Seattle Stories and Tips

Seattle Overview

The harbor Photo, Seattle, Washington

Seattle: great food, amazing people, beautiful scenery, and a great culture; that's the Emerald City in a nut shell. Besides being the home to Starbucks, Nordstroms, Boeing, Seattle's Finest, Apple, Microsoft, Edie Bauer, and Amazon (excuse me if I left out a few Washington based companies), the birth place of grunge (take it for what it's worth), Kurt Cobain, and Jimi Hendrix, and the home (well Tacoma technically if you want to be technical about things) the the world renown blown glass guru, Dale Chihuly; Washington is a pretty cool state. I've been to many cities, but by far Seattle is the most laid back and quirky (visit Fremont to see my point). Every place I went someone was willing to talk and within one week everyone at the Starbucks next to my hostel knew my name, about my life (as well as I knew about theirs), and was willing to point me in the right direction and give great advice. There is a genuine that I found here that lacked in many areas that I have been, but it has to be hard to be a grump in a city as beautiful as Seattle. Situated on the Puget Sound on Eliot Bay lies the city. Across the bay (on a clear day) is the Olympic Mountains, and facing south (towards Safeco Field and again on a clear day) the snow covered Mount Rainer behind the city high rise. Amongst the sprawling city there is no shortage of parks and greenery. This is one city that knows how to balance nature with the urban sprawl.

Transportation:
Oh my god, this is the easiest city ever. I'm an LA girl which means it's not unheard of to wait three hours for a bus to show up and then have three of the same bus right behind each other, so when a bus shows up on time and on top of that the drivers are kind, helpful, and some even challenge themselves to make their stops on time I'm astonished. The bus system is great and very clean. If riding from downtown many of the buses run from the transit tunnel downtown. When picking up a bus on the street easy to read time tables are posted along with the bus routes. If there are still any questions most drivers can direct you to the ride bus or even tell you a more efficient way to get to your destination. Once on the bus tell the driver your stop and they will kindly let you know when to get off.
Riding the bus is easy, but the pay system is a little confusing. In downtown there is a ride free zone, so any where in that area there is no need to pay, and the change feeder when you get on will usually say ride free zone. Now the non-ride free zones get tricky. If you get on a bus when it is outside this zone and heading towards if then you pay when you get on; however if it is heading away from the zone pay when you get off. There will be a sign on the change feeder that will tell you when to pay. Now to further confuse you there are several zones that the bus will travel through and each zone is a different price. Zone one is $1.75, Zone two is $2.50, and Zone 3 is $3.50. If you are not sure which zone your destination is in ask the driver; this is really a tourist friendly city. If you plan on transferring or taking the bus back grab a transfer. This will allow you to ride as much as you want until the pre-printed time on the bottom of the transfer is up.
Walking is another great way to get around. The city is laid out on a grid system and most attractions are located within walking distance of one another. I highly recommend starting down by SAM and then heading over to the Pike Street Market (to shop, see some fish tossing, and drink at the original Starbucks) and then head down to the harbor. There are a ton of great restaurants, food shops, and places to explore here as well as the Argosy tours. The walk will also pass by the aquarium and Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center (as long as you start walking north. Locate the industrial harbor area, which is easy to spot; there are huge cranes and tug boats in the water or head away from Safeco field). The walk will end at the SAM sculpture garden. From here you should be able to see the Space Needle. Head up Broad Street about eight blocks and there will be the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, the Sci-fi museum, the Experience Music Project, and the monorail, which for $2 goes back downtown about three blocks away from the Pike Street Market.

The Weather:
Has this place gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to stereotypes. Yes, it does rain in Seattle however New York, Miami, ad several other cities get more rain a year then Seattle. The week I was visiting the forecast predicted five of my nine days for it to rain. It only actually rained once, it was in the morning, and was more of a drizzle. Truth be known Seattle is actually very drizzly if that is even a word, and the weather changes pretty quickly hence the reasons when Seattleites dress in layers (it's not just a grunge thing!) The location of the city (set on the bay and between the mountains) prevent most of the rain as well as sweltering warm days making it very mild.
With that said the rainy months are in the winter, November (5 inches), December (5.9 inches), and January (5.6 inches). The rest of the year gets 3.5 or less a month and in May through August there is on average of 1.5 inches or less of rain a month. Okay now I feel more like a weather woman then a travel writer.

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