurance athletes. But the roadie mentality comes with it, and the anti-biker mentality. Cyclists (and everyone else) feel a whole lot more entitled in CO. It is very similar to TX (I lived in Houston for a bit too). The gun folk love their guns, the 4x4 folk love their jeeps, and the MTB folk love their trails. There is a lot of "I am taking it because I have a right to this" attitude. In Seattle, there have been huge strides lately to get the trails legalized, build bike parks (Duthie), lift assist (Stevens pass) etc. And it is a short 5 hr drive to Whistler, and all the great BC trails. Sure there are still illegal trails, but you never have to ride them. In CO, essentially 95% of the good DH trails were illegal.

    However, if you are honest with yourself, you might actually like CO better, it is much closer to TX in terms of attitude (good and bad). Your comment about the 'hippies' in Portland makes me think that you might not be such a good fit here. Most of the people living in Seattle probably wouldn't really care to much to watch 2 guys making out in public. There is a bit of tolerance here. Lots of folks with 'strange' piercings, tattoos and clothing choices. You can go to a $100 a person restaurant in jeans and a T-shirt, or even shorts. In NYC I was turned away at a club for wearing black sneakers (better to dance in imo, I am a form follows function guy). This would never happen in Seattle. In many states, in my profession I would have to wear a tie. But here 'business casual' is the norm. If you find that you would think twice about any of those things, then Seattle may not be the best choice for you two. CO is more central in its attitudes and traditions, has better weather (the best in the country imo--better than San Diego), a vibrant cycling culture. Traffic and homelessness are about the same. Where I live I know the homeless folks, I know their ring leader (it is an organized racket here in the U district and up and down I-5). They broke into my car, stole my change, left my passport, GoPro, Sunglasses etc. They just wanted a beer. Did I flip out? Did I shoot someone? No. Seattle tolerates that sh!t, and so do I. After all, I like beer too!

    I have lived in Seattle, Boulder, NYC, Atlanta, Houston, San Diego, and the Bay Area for extended periods. Seattle is #1 for me, but CO is a close #2. You should really think about CO.

    Hope this helps.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  22. #22
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    I appreciate the thought and reply rdh, and it makes sense. I agree, colorado might be a good choice... but, I have lived there already. Unless I could somehow live in steamboat, Idon't think colorado is so awesome. From Denver, it is still 1 1/2 hour drive to the mountains, no ocean, is there a reasonable lake?

    I just feel like washington, and seattle, have everything to offer.... if you can get pass the grey. Is there a sunny version? I have always wanted to live in New Zealand, but its borderline impossible.

  23. #23
    gravity fighter
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    My advice is visit for a week sometime between Nov-May and spend some quality time walking around the city and different neighborhoods. Get a real taste of the town and weather outside of the glorious 2.7 months of summer.
    I moved my wife to the PNW from sunny California and she complains about the weather All The Time, so fair warning...

    As far as Hippy's hipsters and homeless, you've got plenty of that and so what? That's life in the big city and you need to accept it or make enough money to avoid it. You're young enough to make some moves, so I say give it a shot.

  24. #24
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    My favorite large city I've spent any time in is Vancouver, BC. I've lived in New England, CO. and WA.
    Vancouver has everything.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    ^^ I know, I understand every city will have that, but its got to be less somewhere. I also totally understand the mormon slc thing being overdone, same as seattle and its rain. The thing about slc is also that it has no ocean, and the odd' mromon thing would be the same reason i dont look into portland, the odd hippie thing. I'd like to have a nice balance. Seattle seems to be a nice balance. At least from research, although I am on here asking for opinions and options, so thanks
    You've mentioned the homeless thing a couple times so I'm going to say that Seattle is loaded with homeless and you will get bugged relentlessly for cash here.
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