Seattle is a city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With a population of over 700,000, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. While Seattle is known for its rainy weather, there are many other positive things that The Emerald City is famous for that continue to attract visitors and travelers.
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What Is Seattle Known For?
Seattle is known for being the coffee capital, a home base of big technology companies, and the origin of grunge music. It is home to iconic landmarks like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Seattle is also famous for its lush greenery as the emerald city and the delicious food, beer, and wine on offer.
When you are visiting the northwestern city, take the opportunity to experience some of the things that Seattle is known and famous for.
Travel Tip: Seattle has a city pass that gives visitors discounted and quicker access to some of the city’s main attractions and sites. Be sure to check it out.
History, Culture, And Traditions Seattle Is Known For
The Emerald City
Seattle is known for having the Emerald City as its official nickname, thanks to its evergreen trees and lush landscapes.
This nickname was popularized by The Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, who used it in his 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But the nickname really took off in the 1980s, when the city of Seattle adopted it as its official slogan.
These days, you can find references to the Emerald City all over Seattle, from the green space in Volunteer Park to the Seahawks’ emerald-green uniforms.
Birthplace of Starbucks
One of the top things that Seattle is known for, is the origin of the global brand – Starbucks. It all started in 1971 when the first Starbucks opened its doors in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. This coffee chain has since become a global phenomenon, with over 28,000 stores in more than 75 countries.
Even if you’re not a fan of Starbucks coffee, it’s worth checking out the original store just to see what all the fuss is about. It’s usually packed with tourists taking photos and buying souvenirs.
Strong Coffee Culture
Seattle is famous for its coffee culture, and there are more than enough places to get a good cup of joe in this city. This probably comes as no surprise given that Starbucks was founded here.
If you want to get your caffeine fix, there are plenty of great coffee shops to choose from, including Victrola Coffee Roasters and Caffè Vita.
Victrola Coffee Roaster has been serving up some of the best coffee in Seattle since 2000. They have multiple locations around the city, but the showcase café is located at the base of Capitol Hill.
To sample some of the best coffee in the city, go on the Seattle Coffee Tour to meet fellow coffee enthusiasts and learn more about the coffee culture in Seattle.
Despite what its nickname suggests, the “Seattle Freeze” is not referring to the cold weather. This phenomenon describes a common belief regarding the difficulty of making new friends in Seattle.
While it may be challenging to break into the social scene, once you do make friends, they tend to be lifelong friends. So, don’t give up – keep trying and you’ll eventually find your people.
In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to meet new people in Seattle. There are tons of social events, meetups, and groups for just about every interest. And, if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there are plenty of great bars and coffee shops where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger.
Cannabis Culture And Tourism
Cannabis culture and tourism is a growing industry in Seattle. In 2012, Washington became one of the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis. This means that recreational use of marijuana is legal in Seattle.
Since then, the city has become a hub for weed-friendly businesses, including dispensaries, cafes, and tours. You can even find weed-infused products like coffee, beer, and ice cream around town. Unsurprisingly, there are also events like the Hempfest that cater to this industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about cannabis culture, check out one of the many tour companies in Seattle.
Fortune 500 Companies
Seattle is home to many Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Microsoft. If you’re interested in business or technology, then you should definitely check out some of these companies’ headquarters. Amazon, for example, offers tours of their campus, which includes a dog park and an on-site grocery store.
And if you want to learn more about the history of Microsoft, you can visit the Microsoft Visitor Center, which is located just outside of Seattle in Redmond.
As the bay area gets more expensive, Seattle is also starting to become a growing hub for startups with all the innovative minds here, and a lower cost of living.
Districts And Areas Seattle Is Famous For
The Ballard neighborhood was once a separate city from Seattle, incorporated in 1890. It was originally settled by Scandinavian fishermen and is still home to a large Nordic community today — you’ll find many shops and restaurants advertising in both English and Scandinavian languages.
In recent years, gentrification has turned Ballard into a trendy spot for young professionals, with an abundance of new bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Despite the changes, the neighborhood has managed to hang onto its small-town feel and is a great place to stroll around on a sunny day. It also maintains a culturally diverse community.
Pioneer Square is one of the city’s oldest and most iconic neighborhoods. From stunning public art to a vibrant music scene, this district is sure to make an impression on any visitor! The area is full of unique shops, galleries, and eateries offering up everything from local craft beer to classic arcade games.
It also has some of Seattle’s most historic buildings and landmarks such as Smith Tower, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and Occidental Park. Make sure to join the historical walking tour that takes you into underground pathways built more than a century ago.
With its rich history and exciting attractions, there is much to learn about the neighborhood’s fascinating past.
Belltown is one of Seattle’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods at the edge of downtown. Once a seedy area filled with strip clubs and dive bars, Belltown has undergone a major transformation in recent years.
It is now the most densely populated area in Seattle with a laidback vibe and has high walkability to various amenities and entertainment.
Today, it’s a trendy neighborhood with hip restaurants, chic boutiques, and lively nightlife. The streets are always buzzing with energy, making it a great place to people-watch or enjoy a night out on the town.
Puget Sound is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is located along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington.
Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia, Washington in the south. It has an average depth of around 450 feet (140 m), and a maximum depth of 930 feet (280 m). The deepest zone is around Point Jefferson between Indianola and Kingston.
The Puget Sound region is home to about 4 million people. Seattle is the largest city in Puget Sound, and Tacoma is the second-largest city. Olympia is the state capital, but not particularly large compared to the other cities.
Architecture And Landmarks Seattle Is Famous For
The Space Needle
The Space Needle is one of the most famous landmarks in Seattle. This 605-foot (184 m) observation tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and has since become an icon of the city. It was the tallest structure in the region for a few years during its time.
Ride the elevator to the top for stunning views of Seattle and the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Rainier, an active volcano located about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the city.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also walk around the outside of the Space Needle on the SkyCity dining deck. Just don’t look down if you’re scared of heights.
MoPop – Museum of Pop Culture
This interactive museum is devoted to, you guessed it, pop culture.
MoPop was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 and has since become one of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions.
Some of the exhibits at MoPop include Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, Hendrix: Wild Blue Angel, and Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction.
There are also plenty of interactive exhibits, making MoPop perfect for both adults and kids.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
If you’re a fan of art, make sure to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. This spectacular exhibit is dedicated to the work of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.
The indoor and outdoor galleries feature a variety of his vibrant, colorfully blown glass sculptures. You’ll also find an in-depth look at the artist’s process, from sketches and prototypes to finished pieces.
The museum is located in the Seattle Center, just steps away from the Space Needle. After exploring the galleries, grab a bite to eat at one of the on-site restaurants or walk around the adjacent park.
Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for something unique to do, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is a must-see while in Seattle. You can get a combined ticket to both the space needle and this museum.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks. This historic public market has been in operation since 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the United States.
Located in downtown Seattle near the waterfront, Pike Place Market is a year-round farmers’ market where you can find fresh seafood, produce, flowers, and artisanal goods. It’s also home to the original Starbucks store, which opened in 1971.
Be sure to check out the famous “flying fish” stand, where fishmongers toss seafood to each other in a spectacular display. There are some popular Pike Place Market food tours that brings you around for tastings and explain the history behind this local haunt.
This is one of the best places to explore with a chef to really dive into the local gastronomic scene.
The Fremont Troll
The Fremont Troll is a massive concrete sculpture that lives under the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood. This 18-foot-tall troll has become one of Seattle’s most photogenic landmarks, as many try to get a wacky photo with this funky statue. It is a must-see for any first-time visitor to the city.
The troll was created in 1990 by four local artists and is made from rebar, wire mesh, and concrete. He’s also clutching a real Volkswagen Beetle in one hand. It was first created from an art competition in an attempt to add some flavor to the bridge underside which was a dumping ground for unwanted items before.
It is safe to say the troll did its job. Fermont, being a relatively eclectic neighborhood, makes it a fitting spot for the troll.
Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight in Seattle is an impressive attraction that celebrates the beauty and power of flight. Located in Boeing’s birthplace, the museum offers interactive experiences, historic aircrafts and artifacts, inspiring exhibitions, and much more.
You can learn about the history of aviation while experiencing modern technology firsthand on JetSim, a state-of-the-art full motion simulator. There are also dozens of hands-on activities for children and families such as building rockets and exploring Flight Zone, an immersive section geared towards kids.
The Museum of Flight also hosts special events throughout the year, making it a great destination for anyone looking to engage with aviation at a deeper level.
Also known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, these massive locks were built in 1911 to open up Seattle’s ship canal to the Puget Sound.
The locks themselves are an attraction, as they fill and empty with water to accommodate passing boats. An estimate of 40,000 vessels pass through the locks annually, and the best time to visit is between July and late September because you can see the migrating Salmons and fishes.
Admire the engineering feat from the visitor center, fish ladder viewing gallery, or one of the many parks and green spaces surrounding the locks.
Sports And Music Seattle Is Famous For
Seattle is the birthplace of grunge music, a genre that emerged in the mid 1980s and was characterized by its raw, unpolished sound.
The most famous grunge band was Nirvana, fronted by the late Kurt Cobain. But there were many other great Seattle grunge bands, including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.
If you’re a fan of grunge music, then you should definitely check out the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). This interactive museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits devoted to the history of popular music.
You can also catch a concert at one of Seattle’s many live music venues, like the Crocodile Cafe or the Showbox.
The Seattle Seahawks are the city’s professional football team, and they’re one of the most successful NFL teams in recent years. They’ve won at least one Super Bowl (in 2014) and have been to three other NFC Championship games.
If you’re a football fan, then you definitely need to check out a Seahawks game. The atmosphere at CenturyLink Field is electric, and the fans are some of the most passionate in the NFL.
The Seattle Mariners are the city’s professional baseball team, and they play their home games at Safeco Field. The Mariners have been in existence since 1977, and they’ve made the playoffs at least four times.
If you’re a baseball fan, then catching a Mariners game is one of the exciting things to do in Seattle. Safeco Field is one of the best stadiums in Major League Baseball, and it offers a great view of the Seattle skyline.
Regardless, Safeco Field is still worth checking out. The stadium has a retractable roof, so you can stay dry even if it rains. Plus, there are plenty of food options, including local favorites.
Food Seattle Is Famous For
You might not think of Seattle as an oyster destination, but this city actually has a long and storied history with the briny bivalves. In fact, these are some of the most famous foods in Seattle.
The first recorded oyster beds in what is now Puget Sound were discovered in a 1792 expedition by British Captain George Vancouver. And by the late 1800s, the local oyster industry was booming, with millions of oysters being harvested each year.
These days, you can find fresh Seattle oysters at restaurants all over the city. But if you want to go straight to the source, head to Taylor Shellfish Farms in Pioneer Square.
This family-run business has been shucking oysters since the 1890s, and they offer free tours of their facility. You can even buy oysters to take home with you.
If you’re a fan of cheese, then you definitely need to add Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to your list of things to do in Seattle. This Pike Place Market institution is famous for their Flagship Reserve, a cheddar-style cheese that has won multiple awards.
But what makes Beecher’s really special is that you can watch the cheese being made right in front of you. Just step into the viewing area on the mezzanine level, and you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the entire cheese-making process.
Once you’ve had your fill of cheese (and you will), be sure to pick up some of Beecher’s tasty crackers to go.
The Seattle Dog
No visit to Seattle is complete without trying a Seattle dog, a hot dog topped with cream cheese, grilled onions, and a sweet relish.
This quirky dish was created by Hadley Long in the 1980s, who ran a bagel cart in the Pioneer Square neighborhood back in the days. He no longer lives in Seattle but the dish has picked up to be a common staple in the city.
You can find this delicious treat at hot dog stands all over the city. It is a great complement to the amazing craft beers that Seattle has to offer.
Seattle is also known for its craft beer scene. There are more than 100 breweries in the Greater Seattle area, so you’ll definitely have plenty of options to choose from.
Some of the most popular breweries include Reuben’s Brew, Fremont Brewing Company, and Georgetown Brewing Company.
If you want to sample a bunch of different beers in one place, then be sure to check out the Seattle Cider Company. This cidery has a taproom where you can try all of their different ciders, including seasonal and limited edition flavors.
Seattle Wine & Chocolate
Seattle is known for some delicious wines and chocolates. The state of Washington produces some of the best wines in the country, and many vineyards and wineries are located in the Seattle area.
There are also a number of great chocolate shops in the city, where you can find handmade chocolates and truffles in a variety of flavors. Chocolate fans would love this Seattle Chocolate Tour that brings you to sample the best in the city.
Every February, the annual Seattle Wine and Chocolate Festival comes to town. The event celebrates all things vino and cacao, with over 50 vendors sampling their best products.
Held at the Seattle Center, the festival offers attendees the opportunity to sample wines from over 50 Washington wineries, as well as delicious chocolate treats from some of the best chocolatiers in the state.
Whether you’re looking to purchase a new bottle of red or just enjoy some complimentary sips, this festival is a delicious way to spend an afternoon. In between wine tastings, make sure to stop by the chocolate vendors for a sweet treat.
In other months, you can also take a Wine tour to visit the surrounding wineries at enjoy exquisite taste in the beauty of nature.
Famous People From Seattle
Probably the most famous person Seattle is known for is Bill Gates. He is an American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation.
During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO, and chief software architect, and was the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He has been criticized for his business tactics, which some have considered anti-competitive.
Despite this, Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He has been ranked as one of the richest people in the world by Forbes magazine for many years.
Jamal Crawford is another famous person from Seattle. He is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Crawford was drafted in the first round of the 2000 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and has also played for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trail Blazers amongst other NBA teams.
He played in the NBA for 20 seasons and is a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Crawford is known for his ability handling the ball and is one of the best bench players in the NBA.
Many More Things Seattle Is Known And Famous For
These are just a few of the things that Seattle is known for. From Cannabis tourism and Seattle Wine Festival to the Space Needle and Fermont Troll, there are plenty of famous things to see and do in Seattle.
But there are also plenty of hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that make the city what it is. Take your time to experience the city and uncover more things that Seattle is famous for.