Northwest Lifestyles

The Insiders Look to Pacific Northwest Living

Living in the Pacific Northwest is a venture that should be sought out by everyone. The Pacific Northwest is located, of course, in the northwestern area of the United States, and includes Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and often also refers to northern California, western Montana, southeast Alaska and Idaho. Once you’ve lived in this region, you won’t want to leave.

If the Pacific Northwest is known for anything, it is known for its incredible terrain. Some of the most lush rainforests in the world are located in the Pacific Northwest, and it once contained the largest trees in the world. About 60% of the area is forests, and a large percentage of that is considered old growth forest, a vital and unique portion of our ecosystem. The Pacific Northwest is incredibly green, and its oceans contain some of the most varied marine life in the entire world. The Pacific temperate rain forest ecoregion is the largest temperate rain forest ecozone in the world, and spans the coast from Alaska to California. The mountains in the area are some of the most beautiful around. Mount Rainer is the tallest, and many residents take the training challenge to climb it. It is also popular to hike and ski in this area- some of the best ski resorts in the nation are in the Pacific Northwest. Whistler Blackcomb is considered part of the Pacific Northwest, and is located in British Columbia, where the most recent Winter Olympics were held. Whistler Mountain is the largest ski resort in North America, and up until just last year, it had the highest vertical skiable distance. It is often the most visited ski resort in the world, with approximately 2 million visitors from all over the world a year. It’s just a five-hour drive from Seattle, three hours from Bellingham, and just under a two hour drive from Vancouver, B.C. Like most of the ski resorts around, the area is also wildly popular in the summer for hiking and mountain biking. If you are a fan of the outdoors, then the Pacific Northwest is the place for you.
Living in this region has untold benefits. And, contrary to popular belief, Seattle actually has less annual rainfall than most cities, including New York, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. The climate in all of the Pacific Northwest is generally extremely moderate, and ranges from sunny and arid, snowy and cold, lush and wet to overcast. If the breathtaking range of ocean, mountain, desert and forest environments don’t sway you, maybe the cities will. Seattle is one of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest, and is known for its charm. It is right on the ocean, and offers a unique combination of sophistication and charisma. The Pike Place Fish Market is a world-famous market that overlooks Elliot Bay and takes up approximately 15 city blocks. Founded in 1907, it is one of the oldest public markets in the United States. Whether you are looking for fresh fish, fresh fruit, novelties, or just want to wander and be amazed, the Pike Place Market should not be passed up.
The Pacific Northwest is also known for its singular obsession with coffee and beer. The West Coast has the best of both, and prides themselves in it. The espresso in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat without leaving the country. With coffee shops often literally on every corner, the competition for the best latte forces quality and perfection. There is no better way to spend your morning in the Pacific Northwest than cuddled over a perfect cappuccino with a book or a newspaper. The quality of beer in the Pacific Northwest is a lesser known fact. Local brewpubs and microbreweries are liberally sprinkled on the West Coast, and residents can afford to be very choosy. In 2008, Portland recorded 30 microbreweries within the city limits, which was more than any city in the entire world. These local beer-masters have won international acclaim. If you are not a beer fan, but haven’t tried one of these full-bodied, complicated, local beers, think again. You may be surprised.