When you tell people you are from Seattle, 93 percent of the time they respond, “It rains a lot there, right?” Yes it does, and it is marvelous. The Pacific Northwest makes no apologies for its precipitation, though it is surprised when its residents struggle on the highways every year during the first big rain after Summer. As inconvenient as it might occasionally be, rain actually contributes to much of what makes Seattle great. The saturated skies are one of many compelling reasons everyone should taste life in the Emerald City for a year.

Size matters

Seattle offers all the perks of big city life, yet manages not to suffocate its residents. You will find award winning museums, an extensive library system, fine dining and shopping, a renowned symphony and ballet company, and interesting architecture, but with appreciatively little sprawl. If your friends call you up and invite you to a favorite bar across town, you better have a good excuse for not going because a cab ride will only set you back $15, or less (pointing to you L.A.). Also housed IN Seattle are professional sports teams. They play in new, absolutely beautiful stadiums, which sit right next to each other, IN Seattle, not some far away suburb (think about it, NY football). Even more remarkable, and really the best example of big city playing small town, one can find FREE parking for baseball, football and soccer games, if you arrive early, only blocks from the stadiums.

Try it, it’s good for you

Speaking of sports, Emerald City residents believe their fitness is stronger than your fitness. They won’t actually say this, they are too nice, they will just wake up and bike 40 miles to a campsite, set up the temporary home carried on their back, wake up with the sun and rock climb for a day before heading home. Subtle. This is, however, what the city is made for. Urban dwellers find bike lanes in neighborhoods and downtown alike, along with miles walking/riding trails weaving throughout the city (take a hint, Houston). There are even trails that connect cities! In fact, the reasons Seattle remains wonderfully compact are natural barriers surrounding it, namely rivers, mountains, lakes, and the ocean. See how everything is falling into place? It’s like the big bang – Boom, perfect city. Sorry, no more room buildings, you’ll have to walk from here. Walk, that is, through nearby rain forests, or climb up Mt. Rainer (Tough to find those view in Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska). For the true enthusiast, for whom there literally is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything, Seattle offers a rarely seen sport combination possibility. In winter months, one can head up to the mountain and hit some deep pow in the morning, leave after the freshies are gone and finish out the day with18 holes at a local course. I’m just sayin.

Someone has to pay for this

Taking advantage of all activities available, however, does not come compliments of the Mayor. Thankfully, many of the country’s best known companies are based in Seattle. Even better is the city’s variety of industry (Envious, Detroit? Pittsburgh?). There are technology jobs with Microsoft and Amazon, engineering with Boeing, marinas filled with fishing boats and the Port of Seattle packed with ocean-liners. Don’t forgot the high-end retailers Nordstrom and Starbucks (nothing higher-end than paying $4 for coffee!) as well as countless outdoor companies, highlighted by R.E.I. and K2. All this economy explains why the typical Seattlite is able to afford 7 differently-weighted technical jackets, 3 sizes of backpacks and 4 types of outdoor footwear.

Finally, relax a little

Once the work week has ended, or you’ve returned from your alfresco excursion, it’s time to sit back and enjoy a cold one. Good thing you are living in Beer Mecca (Not even close, Salt Lake City). Milwaukee and St. Louis might complain, but their products lack what Seattle throws in your face, flavor. No where will you find a finer selection of craft-brewed, local beer than the Pacific Northwest. Of course, nearby wineries are also plentiful. And both brewers and winemakers enjoy a fabulous selection of local ingredients. Washington state has the climate and fertile soil right for growing grapes, hops and grain, not to mention an abundance of clean water. So whether you drink from a stemmed-glass or a pint, Seattle has the local libation to take the edge off.

Yes, Seattle offers all that, and some scenery too. An extremely picturesque place, it’s no wonder residents put up with the rain. Rain fuels Seattle. It keeps gardens, parks and forests lush. Paints peaks white and fills the river high. So come to the city where you can work and play, ride the streets and mountains, watch the play or the rainstorm. The city you can get away from, or not. If all that fails to impress, then, Space Needle! (had to mention it sometime)