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Welcome to My Home: the Emerald City, Seattle!

One of the biggest appeals of coming to Boston College is its proximity to downtown Boston.  We all love going into the city and exploring the sights, like Newbury Street, Boston Common, and Faneuil Hall.  But guess what?  We collegiettes come from literally all over the world!  We grew up in one home our whole life or moved to dozens of new places.  We were raised in small towns and huge cities!  Just because we are in Boston doesn’t mean we can’t see the rest of the world.  This is a series to introduce us to the many unique and interesting places that we come from, better known as home.

Going to school in Boston means I spend eight months of the year missing my hometown, beautiful Seattle, WA.  Born and raised in Seattle, I chose to go back East to get a change of scenery and experience something new.  Ask and you shall receive… living on the East Coast has been a huge culture shock and I am continually learning new things (like “pop” is actually called “soda”- who knew?).
The reactions I received when I first came to Boston were variations of “Why are you over here?”  One kid actually asked me how I had even heard about BC… since I live so far away.  As much as I love the jokes about rain, I think it’s time I introduce you all to the beauty that is Seattle.  For all you Mass kids, New Yorkers, New Englanders, Midwesterners, Southerners, and Cali kids: the Pacific Northwest is like nothing you’ve ever seen.  As freshman Amani Teshome describes it, “Seattle is the world’s best kept secret.”  You’ve all heard of the Space Needle, so I’ll fill you in on some of the lesser-known beauty that is the 206.


The Seattle music scene is absolutely unreal.  The city is synonymous with grunge, jazz, rock, indie, and underground hip hop.  It’s hometown to some of your favorite artists: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Band of Horses, Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes, The Head and the Heart, Modest Mouse.  One of my favorite local artists is Macklemore, a rising hip hop artist who pays homage to Seattle music in “The Town.”  KEXP is a public radio station that highlights sick alternative and indie music, so popular that it’s now also broadcasting in New York.  We’re also known for music festivals; Bumbershoot and Sasquatch bring in hundreds of well-known and up-and-coming artists each year.  This year alone, these festivals brought in Matt & Kim, The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Ratatat, Noah and the Whale, Foster the People, and Wiz Khalifa (as well as hundreds of cool obscure indie bands that you’ve probably never heard of).  As if Seattle music could get any better, Dave Matthews is often spotted around (in Barnes and Noble, at the grocery store) since he also resides in this glorious city.


The Experience Music Project is a museum dedicated to the history of Seattle music, built to resemble one of Jimi Hendrix’s smashed guitars.

Leading Companies
Have you ever flown in a plane made by Boeing?  Are you wearing a pair of jeans from Nordstrom?  Did you use Microsoft Word to write your paper?  Have you ever purchased something from Amazon?  Did you get a grande non-fat latte from Starbucks last weekend?  Seattle is backyard to some of the biggest, most successful corporations.  To name just a few of the other companies headquartered here: Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Jones Soda, Fisher Communications, Expedia, Real Networks, REI, Russell Investments, Getty Images, Waggener Edstrom, Weyerhaeuser, and Costco.  Impressed yet? (To the Boston College alums that work at these companies: can we do lunch?)


It sounds weird to say Seattle is a “smart city,” but it’s absolutely true.  The culture and vibe is intellectual; Seattleites love grabbing a book and reading in Starbucks on rainy days.  Not only are we home to a thriving hipster population, but most of their glasses have real lenses*!  In 2006, an analysis of US Census Bureau data ranked Seattle with the highest concentration of brainpower, and consequently, the smartest city in the US.  The proof is in the number of educated residents: “Forty-seven percent of Seattle’s adults hold bachelor’s degrees, the strongest proportion of college-educated residents in a big city.”  A Harvard economics professor recently published Triumph of the City, in which he sees “Seattle as a model of the future- one that shows the ‘benefits of concentrating smart people in dense cities.’”  He claims “smart cities like Seattle succeed by attracting smart people who educate and employ one another.”  For further proof, please refer to my list of leading companies (several Fortune 500) above.  And the cherry on top: Bill Gates lives here (brilliant).
*Not a fact


Gorgeous Scenery
The first time you visit will literally take your breath away.  I’ve lived there my whole life and still, the lush vegetation and waterfronts make me gasp in awe.  Junior Billy Crutcher explains, “I don’t think people realize how beautiful Seattle is until they see it with their own eyes.  The enormity of Mount Rainier alone is breathtaking.  To this day, my favorite view in the whole world is that of Mount Rainier standing tall above Lake Washington on a clear day.”  You might think of Seattle as the “Rainy City,” but we’re officially the “Emerald City.”  Thanks to all that rain, we have green everywhere, especially beautiful evergreens.


Local Food
We may not have the beloved In-N-Out, but you will still be well-fed in Seattle.  Dick’s is my absolute favorite- everyone goes to this drive-in when they want a cheeseburger and fries.  Since we have so much water, our seafood (especially salmon) is amazing.  Ivar’s has the best clam chowder- better than New England’s, I swear.  Ezell’s Chicken is so good that Oprah used to have orders flown to Chicago.  Other local favorites include Pagliacci Pizza, Maximus/Minimus, Paseo, Molly Moon’s, and Beth’s Café (home of the 12-egg omelet).  Or if you want a restaurant, Seastar and Canlis are exquisite.  Plus, we have a Starbucks every two blocks (with all of our intellectual professionals working at good companies, we need our coffee). 


Things to See
Besides the delicious food, there are so many fun places to explore.  You can walk through Fremont to the see the Troll or visit Pike Place Market for flower vendors, the original Starbucks, “flying fish,” and the Gum Wall.  Take a ferry to visit the San Juan Islands or walk downtown to check out the funky Public Library.  Relax beside a bonfire at Alki Beach, picnic at Gas Works Park, canoe on Lake Washington, or take an underground tour.  And of course, you have to check out the view of the city from the Space Needle. 


I could honestly talk about Seattle for days.  There are so many other things I want to share with you- like our sports teams (may the Sonics rest in peace) and our Husky pride.  Literally everyone from Seattle loves their city!  Freshman Emily Schalka said, “Seattle has an awesome mix of good music, great food, and really spectacular scenery.  The coffee is delicious and best enjoyed at one of the many cool tourist places, including Pike Place Market and obviously the Space Needle.” 

I am proud to call Seattle my home.  I am truly a product of the Pacific Northwest: I wear North Face, drink Starbucks, ride a bike, and recycle religiously… and no amount of East Coast prep can change me.  Since I know you are now dying to visit, check out Alaska Airlines for upcoming flight information.      


The stunning view you will see as you land in the greatest city on the best coast.

Photo Sources:

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Katie Moran is a junior at Boston College, majoring in Communication. Originally from Seattle, she loves the East Coast but misses her rainy days and Starbucks coffees. On campus, Katie is involved with Sub Turri Yearbook, the Appalachia Volunteer Program, UGBC Women's Issues Team, Cura, and the Women's Resource Center Big Sister Program. She loves reading, watching "Friends," and exploring new places. She has a passion for creating and hopes to begin a career in marketing and advertising.
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