Exactly one year ago today, I spent my last day living in Seattle.
If you’ve been along for this journey with me, you know why I left. With my mom getting older and needing my support, I moved back to the East Coast so I could be there for her.
When I moved to Seattle in 2013, I expected I’d live there for the rest of my life. I’ve moved around a lot over the years, and I hoped I’d finally found a place where I could put down some roots. However, moving back East ultimately made the most sense.
One year later, and I still count leaving Seattle as the easiest and most difficult decision I’ve ever made.
While I’m happy being back in New Jersey, it’s possible to love where you are and miss where you were at the same time. The two are not, as I recently told my mother, mutually exclusive.
So on this anniversary, as I remember the nearly six years I spent in the Pacific Northwest and ruminate on what I left behind, I wanted to celebrate that amazing time in my life by sharing what I miss the most about living in Seattle (excellent friendships not included), in no particular order.
Eleven Things I Miss Most About Seattle
Space Needle views
My apartment had a great view of the Space Needle, and the building where I worked sat in its shadow. Seeing this Seattle icon on the daily served as a powerful symbol that the sacrifices I made and the risks I took to leave the security of my East Coast life for a West Coast dream were more than worth it.
Not far from my West Seattle apartment, Alki Trail served as the perfect path for early morning runs, with its view of the Seattle skyline over Elliott Bay. When I close my eyes, I can hear seals barking in the distance, smell the scent of the brackish bay, and glimpse the rising sun reflecting off Columbia Tower.
Buddha Ruksa’s Crispy Garlic Chicken
Lovingly called “crack chicken” for its addictive taste, this signature dish at Buddha Ruksa Thai Cuisine in West Seattle was a mainstay of my Friday nights, ordered to go at spiciness level 3 with brown rice and steamed broccoli.
A Washington State Ferry ride
When friends or family visit Seattle, I still recommend a ferry ride to Vashon or Bainbridge Island or out to the Olympic Peninsula as one of the things they absolutely must do. Riding the Washington State Ferries and seeing the region from the water is, in my opinion, one of the best values for things to do in Seattle.
Hiking trails galore
The plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreation was my primary reason for moving to Seattle in the first place. Whether I wanted a quick outing at Discovery Park in Magnolia or Lincoln Park in West Seattle, or a longer hike in the Issaquah Alps or further abroad, there were so many options from which to choose.
National parks nearby
A bounty of museums
That city life, though! In Seattle, there’s always something to do, and I usually tended to gravitate toward museums. My favorites included Seattle Art Museum downtown (where I saw an Yves Saint Laurent retrospective and Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors), Frye Museum in First Hill, and the, ahem, National Nordic Museum in Ballard.
Seattle Central Library
The first time I saw Seattle Central Library was from the fifth floor of the hotel across the street. I don’t remember my exact reaction, but I’m pretty sure it left me speechless. A gorgeous modern structure and it has books inside? Yes, please!
A local yarn shop
Although Seattle Yarn in West Seattle has since changed hands, I still follow along on social media, and it continues to provide a wonderful environment and community for people to share a passion for knitting, crochet, and other fiber arts.
Easy West Coast travel
Whether driving to Vancouver or flying to San Francisco, Seattle’s location made it easy to take domestic (and international!) day trips to other vibrant cities on the West Coast of North America.
Sunsets at my favorite spot
I’ll keep the precise location a secret, but the Sunday evenings I spent at this spot, sometimes with a book and a picnic, other times just centering my thoughts in preparation for the work week ahead, are some of my favorite memories of my time in the Emerald City.
Share Your Seattle Love
If you currently live in Seattle, lived in Seattle in the past, or have visited Seattle and fell in love with it as much as I did, indulge me for a bit and share a few of your favorite things about this vibrant, gorgeous northwestern city.