Everyone needs to experience urban living at least once

Addie Adkins, Columnist

I was born and mostly raised in rural central Washington, but I had the pleasure of spending three of my most formative years living in Seattle.

I was in second grade when my mom moved us to Seattle, so while I can’t really remember it, I know there must have been some culture shock moving there from Ellensburg, which was a decidedly smaller town in the mid-90s.

Back then, the coolest thing to happen at school was when someone brought a lamb for show-and-tell. The “hot spot” to hang out was in the Student Union Building, which is now the SURC, or in the mini-strip mall where Wing Central is now. If my memory serves me well, it used to house a small laundromat, an ice cream parlor and a pizza place.

Before living in Seattle, I had never ridden a bus, had no idea what a museum or zoo looked like and the most culture I experienced was my mom’s recitals she sang in a foreign language for her vocal performance program.

Which brings me to seven reasons why everyone should live in a big city at least once in their life.

  1. Museums, Amusement Parks and Zoos, Oh My!

When you think of big museums or huge water parks and amusement parks, chances are you don’t think of a small rural town. Not only do urban areas have these things, but there are most likely many of them to choose from.

There are four zoos in the Seattle area if you include the aquarium. According to the New York City Parks website there are five zoos and one aquarium in the New York City area, one in each borough.

In small towns, you are more likely to find small parks and petting zoos.

  1. How Great Thou Art and All That Jazz

The theater, art galleries, the music scene, all of this and more is waiting for you in the big city. Have you ever been to an opera house? I highly recommend it. Not even for the opera, though I do recommend that too, but just to see the amazing architecture. Musicals and plays hit different in the big city.

Aside from the big stage, there are many little clubs and bars that offer hidden musical talent in all genres. And no, it isn’t the same as your friend’s brother’s band who plays at all the house parties in town.

  1. I’m Here For The Money, and The Job is Pretty Cool Too

Urban areas generally have a higher median salary than rural areas. Based off information taken from the US Census website, the median salary in urban counties was 36.2% higher than in rural counties.

Also, jobs are more varied in urban areas. According to a Bloomberg article by Richard Florida, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report found that urban area tend to have more high-skilled and high paying jobs than rural areas.  

  1. It’s a Bus, It’s a Train, It’s …  a Ferry?

In small towns, you are lucky to find public transportation that runs all the time. In big cities, there are generally multiple options to choose from.

Public bus systems, subway systems, and taxi services have graced many cities. There are also ferries for those cities who are next to a large body of water.

  1. Go [Insert Favorite Sports Team Here]

Professional sports are really popular, but rural areas generally don’t have the ability to house much more than a semi-pro team of any sport. While high school games are fun to attend, there isn’t anything better than going to a professional sports game.

The atmosphere is more energetic and there is something so cool about seeing something you see on TV all the time in person.

In Seattle there is a major league professional team for football, soccer, baseball and now hockey, and there is always hope that the NBA will be back in Seattle in the future.

  1. It Might Be Pricier, But You Have More Options In Housing

I am so disappointed in my town’s rental market. There isn’t much variety, apartment amenities are a joke and the rental prices are outrageous given the median salary.

Even though the rental prices are generally higher in urban areas, you also get a lot more for that price.

In rural areas, an apartment is generally in a one to two story building with apartments, and maybe on-site laundry. You get some utilities included in rent, but generally have to pay for your own electricity, internet and cable. Have a pet? You will most likely have a difficult time finding a pet friendly rental in a rural area, even a house.

In urban areas, apartment buildings are generally three stories high or more, have on-site laundry. A lot of apartment buildings offer Wi-Fi and cable packages, and maybe even include electric in rent along with the other utilities. You’ll most likely find community centers, pools, fitness centers and you’ll have an easier time finding furnished units, if that’s what you’re looking for.

The best part about urban apartment communities is it is a lot more common to find a pet friendly community than not.

  1. Holidays and Block Parties Galore

One of my favorite memories of living in Seattle was our first New Year’s Eve there. The first apartment we lived in there, I had an upstairs bedroom that had a perfect view of the fireworks over the Space Needle. Ever since moving back home, I’ve had to watch the firework show on TV, and it’s just not the same.

Holidays are celebrated right in urban areas, that is certain. From parades to firework shows, you can bet that there is always something happening on a holiday.

Urban areas also know how to party! In New York City between June 1 and Sept 1. of 2019 there were 1,311 permitted block parties according to the New York Times.

If You Want To, Just Do It

Getting to experience living in a big city in my childhood was one of the best things I got to do in my life. It makes me want to move back to Seattle while my kids are growing up so they can have the same experiences I did.

I wish sometimes that I had also been able to experience urban life as a young adult without responsibilities. If you’ve ever thought about living in a big city, I highly recommend you do it now. Well, maybe wait until after you graduate.