There are more than 4,000 millionaires in the City of Seattle and two billionaires. But, one of the things that you will notice in Seattle is that you will not see any rich people flashing and showing off their wealth.
Most of the people here got rich because of the "dot coms" (computers and websites) and they rather donate their money to the community, hospitals, good causes, non-profit organizations, etc. rather than splurging on luxurious and expensive things.
Bill and Melinda Gates not only donate to the whole world through their Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation but they are also benefactors to the Children's Hospital, University of Washington, Woodland Park Zoo, etc.
Most of the hospitals in Seattle and nearby towns have lump sum donations from millionaires and billionaires.
Paul Allen, another billionaire, established the Music Museum Project so he can share his love of music to the public.
Most of the millionaires here have passions of great causes and spend their money on saving lives and making the earth a better place to live in.
As a resident here, I had seen many millionaires and interacted with them. Only few have big egos and they don't flash their wealth by getting nice cars, yachts, planes or live in outrageously luxurious mansions! Most of their passions on their down time is having to get their commercial pilot's license!
Is this for real? The hardware store near the University of Washington posted this sign: "Lloyd thanks for the yrs of less than satisfactory work". I hope it was a joke and that Lloyd has a good sense of humor.
The largest university in Washington is, of course, University of Washington, located within the Seattle city limits. It is a Division I school for many sports (including football) and has a huge fan base throughout Washington, especially western Washington. The campus is beautiful and worth a visit. Locals call it U-Dub, not University of Washington (that is too many syllables). At football games, you can bark like a dog (or more correctly, a Dawg, which is also a Husky). Purple is the color of choice.
Seattle is one of the pioneer city's in the US craft beer revolution. In the mid-1980s, cities like San Francisco, Portland and Seattle started a trend towards local beers to not only fight the trend of national brands like Budweiser but also to promote local products. One of the originals was Redhook Brewing in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle which opened in 1982. I visited its Trollyman pub in 1994 on my first trip to Seattle and was amazed at how different it felt to have a beer in a cool little pub like this which not only made its beer on the premises but was such an integral part of the neighborhood. It was a proper pub with locals hanging out, proudly drinking beer made in their own backyard. They had cask beer which at the time was very unusual in the US. Having done a semester in England in my youth, I had been exposed to it early and was so happy to find it in my own country. Later that year, Budweiser bought the distribution rights to Redhook and though this made the beer available in 48 states, it ceased to be the local thing it once was. Sadly, the Trollyman closed in 1998 and though the end the Redhook era, many of the old brewpubs are still going and there are a few great new ones. When in Seattle, remember to drink the local beers. See my Seattle restaurant tips for detailed information on where to find the best.
Every year, the residents of Seattle pack their coolers, folding chairs, quilts and go to downtown Seattle to watch the Seafair Parade.
The Seafair Parade is the start of the many activities and events throughout Seattle for the summer. It starts with the boat race at Lake Washington, Fiesta sa Nayon Festival, Bon Odori Festival, Bite of Seattle, Chinese Festival etc.
The Torchlight parade is very nice to watch. It usually starts at 6:00 pm with a marathon race then followed by the parade of police officers in flashing motobikes. The police exhibit their nice police motorbikes. Then the long parade continues until 11 pm. Children enjoy the parade of the Pirates of Seattle, the Filipino Drill Team, the long Chinese Dragon and the Chinese Drill Team, the Firefighters Band of Seattle, the Grand Marshalls float, the Boeing Float, the Koreans Team, the Sikh Association of Washington, the Japanese-American Team, UW marching band, etc.
The parade ends at the end of downtown Seattle.
There are many homeless people in Seattle because of migration and immigration. Some come here for jobs. When their seasonal jobs are out in other states, they come to Seattle.
There is a shelter downtown on Third Avenue, close to the King County Courthouse where the homeless people go to sleep at night. There is also the Pioneer Square Clinic, where the homeless people go for their health problems. So, the homeless people tend to stay in downtown Seattle for their daily food, health and shelter comfort.
On Broadway Street, there is another Gospel Mission, where the homeless people get packed lunches and warm dinners. The volunteers distribute cooked and warm meals and during these distribution "times", the homeless people gather and flock here.
There are many problems that come from the homelessness: crimes, drug-trafficking, prostitution, health problems like STD/HIV, etc.
My daughter Rainier volunteers during the Holiday season and feed the homeless people. She was still nine years old when she was doing this. She does this with her friends. Sometimes, she puts a table at the front of grocery stores and ask for can goods. She then gives this to the poor people via the Food Banks.
The rest of the family volunteer for the battered women. During the holidays, we cook turkey and our best food and bring them to the shelter for battered women. We serve the meals over there and we eat with them...This is my way of telling my children how lucky they are. It's an experience for them.
As for me, I volunteer 480 hours sometimes to the protection of abused children. I go to court and be the voice of the children who can't even speak.
Anyway, the worst part for the homeless people here is during the winter time when the shelters can't accomodate the homeless people. When it gets really, really cold, some die.
The city has put some "tent cities" but these create more problems to the neighborhood so they instead put shelters in the city! The homeless people tend to wander around and become a nuisance to the city or suburb residents.
Black Friday -- the frenzy day! It's the day after Thanksgiving, which is in late November. Thanksgiving is our national holiday that is regarded as secular, established as a formal holiday by President Lincoln in the 1860's as a day of thanks, although later it became historically associated with the earliest Pilgrim migrants to the east coast, who invited the native Americans over to dinner to thank them. We celebrate with families/friends with usually a baked turkey dinner.
However, following right thereafter on Friday is the biggest commercial shopping frenzy that probably exists anywhere in the world. It is called Black Friday, not because of anything negative, but because "in the black" is associated by retail companies with being in good financial shape on their ledgers, whereas "red" means in debt. Black Friday is historically the day when merchants pick up giant masses of business and giant profits. It is just the beginning of the pre-Christmas shopping season, but also the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. (photo # 2, with its red-and-green Christmas colors).
The day is crazy-wild. It's heavily advertised in the over-sized Thanksgiving-day newspapers (photo #3). It starts off with stores opening at insane hours, such as 0400 or 0500. Discounts are huge -- which is what draws the shoppers in, and creates the volume in sales. Shoppers line up sometimes at midnight to be the first inside, particularly at electronic stores and anything computer-or-games related. When the doors open, the "fans" charge inside, and grab anything and everything within minutes, sometimes even pinching things from others' shopping carts. It is ruthless competition.
So what do I/we do on that day? Laze around in bed and have a nice brunch. Serenity is on the agenda. I'd take pictures for VT, except that would require my camera taking flash pix, possibly at 0400 in the morning to record the lines/queues outside the stores. No thanks! A leisurely experience with Eggs Benedict sounds better.
Curious to see displayed at Seattle's Tacoma Airport a clear Map of Washington State's Viticultural Areas.
Washinton State's Viticultural Areas:
Walla Walla Valley
Rattle Snake Hills
Horse Heaven Hills
The services tax is not included in the displayed price of anything. I went to purchase a pair of shoes advertised at $39.95 but was charged $44.00 when tax was added. I found it really frustrating and wish USA would add the tax into the displayed price.
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.
If you're wandering in downtown Seattle around lunchtime in the summer, here's a pleasant opportunity that locals know about, but tourists sometimes do not: Free Out-To-Lunch Concerts, from 1200-1330.
These are scheduled in July and August, nearly every day, but check the schedule. The artists are mostly local/regional, and include musicians in jazz, rock, pop, reggae, opera, R&B, blues, and country, depending on the day. These are fun low-key events in local outdoor parks downtown, suitable also for kids -- bring your sandwich or takeaway from any number of fine nearby restaurants. Hopefully the weather is good, so maybe some sunscreen is required, and hopefully no Gortex!
There's a handy map you can pick up from local merchants (see photo), or the website has schedule information.
While the 100-year-old Pike Place Market is justifiably famed, few Seattlites, except those who live or work downtown, regularly visit it. Instead, they go to their own open-air neighborhood markets, which operate on weekends. The Ballard Sunday Market in North Seattle is a fine example, open Sundays in summer 1000 – 1500, reduced hours in winter.
The Sunday market focuses on individual small local growers, organic foods, specialty baked items (photo #2), boutique cheeses (photo #3), and the freshest of locally farm-grown produce, premium cured meats, and “wild” fish and shellfish. The resident Hmong community, formerly of Laos, sells exotic locally-grown flowers.
Some products are very esoteric, and many vendors have strong followings of local folks. Zane & Zach’s World Famous Honey Company, of nearby Renton, combines honeys with various hot sauces, bottled in jars that are carried around the world by aficionados – and they've got photos on-the-spot to prove it, with Z&Z-carrying travelers posing with the jars in Kyoto, the Arabian Sea, on the Matterhorn, and with Michelangelo’s David in Florence. Foraged & Found Edibles has baskets of succulent wild morels and unidentifiable greens that are guaranteed safe to eat. Captain “Oyster Bill” of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton offers his fine-quality Pacific oysters – on ice and ready to slurp.
This is a good spot to pick up a loaf of bread, some specialty goat cheeses, berries hot off the bush, and a bottle of wine or hard cider, before walking a few blocks to the free Sunday summer concert at 1400 at the Ballard Locks (Tip to come). Or, as you walk the market, snack on a delicious hot fresh crepe (photo #4). Or, have a casual outdoor lunch here, with good people-watching, at the popular sandwich bar, The Other Coast (photo #5).
The market is located on Ballard Ave. NW and 22nd Ave. NW. Park for free on nearby Shilshole Ave. NW. Bus #18 takes 20 minutes from downtown. Other neighborhood markets can be found on the website below.
Seattle is well-known for it's local indie music scene, which has produced many artists that go on to achieve greater fame on a national or international level. For this reason, true Seattleites listen to KEXP 90.3FM in order to discover new music, keep informed of local concert events, and avoid the shlock of commercial radio. The station is listener supported, meaning it is operated by donations from the community rather than Clearchannel or annoying commercials. The DJ's are knowledgeable, friendly and funny. Local artists are heavily promoted, but the DJ's also strive to educate listeners about current trends or legendary artists by playing an eclectic mix of indie rock, blues, underground hip hop, world music, electronica and folk music from beyond the Northwest. If you hear something you like, note the time and check the detailed playlist they post online. I've discovered some of my favorite artists that way. Again, all of this is achieved without annoying commercials or obnoxious shock DJ's. Once you discover it, you will not want to listen to any other radio station again! So turn your dial to 90.3FM as you drive into Seattle, or listen online at www.kexp.org for an authentic experience of Seattle.
This park was once the location of an old gas plant that burned coal, can you imagine? There are still remainders of the plant evident as you walk around. It's now a fine example of Industrial Art.
It's located right on Lake Union, and offers great views of downtown.
I enjoyed the Statue of Liberty head that was inflated on the top of the hill to celebrate Independence Day.
When I was in Vancouver, Canada I remember seeing advocates around and here in Seattle on the Underground Tour I saw this saying that said Leave Vietnam!
It was obvious that Seattle has a history of being advocates as well.
It is clear that on the west coast of the United States their values and politics are pretty liberal and that's a good thing I would suggest.
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