11 Stereotypes Seattleites Won’t Even Try to Deny

Birkenstocks and Socks | © Eli Christman / Flickr
Birkenstocks and Socks | © Eli Christman / Flickr
Photo of Jacklyn Grambush
13 November 2017

A lot of Seattle’s culture is affected by the weather and the city’s hippie roots. There are plenty of stereotypes that Seattleites will try to deny (they are beer snobs, no matter what they say to the contrary), but here are the ones so obvious that locals admit they’re true.

Passive Aggressive

How many times have Seattleites played “no, you go first” at a stop sign? Wave on the other car, then inch forward because they waved you on, then brake because they started to go. No, we were not taught this in driver’s ed; it just comes with the territory. Someone tells you, “We should get lunch sometime!” Translation: get away from me now. For some reason, the Seattle culture begs a polite façade over truth, so that truth seeps out in other, less direct, ways.

Sun Out = People Out

Seattleites have, like, 20 days of sun. So shorts and sandals pop out on those scarce sunny days, even if it’s really not warm enough to expose one’s legs. See all that skin that’s so pale it could practically glow in the dark? Yeah, it needs vitamin D. Give the body as much surface area as possible to start those chemical processes!

I believe this is when my Seattleite brother said, "I can't remember the last time I felt the sun on my skin."

Function Over Fashion

Back to those 20 days of sun—depressing much? It is not warm—it is wet. There is no sun to motivate the people. Find the comfiest warm, fuzzy clothes to cover the outside of your body, and hopefully, it will translate to warm and fuzzy feelings on the inside. Have you heard of Birkenstocks and socks? That’s a great example of function over fashion and not an exaggeration thereof. The ‘stocks-and-socks life is real.

Rain. Always.

It looks like those 20 days of sun are still relevant. Here’s the deal: Seattle doesn’t actually get a lot of rain, but it gets rain frequently. It’s similar to Chinese water torture in that it’s just a constant, small amount of water that you can’t escape. And when it’s not raining, the sky is still gray, making you feel like it could rain at any moment. The good news is you don’t have to worry about flooding for the most part!

Seattle Rain | © ArtBrom / Flickr

Seattle Freeze

The Seattle Freeze is real. No, it is not in reference to weather; it’s in regards to the people. Seattleites keep to themselves. They are not the type to greet strangers on the street or make small talk on the bus. They are not welcoming or warm. If someone asks how you’re doing, and you respond with anything other than “fine” or a derivation thereof, you have just thrown your listener for a loop. No one actually cares how you’re doing. Don’t tell them about your stressful morning. They asked to be polite. See “Passive Aggressive” above.

Umbrellas, Shmumbrellas

Do you want to use an umbrella? For the Chinese water torture weather? For nine months out of the year? Unless you want your elbow stuck at a 90-degree angle by the time you’re 30, buy a raincoat and rain boots. In Seattle, rain is a way of life. Sure, everyone has an umbrella stashed away somewhere for that once-in-a-lifetime, dry-clean-only outfit (see “Function over Fashion”). Otherwise, umbrellas are for punks (and tourists).

How Real Seattleites Do Rain | © Joe Szilagyi / Flickr


For those Seattleites confused by the term “snow-driving,” it refers to a concept that exists in other cultures where people drive during or after a snowfall. In temperate Seattle, with its total foot of snow every other year, snowplows and other helpful tools for dealing with snow in cities (what else is there even?) are not worth the money. When it does snow, that means the city shuts down. No driving—or driving that’s no good.

Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks

Seattle is a city of nerds. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Bing—if you name the tech company, they employ us. With that type of demography to work with, name the geeky convention, and it probably passes through Seattle (if it didn’t start here to begin with). Not only will no Seattleite attempt to deny this, but they may even be proud of it or think that what the rest of the world considers a nerd is actually normal.


Yeah, Seattle has all the weed.

All the Weed | © Patrick Mueller / Flickr

Liberal AF

Seattleites are loud, proud, and liberal AF. Same-sex marriage, pro-choice, legalized marijuana, all the taxes, pro-immigration, recycling (and beyond), big government, free healthcare, etc. Seattle prides itself on being tolerant of any and all types of people—except, of course, the non-liberals.

Seafood That’s Out-of-this-World Good

Seattle is a port city. Plus, you know those liberal tendencies keep our water clean. The seafood is great, and it was caught just down the street earlier today. Add that to practice makes perfect—and with our location, you know Seattleites have had plenty of practice preparing seafood—and you’re in for some to-die-for dishes. The only problem is that it will definitely spoil you and turn you into a seafood snob. #SorryNotSorry

Dungeness Crab | © City Foodsters / Flickr

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