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Seattle, Washington

“I moved here two years ago from LA and find this town to be the most hip place on the west coast. From Fremont to Belltown, from Pike Place to Capital Hill, Seattle is what’s happening.”

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18 Responses to Seattle, Washington

  • I’ve been to Seattle, and I don’t think I can add too much more than what is already mentioned. I more give a warning about the outlying communities. Many of them are really depressing with lots of really ugly, ultra-modern strip malls where the likes of JC Penneys, Wal-Mart, Target reign supreme, it’s the type where the countercultural-minded should avoid at all costs. Many of these communities also have really ugly new subdivisions with golf course style lawns, oversized and overpriced homes. So your best bet is to stay in Seattle proper.

  • Seattle is by far one of my favorite places to visit, everything thats previously been said is very true. except for the comment on the outlying communities. Yes its true most of them are dominated by strip malls and the like but why care about the outer layer of a community. I live in the Bremerton area and the people who live around here are truly amazing, and I know the heart of the area, every place has its ugly new subdivisions, its something that most cities and towns can’t get away from, but the whole NW is teeming with nature and wildlife, and amazing local artists and musicians. You just have to get out there, meet a few people who know the area and you’ll learn a lot of new things.

  • My criticism of Seattle wasn’t in Seattle itself (after all, the city limits can only go north and south, it can’t spread out eastward, because of Lake Washington, and the fact Bellevue is on the other end), but the rampant out-of-control development between Seattle and Tacoma is appalling. I’ve been to Tukwila, and I never seen such an ugly strip mall in my life as there. Burien, on the other hand, was nicer, and they seemed to have little shops lined up by the road, without all the unsightly development that plagued a lot of the area. I also liked the fact Burien seemed stuck in the 1970s. Vashon Island has a nice countercultural scene going on, it’s near Seattle, but you don’t have to put up with Seattle’s problem of traffic. Bainbridge Island is nice, clean, and development is kept in check, but expensive to live there. Mercer Island is yuppie land, so avoid that, didn’t look like the place had much character (I should know, as I’ve been through there going to Bellevue). East of Bellevue is Issaquah, used to have that small-town charm, but I was there, and it seemed to have what seemed to be the largest strip mall I have ever seen. I remember Kent getting made fun of constantly on Seattle’s Almost Live (on KING-5 right before Saturday Night Live), as being a redneck haven. So I guess there was the good and the bad living in the Seattle area, now I look back on it. I live in Oregon (as I had most my life, except for the three years in the Puget Sound, and the first three years of my life living in southern California), and while there are some Oregon towns with some hideous sprawl like Klamath Falls (although it looked like most of that town’s sprawl was buildings around 30 or so years ago, rather than new development in the last 10 years), Bend, and Medford, it wasn’t anywhere bad as some areas outside of Seattle.

  • Seattle STILL kicks ass over many areas in the country. I live in Everett, just north of Seattle and it is NOT dominated by strip malls. It has a pretty good downtown and a new arena scheduled to open in sept. 03. I dont know of many places on earth that you can go skiing in the mountains and swimming in the ocean on the same day.



  • Oh come on. Look around you. Ugly old buildings, homeless drug addicts, people are staring and talking to themselves like it is some endless mental clinic parade, and the slowest busess(especially when they hit that stupid tunnel) that I’ve ever seen. Capitol Hill buses are even slower and travel nowhere important(unless you attend UW). The city is ugly and depressing. And the faceless suburbs are even worst. Seattle is surrounded with military bases. There is just not much IQ out there. And since there is no desent housing in the city , most residents forced to drive in traffic to their homes in the woods. It is overpriced and plain ugly, and the mayor Nickels or what’s his name, doesn’t understand that it is not normal for people to stop everyone on Capitol Hill and ask for some buulshit like change, or cut nails in front of a restaurant where people eat, or to hear your neighbour snoring and farting because the walls are so thing, and to pay for that dump more then people of Miami Beach or Vancouver BC. I lived in both places, snap out of it Seattle, those people live like royalty compare to you, and pay almost half of what you pay.

  • Seattle has become my hometown. I’ve lived near, in and around the Seattle area since I was almost 17 (August 1978). I came here fresh from living in southern Mississippi for 4.5 years, and before that time, I was in New Hampshire, where I’d been born and spent the first 12 years of my life. And I have to say, I absolutely LOVE Seattle!!

    If you’re a hippie, you definitely want to check out Seattle. Not the outlying areas, like Bellevue (ew), Mercer Island (yuppie heaven), Bainbridge Island (another yuppie heaven). Someone earlier mentioned Burien. That’s just south of the Seattle border, and that’s where I first lived. It’s pretty cool. I was an atheist going to school there for one year (my senior year), I was (well, am…) a sci-fi/Trek and science geek, and never got dogged on for any of that. Didn’t even get dogged on for not standing in assembly for the Lord’s Prayer on the first day of school (“liberal” Seattle, yeah, right…)

    But any way, let me tell you what I, as a wannabe-hippie kind of on the fringe, think about some of the very cool neighborhoods in Seattle.

    By far the best: Capitol Hill. One of the two times I actually resided in the city of Seattle was on Cap Hill. It’s the most densely populated neighborhood north of San Francisco, and you can tell. It’s what I call Seattle’s “bohemian” neighborhood. It’s also the neighborhood that most gays and lesbians choose to settle in, which is cool too. But one of the things I so love about it is that it doesn’t roll back sidewalks at 8PM like downtown Seattle does. I always thought, before living in a “big city,” that there’d be things happening 24/7. Boy, was I wrong!

    However, when I was living there, there were many things for a lone, single woman like myself to do. I was too shy to meet and make friends (something I really regret now in my older and hopefully wiser early 40’s). A pagan shop, Edge of the Circle Books, had a drumming circle till the wee hours of the morning. I walked home from this, and while being alert to things around me, I felt very safe. The only encounters I had were usually other young folks and couples walking home as well. Another cool place for late hours was Twice Sold Tales, a used bookstore on the corner of Broadway (the main drag thru Cap Hill) and John St. They’re open from Friday morning, nonstop, until Sunday evening. I went in one morning, about 3am, loathe to go home after drumming, and found about 30 people there! And cats!! The owner, Jamie, a friend of my brother Bear, loves cats,and the place is set up for their fun, comfort and convenience. There’re overhead “catwalks” between walls and rooms, scratching posts, platforms for sleeping, many things a cat person could enjoy.

    But the main thing I tell people about Cap Hill is this: You can do your own thang, and NOBODY would blink an eye over it. I and my son used to love to go just to buy some ice cream, and prop up against the wall and people watch. My son saw a bunch of biker dudes in their leathers, ran up to talk to them (he was about four then), and they were just awesome with him. He thought they were the coolest guys on earth. Gay, straight, hippie, mundane, pagan, buddhist, hindu, black, white, asian, indian… it’s all good on Cap Hill.

    Other neighborhoods in Seattle that seem very hippie friendly are Wallingford (west of the U-district, over I-5) and Fremont (home of the famous Fremont Troll, a lifesize Troll gripping a life-sized VW Beetle, under the I-5 bridge). West Seattle, which considers itself a city in its own right, is also very cool, if you’re a south-ender and don’t want to go all the way into Seattle. And if you don’t mind dealing with a GREAT variety of the “downtrodden,” the Ave (U-District’s main drag, officially called University Way) is a cool place to hang out, or at least it was when I was a bit younger. I have to admit it’s been a few years since I’ve truly hung out there.

    Now, one of the most annoying things to ever happen to me in Seattle, happened just off the Ave, right next to the UW. I was going to catch a bus to Burien, a good bus that bypassed Seattle, and went to a shelter with a bunch of people waiting. I asked, three times, if the number 133 had come yet. Without fail, EVERY single one of these people just looked at me like I was a bug. Now, I know we get people from outside the area to go to the UW, but still, I thought that was EXCEEDINGLY rude. Sadly, this happens too often in Seattle. Maybe my being raised by Southerners, who will talk to just about anyone, is why it peeves me so when I try to strike up a conversation, and people just stare at me like I”m a freakazoid or something. A simple “No” or “I don’t know” would’ve sufficed, or even, Fuck off, bitch. At least that’d acknowledge that they heard and understood me!

    Also, in downtown Seattle, they’ve been trying to sanitize and sterilize and get it all yuppyfied for the masses. Would you believe it’s ILLEGAL in downtown Seattle to SIT on the sidewalk?? I kid you not! I told my then five-year-old son that, and one time, when we’d been walking around a while and were tired, he pipes up and says, Oops, I’d better not sit on the sidewalk, I might get arrested for vagrancy! LOL, what a kid!

    They’ve taken a lot of the old buildings out of downtown and put in new, sparkly, shiny ones with lots of windows and concrete (some of which aren’t even being used now, after all the spending they did). They took out the old, original Monorail platform and shortened the track. I tell my son how things were back in the day, and he’s just amazed.

  • Seattle is charming because its special. Its special because its a shithole that manages to be expensive.

  • seattle is the most horrificly putrid and disgusting place ive ever been in my life which is saying alot ive been homeless in san fran, chicago los angeles…… and none of these places hold a candle to the vileness and overall depressingness of the hell they call seattle. ive been stuck here 4 over a month now and just when i was about to leave i met a girl thati really like and now she wants me to stay here i think i might just kill myselfplease someone get me out of here now

  • I would LOVE to go to seattle just for a day to see where pearl jam’s first show took place!!!

  • I am looking with my family to relocate to Washington. We were very interested in Bellingham after spending a couple of hours walking around. I am interested in finding out about the public schools. I teach elementary school and our children would be entering middle-school, in high school and looking at the colleges. Where we live in the Bay Area in California, we enjoy living in a multi-cultural setting where our children live, learn and play with children from all over the world. I would not want to loose this by moving away. Many of the comments I have read on this website make me even more interested in becoming part of the Bellingham community. If you have any insights about the schools in Bellingham, we”d love to hear them.

  • Washington suuuucks. the traffic suuucks.

  • People, you have so much hate, I bet anywhere you will go you will focus on only the bad and never be happy with anything. I am a seattle native, and we love our town. Californians are the ones ruining it and spreading their yuppiness but there are cool neighborhoods like Greenlake, Fremont, Ballard, Capital Hill…. and great people. Great outdoors… puget sound and the islands are magestic! It is a beautiful place that needs more credit on this site. Music scene awesome too, flowmotion summer meltdown festival is stellar in the north cascades…lots of local music to see, good venues…

  • I truely dont know what the fuck the others are talking about, they’re probably just the ones living in their moms apartment still never going out because if it isnt sunny then it must be depressing and emo…

    Fuck off and get out of my city then.

  • I was born in Seattle, and moved back 7 years ago. I’ve considered myself 2 be a hippie since 1985, and feel that Seatown is definately a hippie-friendly town.

    Just about the most pot-progressive climate in the U.S. and the music scene here is pretty happening as well.



  • Hi fellow Hipsters,

    This is Virgin of Ocean Beach, San Diego (and also previously of San Francisco, Seattle, and Santa Cruz, CA). First of all, I have to say that I LOVE Seattle, and all the negativity of previous posts bums me out.

    In a minute I’m going to write a lot on what I love about Seattle, but before that I have to be very honest about some of the things which outsiders who are thinking of moving to Seattle need to know: 1) The rain reputation is way overblown but you’ll be mostly sun-deprived from October through June; 2) The economy is typically unstable and if you move here try to set up a job in advance; 3) Locals are wary of outsiders, and historically they have a good reason for this, but once you break through their defenses you’ll find many people here have a lot of heart; 4) With the exception of racially segregated areas Washington state is basically white, including Seattle, although Seattle with its segregated neighborhoods still has a very socially and politically liberal environment; 5) Smack, coke and crystal meth abuse is common.

    Now that I’ve braced you for some of the less flattering aspects of Seattle, I’ll proceed to tell you why I love Seattle so much, from a hippie point-of-view. If you’ve read any of posts from other cities, you’ve seen that I think there’s more to being a “hippie” than a being a long-haired, non-voting pothead who disrespects neighbors’ right to sleep at decent hours. Any sexist, racist redneck or yuppie can do that. Although I love DMT and clean liquid acid like the next psychedelic traveler, my “hippie” orientation has more to do with pre-June 1967 hippie values: nature, spirituality, art, communal values, openness to pre-modern cultures. Basically, admirers of Gandhi and the mythological Jesus who have a heightened sense of adventure.

    Nature: Any Northwesterner knows that the Northwest is a mecca in terms of natural beauty. It’s no accident that REI originated in Seattle and that Greenpeace originated in nearby Vancouver, BC. There’s no shortage of places to commune with nature in very nearby spectacular settings in Washington – mountain ranges, forests, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and inlets. Some of my favorite WA places are in the vicinity of Neah Bay, San Juan Island (especially Limekiln Beach for orca encounters) and Scenic Hot Springs and Hurricane Ridge’s hot springs. In the city itself you can commune with nature at Discovery Park, canoeing south of “U-Dub” (University of Washington) and hiking on nearby tiny Marsh Island among a ton of wildlife (including river otters, beavers and a wide variety of birds). Right in town you can observe wild salmon migrations and there’s no shortage of sightings of Native Americans’ sacred bald eagles. And there’s definitely also no shortage of environmental consciousness and activism in Seattle, which is the jumping-off point for the nature buff’s wet dream: spectacular Alaska.

    Spirituality: Yes, there are a handful of resources in the greater Seattle area regarding alternatives to sexist organized Western religions (i.e., “Eastern” religious practices, beyond mere hatha yoga physical exercises). Paganism and Wicca are popular among many college-educated white youth in Seattle, but it’s hard to tell how much of that is short-term fashion or long-term serious. There’s, however, an unmistakeable presence of dynamic Native American spirituality throughout WA state. It’s sadly commercialized by a lot of white entrepreneurs, but don’t let that close you off to the reality that many local Native American populations continue to observe their indigenous ways on their own terms on their own lands. (Unfortunately you need to be aware that there’s sadly a lot of anti-Indian racism by rural WA whites.)

    Art: I won’t comment much here on how “official” Seattle tries to be San Francisco the way San Francisco tries to be New York, in terms of a Western concept of an “art scene.” But in Seattle, the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic is EXTREMELY strong among creative folks, and it’s one of the things I most love about this city. Many artists here don’t care at all about SF and NY and Paris and Tokyo and have a very independent attitude, just as many musicians here don’t care at all about the LA scene. Just like any art scene anywhere at any time, most artwork and music here isn’t particularly brilliant but the vibe is very homegrown, honest and passionate. The city’s monthly Gallery Walk doesn’t really approximate what Seattle’s cutting edge artists have to offer, particularly from neighborhoods like SODO and Georgetown. Yes, Belltown and Capitol Hill are the “trendy” neighborhoods, but they’re still places you can absorb the local artistic currents.

    Communal values: Seattle is a solidly liberal Democrat town, and that is a good thing in terms of policies and laws in the public interest. The level of environmental consciousness is also extraordinary in this city, not only in regard to enlightened laws but also in terms of lifestyles. For example Seattle has a huge bicycle commuter population, despite the unsunny weather most of the year. It also has a great recycling program and the underground bio-fuel industry is alive and kicking. On the drug front Seattle is very broadminded about needle exchange programs and medical marijuana. One of the cultural survivors of Seattle’s hippie days is the city’s annual Bumbershoot Festival, not to be missed during Labor Day weekend. The city comes alive with free musical events in the summer, including the hippie-friendly Peace Concerts and of course Hempfest. If you’re a visitor you should definitely plan to be here between mid-July and early September: the weather is fantastic, the days are extremely long, and Seattelites are in a great sun-worshipping mood, baring as much skin in public parks as possible. The most hippie-friendly neighborhoods are Wallingford and Fremont, with their culturally sensitive stores, PC and organic goods, and fair trade practices. In winter Fremont is famous for the naked bicyclists of its public Fremont Fair, and for a guests-only Winter Solstice pagan bash. The most hippie-friendly park is Gasworks Park.

    Openness to pre-modern cultures: Especially in the trendy neighborhoods of Belltown and Capitol Hill, the appearance of (for lack of a better word) “modern primitives” in Seattle is unavoidable. Although this may be written off as faddish and superficial by older generations and the socially conservative, to me it represents a sign that some of the nation’s young whites – by permanently modifying their faces and bodies in drastic ways – are inclined to be at least slightly more open-minded and possibly less racist toward cultures previously dismissed and degraded by earlier white generations. Unlike some 60’s white sellouts who could just cut their long hair and discard their Third World clothes and Indian jewelry and easily assimilate into the capitalist-consumerist nightmare, modern primitives step out a bit further in exploring alternatives to the worst conformist impulses of the West, and I have respect for that.

    Like any place, Seattle has its share of problems – some pretty major – but in my book it is a wonderful city to live in or visit for any hippie-minded person. Have fun there!

    Peace, Virgin

  • Loved your review. Seattle area has been my home for 25 years. Just wanted to weigh in that our local Wiccan circle has been holding open events for 14 years. It ‘s not a fad dear virgin it is the newest “Old” religon. I think all the positves that you mentiones are why. Liberal, artistic, knowlegable. Every year I am amazed and thankful for our growing community. I wanted to live here since I was 5, made it at 29 and have never left. Wherever I travel I know I come home to paradise.

  • Seattle has been home for over twenty years. I moved up from Cal and never looked back. Only miss the surfing. Most of the awesome things about our town have been said but I want to weigh in on the spiritual side. Ive been a practicing Wiccan for 30 years, Most of it here. It is not a fad in any way but maybe highschool and they have just not discovered its real depth. I recomend “The Aquarian Tabernacle Church” In Index WA and also The Edge of the Circle bookstore on Capitol Hill.

    Nature and goodwill have inspired this spirituality and a sense of personal responsibiliy. Hope you enjoy, Jessa

  • thank you virgin for giving your honest opinion! I visited Seattle earlier this year and have been curious about what it would be like finding a job and a place to live, and your honesty about the fact that it IS hard to find a job is good info. to have in advance. And screw all you naysayers who have previously posted. Seattle was the shit when I went… it seemed like a lot of the homeless CHOOSE to be vagrants and were quite rude, at least the ones in the University district. I gave you food and no one was grateful! what goes around comes around people… always keep that in mind… KARMA

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