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Old 01-02-2014, 12:43 PM
 
5 posts, read 7,029 times
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Hello everyone!
My boyfriend and I are in our mid twenties and currently live in Denver. We are considering moving to Seattle and I'm hoping to get some insight into this specific transition, if possible. I've lived in the Denver area my whole life, in the city proper for about 6 years. My boyfriend moved out here a few years ago. We both like it all right out here, although I know my boyfriend likes it more than I do. I think we both feel that while Denver is nice/okay, there's more out there for us in terms of culture, activities, etc.

The pros of living in Denver are the weather is nice, COL is relatively low, the housing is fairly affordable and there is decent real estate with various types of historic housing in addition to new condos. We both work in the tech industry which definitely has a presence here. Also, as of late, there has been a lot of development happening in the city with new hotels, condos, stores, public transit. Denver definitely seems to be on its way.

On the other hand, it's not very dense/urban and its dry, which I find unappealing. It's isolated and unless you're into the mountains, there isn't much to do outside of the city. There's a very strong culture of skiing/snowboarding that I just don't relate to. It feels like at least half the people I meet are here for the mountains, not the city itself. Plus, living here without a car isn't a realistic option, and we'd like to live in a more pedestrian-friendly city.

My impression of Seattle is that it has lot of what Denver has, but more of it, trendier, better food, better music scene, more walkable, even stronger tech market, plus the water. It also seems quite expensive. Is it realistic to live there without a car? Would the higher cost of living be manageable with dual tech careers, especially in purchasing a condo/small house and still living comfortably?

Any insight is appreciated, thank you.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:01 PM
 
1,313 posts, read 1,882,370 times
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I think a lot of people are attracted to both cities because they're similar in many ways (I have two friends choosing between them right now). I love Denver, lived there three years. I was just back for a visit and forgot how flat the actual city is. So, you'll get a similar vibe here, but with hills, water and a huge COL increase. Have you visited? There's also a major outdoor culture here, as well. I don't even know how to fake a conversation about hiking.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:25 PM
 
9,638 posts, read 25,563,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelenogirl View Post
I think a lot of people are attracted to both cities because they're similar in many ways (I have two friends choosing between them right now). I love Denver, lived there three years. I was just back for a visit and forgot how flat the actual city is. So, you'll get a similar vibe here, but with hills, water and a huge COL increase. Have you visited? There's also a major outdoor culture here, as well. I don't even know how to fake a conversation about hiking.
Sure you do. Just find the name of a popular hiking spot, and spout off. " Have you hiked at Mt. Si? Beautiful trails, but it's pretty steep for me. Liked the views, and the lovely trees. But it was kind of muddy."
You can repeat that for pretty much any trail that has a "Mount" in the beginning.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:44 PM
 
1,313 posts, read 1,882,370 times
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Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
Sure you do. Just find the name of a popular hiking spot, and spout off. " Have you hiked at Mt. Si? Beautiful trails, but it's pretty steep for me. Liked the views, and the lovely trees. But it was kind of muddy."
You can repeat that for pretty much any trail that has a "Mount" in the beginning.
Genius, Ira. I remain in your debt.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,630 posts, read 2,458,597 times
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Seattle does have more in terms of Denver for what you seem to be interested in. Is it worth it? I don't really think a bunch of strangers on the internet can answer that. However, I can say your impression of Seattle seems pretty accurate. FWIW, I lived in Denver for awhile as well. I love both cities, but I prefer Seattle's rainy climate over Denver's semi-arid, sunny one. It's a pretty big change, so you might want to check that you both think you can live with the overcast weather here. Sun-loving folks sometimes lose their s*** in a very big way once they get here.

Re: living without a car. You can live in some neighborhoods without a car, but it can be challenging to get to the mountains, take day trips, or visit friends who are not convenient to the bus route if you don't. Running big-box errands also gets to be more difficult, but plenty of people manage just fine. It depends on where you live. Of course those are the neighborhoods that tend to be more expensive.

Personally? I always think it's worth it to try something new. You guys seem like you're at a great spot to have some fun - not too entrenched in careers yet, no kids (?), fairly unencumbered. Why not try it for a year or two? If you don't like it, then you'll know not to do that again.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Nowadays I figure you can hedge your bets w.r.t living without a car by getting a membership in car2go. That should make it easy enough to get to bigboxes, out of the way friends etc. Its a low bar of commitment so if you really don't need it, then its easy to drop. On the other hand, If you're going to spend a lot of your weekends in the wilderness however, a car makes sense.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:58 PM
 
512 posts, read 532,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betweenthebars View Post
My impression of Seattle is that it has lot of what Denver has, but more of it, trendier, better food, better music scene, more walkable, even stronger tech market, plus the water. It also seems quite expensive. Is it realistic to live there without a car? Would the higher cost of living be manageable with dual tech careers, especially in purchasing a condo/small house and still living comfortably?

Any insight is appreciated, thank you.
I have never been to Denver (well, I was in the airport there once , so I cannot compare the two but I can maybe answer some of the Seattle questions.

I think the food in Seattle is pretty awesome. We may not have GREAT Mexican food like down south, or GREAT pizza like Chicago or New York, but we have PRETTY GOOD food, with quite a lot of variety. I like to try new restaurants and new types of food, and feel like the options here are great.

The water here is great, but be warned that it is almost always unbearably cold! This is not swimming water, but more like boating water, skiing water, have-to-wear-a-wetsuit-or-die-of-hypothermia water. There are a couple months in summer where you can enjoy the shallower water a bit, but the sound is never much warmer than 55 degrees and the deeper lakes don't get too warm either. Great for kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, etc.

Seattle is pretty walkable/bikeable. Never too hot, generally not too cold, the rain is pretty light so you can get by with a light water proof jacket. I get the impression that Denver is quite flat, so the hills of Seattle might make walking too far a bit more strenuous than you might expect. I don't own a car, so I bike to work most days and take the bus to get to further away areas. I take a zipcar out a few times per month with friends to go to the mountains to do that snowboarding stuff you don't like, or go hiking, and I feel that I do not really want or need a car.

Seattle housing is expensive, and much of the housing is quite old and not in a great location, especially if you do not have a car. The tech industry here is very strong though, and I think they pay well above average too, so if both of you work in tech I think you should be fine. Other than housing I don't find it too expensive up here. electric bills are super cheap, phone and cable bills seem to be the same all around the country, groceries are a bit more for some things, a bit less for others, etc.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:54 PM
 
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Thank you everyone for the fast and helpful responses! Boyfriend and I are planning to visit this summer.

@Kayela - You're right, "worth it" is very subjective. What I mean by that is, since Seattle and Denver seem to be comparable cities, I'm curious if transplants feel there is a quality of life trade off for the higher cost of living, especially transplants who may come from a medium sized, but less trendy, city like me. I'd ideally like to live somewhere that feels dense/urban/vibrant, without being overwhelmingly so. That being said, any information is helpful, it doesn't have to be exclusively from transplants

It sounds like living in Seattle without a car is doable. That is a big selling point for me because living without one in Denver would be tough. I don't think we'd be going to the mountains every weekend as we're not very outdoorsy. But how is transit for getting to the airport? The beach? (btw - good to know the water is cold most of the time. I think I'd still like take walks on the beach. Such a romantic thought for a landlocked girl like me!)

For the housing, it's good to know it's the most expensive thing with other things being less so/more average. When you say housing is old, do you mean single family homes are old/not great location? I imagine there are condos all over though right? We'd be fine with a condo, but we'd like something in the 800-1000 sq ft range. We don't have kids, but we are looking to buy a place and set down roots within the next few years. Of course, if we decide on Seattle, we'd make sure we like it enough to stay long term before buying. I am aware of the overcast. Coming from a city with 300+ days of sunshine, this is really my biggest concern, but something I'd have to experience for myself.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:00 PM
 
1,511 posts, read 1,774,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betweenthebars View Post
It sounds like living in Seattle without a car is doable. That is a big selling point for me because living without one in Denver would be tough. I don't think we'd be going to the mountains every weekend as we're not very outdoorsy. But how is transit for getting to the airport? The beach? (btw - good to know the water is cold most of the time. I think I'd still like take walks on the beach. Such a romantic thought for a landlocked girl like me!)
Seattle is certainly "doable" without a car, but how convenient it will be depends a lot on where you live and where you work.

Transit is fantastic for going to the airport, if you're going from downtown or near downtown- there is light rail and a bus line. (Plus shuttles, plus I believe there's a regulated cab rate)

To the beach? There is no "the" beach but rather a few, so that depends!
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,988 posts, read 9,434,277 times
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I'd say go for it. Seattle seems to fit the bill more than Denver. I suggest you visit Seattle to get a feel of the city first.
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