Seattle is the thriving city of the Pacific Northwest and home to the Seattle Seahawks as well as Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and other big name brands. Since it's slightly hidden all the way up there on the most northwestern corner of the United States, there are plenty of assumptions about what goes on - or doesn't - in the city surrounded by mountains, sea, and evergreen trees. While every city has its stereotypes, here are eight of them that are actually true.
1. No one uses umbrellas, even when it's raining
If you're a true Seattleite, you don't use an umbrella. I've lived in the Seattle area for over 17 years and have never owned one. It's probably one of the weirdest quirks about Seattle - no one uses them. Maybe it's because people are used to the almost constant light mist of rain, or maybe it's a city pride thing. I've never quite figured it out, but I sure won't go near holding an umbrella anytime soon to avoid looking like a tourist. The key to keeping dry? Rain jackets:
2. It's one of the most "hipster" cities in America
With the hipster trend still alive and well, you'll find 'em all over here, spotted easily by doing everything "before it becomes cool." While I want to add that the hipster scene only adds to the coolness of Seattle, I don't want to make "hipster" un-cool...or mainstream...or whatever true hipsters call it these days. I'm going to leave it at that before I accidentally walk into the conundrum of the unwritten rules of being a hipster and just say that it often tops the list for being the most hipster city in the country.
3. The music scene is alive and thriving
Indie artists cover the city and quite a few have had their big break. Artists like Nirvana, Death Cab For Cutie, Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, Macklemore, and Pearl Jam all hail from Seattle.
4. Function trumps fashion
While the department store Nordstrom is headquartered in Seattle and you will find some fashion-forward people walking around, function often trumps fashion in many cases. You will see plenty of North Face windbreakers in every color under the sun (cloud?), Birkenstocks with socks, and hiking shoes.
5. The seafood is amazing
You've never had salmon until you've tried smoked salmon from Seattle. Since the city is surrounded by water, there are plenty of great seafood restaurants serving the highest quality fish. There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing for those that like to explore the outdoors, which many Seattleites do.
6. There literally is a Starbucks on every corner
No matter what part of Seattle you're in, you'll find Starbucks everywhere. Whether it's the original Starbucks in Pike's Place Market or the ubiquitous amount scattered around the city, you are bound to find one everywhere you turn.
7. The city names in the surrounding area are hard to pronounce
Unless you grew up in the Pacific Northwest, saying Puyallap, Enumclaw, Issaquah, or Sequim out loud is definitely a tongue twister. For those that grew up in the 'burbs, answering the question "Where in the Seattle area did you grow up?" to non-Washingtonians often elicits a conversation like, "I'm from Sammamish" with a response like, "Wait, there's a city called Sandwich, Washington?"
8. It is rainy or overcast most of the year
Seattle gets 58 days of sunshine per year, on average. From October-June it is either raining or overcast almost daily, casting a dark, grey ambiance throughout the area. Seattleites can look up the weather forecast and truly recognize the difference between "showers," "rain," "light rain," "heavy rain," and "t-storms" because they've really seen it all. However, the rain keeps the grass green and air clean - which contribute to the beautiful nature of the city and surrounding area. On the rare occasion it's sunny? It is absolutely gorgeous.
Photos: top photo by Ally Archer.