Relocation and Travel in Seattle
I'm originally from AR myself and found some dramatic differences. Cost is the big one, it is mucho expensive compared to AR, but given that, your survival skills from living in AR are good ones to survive in Seattle. Rents are from $750+ for one bedroom in suburbs to over $1000/mo in prime areas. But you can find suburban areas and college area housing which can be reasonable. You can survive because wages are much higher here. Minimum wage is one of highest in country, even service economy wages are $10-$15/hour or higher. Lots of jobs in health care, computers, social services, etc. Transportation can be easily done by buses here, which save costs; some employers pay for the buspass. Traffic is a hassle, though. Great resale shops - Goodwill rocks, so leave the furniture and stuff behind - it's easy to replace here cheaply. November will be somewhat dark and wet, and the first year you will miss the sunshine brightness you were used to. But it is still light during the day and you have to get past staying inside in the rain-just get out and hike, travel, live life. The ocean on one side and mountains on the other are beauties that can't be missed, and summer will totally win you over. Remember, no tornados, mosquitoes, heatstroke or poisonous snakes (on this side of the mt). For hotels, I would try the travel sites and also look for residence hotels around the airport or South Center Mall area for weekly rates. Eat somewhere in the International District/Chinatown (House of Hong for dim sum due to free parking)or U-District for diversity of choices in college area. Lots of seafood choices along the waterfront; the Crab Pot allows you to eat family style with a mix of seafood. Little expensive, but our visitors have liked the experience. It is easy to reach downtown where you can walk from Pike Place Market to the waterfront (Aquarium) or uphill to a Monorail stop to go to Seattle Center where the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center is. Bring a good raincoat with a hood and brim and fleecewear, plus comfortable shoes, and clothes you can layer (warms up in middle of day, cooler during other hours). Go to the local beaches like Golden Gardens or drive up north to Camano Island or San Juan Islands. Take a ferry ride, even in Nov. it will be enjoyable from inside a ferry. You can drive to the mt's for a day of skiing or snowboarding also, although without snow-wear it might be hard. All in all, it is doable in rainy Nov and livable if you give it a try.
If you happen to go to Seattle...
If you happen to go to Seattle and it's sunny and warm, you have been blessed. When the sun does hit the city you can see the streets come alive with crowds hoarding anywhere they can soak up some rays. The sun stays up late in the summer and you can feel the energy from the city as it comes alive. Go to Pikes Market and around the waterfront on that sunny day. The livliness is contageous and you will feel the happiness around you. It's great for shopping for fresh flowers and food and it's also great to just stroll around and watch time slowly go by. Seattle can be a great town for those on a budget if you know where to go. Pike Place Market is one of those places. You can find great deals on produce and other goods and join all the others as you slowly make your way from the market to Pioneer Square.
I lived in bellingham,wa for a...
I lived in bellingham,wa for a few years and traveled the state,, mt. rainer, mt.st helens(a must see) the tulips blooming in the spring near mt. vernon,wa(a must) laconnor,wa! pike place market!, chuckanut dr(south of bellingham,a must) mt. baker glacier! (trail -hike 3hrs to the top..go past deming,wa to glaicer..turn right after you pass the town.. drive in 8mi to trail head.. dont miss this hike!)any ferry to the san jaun islands-go!! vancouver..gas town, U.b.C. archaological museum!(a must on ubc campus)
The real touristy thing I did...
The real touristy thing I did here was the Underground Tour.
Seattle was originaly about 12 feet lower than it is now. The town committy decided to raise the ground level mainly because of new emerging plumming technology that was causing problems for its' residents. After a city wide fire, the town decided that this would be the optimal time to establish their program of elevating the city. Of course some either didn't believe their threats or couldn't wait to rebuild so they did anyway, and the first floor of the buildings are now underground. It is a good little tour and I believe it lasted about an hour and a half, and was about ten dollars for Adults and six dollars for Students with ID (By the way if you are in College/University bring your ID all throughout Seattle there are deals for us).
Oh the tour ends in an Underground souveignier shop, although some of the more 'Antiqued' Items are nice you may want to take a run for the stairs quickly. :-)
Tipping in USA is normal and expected. Just how much to "tip' can be confusing. In some restaurants the tip was added below the total cost including tax. This restaurant charged 18% tax + tips. I usually gave between 5% and 10% depending on the service and industry I was "tipping". In a country like Australia where tipping is optional then teh habit can be a bit annoying in USA. However, its the "norm" so get used to it.