Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington, and in the northwestern United States. It is situated between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 108 miles (180 km) south of the Canadian border, in King County, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 563,374. The first white settlers arrived in 1851 at Alki Point, and the first plats for the Town of Seattle were filed in 1853. The city was incorporated in 1869, after having existed as an incorporated town from 1865 to 1867.

Seattle is named after Noah Sealth, chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, better known as Chief Seattle. David Swinson ("Doc") Maynard, one of the city founders, was the primary advocate for naming the city after Chief Seattle. Previously, the city had been known as Duwamps (or Duwumps); that name is preserved in the Duwamish River.

Table of contents
1 Claims to fame: landmarks, character, and notable events
2 Seattle Institutions
3 History
4 Government
5 Geography
6 Climate
7 Demographics
8 Official Flower, Slogan, and Song
9 Annexed Towns
10 The City's Neighborhoods
11 Seattle Metro Area
12 Major Highways
13 Airports
14 See also
15 External Links

Claims to fame: landmarks, character, and notable events

Seattle's Pike Place Market

The Space Needle is possibly Seattle's most famous landmark, featured in the logo of the television show Frasier, and dating from the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair. The monorail constructed for the Exposition still runs today between Seattle Center and downtown. It will be torn down when the new, mass-transit monorail is built from Ballard through downtown to West Seattle.

Other famous landmarks include the Smith Tower, Pike Place Market (pictured), and the Experience Music Project.

In 1981, Seattle held a contest to come up with a new official nickname. The winner, selected in 1982, was the Emerald City, a slogan submitted by Californian Sarah Sterling-Franklin, and referring to the lush surrounding nature due to the frequent rain. From 1869 to 1982, Seattle's official nickname was the Queen City.

Seattle is sometimes referred to as the "rainy city", even though it gets less rain than many other U.S. cities (see "Climate" section). It is also known as Jet City, due to the heavy influence of Boeing.

Seattle is known as the home of grunge music, has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption, and was the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization shut down by anti-globalist demonstrators.

Seattle Institutions

Cultural events

Museums and galleries

Educational institutions

Seattle is home to many institutions of higher learning, including:
Bastyr University is located in nearby Kenmore. Northwest University is located in Kirkland. City University is located in Bellevue.


As of 2003, two major daily newspapers and several weekly papers are published in Seattle:

Medical centers and hospitals

Seattle is also well served medically; hospitals in the community include:
In addition, Seattle was a pioneer in the development of modern paramedic services with the establishment of Medic One in 1970. A 60 Minutes story on the success of Medic One that aired in 1974 called Seattle "the best place in the world to have a heart attack." Some accounts report that Puyallup, Washington, an area south of Seattle, was the first place west of the Mississippi to have 911 emergency telephone service.

Seattle's First Hill is also known as "Pill Hill" because, in addition to being the current home of Harborview, Swedish, and Virginia Mason, it was also once the location of the Maynard, Seattle General, and Doctors Hospitals (now merged into Swedish), as well as Cabrini Hospital.

Sports teams

Seattle is home to the following professional sports teams:


Until 2001, Seattle was home to
Boeing. Following a bidding war in which several cities offered huge tax breaks, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago. The Seattle area is still home to Boeing's commercial airplanes division and several Boeing plants. Other companies whose headquarters still remain in Seattle include:
AT&T Wireless, Eddie Bauer, Microsoft, and Nintendo of America are based in the suburb of Redmond. The Frank Russell Company, Labor Ready, Inc, and Weyerhaeuser are based in nearby Tacoma., PACCAR,, and T-Mobile USA are based in Bellevue. Costco is based in Issaquah. R.E.I is based in Kent.


See main article History of Seattle

Seattle has a history of boom and bust, or at least boom and quiescence. Seattle has almost been sent into permanent decline by the aftermaths of its worst periods as a company town, but has typically used those periods to successfully rebuild infrastructure. There have been at least four such cycles:

  • The lumber-industry boom, followed by the construction of an Olmsted-designed park system; arguably the Klondike gold rush constituted a separate, shorter boom.
  • The shipbuilding boom, followed by the unused city development plan of Virgil Bogue.
  • The Boeing boom, followed by general infrastructure building.
  • Most recently, the boom based on Microsoft and other software, Internet, and telecommunications companies, such as, RealNetworks, and AT&T Wireless; although the aforementioned companies remain relatively strong, the boom definitely ended in 2000.


massive demonstrations and riots drew worldwide attention.


(as of the November 2003 elections) Mayor:
Greg Nickels
City Council:
Jean Godden, Richard Conlin, Peter Steinbrueck, Jan Drago, Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata, David Della, Richard McIver, Jim Compton

Bertha Knight Landes was mayor from 1926 to 1928. She was the first woman mayor of a major American city.


Seattle is located between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. West beyond the Sound, Seattle faces the Olympic Mountains; across Lake Washington beyond the Eastside suburbs is the Cascade Range, including the so-called Issaquah Alps.

The city itself is hilly, though not uniformly so. Some of the hilliest areas are quite near the center, and Downtown rises rather dramatically away from the water. The geography of Downtown and its immediate environs has been significantly altered by regrading projects and a seawall.

The rivers, forests, lakes, and fields were once rich enough to support one of the world's few sedentary hunter-gatherer societies. Today, a ship canal passes through the city, incorporating Lake Union near the heart of the city and several other natural bodies of water, and connecting Puget Sound to Lake Washington. Opportunities for sailing, skiing, bicycling, camping, and hiking are close by and accessible almost all of the year.

Seattle is located at 47°37'35" North, 122°19'59" West (47.626353, -122.333144)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 369.2 km² (142.5 mi²). 217.2 km² (83.9 mi²) of it is land and 152.0 km² (58.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 41.16% water.

Bodies of water: Lake Washington, Union Bay, Montlake Cut, Portage Bay, Lake Union, Fremont Cut, Salmon Bay, Shilshole Bay, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Puget Sound, Elliott Bay, Duwamish River, Green Lake, Haller Lake, Bitter Lake, University Slough, Ravenna Creek, Thornton Creek, Piper's Creek, Broadview Creek, Arboretum Creek, Longfellow Creek, Fauntleroy Creek, Smith Cove


Seattle's climate is mild, with the temperature moderated by the sea and protected from winds and storms by the mountains. As previously noted, it is sometimes referred to as the "rainy city", but the rain the city is famous for is actually unremarkable; at 35-38 inches of precipitation a year, it's less than most major Eastern Seaboard cities and many other US cities. (For comparison, New York City averages 47.3 inches.)

What makes Seattle seem so wet is the cloudiness that predominates from about late October well into spring, sometimes clear into July, and that most precipitation falls as light rain, not snow or heavy storms. Seattle has more cloudy days (294 days per year on average vs. 259 in New York City) and rainy days, with few heavy downpours.


As of the census of 2000, there are 563,374 people, 258,499 households, and 113,481 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,593.5/km² (6,717.0/mi²). There are 270,524 housing units at an average density of 1,245.4/km² (3,225.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 70.09% White, 8.44% African American, 1.00% Native American, 13.12% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, 2.38% from other races, and 4.46% from two or more races. 5.28% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 258,499 households out of which 17.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% are married couples living together, 8.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 56.1% are non-families. 40.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.08 and the average family size is 2.87.

In the city the population is spread out with 15.6% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 38.6% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $45,736, and the median income for a family is $62,195. Males have a median income of $40,929 versus $35,134 for females. The per capita income for the city is $30,306. 11.8% of the population and 6.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 13.8% are under the age of 18 and 10.2% are 65 or older.

Official Flower, Slogan, and Song

  • Flower: Dahlia (1913)
  • Slogans: "The City of Flowers" (1942); "The City of Goodwill" (1990) (for the Goodwill Games held that year in Seattle)
  • Song: "Seattle the Peerless City" (1909)

Annexed Towns

  • South Seattle, 1905-1905
  • Ballard, 1890-1907
  • Columbia City, 1893-1907
  • West Seattle, 1902-1907
  • South Park, 1905-1907
  • Ravenna, 1906-1907
  • Southeast Seattle, 1906-1907
  • Georgetown, 1904-1910

The City's Neighborhoods

Annexation dates follow each name, unless the neighborhood was part of the area of first incorporation.
  • Ballard, 1907
  • Beacon Hill
  • Belltown
  • Bitter Lake, 1954
  • Blue Ridge, 1953
  • Broadview, 1953
  • Crown Hill, 1907
  • Capitol Hill
  • Central District
  • Denny-Blaine
  • Chinatown/International District, original, plus tide lands platted 1895
  • Columbia City, 1907
  • Downtown
  • Eastlake, 1886 and 1891
  • First Hill
  • Fremont, 1891
  • Georgetown, 1910
  • Green Lake, 1891
  • Greenwood, 1891 and 1953
  • Haller Lake, 1954
  • Lake City, 1953
  • Laurelhurst, 1910
  • Leschi
  • Madison Park, 1891
  • Madrona
  • Magnolia, 1891
  • Montlake, 1891
  • Mount Baker
  • Northgate, 1952 and 1953
  • Phinney Ridge, 1891
  • Pioneer Square, original, plus tide lands platted 1895
  • Queen Anne, original, plus 1896 and 1891
  • Rainier Beach, 1907
  • Rainier Valley, original, plus 1907
  • Ravenna, 1907, 1910, 1943, 1945
  • Roosevelt, 1891
  • Sand Point, 1910, 1942, 1953
  • Seward Park, 1907
  • Sodo, tide lands platted 1895
  • South Park, 1907
  • University District, 1891
  • Wallingford, 1891
  • Washington Park
  • West Seattle, tide lands platted 1895, plus 1907, 1950, 1954, 1955
  • White Center, 1907, 1946, 1948
  • Windermere, 1910

Seattle Metro Area

The Seattle metro area is made up of some or all of the following counties:

Complete listings of the cities in the immediate area are above. The following list is a subset of the full list:

Major Highways


See also

External Links

Other uses of the term "Seattle" include: Chief Seattle