According to a recent census report, Seattle is both the most highly educated and most literate city in the United States.  Some might say that Seattle's dreary weather keeps everyone indoors, a condition conducive to intellectual pursuits!  It may very well be the weather to blame for the pervasive passive-aggressiveness encountered among many who call Seattle home.  The people tend towards the superficial although you'll find the occasional nugget (maybe it's worth the search!). Seattle's population has expanded dramatically over the past few decades as jobseekers in technology-based fields swarmed into Seattle to take jobs at Microsoft and other corporations.  Scientists also flock to Seattle to take advantage of its blooming biotech industry, buoyed by the University of Washington, several excellent hospitals, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  This focus on science and health led Seattle (and the state of Washington) to recently approve an initiative banning smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars.  Smoking is disallowed indoors, as well as within 25 feet of doors, windows, or ventilation system intakes.  Visitors from states without similar policies will either feel relief at enjoying smokefree establishments, or chagrin at having to seek out places to smoke in the rain.


While Seattle is well-known as the home of Starbucks, the streets of Seattle are thick with independent coffeeshops, many of which roast their own coffee.  Be on the lookout for Espresso VivaceUptown Espresso, Caffe Ladro, Diva Espresso, and many other only-in-Seattle beaneries.  

If you like music.  

You're in luck. Seattle has a lively club scene and venues of every scale, from stadium to hole-in-the-wall. Check club listings in the Stranger. Current top clubs include Chop Suey, the Crocodile Cafe, the Showbox, and the Triple Door.

Seattle was the home of many well-known musicians and bands. Jimi Hendrix was from Seattle, Macklemore, Harvey Danger, as well as grunge rock superstars Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain. Take a trip around Kurt's neighborhood and learn where grunge rock came from!

Experience Music Project (EMP)  is a one-of-a-kind music museum combining interactive and interpretive exhibits to tell the story of the creative, innovative and rebellious expression that defines American popular music. Featuring a world-class collection of artifacts, unique architecture by Frank O. Gehry, state-of-the-art technology, and exciting interactive presentations, EMP will encourage visitors of many ages and backgrounds to experience the power and joy of music in its many forms.

EMP's collection includes more than 80,000 artifacts that helped shape music history, including musical instruments (from one of the first electric guitars to those used by artists such as Bob Dylan, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Kurt Cobain), an extensive recorded sound archive, film, photographs, fanzines from around the world, stage costumes, handwritten song lyrics and rare song sheets.


Seattleites themselves are casual, tech-savvy, politically-minded, and practical.  They love variety and new things, and will eagerly line up for a new X-box or an unknown band.  You won't see a lot of luxury vehicles on the road, even though Microsoft millionaires abound.  Instead, Seattleites favor public transportation and AWD vehicles suited to the rainy climate and excursions to the mountains.  It's not uncommon to see a local Nobel Prize winner commuting on the bus, because that's just what Seattleites do.

Outdoor Activities 

Spending the winter inside makes Seattleites practically burst from their homes when spring arrives.  As summer approaches and the days get longer, you'll see them taking maximum advantage of the outdoors, either by jogging on the Burke-Gilman trail, walking around Greenlake, or picking blueberries in Mercer SloughFarmers Markets pop up in every neighborhood, offering the ephemeral delights of summer.  Summer festivals offer a range of activities, from Seafair's hydroplane races to Bumbershoot's alternative music and film festival in September.  Visit some of the hidden murals of Seattle. Because Seattle is so far north, summer nights stay light until 10 pm, so it's possible to pack a lot of activities into a single day.  They pay for it in the winter, when the sun sets at 4 pm! 

3 National Parks are also just hours away from the city center--Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, and Olympic National Park.  Don't let the rain or overcast skies keep you away from world-class hiking.  Mt St. Helens too, is a facinating place to hike. 


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