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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.

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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.
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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  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

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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.
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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
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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.

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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.
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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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  26. #26
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    While Seattle doesn't have it's own TV show like Portland does, it has been a center for a lot of liberal and green ideas. Not that there's anything wrong with that... but you sound pretty idealistic in what you are looking for in a city. There are plenty of squares and conservative folk in Oregon, and SLC has one of the largest gay communities in the nation, bigger than SF. That doesn't appear on your list of criteria but I am throwing it out there to illustrate a point. Most cities are very diverse and what ever your leaning (left right green not green etc) you should be able to find like minded people.

    If homeless people really get you down, maybe a nice, clean suburb with cookie cutter houses and strip malls might be a better place for you to live.

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    i was just trying to get an idea of what part in Seattle might be best. The homeless people thing seems to be offending some of you. I mentioned it because when I was in Denver, I literally could not walk a block from my apartment without several beggars asking for money or cigarettes. I would like to avoid that situation again.

  28. #28
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    Well, the homeless thing bothers me as well. It's one of the reasons I don't live downtown even though I love the city.

    I know the GF does the dance thing, but it's not impossible to live in bellevue or issaquah and not drive all the time. If you live close to i90 there is an express bus that goes to downtown seattle. I take it from the bellevue park and ride, takes 20-25 minutes. Trails are close by. You can hit some on bikes and some a short drive.

    Dunno about issaquah, but you won't get hit up by homeless in bellevue outside of the typical guys at freeway onramps in rush hour.

    Downsides are it's not as vibrant a place to live. It's the burbs. It's super diverse in terms of cultures/people, but you can't walk outside your door and hit a bunch of cool bars, restaurants, shops, etc... There is a downtown, but it's pretty business oriented, and the mall there is depressingly consumerist, even compared to other malls.

    A compromise for sure. Also, the weather isn't any better. I moved here from tahoe where it's sunny 300 days a year. This is my 3rd winter and it still gets to me a little. It's not terrible, you can ride and trail run most days anyway because it's never cold (at least for someone from the mountains like me) but there are weeks at a time where you won't see the sun. You have to make it a point to just go outside and do stuff anyway. And pound that vit D.

  29. #29
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    FYI good skiing is over 1.5 hrs from Seattle too.

  30. #30
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    OP, I don't see any responses regarding the homeless as coming off as offended, you asked about it and folks just told you what's up on that matter.

    Anyhow you might want to give SLC another look. I lived there for about 9 years and loved it. The Mormon thing is way overblown imo. True, they shape much of the larger culture there, no doubt about it. But on the other hand they don't really have much bearing on your day to day life. Let's just say I had no problem getting, ahem, inebriated at will there. Actually the liberal leaning people there seem much more engaged than they are here in Seattle, if that matters.

    Obviously cycling is an issue and I will say there are way more options available there than in the Seattle area. And they are significantly closer. Plus Moab is a short 3.5 hr drive away. I don't know if you're into skiing but it's incredible. Alta and Snowbird are 35 mins away-do I need to say more?

    A couple words on Seattle living. It doesn't rain here as much as legend has it but it is grey for a good 5 straight months or so. Once that sun disappears behind the clouds in October it really doesn't reappear until late Jan or Feb. And it does rain a lot so if you gotta get your biking fix get ready for cold, wet riding in the winter months. And compared to a lot of places the riding options can be a bit limited here. Traffic sucks balls here as well-too many cars in a geographically challenged area.

    Now don't get me wrong, I love it here. I really like the local riding style but it may not be for everyone. The Seattle area has a lot to offer and I consider myself lucky to be a resident. You should come out for a weekend, rent a bike and take a spin on some of the local trails and see how you like it.
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    How is the SLC night life?

  32. #32
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    The nightlife isn't so great in SLC, some might say nonexistent. That being said, there is a nice selection of restaurants and bars and when I left about 7 or 8 years ago it was on the upswing. But to be honest nightlife (or lack thereof) could be an issue. Its definitely a tradeoff to be sure. I hung out with a circle of friends and we made our own fun. For me personally it was a perfect balance of work, entertainment and outdoor fun. Btw, cost of living ain't too bad out there either.
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  33. #33
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    I thought about also suggesting Salt Lake City when I mentioned Denver.

    I rather like SLC, but it does take some effort to ignore the Mormon influence. I don't drink very much so I don't keep up with this sort of thing, but Utah has been loosening up its liquor laws, which is a good sign. (I read some news reports indicating that they were going to have to think about loosening them up even further, in order to attract skiers away from Colorado and its legal marijuana!)

    But still, lots of restaurants are closed on Sundays, even fast food places--that's the only place I've seen that. And on our recent stay there I was reminded how many children there are in that town--they are absolutely, and noticeably, everywhere. And maybe they're home-schooled? Because in most places if you're out and about on a school day before 3:00, you don't see many kids but that's not the case there. It was strange.

    I've been fairly impressed with the culture there. I go to foreign/independent movies whenever I can and SLC always has a good slate, and more than one venue, which speaks to some level of cultural diversity. There was a reality show on TV (well, on the CW channel) about the ballet company there, so there's some dance going on.

    My observation is that there are fewer homeless people in SLC than either Denver or Seattle, but that's not particularly hard to do because both of those cities have such a sizable population. But pretty much every decent-sized town has some issues with it, unless it's such a hellhole that not even homeless want to live there.

    As for Denver, you lived at ground zero for homelessness there. I volunteered at a soup kitchen on the other side of Colfax from where you lived, and frequented a movie theater just east of there, and it was dispiriting. As you found out, that's a pretty poor choice of location to live if you don't like that sort of thing. I wonder how different your experience would have been if you'd lived in, say, Golden, or in the Highland neighborhood.

    Be careful about repeating your mistake if you end up in Seattle, especially if you're looking at downtown or areas right around there. A place like Bellevue would lessen the odds of inadvertently moving into Seattle's homeless hub, and you could always move once you get more familiar with the demographics.

    And yes, it doesn't rain as much in Seattle as people say/think...BUT.

    I was reading a tourist brochure that said Seattle gets less rain than Miami or Dallas. That is true, but as others have observed, what you get instead is constant overcast sky and drizzle. There's a big difference between that and days of sunshine interrupted by an afternoon thunderstorm that drops a bunch of rain at once. Those can actually be kind of fun. People may tolerate months of overcast, and some may even like it. But I don't think anybody ever says it's fun.

    That same brochure also said something about more sunglasses being sold in Seattle than anywhere else, and I thought, "Yeah, because they get used so rarely people forget where they are and have to buy a new pair every time the sun comes out."

    Fun with statistics.
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    Can the overcast really be bad enough to not move there? I don't mind overcast and rain. The gf might though. SLC has the smog problem, is that not as bad as the grey skies in washington? I know LA smog is bad enough I wouldn't want to live there, or probably just too many people and too much traffic.

    Is portland any sunnier than Seattle? How far inland do you have to get to have more sunnytime?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    Is portland any sunnier than Seattle? How far inland do you have to get to have more sunnytime?
    Portland has the edge on Seattle in terms of beer, coffee, food culture and affordability; but definitely not for weather. And while there's a couple of good spots within reasonable mid-week, after-work driving distance (i.e., Sandy, maybe Stubb Stewart), it also doesn't have the riding.

    To get the sun in WA (and OR, for that matter), your best bet is to get on the other side of the Cascades. But you'll need a fat bike for winter...

    Naw, western Cascadia isn't for everyone; but if you want the unique terrain we're blessed with up here, you have to suck it up and deal with some cold and dark.

  36. #36
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    I appreciate the reply geephro.

    As far as the other side of the cascades, any cool towns I should check out when I come visit? And I thought Oregon had awesome riding? Is it just not near portland?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    As far as the other side of the cascades, any cool towns I should check out when I come visit?
    I know central Washington reasonably well -- Leavenworth and Wenatchee are worth visiting. The Leavenworth area has tons of killer riding, both dirt and snow. Wenatchee is pretty much the big city of central Washington, and there's been a lot of new trail being built right outside town (from what I've heard).

    Don't know much about further east or south, like Spokane or Ellensburg; but I'm sure others can chime in.

    Your, or rather, your girlfriend's main issue is work -- while there's an arts scene in all of these places, it's tiny compared to Seattle, especially for dance. And the politics tend to be a little different on that side of the mountains as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    And I thought Oregon had awesome riding? Is it just not near portland?
    Don't get me wrong -- there's a lot of rad spots in Oregon (i.e., Hood River, Bend, Oakridge, Ashville, North Umqua, etc., etc.); but most of it is pretty far from Portland and/or not ridable year-round. Anyone out there feel free to correct me -- I'm just repeating what I've heard from my Portland-based buddies (and on the Oregon forum, for that matter...).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    I know central Washington reasonably well -- Leavenworth and Wenatchee are worth visiting. The Leavenworth area has tons of killer riding, both dirt and snow. Wenatchee is pretty much the big city of central Washington, and there's been a lot of new trail being built right outside town (from what I've heard).

    Don't know much about further east or south, like Spokane or Ellensburg; but I'm sure others can chime in.

    Your, or rather, your girlfriend's main issue is work -- while there's an arts scene in all of these places, it's tiny compared to Seattle, especially for dance. And the politics tend to be a little different on that side of the mountains as well.



    Don't get me wrong -- there's a lot of rad spots in Oregon (i.e., Hood River, Bend, Oakridge, Ashville, North Umqua, etc., etc.); but most of it is pretty far from Portland and/or not ridable year-round. Anyone out there feel free to correct me -- I'm just repeating what I've heard from my Portland-based buddies (and on the Oregon forum, for that matter...).
    My best riding pal moved from Hood River to Portland, and that sound exactly right. Any decent riding is at least an hour out with not much in town at all. Portland may also be even more dismal than Seattle in the winter, based on her reports.

  39. #39
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    Move to Washington... Seattle?

    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
    In Seattle (or PDX) you are still going to find the "odd" religious, hippie, homeless, immigrant, whatever thing. No way around it. Thinking one or the other (or most anyplace) is much different is just believing stereotypes.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    And I thought Oregon had awesome riding? Is it just not near portland?
    As we travel around in the RV, we're always auditioning towns for permanent settlement. And have criteria somewhat similar to yours

    I like Portland and was putting it pretty high up on the list, but it is one place Carey said he could not live more than temporarily, between the weather and the lack of mountainbiking. Most of the bike culture you hear about is more commuting and just using a bike instead of a car. I've never seen so many bikes with fenders, and their bags are like the ones on kayaks, that double wrap or whatever to keep the contents dry.

    BTW, Carey was very pleasantly surprised by the riding in Wenatchee (actually Cashmere). It wasn't really on the radar so we planned to be there for just a couple of days but ended up staying a week. It's not "big city" enough for me, though.
    "Rollin' on 20s and 27.5s" ride reports and more at WWW.DEBCAR.COM : Debbie and Carey's RV Travel Website

  41. #41
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    Move to Washington... Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by FoldsInHalf View Post
    As we travel around in the RV, we're always auditioning towns for permanent settlement. And have criteria somewhat similar to yours

    I like Portland and was putting it pretty high up on the list, but it is one place Carey said he could not live more than temporarily, between the weather and the lack of mountainbiking. Most of the bike culture you hear about is more commuting and just using a bike instead of a car. I've never seen so many bikes with fenders, and their bags are like the ones on kayaks, that double wrap or whatever to keep the contents dry.

    BTW, Carey was very pleasantly surprised by the riding in Wenatchee (actually Cashmere). It wasn't really on the radar so we planned to be there for just a couple of days but ended up staying a week. It's not "big city" enough for me, though.
    :LOL: "Cashmere" and "big city" do not even belong on the same page! The whole county only has 72,000 people. Love it here, though.
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    how hard is it to get to the leavenworth/cashmere/wenatchee area from downtown Seattle? Would it be a weekend kind of thing?
    Also, is Bellevue or Issaquah places that are easy to get around, meaning, to downtown Seattle, and to riding? How exactly would you describe those 2, just suburbs?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    how hard is it to get to the leavenworth/cashmere/wenatchee area from downtown Seattle? Would it be a weekend kind of thing?
    Sure. My crew does day rides over there all the time. Couple of hours; but easy highway driving.

    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    Also, is Bellevue or Issaquah places that are easy to get around, meaning, to downtown Seattle, and to riding? How exactly would you describe those 2, just suburbs?
    I'll let someone who lives out there describe Bellevue and Issaquah; but I'd definitely call them suburbs. Not as bad as some of the sprawl I've visited outside where you currently live by a long shot, though.

    However, closer to the riding in general, and public transit options are *way* better than they were when I moved here almost 20 years ago. The old downtown Issaquah's pretty cool -- you could pop out your back door, hawk a lugie at the statue of Harvey Manning, and pedal right up to Tiger, Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by clbaumer View Post
    Also, is Bellevue or Issaquah places that are easy to get around, meaning, to downtown Seattle, and to riding? How exactly would you describe those 2, just suburbs?
    Issaquah has a town feel, but there's three main areas in Issy. 1 is Olde Town, which has a nice feel and is really close to both trails and transit. Good bus connections from there to Seattle and Bellevue. There's a few restaurants, some nice old brick buildings, but there's actually not that many homes or apartmetns so it can be hard to find a place to live in Olde Town. You can pedal right to the south trail head of Grand Ridge.

    2 is the newly (15 years to present) built Issaquah Highlands development. You're up on the hill, and you can pedal right to the middle Grand Ridge and on to Duthie. It's a well planned area with a few restaurants, a big park-and ride with great bus service, and finally grocery right there. It has that new development feel, but trees are finally starting to grow back in and it's better done than most developments around the country. There are views and lots of light in the Highlands.

    3 is the Squak mountain area. These are curvy, steep neighborhoods with lots of trees and homes from the 60's and 70's. Beautiful area, but you need to rely on a car of you live here since it's not as town-like as the other parts of Issy. The other thing some people don't like about Squak is that the big trees and northeast facing slopes mean it's darker than some areas.

    Bellevue is a bigger place, so it's harder to describe as neatly. Downtown now has highrises, but not that many residences yet. There are some new condo towers which are on the luxury side of things. Downtown is centered around a mall, which has kind of held downtown back (OK, I admit I hate malls, so I'm biased). This is changing as the center of influence shifts away from the mall (Bellevue Square) and toward the highrises. Good urban planning is taking over from the dinosauric policies of Kemper Freeman, the largest land owner (but I digress). Main street has a nice town feel, just a few block from the mall.

    Other parts of Bellevue are more neighborhoody, with single family homes. These range from luxury neighborhoods to average neighborhoods, but all of them are car-centric, which might not work as well for your needs. Bellevue is changing rapidly, and is much more culturally diverse than most people realize due to Microsoft bringing in programmers from around the world. But it does have more of a suburban design, lots of chain restaurants, and it's only got 125,000 people so it's a lot smaller than you might think when you see the skyline.

    Bellevue has less economic diversity than Seattle, meaning there's very few poor and no urban grit. You won't see many homeless. That's either a good thing or bad thing depending on your point of view and what you're looking for. It's got a very safe and clean feel, but you also have less of an artistic community since many can't afford to live there and they tend to prefer a little urban grittiness.

    There's a lot of good things about all of the cities you're looking at, but I think Issy and Seattle would fit your needs better, since you have either a vibrant arts scene and nightlife or a nice town with easy access where you can pedal to the trails. Bellevue really does split the difference between the two.

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    again appreciated. We are planning to visit either early jan or springbreak time. I feel that from all the replies, Issaquah may be what we would agreeably enjoy the most. Thanks everyone.

  46. #46
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    All you Eastern WA folks can suck it. Bellingham is #1!!

    Seriously, we should just put this link up as a permanent sticky for anyone moving here from So Cal, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah or New Mexico.

    EB

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    All you Eastern WA folks can suck it. Bellingham is #1!!

    Seriously, we should just put this link up as a permanent sticky for anyone moving here from So Cal, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah or New Mexico.

    EB
    I love it! Sunshine is for pussies.

  48. #48
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    I am so not showing my wife this article :-)

  49. #49
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    Also, is Bellevue or Issaquah places that are easy to get around, meaning, to downtown Seattle, and to riding? How exactly would you describe those 2, just suburbs?
    I live in SE Sammamish bordering Issaquah. Issaquah is very much suburban and you do need a car, but there is a direct express bus to Seattle. Issaquah is about 30 minutes to Seattle. Traffic in Seattle isn't so bad outside of rush hour unlike in SoCal & in the SF Bay Area. After the evening rush around 6:30 or 7pm, I can generally get into Seattle without much trouble. Most traffic is headed out of Seattle at that time.

    I am guessing you don't have kids? For nightlife, Issaquah is not the place to be. Most dance related activities will most likely be happening in Seattle. Pacific Northwest Ballet is a world-class ballet company and has teaching facilities in Seattle by the Space Needle and in Bellevue.

    On the plus side for Issaquah, riding is right there and if you ski, the closest skiing is 40 minutes away. I've lived in SoCal & the SF Bay Area and this is the first place I've lived in which I can be on nice singletrack 5 minutes out my front door. In Issaquah, the closest residential areas in addition to the Issaquah Highlands to riding are Klahanie and Trossachs (technically in Sammamish). Both Klahanie & the Trossachs are close to the Duthie Hill Mtn Bike park & 7 miles of singletrack (one-way) on the Grand Ridge Trail. On the other side of the Trossachs neighborhood is also Soaring Eagle Park with a large network of intertwined singletrack.

    As for Bellevue, I would not choose to live in Bellevue over Seattle or Issaquah. Bellevue does split the difference between Issaquah & Seattle, but not in a good way. Bellevue has the congestion of Seattle without the redeeming cultural activities unless you count shopping at the Bellevue Square mall as a cultural activity. There is no riding anywhere near Bellevue. If urban culture is most important, I would consider Seattle. If access to outdoor activities is most important, I would consider Issaquah. Bellevue, in my eyes, really has neither and high priced real estate to boot.

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    I'm from Atlanta originally, lived in the Rockies for 10 year including Colorado (Ft. Collins for school plus Buena Vista & Salida as a raft guide), Stanley, Idaho near Sun Valley, Whitefish, MT and Jackson, WY. I'm also a dancer - ballet, modern, jazz and ballroom. I used to dance, teach and choreograph with a company/school in Jackson in fact.

    After 13+ years in Seattle I still think it's the best place I've ever lived hands down. The outdoor recreation opportunities are awesome, and the dance scene for adults is superb! You can find a good job here, the people are friendly and the winters really aren't a problem as long as you get up in the mountains and enjoy the snow and brighter light or you head over to the east side for sunshine.

    Also, pretty much no projects or slums - at least not by southern standards. Sure there are some bums panhandling, but they're generally not too aggressive unless you're downtown or in Cap Hill area. Yes this town isn't as cheap as most of the south, but it sure beats living down there. :-)

    If you move up here, feel free to get in touch and I'm happy to share dance beta with your gf. She should check out Velocity and Spectrum and Westlake Dance Center. And we sometimes need instructors at the local studio I take ballet at nowadays.
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