Culture Shock | 7 Things to Know Before Traveling to Seattle

Seattle is a playground for every type of human – from foodie to hipster to outdoorsy adventurer – there is something for everyone! Though I’m sure you think you have the culture locked down, make sure to check out these 7 things you should know before traveling to Seattle.

Go to Pike Place Market, and don’t mess up the name.


Photo by: Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr Creative Commons.

It drives locals insane when tourists start talking about “Pike Street Market” or “Pikes Market.” It’s Pike Place Market, and it’s a spot for tourists and locals alike.

Traveler’s Tip: Hit up Rachel’s Ginger Beer for some refreshing guava and ginger soda or Mee Sum Pastry for barbecue pork buns!

It’s not ALWAYS rainy.

Seattle only gets around 38.6 inches of rain each year, which, compared to the 44.1 inches that fall in New York City and 48.6 inches in Atlanta, doesn’t seem to add up to its name. This is because most of Seattle’s “rainy days” are really just foggy days with some drizzle.

Traveler’s Tip: Seattleites are the first to agree that they can’t drive in the rain. Most foreigners will say they can’t drive in snow or sun, either.

Also: Ten Films You Missed at the Seattle International Film Festival

Jaywalking is illegal and frowned upon.

Not only will you get a $56 dollar ticket if you’re caught, but there’s no better way to show you’re a tourist than jaywalking. Even if there’s no traffic, if the light is red, locals wait.

Traveler’s tip: Since you’re probably going to jaywalk, check for bike cops first. They’re everywhere.

Weed is questionably legal and not frowned upon.

Okay, it’s not technically legal yet (this might change in July), but cops really don’t care to give tickets for it. It’s a chill environment to visit and live, and people tend to mind their own business when it comes to weed.

Traveler’s tip: If you do have your marijuana recommendation, bring it with you.

Photo by: Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by: Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr Creative Commons.

Honking is not okay. Neither is being rude.

Seattleites pride themselves on being courteous, and that means “California Roll” stop sign signs, ___ and impatient honks at green lights are just not okay. Some police officers will even write you a ticket if you honk for disturbing the peace.

Leave your umbrellas at home.

Locals don’t mind a bit of rain, and nothing says tourist louder than carrying an umbrella. Even on rainy days, most Seattleites just accept it and don’t bother trying to cover up.

They have weird condiments.

Photo by Cristina/Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Cristina/Flickr Creative Commons.

The iconic “Seattle Dog” comes with grilled onions and cream cheese, and locals think it’s weird if you don’t like it.

Traveler’s tip: Check out Radiator Whiskey for an 8-dollar-dog guaranteed to hit the spot!