Get off Reddit in the weeks before and after you move here. Your emotions will be going through enough without reading all the negativity on here.
I just moved here and honestly this was the best advice I got. My best friend finally yelled at me two weeks before I moved and was freaking out, “GET OFF REDDIT” and I’m so glad I did. This city is great and everyone I’ve met is so nice and when I bring up reddit with them, so far everyone has laughed and said “most of us are not like that”
Seattle is stratifying pretty quickly and there's some online tension as you can see here.
In a normal day, however, you won't run into a lot of the negativity you see here. If you're a transplant, expect your friend group to mostly consist of other transplants unless one of you is dating a local.
It's a nice place to live though, if you can afford it.
As a dude that moved to the NW from the SW, here's my anecdote. It's expensive here. Traffic is terrible, it's over crowded and congested. The freeways can't support the number of vehicles.
The geographic location makes for a beautiful backdrop just about anywhere. The trees are green, the water is clean (usually). Rivers, lakes, ocean, mountains, beaches, live entertainment, great sporting venues. The Seattle freeze you will hear about frequently. I have found that this is mostly false.
Maybe my wife and I have just been lucky, but we find most people here (neighbors, coworkers) to be pretty much the same as they were back home in the Midwest- very friendly, outgoing, and easy to get to know.
I respect your opinion of why Seattle is wrong for you, but I find your whole Scandinavian aspect of why people are "chilly" to be kind of funny. Have you ever spent time in the upper Midwest? The friendliest place in the country in my opinion and it's a pretty homogenous place with more of a Scandinavian/German heritage than anywhere else in the U.S.
I think in order to make friends you have to have interests in something other than work. What do you enjoy doing? I bet there's a club for that, whatever it is. Find like minded people. If you aren't interested in the tech world then don't try to be friends with techie people. You say you're in construction then maybe volunteer some time with an organization like Habitat for Humanity. Maybe you won't find your BFF there, but you will be socializing.
Where do you plan on going? If you want to meet some seriously cold and exclusive people I would suggest hot and always summer South Florida.
I have my own theory about the "Seattle freeze". My DH and I are getting ready to move to Seattle and here is my take on things:
Seattle is full of extremely smart people. Some of them are probably genius smart, and often people who are extremely smart tend to be challenged in the social arena. A lot of "genius range" IQ people also have Aspergers. People with autism have a very hard time with socialization. People who are highly gifted often have a hard time with socialization, probably because they are used to not being around like minded peers, and find they don't have much in common with people. So they generally keep to themselves. After a lifetime of devoting yourself to your interests, socialization just doesn't rank very high on the list of "interests".
My husband and I are both very smart and "quirky". Neither one of us has very many friends because it's just so hard to fit in with people. Neither one of us is much into drinking or the bar scene, bunco clubs, the PTA, and many of the other social outlets parents have. I do like to make friends, but usually it's just 1 or 2 close people. A lot of people would probably say I'm "snobby" or "snotty", but really, I am not at all. I just have a very hard time relating to people, and I'm hoping when I move to Seattle I will find a lot more smart and quirky people like me.
So yes---I think if you're used to a traditional social environment filled with church functions, PTA meetings, soccer clubs, bunco, and drinking/bar hopping---you are going to have a tough time in a place like Seattle. But if you're a like minded peer, liberal, a bit introverted, and have similar interests to the IT geeks, you will probably make a few good friends.
My MIL always tells me that while she rarely gets invited out, she has never had anyone turn her down when she asks. I think everyone kind of sits around waiting for everyone else to take the initiative or make the first move. Maybe Seattlites just need to be a bit more aggressive in their approach and just keep trying.
Although there are major differences in political viewpoints, affluence, education levels, etc, around different regions of the Pacific Northwest, I think the general social attitude seems to be fairly similar all around the PNW. I see that attitude as more of an "aloofness", rather than elistism or people being unfriendly. In other words, I find people all over the PNW to be extremely cordial and nice and pleasant to talk to, but it seems that very few of them are willing to go out of their way to make new friends or help out a stranger.
In contrast, to me (and, granted, I have only been there a few times) people in the South seem very unfriendly. Having made many, many business trips to both Texas and Florida, I have yet to discover the famed "Southern hospitality" that I hear so much about. I'm not sure if it's because I have a "Northern" accent that turns them off, or if Southern hospitality just doesn't exist anymore, but I definitely find people in the PNW more pleasant to socialize with. Just my opinion.
I went on vacation to Seattle last year and absolutely loved the city and everything about it. The food, the breweries, downtown, Ballard, Fremont, Edmonds, the scenery, the people, the orcas, everything was great. The only negative thing I could say about the city was the traffic. It seems like the city boomed and the infrastructure can't handle it, so it's gridlocked. I drove to Portland and the drive down the highway between the 2 cities was just beautiful! This article described Portland pretty accurately but I would not envy it. After 24 hours I couldn't wait to get out of there and drive back to Seattle. Those people are just strange. Anyway I could see myself living in Seattle and loving it. So whoever is thinking of taking the plunge just do it! It's a lot like San Francisco but different at the same time without the valley accent and not as expensive.
I lived in Seattle for 19 years before moving to socal for school. I will be moving back as soon as I can, not because I don't like socal's warm sunny weather and fun atmosphere, but because I love Seattle. I read this article for fun and found myself nodding and grinning at a couple things, but others I was like what? That isn't right. First of all you need to understand that though it does rain in Seattle a bit, there are cities where it actually rains more. Seattle just looks constantly like it is about to rain, but only does maybe 50% of the time. Just get used to cloudy overcast skies. As for snow, some winters we get a few inches or a foot and other years we get nothing whatsoever. If you want snow, go to the mountains. As for sun, when it arrives everyone is smiling. Prepare to wake up to the sounds of early birds mowing their lawns and prepare for the beaches and parks to be full of dog walkers, power walking moms with strollers, bikers--lots of bikers, soccer players, frisbee throwers, and people doing yoga. Another thing you should know is that Seattle is known for having the most loyal sports fans, most especially for the Seahawks. If you go to a Seahawk game bring ear protection and prepare to lose your voice from yelling (the stadium actually shakes it is so loud). Also, Fridays are Blue Friday, meaning people wear their Seahawks jerseys to work.
If you wear a different team's jersey prepare to be hated by all. And even though the Mariners suck, there is a strong fan loyalty there too. As for Starbucks, I have never heard of anyone arguing over it really. Starbucks equals coffee and for Seattlites, coffee is gold. Period. Next thing you should know is recycling is extremely important. EXTREMELY. You can now be fined if you have too many recycables in your trash. I don't know how hard it is for people who didn't grow up with recycling, but for me it is second nature. It has been a horrible transition living in socal and having to put a plastic bottle or piece of paper in the trash. I literally hesitate every time and feel bad like I am slowly killing the earth. Recycling isn't that hard and it helps save the earth, so why don't people do it everywhere? It's so frustrating. Look at me preaching away. See? I am from Seattle. Speaking of preaching, Seattle is the least churched city in the country, so don't expect to find a church on every other corner. You will however, find a Starbucks on every other corner. Literally. Also, we do have great food. If you love seafood, you will love Seattle. Seattle is also a hub for healthy, organic food. A lot of people have their own gardens and keep chickens. As for food trucks, you see them now and then, but not like everywhere. We do have a TON of little coffee huts located in parking lots and along side roads. Those are everywhere. I'm telling you, coffee is very important in Seattle. Maybe it is because of the long gloomy winters. Winter in Seattle is dark and cold and a lot of people actually suffer from seasonal depression, and possibly weight gain, though I have never really noticed it. Also, it is so true that natives don't use umbrellas. I always chuckle when I see people with umbrellas.
Unless I am wearing fancy clothes for a concert at the Opera House or going to see a ballet at McCaw Hall, I leave my mostly unused umbrella somewhere in the shadows of my coat closet. Speaking of weather in general, you need to understand that there is technically some truth about volcanoes and earthquakes some day happening, but the key is that. Some day. People have been saying for decades that Seattle is due for a big disaster like that and in truth it could be, but it could also come in 500 years. There is no way to really know. Last thing I am going to say is that the Seattle Freeze unfortunately is pretty accurate. Having never been a newcomer to Seattle I have never experienced it, but there is a strong Scandinavian culture (especially in the Ballard area), but I have heard it talked about. However, once you are a part of Seattle, there will always be this instant connection with anyone else you ever meet that is also from Seattle. There is this unspoken loyalty about Seattle. You are a part of a crazy green-friendly, lgbt+ friendly, artistic, active, sports-loving, dog-loving, family. (I say dog loving because there are dogs everywhere. There are more dogs in Seattle than there are children). If you are on the fence about Seattle, I say take the plunge. You won't regret it. No matter who you are there is something to love about Seattle and a reason to call it home. If nothing else it is a gorgeous city with lots to see and experience. I hope you come
P.S.- There are subarus everywhere. Everyone drives them. Also, there are a lot of outdoorsy people despite the lack of sunshine. There is also an inexplicable number of guys with beards and man buns wearing plaid shirts. Also lots of musicians. Forget it. There are just too many wonderful things to say!
I grew up in Bellevue! The Seattle area is lovely, very outdoorsy (in spite of the rain).
Schools are pretty good generally - my mother was a teacher in the Bellevue school district for years, before moving up to Everett.
Bellevue is now very expensive, thanks to Microsoft and similar companies, but there are a lot of more affordable places in the area. The trouble is traffic as it can get very bad - there are buses, but most people drive, on their own, and now commutes can be quite long.
For cancer treatments, I believe Swedish Medical Center is quite good, and there is a Seattle Cancer Alliance which I've driven past many times, but don't know much about.
Flights are 9-10 hours and currently there are 3-4 daily nonstop London-Seattle flights - BA always does one daily, and other airlines pick up and drop the route occasionally. It's a long flight but Seattle airport is pretty small and easy to navigate so at least easy on that end! My mother, who sounds reasonably similar to your parents, does it usually twice a year, doesn't like it, but doesn't find it problematic.
Sorry if this is a bit garbled, I'm on my phone and can only read half your post now that I've started typing, and need to rush off in a minute. But hope that helps a bit, and let me know if I can help with any questions!
To answer the question on many people's mind: "No, it doesn't rain all the time." Seattle gets less rain annually than Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami and many other major metro areas. The natural beauty of Seattle – it's surrounded by both mountains and water on two sides – is one of the biggest draws for residents.
The scenery and proximity to nature, perhaps, contribute to Seattle's inherent attitude: one of calm and patience. Locals are mocked for always allowing others to merge on the freeway, but that attitude extends to everyday life, where coffee shops harbor intellectual discussions, and nightlife is more about chilling with a beer at the bar than wild nights on the dance floor.
For many, living in Seattle has as much to do with what's outside the city proper as what's inside. Less than an hour from downtown, residents escape for the day or weekend to wineries, ski resorts, hiking trails and sprawling parks. Seattleites bring that love of nature into the city proper as much as possible, enjoying Seattle's parks and tree-lined streets while staying cozy in fleece jackets (practically the local uniform).
I had relocated from Bay Area (Foster City) to Seattle in 2009 by my choice. I work for ORACLE and I had an option to work from any city in the US, I chose Seattle by my choice. Trust me it is the best place to live. If you need more details, please feel free to call me 425-945-8621 from 2pm - 5pm any day.
I have been here in Seattle for past 15+ years and I have absolutely NO regrets choosing Seattle over Bay Area. Seattle is defenitely a great city and we do have huge Indian Community. About raising kids, I would say yes its worth moving here Welcome to Seattle