Creative Community Quirks That Define Seattle

When I told people I was moving to the Emerald City, anyone who hadn’t been to Seattle said, “Oh, I hope you like rain.” But everyone who had lived in or visited the city said, “OHMYGOD I LOVE SEATTLE!” And, as I’m finding out, rightly so.

Myself a creative guru (much preferred over the term “starving artist”), I have an absurd attention to detail and equal appreciation for originality and imagination. I walk, bike or bus around town, and this sort of relaxed mobility has allowed me to fully take in my surroundings.

Whether I’m turning down new streets or passing through the same route repeatedly, creativity is constantly catching my eye. The carefree artistic talents here are interactive, encouraging a sense of community and, ultimately, making Seattle a destination location for budding professionals and beyond.

I’ve been tallying the uniqueness as it comes about. Here’s a (incomplete) list of reasons why, in addition to the gorgeous scenery and plethora of opportunities, I can’t help falling in love with Seattle.

  • Mailbox full of communal love poems. From sticky notes to crumpled looseleaf, there’s a decorative neighborhood mailbox filled with take-one, leave-one poems.
  • Little Free Libraries. These community birdhouses for books sit along sidewalks all around the city. Take a book, leave a book in any of the book huts. Genres abound and the novels always rotate.

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  • Henry art. Found especially in the Ballard and Fremont neighborhoods, this local artists paints murals of cartoon animals on buildings and garages, as per the owner’s request. It’s a fun scavenger hunt trying to find all the Henry art, reminiscent of my art-inspired scavenger hunts in London.
  • Fire hydrant faces. Someone went around town and stuck giant googly eyes on a handful of fire hydrants. Another fun scavenger hunt idea!
  • The Gum Wall. It is exactly what it sounds like. A wall in an alley by the famed Pike Place Market is covered in gum. The brick facade was recently scraped of all its sticky chewed art to maintain the “structural integrity” of the building, but gum adorned the wall immediately thereafter.

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  • Spring equinox community tree. The trunk and branches were wrapped in rainbow ribbon during the spring, with a note encouraging passers-by to attach an object to the dangling clothespins.
  • Lost and found yard art. Little kids lose shoes; dogs lose toys. Some homes have made displays out of the objects they have found left behind in their lawns. Parks even decoratively pin up lost and found articles on a cork board.

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  • The Fremont Troll. This iconic concrete sculpture was part of Seattle’s beautification project under the Aurora bridge. An actual junkyard VW Beetle is in the troll’s hands, though many don’t recognize the car is not made of cement. The troll is not only popular with tourists; many events are held at the troll each year, including holiday affairs in which the creature gets decorated.

 

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  • Recycled lawn ornaments. Urban gardens are booming in Seattle. Plates, mirrors and bathtubs are no stranger to garden decor in the Emerald City.
  • Cabbage gardens. The leafy vegetable isn’t just a source of food. Temperate-weather folks plant cabbage in pots outside storefronts and in street medians.

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