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Old 07-09-2014, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,701 posts, read 4,671,793 times
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I think classic, stereotypical "Americana" is at its finest if you were to go to a Saturday afternoon college football game at one of the big time football schools in the middle or southern parts of the country- University of Nebraska, University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, etc. It's hard to describe, but I am originally from the Midwest and would go to games at Nebraska once a year or so and just the whole experience- even if not really being interested in the actual game- is a HEAVY dose of Americana. It is really a sight to see, and it's not the same as you'd experience at a college football game here on the west coast, even at the places that do have good attendance. In those places it's just a massive part of their culture- a MAJOR event that most in the area look forward to each week and in fact all year long- so when the games are happening the areas practically shut down as all eyes and ears are focused on the game. The way the towns are decorated on game days, the marching bands going down the streets towards the stadium before the game starts, the huge numbers of people tailgating all around the stadium hours before the game begins- and I'm talking about major tailgating where they arrive before sunrise, set up big tents, bring massive grills and smokers to do serious barbecuing. And then of course the game itself, which is like a religious experience for many in those areas- stadiums filled to capacity with 90,000- 100,000 fans, chanting, waving flags, yelling to make as loud of a roar as possible to disrupt the opposing team. These are not drunk hoodlums, they are every day folk of all ages and backgrounds, which also makes it such a cool experience- blue collar people, white collar people, young kids, and even elderly. At a game once I had an old woman who must have been 90 or older in front of me who had an oxygen tank to assist her breathing- but she was dressed head to toe in school/team colors right down to her lip stick and Nebraska earrings. And she was seriously into the game, it was so cool!

But back to your question about the Pacific Northwest- I would recommend going ahead and choosing the Pacific Northwest if you are interested in the area- it is an absolutely gorgeous part of the US, Seattle is an amazing city, you can't go wrong. And yes, it is very American- there are just a couple of things like I mentioned above that are classic Americana that you won't experience quite the same way here, but for the most part you get the same American experience here as in anywhere else in the country. A road trip through the Midwest would give you the other experiences you may be looking for just to be sure you don't miss out.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:05 AM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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Is there a European culture that is evidenced by a single area?
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:14 AM
 
116 posts, read 174,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbrogan View Post

I ask that question because I know the PacNW is somewhat an anomaly. It's liberal, not overtly religious, outdoorsy and more progressive than the states and regions I associate with the real America. No offence intended... I am fascinated by all the US states and concede that others have a more interesting history and culture than some PacNW states but I could only see myself fitting in in the PacNW for the year abroad.
The cities proper like Seattle or Portland are not really quintessential America (most big West Coast cities aren't), but you don't have to go far to find places that are. Everett or Port Angeles near Seattle, for example, definitely feel like classic America. Eastern WA feels like classic American and is only a couple of hours away. Not too far from Portland you've got plenty of places that fit the bill. These metro are not like the Bay Area, where you have to go really from to find a place that feels like "normal America".

Overall, if you leave the cities you'll find that the PNW is much more conservative and, dare I say, redneck than you'd probably expect. Just look at the presidential and gubernatorial results by County during the last election:

Oregon:


Washington:
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:39 AM
 
6 posts, read 5,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightlysparrow View Post
Is there a European culture that is evidenced by a single area?
No because the countries are much more diverse than U.S. states and the majority speak completely different languages to one another. For example, it would be terribly hard to find any similarities between Bosnia and Ireland but much easier to find similarities between the two, less diverse, English-speaking states of Georgia and Wisconsin.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,250 posts, read 19,550,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanObservor View Post
These metro are not like the Bay Area, where you have to go really from to find a place that feels like "normal America".
It's funny you should say that. The Bay Area felt like normal America the few times I've been there, barring some regional differences of course.

But maybe that's because I live on the east coast.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:03 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,618,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
I think classic, stereotypical "Americana" is at its finest if you were to go to a Saturday afternoon college football game at one of the big time football schools in the middle or southern parts of the country- University of Nebraska, University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, etc. It's hard to describe, but I am originally from the Midwest and would go to games at Nebraska once a year or so and just the whole experience- even if not really being interested in the actual game- is a HEAVY dose of Americana. It is really a sight to see, and it's not the same as you'd experience at a college football game here on the west coast, even at the places that do have good attendance. In those places it's just a massive part of their culture- a MAJOR event that most in the area look forward to each week and in fact all year long- so when the games are happening the areas practically shut down as all eyes and ears are focused on the game. The way the towns are decorated on game days, the marching bands going down the streets towards the stadium before the game starts, the huge numbers of people tailgating all around the stadium hours before the game begins- and I'm talking about major tailgating where they arrive before sunrise, set up big tents, bring massive grills and smokers to do serious barbecuing. And then of course the game itself, which is like a religious experience for many in those areas- stadiums filled to capacity with 90,000- 100,000 fans, chanting, waving flags, yelling to make as loud of a roar as possible to disrupt the opposing team. These are not drunk hoodlums, they are every day folk of all ages and backgrounds, which also makes it such a cool experience- blue collar people, white collar people, young kids, and even elderly. At a game once I had an old woman who must have been 90 or older in front of me who had an oxygen tank to assist her breathing- but she was dressed head to toe in school/team colors right down to her lip stick and Nebraska earrings. And she was seriously into the game, it was so cool!
That's pretty much about the experience at Ducks game in Eugene though--there's a huge tailgating scene that's pretty much what you describe. People in the Willamette Valley are obsessed with college football in the fall.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,532 posts, read 2,498,341 times
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In any part of The United States (including The Pacific Northwest), you will get a regional experience that will give you only a small portion of "American Culture". There is no one place, or even region, that can represent the full palette of American culture.

If you will be relatively limited in your ability to travel to other regions, I would agree with the poster who suggested Chicago. It's one of the world's great cities, and a fantastic example of American urbanism and diversity. It has world-class universities, architecture, entertainment, and fine arts.

Chicago's central location also makes for easy access to both the historical industrial and agricultural heartlands of America. The city of Peoria, Il.--about a three hour drive from Chicago--is often used as a metaphor representing mainstream American culture.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,701 posts, read 4,671,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
That's pretty much about the experience at Ducks game in Eugene though--there's a huge tailgating scene that's pretty much what you describe. People in the Willamette Valley are obsessed with college football in the fall.
I wondered if Ducks games would be a similar environment. I know up here in Seattle at UW games they get some good crowds, but the atmosphere just isn't that true college football atmosphere you get back in the Midwest and South, where it is a "shut down the town" type of event, and like a religion instead of just a sporting event. I will have to get down to Eugene some time to check out a Ducks game, they may just be the only place on the west coast coming close to that same type of environment.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:50 AM
 
9,519 posts, read 13,450,329 times
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There is no such thing as real all-american culture.

Each city in the PNW in unique and the other regions are very different from the PNW. East coast is a whole different cup of noodles entirely.
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