General Question

baseballnut's avatar

Calling all Seattle-ites?

Asked by baseballnut (430points) July 17th, 2008

I have a final interview with a Seattle based company tomorrow aftenoon that would require relocation from the sunny SW. Today was an example of how this city seduces you with beautiful sunshine and clear fresh air.

Somebody tell me the truth – how grey are the winters? How bad does it really get? I don’t expect 350 sunny days a year like Phoenix but is the sun hidden ALL winter?

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19 Answers

lkalliance's avatar

I’m from the Seattle area, and I’ll have to say it’s unfortunately true. Once the sun gets covered up around October, you very rarely see it again until, say, May in a good year, June or July in a bad year (like this year).

Seattle during the winter isn’t as wet as its reputation. In fact, I find the climate to be quite dry. Just overcast with rain. Unlike in the East, the humidity is very low, despite the precipitation.

But fortunately, we do have, as you’ve noted, GORGEOUS summers. I’ve seen summer weather start as early as May here, this year it didn’t get going until July: June was mostly overcast with occasional sunbreaks.

Good luck in your decision and your interviews!

stevenb's avatar

I never minded the winters there. I dont seem to really mind the grey, as I was always busy. Seattle has so so many activities, you wont notice it either. If you drive a four wheel drive, there is incredibly great areas close in. If you mountain bike, ditto, and there is so much more. It all depends on what you do in your spare time. Good luck. I live in Spokane now and wish I was over there again just for the better wheeling.

susanc's avatar

I moved to the PNW from New England, where it was so cold I cried. Sure it’s grey here, but the grey varies, including some serious cold, never for long. There’s usually an icy two-weeker in January that’s pure sunshine. Then in March and April you begin to get balmy days (which then disappear,leaving you breathless for more). We get a ROUTINE two cold weeks in June after it’s already warmed up. Then until mid-October it’s paradise. Take your vacation in winter and go south. It’ll be fine. Welcome home.

skfinkel's avatar

Here’s my two cents.
My first winter here I had heard about the gray winters, and found it was pretty gray. The second winter, I didn’t notice it, and haven’t since.
My vision of the seasons here. Scarily perfect summers, long beautiful falls, rain and gray begins around mid to late October. The sun does come out when it gets cold, which it does periodically throughout the winter. Nov, Dec, Jan. winter. Then in February, all the crocuses begin to bloom. Forsythia starts acting up. My pussy willow tree is ready to be cut in February. March pretty good. Long springs with a usually disappointing June. (although not this year). You hate to leave here, because you always hear the weather was perfect while you were away.

It’s wonderful. Clean and fresh and just so beautiful and green.

kevbo's avatar

I’m from Albuquerque, where I live now, and lived in Seattle for a year. I loved the weather up there along with everything else, but I think the fact that I walked so much and took the bus had a lot to do with my mood. Not sure how I would feel being a car commuter. The hardest parts about being there maybe were that the sky was never blue enough and that it was dark at 4 or 4:30 in the winter. The green is amazing, though, and it’s awesome to have real plants growing everywhere instead of weeds. That being said, I had the odd experience one day of driving I-5 south and just wanting to strip all the trees of their green. Who knew brown could be so alluring?

The other reward is the water, which is never very far away. Anyway, it’s probably where I’d be living if I wasn’t living here.

kevbo's avatar

I forgot to mention… if you want a motherlode of opinion, go to and nose around in the forums. Under “Phoenix” or “Seattle” you’ll probably find comments or a thread comparing directly the differences between living in the two cities. Click “visit forum” at the top of the page.

baseballnut's avatar

Thanks everybody! It’s gray this morning but the air is so fresh and moist that it’s sort of okay. I can see that I’ll need serious hair products unless I want to singlehandedly bring back big hair though. On to the interview. Thanks again

stevenb's avatar

Best of Luck!

lindabrowne1's avatar

I lived in Seattle for 30 years. Yes, it is gray. . .but so much to do—you can go to the desert in three hours or the ocean and mountains the same. I tried to get a little sunbreak around February of each year—either a week or weekend away to Arizona or California. You must experience Seattle. It is a one-of-a kind city/destination. The only real problem I see more than the weather is the traffic. That really puts a dent into your day. . .so be certain if your job is on the Eastside (the suburbs), you live on the Eastside. That’s the headquarters for Microsoft. Or, if your job is on the Westside (Seattle), live on the Westside. I lived on the Eastside to accommodate my ex’s work and my daughter’s schooling. When I asked my friends to come over, they would joke and say, “We are not coming to Eastern, Washington.” I say: GO, GO, GO SEATTLE! I’m happy to answer any additional questions off line.

chutterhanban's avatar

no way! This is chutterhanban’s fiance writing here.
i lived in phoenix for nine years and then moved to the Seattle area about six years ago. I was really skeptical when i moved because it really IS rainy and doesn’t offer the same kind of lifestyle as phoenix.However, I have grown to love Washington more than anywhere in the united states and will most likely end up living there instead of AZ. There is a ton of rain, but it’s more like a constant mist. It’s not flash flood style like Phoenix. It’s just enough to create a beautiful state.There is SOOO much to do and Seattle has a sweet night life. They’ve got great music venues, there are street performers on every other corner, delicious coffee shops, mountains that you can hike without melting, lakes to go jet skiing on, the Sound (the ocean blocked by a large peninsula), Ferry rides, rivers to float down, and well i’m going to stop now. The point is, it’s amazing! The pretty days make all the rainy days worth it!
If you choose to go make sure you check out Pike’s Place Market. Once you go there, you’ll never want to get fruit, jam, fish, flowers, etc. anywhere else!

Eight's avatar

Grey?Grey? Seattle has (or needs) about 20 words to describe subtle hues of grey skies. Iike to think of Seattle as a city with built in indirect lighting. Bigger problem. Traffic. Is your job (potential) in Seattle proper, or in the ‘burbs: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, etc? Driving – and non-mass transit – around here sucks. If you’re job is in Bellevue, expect to live there or spend 2–3 hours/day commuting. Bellevue/Kirkland/Redmond is not, NOT, seattle. Boeing is not in Seattle. Microsoft is not in Seattle. Google (soon to open in Kirkland) is not in Seattle.

skfinkel's avatar

The most wonderful description of the winter skies in Seattle can be found in Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. After I read that, I understood the depth and excitement that creates the skies here. Fortunately, I read it soon after I moved to Seattle, and it has given me a good perspective I have enjoyed for years.

susanc's avatar

I think, but have not checked, that the (fabulous) Tom Robbins weather description skfinkel is referring to contains this observation:

People were invented by water as a means of getting itself from place to place.

The Pacific Northwest is all about water.

stevenb's avatar

@susanc, I like that!

baseballnut's avatar

Thank you everybody for all the positives about this wonderful city. Office is on Westlake around Lake Union and I am househunting in this area today. I would love to avoid the commute and appreciate all the insights around that. This city is about the water and I can’t tell you how great the soft moist air feels after Phx’s furnace air.

Now if you all only had a National League baseball team!

Thanks again – I am new to fluther and am amazed at the connections.

Best, LuAnn

skfinkel's avatar

Hi LuAnne.
Check out the Capitol Hill area for an apartment. It’‘s not far from Eastlake, and a really good place to live—especially if you are new to Seattle. It’s a central location, close to downtown, Broadway, good shopping, etc.

lindabrowne1's avatar

This is a great company to work with if you want a condo:
Check out on their website: Communities. Also check out: Paul Allen, former co-founder of Microsoft, is developing the Westlake area. I would live in that area. . .or lower Queen Anne. . .and not a too far off place like even Capital Hill. Click on South Lake Union for an overview of his vision. Then click on Property Portfolios. Enjoy!

baseballnut's avatar

I wanted to thank everybody for the input and the realtor websites. It looks like I’ll be a Seattle-ite shortly after Labor Day. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of looking at all this water~

Eight's avatar

Spoken like a true Seatlle-ite

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