I had six hours to tour Seattle between light rail depositing me at Westlake Station and meeting my niece and her three boys for pizza in Capital Hill. The next nine days would be family-focused in a small town an hour from the Emerald City, but for six hours I got to confirm / confound stereotypes on my first visit to the Pacific Northwest. An architect on his own with a good pair of boots and a yellow slicker can see a lot of Seattle in that time.
1. It rains all the time.
2. Seattle is bigger and more affluent than I imagined, but hardly fashion forward.
3. What passes for counterculture everywhere else is mainstream here.
4. There’s a Starbucks on every corner.
True for starters. But there’s also a competitor midblock for the folks who can’t stagger a full block without a caffeine fix, like this line outside the Monorail Espresso at 2:00 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon.
5. People are incredibly nice.
When the elderly women next to me on the train from the airport didn’t have the correct fare card, the collector was so gentle and polite. After he scanned her ID against future lapses, he actually called her by name when he handed it back. At least three people told me to have an awesome day – one told me twice. That much awesomeness required more coffee.
6. People are also incredibly thin and pale.
7. The Seattle Public Library is a quirky bit of contemporary architecture.
8. Seattle loves writers and readers.
9. Residents of the Emerald City love the Seahawks even more.
10. The only thing I wanted for in Seattle was – more time!