18 Things You Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners About Seattle

If you live in Seattle, sooner or later someone you know will decide that The Town’s (yes, that’s one of our nicknames!) rep for stunning scenery, great food, etc., makes it worth braving all the rain to visit. These guests will probably need a few things explained to them, so we created a primer full of handy stuff -- like the fact that it doesn’t really rain all that much here -- just for you.

1. Yes, this is what we’re wearing!

That is the answer to any and all questions like: "Jeans... at work?", "Cargo shorts... to a wedding?!", or "Flannel/Polar fleece... to (insert pretty much any place, here)?".

2. No one owns an umbrella...

And using one’s the best way to let people know you’re not from here.

3. ... because it doesn’t actually rain that much

Just flew in from Chicago? New York? It rains more in both those cities every year than it does here.

4. No, not everyone here works for Microsoft

Some people work at the dozens of PR, consulting, gaming, and other companies they single-handedly keep in business. Or at Amazon.

5. No one from here actually goes to the Space Needle

Or the Science Center, or EMP, or anywhere else at Seattle Center. Unless there’s something really good on the IMAX, or we’re hungry for Bigfood. On second thought, forget it… it’s not worth it.


6. But we WILL go to Pike Place Market with you

As long as it’s, like, Monday or Tuesday during the day, or you promise to stop at Street Donuts, or Zaccagni’s, or Piroshky Piroshky. Or maybe at Radiator Whiskey for a barrel-aged cocktail.

7. You can’t just buy weed here

Yet (... maybe by July!). Technically, you still can’t buy it without a prescription, but (and here’s the good news) the local cops won’t bust you if you do.

8. Starbucks isn’t our favorite coffee shop

At least, we’ll tell you it’s Victrola, or Slate, or Seattle Coffee Works, or Bauhaus, but we’ve still got more Starbucks per person than any other city -- one for every 4,000 people or so.

9. We’ve got more beer than you do

Unless you’re from California, but still… we’ve got over 200 breweries, turning the country’s best hops into can’t-miss suds like Elysian, Reuben’s Roasted Rye, and Maritime’s Islander Pale. We could go on, but there’s so much sweet beer to drink!

hot dog

10. We think it’s strange you DON’T want cream cheese on your hot dog

Invented in the ‘80s by a bagel-vendor-turned-hot-dog-slinger, our local street-meat sensation, the Seattle Dog, comes with grilled onions and, yes, cream cheese. We know it sounds weird to you. We don’t care.

11. The really nice local you met at Palace Kitchen? They aren’t really gonna stay in touch.

Everyone in Seattle is very friendly... but they don’t want to be your friend.

12. We really are that excited about soccer

We love the (Super Bowl champions!) Seahawks, but our football stadium’s first sell-out was for a soccer game, and if the Sounders play while you’re here, we’re going. So get ready

13. What public transportation?

We’ve got one streetcar line (and we call it the S.L.U.T.!), one light rail line (that we only take when we’re going to the airport), and the Monorail only has one stop. And don’t get us started on the buses...

Hot Tub Boats

14. There is water everywhere

Which means getting around can be a serious pain in the ass -- that trip to Bellevue you wanted to take? Not happening -- but the fact that it also means you can do things like rent kayaks, or a hot tub that’s also a boat more than makes up for it.

15. Dude... jaywalking’s not cool!

It’s a cliche to say people wait to cross with the light because we’re all so law-abiding and good-natured. It’s accurate to say we do it ‘cause the cops’ll give us a $56 ticket if we don’t.

16. Your bad neighborhoods are worse than our bad neighborhoods

Police have time to worry about the aforementioned jaywalking ‘cause Seattle’s the fourth safest city in America, meaning there aren’t really any neighborhoods you shouldn’t go out in at night. Except Pioneer Square… but only ‘cause all the other people from out-of-town are already there.

17. Not everyone wants to go hiking/biking all the time

Oh okay, a quick ride on the Burke-Gilman won’t hurt, but only if we can stop at Odin for a beer.

18. Portland and Seattle? Not the same.

You see two overcast, over-caffeinated, liberal towns on the Left Coast and just lump ‘em together, right? Wrong. One of them’s clearly better than the other

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