Category Archives: Downtown Living
Posted by commercialcore
The residential population in downtown Seattle will increase by 50 percent during the next 10 years, according to the Downtown Seattle Association. It’s an exciting time to be living downtown to witness the transformation to a vibrant residential core! As the skyline fills with construction cranes building high-rises to accommodate demand, I thought it might help to list a few things that I wish I’d known when I moved downtown two years ago.
1. Live in the same apartment building as your friends.
- This is especially the helpful for women. While it will likely change as more people move to the core and are around at night, it is not safe to be walking alone in the evening in most areas of downtown. Walking with a male friend can make you less of a target, but who wants an escort everywhere they go? Your friends will likely feel the same about hoofing it to your place. No matter how cool your digs are for hosting, they still have to think about getting back home. Even if you have both a car AND a spot near your place, you probably won’t be able to afford paying for parking everywhere you go. Which leads to the next point…
2. Distances are measured by walking time.
- If there are certain people, work or business locations that you want to be near downtown, measure the distance in walking time, not driving time. Think about how often you see friends who are a 20-minute drive away. The same goes for walking. If they are a 20-minute walk away, you will see them about as much as you see friends who are a 20-minute drive away, etc. Google Maps has a great walking calculator for determining this.
- The primary means of transit around town are walking, riding the bus, and if applicable, riding the trolley. Orca Cards offer significant discounts on regular fare and are accepted for nearly all public transit types.
- At night, taxis are the safest way to get home, even for distances you would normally walk during the day. This is because most areas are still fairly “dead” at night. The more people around, the safer you are. I recommend Yellow Cab. (Busses are neither frequent nor safe after hours and alas, we have no subway.)
3. Businesses still operate on a 9-5 schedule, unless they are a theater, bar or some restaurants.
- The same for coffeehouses. Downtown businesses are still catching on to the idea that people reside here and are around after 5 p.m. Latest hours for a downtown coffeeshop is currently Uptown Espresso in Belltown. They are open till at least 10 p.m. every night of the week and are popular with those wanting to study/work at night.
4. Check for bedbugs!
- No longer relegated to a cutesy traditional rhyme, bedbugs are becoming an issue in most metropolitan areas in the United States.
- When apartment hunting, check the Bedbug Registry to be sure that the address is not on it. Once a building has a bedbug problem, it is difficult to fully eradicate them. The site has inconsistent search functionality, so you’ll want to search the address a couple of different ways (by apartment name, etc.), to truly be sure that the place in question hasn’t been reported. The user reviews on Apartmentratings.com may also mention bedbugs.
5. Buy groceries and goods in frequent, small batches.
- I learned this lesson quickly. Since you are carrying items much further, possibly walking for many blocks or taking a bus, buying more than two bag’s worth is a workout. However, the great thing (among many) about the new City Target is that the parking is free if you spend more than $20 AND are done in less than an hour. I’ve found bringing a list helps me accomplish this. Save the casual browsing for trips where you’re not coming by car. On that note, City Target (CT) has revolutionized downtown living. Before CT, we had no stores that catered to just everyday living stuff. If Bartell Drugs didn’t have it; we didn’t get it till we made a trip to the outskirts. Thank God for City Target!
- Another ease of urban living note – Ace Hardware will be opening soon on 4th Ave., near Virginia. This means you can finally get copies of your keys, random screw sizes and such. We urbanites use our walls and vertical space for all kinds of storage and hangings, so a hardware store is quite helpful!
Did I miss something you’ve found particularly helpful to know? Feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!
Tags: Ace Hardware, apartment, apartmentratings.com, Bartell Drugs, bed bugs, Bedbug Registry, bedbugs, Belltown, CDC, City Target, condo, downtown Seattle, Downtown Seattle Association, DSA, EPA, Google Maps, lists, Moving, Orca Card, planning a move, residential, Uptown Espresso, Yellow Cab