Not staying in Seattle, but staying close by? You can get a feel for different neighborhoods (in and around Seattle) at this site:
Seattle Times Neighborhoods
Rain & Umbrellas: When it rains, I can often spot the people who are tourists or have newly relocated to Seattle by their umbrellas. Most natives generally pull out their gortex jackets with hoods during such weather. A few natives (and I mean 'a few') will be carrying umbrellas, but you'll notice that they're the fancy kind from places like REI or Eddie Bauer that are wind-resistant. When the rain comes, it's often somewhat windy...and if you've tried to hold down a traditional umbrella in the wind, you know to what I'm referring! ;-}
Tipping: We tip everyone...heh! At restaurants tip 1520%. If the service is average, the easiest thing to do is round the tax up and then double the amount (that'll put your tip at somewhere between 1618%). Remember to tip your hairdresser, masseuse, taxi driver, tour guide (e.g., Seattle Underground Tour), etc. etc. etc.
Asking Strangers for Directions: Seattle's a funny place. I've heard travelers say over and over again how friendly people here are. If you need assistance finding something, I've never heard of or seen anyone experiencing problems whipping a map out downtown or stopping a local to ask for directions. And, since I work downtown, I've certainly given a lot of directions to tourists! Who knows? Maybe it'll be me that you're stopping to ask?!
Giving Out Money to Homeless: There are a lot of beggars around here. I regularly walk past many getting to and from work. I see more hanging out with their signs at the freeway entrances. In specific neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill (on Broadway) and the University District (on 'the Ave'), they're all over the place. Like any place, I'd tend to avoid giving cash out. There are programs in town where you can purchase 'meal tickets' to give to these people. Note that it's okay to acknowledge these folk when they ask you directly for spare change (e.g., 'not today buddy') no need to ignore them, afterall, they're people too. :-)
Street Performers: If you stop to listen or watch a street performer, it's only polite to pay a little for your entertainment. A lot of the street performers I've met are college kids doing the performances for extra money. And, as for the performers that are homeless, at least they're doing something to make money instead of just sitting there begging and pandhandling! Anything from a quarter to a couple bucks will suffice for street performers pay what you think they deserve for entertaining you.
A great park located right on the water in NW Seattle, actually in Ballard.
You can light bonfires here in designated areas, I'll be it's a great place to hang out on a crisp and chilly night.
Gene Juarez Salon & Spa /Wonderful beauty parlor, service, technique, active atmosphere... I wanna go to there once again!! /
401 N.E. Northgate way, Suite 569?@206-365-6000 www.genejuarez.com
This is where i live, 20 minutes from Seattle. When i am not travelling, i spend most of my time working in the yard.