From the live music scene to the eco-conscious lifestyle fueled by delicious coffee, there are a hundred reasons to visit the hip city of Seattle. But it can be hard to get an authentic experience if you drive off the locals by broadcasting your nonresident-ness. Here are a few tips we put together to help you look and act like a Seattleite:
What Not to Wear
Unfortunately when you’re a tourist, there’s not much of an intersection between function and fashion. Are fanny packs handy as all get-out for stashing your hotel room key and smartphone? Sure are! Are they also a dead giveaway you’re not a local? Heck yes. If you want to blend in, you’ve got to leave the fanny pack, backpack, or giant satchel at home. Instead, pare down as much as possible before you leave the hotel. Shove your gear into a normal-sized purse or man bag and pair it with your best brooding stare.
Also, you may have heard it rains occasionally (a lot) in Seattle. Come prepared with waterproof outerwear. Another amateur move is walking around in a comfy cotton hoodie that immediately soaks through from a light drizzle. When in doubt, head to REI® and buy the first thing you see in the window. And of course, don’t be seen unfurling any umbrellas unless it’s monsoon weather—just, don’t.
How to Get Around
Just fly into SeaTac? Cabs sure sound convenient, but they’re also pricey and therefore snubbed by locals. You have two options: You can hire a Seattleite to pretend like they know you and pick you up at baggage claim in their stereotypical Subaru Outback®, or you can take the Central Link light rail. The light rail is cheap and accessible, taking you directly from SeaTac to downtown Seattle.
If you decide to rent a car, please watch for human obstacles. Seattle is extremely pedestrian-friendly, not to mention health- and eco-conscious, so the city is full of walkers and bikers trying to save the earth while burning calories. Don’t speed through rainy intersections, city slicker, and don’t cut that corner to nab a parking spot by the Space Needle. To truly blend in you should travel on two wheels or your own two feet, but if you must drive, do so cautiously.
What to Consume
Seattle locals don’t worship Starbucks™, even though this city is the birthplace of the massive coffee company. In fact, Seattleites are much more dedicated the art of coffee making and tasting. If you want to chat up a flannel-wearing, grunge-loving hometowner, throw out phrases like “French Press,” “slow drip,” and “sustainable roastery.” And then laugh righteously and raise your steaming mug for a toast. That’s how it’s done ‘round here.
You obviously can’t pull this off in the aforementioned Starbucks™ or, even worse, a Seattle’s Best Coffee®. For distinctively local tastes, visit Caffè Fiorè for certified organic brews and try their Iced Sevilla mocha on a sunny day (which are rarer than unicorns). Neptune Coffee reportedly has some of the city’s best lattes and live art shows, and Cloud City Coffee offers excellent rewards for frequent visitors.
Seattle is a wonderful, eclectic city to visit and worthy of your best shot at blending in so you can get a true local experience. Our last word of advice: Don’t say that you’re going to “Pike’s Peak Market”…it’s called Pike Place Market, people!