When I was in high school, pretty much everyone I knew talked about how they couldn’t wait to leave Tri-Cities. “As soon as I graduate, I’m leaving the Dry-Sh*tties.” Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
It’s been ten years since I graduated and I’m still here. Some of my friends were successful in their bids to leave, with the majority of them ending up just moving to Seattle or Spokane. Other friends of mine were able to move across the country to cities in the midwest or down south to California.
I can’t lie to you and say I’ve never wanted to move away from Tri-Cities. You know the tired adage “if I had a dollar for every time…” Let’s just say I’d be the first self-made billionaire in human history. But with every huge decision comes a need to weigh your options. If I were to leave tomorrow, what would I be leaving behind? Sometimes it’s important to sit back, take it all in, and think about how good you have it.
Here’s what I would miss about Tri-Cities.
The Columbia River
This is the first one that comes to mind. The rivers, not just the Columbia, influence so much of our local culture. Boat races make an obvious example, but so do the serene walks on the Sacejaewa trail or fishing on Bateman Island. Every morning before I go to work, I step out on my deck and watch the river while I drink my coffee.
Tri-Cities has good school districts
As a parent, you’re presented with all sorts of decisions. If I moved away today, I may find a town that I love but its school district may not be great. Tri-Cities has numerous school districts with even more options for schools based on grade level. We elected to send our oldest to Montessori and we still had options between different Montessori schools.
Seafood is just better when it’s fresh
If you like seafood; there is no substitute for fresh-caught fish. We have a nice array of seafood restaurants and other restaurants that offer fresh seafood. If you moved to a flyover state, you’d have to be okay with a little thawing.
Tri-Cities has a lot of thrift stores
One of my favorite weekend activities is going to the various thrift stores in town. Downtown Kennewick especially has a lot of options, in between the bars and tattoo parlors. They make up a good portion of the small business scene in town.
Tri-Cities is a good place to have a family
Having two young children means I’m constantly on the lookout for something my kids can do. Tri-Cities seems to always have a family-friendly event happening, whether it’s a sporting event, a trunk-or-treat, or an arts and crafts day for kids.
The Tri-Cities beer scene is better than you realize
While everyone knows about the wine in the Columbia Basin, there’s also a good selection of craft beers and breweries in town, including Ice Harbor and White Bluffs.
The traffic (yes, I’m being serious.)
Even though the traffic has gotten worse, it’s nowhere close to the perpetual traffic jams you see in big cities. The bridges, including the one on Duportail, make traversing between towns easy. If you lived in a true tourist town, you’d be planning your commute around a bevy of events and out-of-towners.
It’s okay to wonder if you’d be happier somewhere else, just don’t forget to smell the roses you already have in hand.
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