Welcome to Seattle

Welcome to Seattle

Seattle is a city of natural beauty, blessed with a wealth of natural resources. It has used these innate characteristics to lure a high quality citizenry and industry to its confines.

Seattle’s reputation for rainy days may be well known, but it is also home to a city full of outdoors enthusiasts. Those same people are also what drive Seattle to the top of the best-educated and healthiest cities lists. Other, less flattering lists that Seattle tops include the most congested—traffic can be abysmal on the highways.

The congestion can be blamed, in part, on Seattle’s geography, which does not leave much room for expansion. To the west are Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains; to the east are Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. These natural features may make any more sprawling growth a difficult prospect, but it does keep Seattle hemmed in by beautiful mountains, especially when considered with Mt. Baker to the north and Mt. Rainier to the south.

Seattle’s breathtaking outdoors encourage people to spend time out of their houses, enjoying their surroundings. Despite the reputation for rain and the incredibly short, grey days of winter, skiing, climbing, hiking, running, swimming and boating are all popular activities. Rather than hide from the climate, Seattleites (as residents are known) embrace it.

In part due to their embrace of the outdoors and in part due to the old West heritage, Seattle has never had some of the societal norms that prevail in the northeastern and southern parts of the country. Rarely will you find a dress code, except at the fanciest of places, and often even there, they are much more casual.

Seattle’s dressed down masses are also particularly attached to the various neighborhoods of the city. Despite having a thriving downtown business area, residents are hesitant to live in dense areas and tend to make this “a city of neighborhoods,” in the words of former Mayor Greg Nickels. The nature of a neighborhood-heavy city is that it is rather large and spread-out, meaning cars are the main form of transportation. In recent years the Link Light Rail system has connected the airport to the city and there is some commuter trains running, but for the most part Seattleites use their cars to get around.

Seattle does have a little walkable area and the myth is that it is bigger than it is, as popular culture versions of Seattle always include walking. Contrary to the impressions given by versions of Seattle on the small screen, such as Frasier and Grey’s Anatomy, where the characters seem to walk everywhere, it just is not the case. Seattle has played a major part as a setting in both of these television shows. It has also played itself on the big screen in such movies as “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” and of course the ever popular “Sleepless in Seattle.”

While Seattleites might not love or be the representation of them in pop culture, they have all come here for something, for a technology boom or to get away from a bust elsewhere. From the earliest influx of Alaskan gold miners to the dot-com entrepreneurial folks, Seattle has always held something that draws people from all over. As long as the city keeps them happy with great coffee and a relatively good economy, they all tend to stay once they get to Seattle.

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