The hometown starter kit: Tell us what’s needed to blend in like a local

Oct 5, 2023, 5:04 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2023, 7:55 am

hometown starter kit...

Specialty Outdoor Retailer REI in Seattle, Washington. (Photo: Suzi Pratt/Getty Images)

(Photo: Suzi Pratt/Getty Images)

Moving to a new city isn’t easy, but a welcome basket or a “starter kit” specific to the town would be welcomed.

“What should fill a gift basket for someone about to call the Emerald City home?” The Seattle Times asked its readers, and nearly 400 people responded.

Some of the suggestions were pretty obvious: A high-quality raincoat and boots — preferably from REI. Wool socks made the cut, as well as an ORCA card and a gift card to one of the many local coffee shops.

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Here’s a breakdown in no particular order:

  1. Sunshine even if it’s fake, because outside of summer, it’s pretty gray here.
  2. A forest or park pass so you can get out on those gray days and enjoy the beautiful views
  3. A map or a decent app to help you navigate because our roads don’t make sense sometimes.
  4. Hiking gear at Goodwill in Seattle off of Dearborn or in Capitol Hill always has a great selection.
  5. Outdoor games like pickleball.
  6. Library card because we read a lot here.

“Scarves are something we need in the Northwest and are nice to have because you can take them on and take them off, or tie them up tight when it gets cold outside,” Brendan D’Ambrosio, who works for Capers in West Seattle, told KIRO Newsradio. “And don’t forget candles — we have a great selection. Candles can make you feel at home when it’s dark outside.”

She said there’s a company called Hot Cakes in Ballard and Capitol Hill that has homemade chocolate sauces which become really great wintertime local desserts.

What’s not on the list

Two items not on Times’ list: Advice on how to handle the Seattle Freeze and a knit cap.

“I personally go up to people and talk, but I would say, get involved in something like an organization. Like, join the Y or a kickball league,” D’Ambrosio continued. “For a long time, I played soccer casually in leagues. I think that’s how you got to do it in the Seattle area.”

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Give us your thoughts. What do you think transplants need in order to feel like a local?

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The hometown starter kit: Tell us what’s needed to blend in like a local