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greggles

Seattle Area

7 posts in this topic

After much work, college is finally coming to a close: in just a few weeks I will be graduating! I am looking forward to starting a job in the Seattle, WA area this July, and I, as someone who grew up on the East coast and doesn't know much about Seattle, was wondering if anyone from the area would be willing to share their wisdom. I would like to get suggestions on things like: good areas to live, fun hangouts, interesting places to visit, gamedev groups, game jams, etc.
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Most of the area is pretty cool. There are a few less-reputable areas but they're not hard to avoid. As for good stuff to do... there's plenty of options, really depends on what you find interesting/entertaining.
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Get fish thrown at/over you and go to the glass museum in Tacoma and watch them blow glass. Those were my two favorite things when I lived there. At least things that are very seattle-y.
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I've lived in the PNW all of my life and just recently moved up to Seattle to start a new web developer position up here.. and it rocks!

Seattle is split up into several districts (sometimes called neighborhoods): Fremont, Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, U-distict, Belltown, West Seattle, Green lake.. and the list goes on. Each district kind of has its own vibe. I live in northern Magnolia just south of Ballard, and it's got some amazing views and a "residential" kind of feel. Works for me because I came from kind of a country town and living on a busy street in downtown Seattle probably would've been a bit too hectic for me. Ballard is the condo part of town, there's tons of development going on up there and lots of young professionals living in that area.

In terms of gaming, there are a lot of conventions that come through here as I'm sure you are probably aware. I haven't really been to any of them (I don't really hang out with that kind of crowd, to be honest) but I've heard good things from others. I know there are a few great game studios up here if you are looking for work in that field. The bassist in my band works at a game studio up here as lead QA and he really seems to like his job and the people there.

If you're looking for work in just software development in general, Seattle's a great place. Jobs are pretty abundant for software developers right now. Microsoft is right across I90 in Bellevue and Redmond, and Amazon is right smack dab in the middle of the Seattle center area close to the Space Needle. I believe Google and Facebook opened up offices here recently too. There are also thousands of start ups and small business offerings. Pretty much every social event I've gone to I've wound up meeting someone who works in software or IT so there are plenty of networking opportunities available.

If you like to roll out to bars on the weekend nights, there is a pretty active nightlife. Not as much in the way of Miami style "clubs" really (I think we have only 3-4 places that are actual clubs) but there are bars everywhere and in every district. Ballard and Fremont tend to be my stomping grounds, and there are a lot of young people on Capitol Hill and in the U-district. There are several music venues and big acts roll through all the time. I've gone to 4 concerts in the past month so far [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

And you have the usual touristy stuff: Pike's place market (watch fish get thrown, haha), Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Gameworks, Baseball/Soccer, Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, Art Museum, etc. Edited by blueEbola
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[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
Baseball/Soccer
[/quote]
The Seahawks stadium is RIGHT next to the baseball stadium. :P
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1335683599' post='4935773']
Get fish thrown at/over you and go to the glass museum in Tacoma and watch them blow glass. Those were my two favorite things when I lived there. At least things that are very seattle-y.
[/quote]
I think it is awesome that a well known attriction in a town could be seeing people throw fish [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img].

[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
I've lived in the PNW all of my life and just recently moved up to Seattle to start a new web developer position up here.. and it rocks!
[/quote]
First of all, congrats on the new position!

[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
Seattle is split up into several districts (sometimes called neighborhoods): Fremont, Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, U-distict, Belltown, West Seattle, Green lake.. and the list goes on. Each district kind of has its own vibe. I live in northern Magnolia just south of Ballard, and it's got some amazing views and a "residential" kind of feel. Works for me because I came from kind of a country town and living on a busy street in downtown Seattle probably would've been a bit too hectic for me. Ballard is the condo part of town, there's tons of development going on up there and lots of young professionals living in that area.
[/quote]
I'll be working in the South Lake Union district (at Amazon.com), but I've heard it's not the best area in which to live. I don't think I'd mind a busy street, but I'm probably looking for an area that is (relatively) close to work and has a decent number of young professionals. From the sounds of it, Magnolia sounds like a good place to include in my search.


[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
There are several music venues and big acts roll through all the time. I've gone to 4 concerts in the past month so far [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]
I've heard good things about the music scene, which is exciting.

As for sports in the area, how difficult is it to get tickets? Having lived near Pittsburgh, PA for several years, it has always been hard for me to get good, cheap tickets for football and hockey games, but baseball is pretty easy + the Pirates have a beautiful stadium.
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[quote name='greggles' timestamp='1335760963' post='4935988']
[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
Seattle is split up into several districts (sometimes called neighborhoods): Fremont, Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, U-distict, Belltown, West Seattle, Green lake.. and the list goes on. Each district kind of has its own vibe. I live in northern Magnolia just south of Ballard, and it's got some amazing views and a "residential" kind of feel. Works for me because I came from kind of a country town and living on a busy street in downtown Seattle probably would've been a bit too hectic for me. Ballard is the condo part of town, there's tons of development going on up there and lots of young professionals living in that area.
[/quote]
I'll be working in the South Lake Union district (at Amazon.com), but I've heard it's not the best area in which to live. I don't think I'd mind a busy street, but I'm probably looking for an area that is (relatively) close to work and has a decent number of young professionals. From the sounds of it, Magnolia sounds like a good place to include in my search.
[/quote]

Ahh, yes. South Lake Union doesn't seem to be too bad, but Capitol Hill can get a bit hairy sometimes (which is right next door). I'd definitely recommend looking around in the Queen Anne area, it's pretty close to where you are going to be working and there's some nice places up there. Magnolia is really cool too, lots of parks and places to walk.. it's very pet friendly if you have or are thinking of getting a pet. Ballard is nice too, though traffic can be a pain getting down to the heart of Seattle and the Ballard bridge has had some construction going on for the past few months. It'd probably be a 15-20 minute drive to get down to work from there I'd imagine. And that's IF the bridge isn't up to allow some absurd 300ft yacht to pass through [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

Congrats at the job at Amazon! They've got a really cool campus down there. I know a few people that work there, they seem to like it.

[quote name='greggles' timestamp='1335760963' post='4935988']
[quote name='blueEbola' timestamp='1335749098' post='4935958']
There are several music venues and big acts roll through all the time. I've gone to 4 concerts in the past month so far [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]
I've heard good things about the music scene, which is exciting.

As for sports in the area, how difficult is it to get tickets? Having lived near Pittsburgh, PA for several years, it has always been hard for me to get good, cheap tickets for football and hockey games, but baseball is pretty easy + the Pirates have a beautiful stadium.
[/quote]

Yeah it's great for music stuff. A lot of talented musicians too, if you happen to play an instrument and are looking for people to jam with.

Regarding sports: depends on which sport it is. I almost never have trouble getting Mariners tickets. Seahawks and Sounders tickets can be tough to get sometimes, but I've only tried a handful of times. The one time I went to a soccer game it was a lot of fun though, Sounders fans are wild.

There's also a proposal for a new sports stadium in SoDo to bring the NBA back to Seattle. I've heard there's discussion about bringing an NHL team here as well, most likely to share the stadium. That's probably a ways out though, my understanding is they are trying to determine the traffic impact of building yet another stadium down there.
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Seattle is a pretty nice area, I've been here for 10 years now, having moved from a small town in Minnesota. People here are generally nice, though sometimes a little too into their own bubble -- I suppose that's normal for any busy metro area though. Also, in addition to Seattle itself, you've got Portland Oregon and Vancouver B.C. just a few hours along I5 in either direction, which are great for a day or weekend trip, the coast to the west, and some seriously nice mountain passes to the east if you ever feel like a long drive to nowhere and back.

You'll do fine living anywhere as long as you stay north of North Renton, and south of the north end of I-405. You're a lot further from "things to do" in either place, and down south in particular there's a higher concentration of sketchy areas (South Renton, Kent, Southcenter). There are less-reputable areas in between, but you'll know them by the looks of them. Generally, the further you are from Downtown Seattle, and Bellevue/Redmond (a.k.a Microsoft) on the East-side, the cheaper living will be. Also, there's a fairly heinous toll in place across the I-520 bridge now, so if you plan to commute by car, you probably want to consider how your work/residence are geographically related, and what impact that'll have on your expenses.

As far as finding like-minded folks, I'll toss out a couple meet-up groups that I'm in myself. First, [url="http://www.meetup.com/SeattleGamesCooperative/"]Seattle Games Cooperative[/url], and second, [url="http://www.meetup.com/AnimeEast/"]Anime Eastside Games In' Stuff (AEGIS)[/url]. The former is a great group, though its been somewhat inactive lately--if things return to form there's historically been 1 social and 1 learning-oriented meetup per month, mostly on the Eastside, but sometimes in Seattle proper. The later is super-active, with about 5 regular, weekly meets spread around the area, + impromptu meets and defacto-annual events like parties for 4th of July, Halloween, New Years, etc.
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