Olympia is the state capital of Washington State, but Seattle is the largest city, with an estimated 724,000 residents as of 2018. It is the largest city in the U.S. North Pacific region, and it has seen a large influx in residents since the 1990s when an economic upturn began here. Data from the year 2013 show Seattle as the fastest-growing major city in the whole country.
Where is Seattle?
Seattle is located on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, on the Pacific coast of northern United States. Puget Sound is an inlet of the ocean, and Seattle is an important seaport – especially for trading with eastern Asia.
Seattle is just 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canadian border, and is located farther north than Canadian cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Being situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, Seattle is susceptible to earthquakes. The largest earthquake in recorded history occurred here in the year 1700 and had an estimated magnitude of 9. In more recent years, the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 (magnitude 6.8) caused significant damage on buildings, especially in central Seattle’s Pioneer Square area, but only one fatality.
The Seattle Fault runs just south of the city center, but has not caused any earthquakes since the city was founded.
Here are a few examples of the many museums and historical collections that are open to the public in Seattle.
|The Henry Art Gallery||Opened in 1927, this is the oldest public art museum in Washington State.|
|The Seattle Art Museum (SAM)||Opened in 1933; moved to a new downtown location in 1991
The older facility now houses SAM’s Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM)
|The Olympic Sculpture Park||Opened in 2007 on the waterfront north of the downtown piers. Is operated by SAM.|
|The Frye Art Museum||Located in the First Hill neighborhood.
Established in 1952, this is Seattle’s oldest free art museum.
It was started to display the private art collection of Charles and Emma Frye.
The focus of the museum is paintings and sculptures from the 19th century or later.
|Klondike Gold Rush National
|Is a part of a total of four units commemorating the Klondike Gold Rush. For many prospective gold miners, the journey to Klondike went through the Washington State.|
|Center for Wooden Boats||Regional wooden boat history|
|The Burke Museum of Natural
History and Culture
|Focuses on regional natural history and culture|
|The Seattle Metropolitan
|Located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, this is one of the largest police museums in western United States.|
|The Museum of History and Industry||Highlights include Boeing’s first commercial plane, the Petticoat Flag, and the Rainier Brewing Company’s 12-foot tall neon “R” sign.|
|Log House Museum||Located in Alki
Focuses on regional history
|Northwest African American
|NAAM serves to present and preserve the connections between the Pacific Northwest and people of African descent, and investigate and celebrate Black experiences in America through exhibitions, programs and events.|
|Nordic Heritage Museum||Dedicated to the heritage of Seattle’s Nordic immigrants.|
|The Wing Luke Asian Museum||A history museum of the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans.
This museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate.
|Museum of Flight||An air and space museum established in 1965. It is located in the city of Tukwila, just south of Seattle.|
Watch the game
If you want to watch live games during your stay in Seattle, there are several leagues to chose among and teams to root for. Here are a few examples:
|Seattle Seahawks||Men’s American football||NFL||CenturyLink Field (69,000)|
|Seattle Sounders FC||Men’s soccer||MLS||CenturyLink Field (69,000)|
|Seattle Reign FC||Women’s soccer||NWSL||Memorial Stadium (12,000)|
|Seattle Mariners||Men’s baseball||MLB||Safeco Field (47,574)|
|Seattle Storm||Women’s basketball||WNBA||KeyArena (17,072)|
|Seattle Seawolves||Men’s rugby||MLR||Starfire Sports (4,500)|
Fairs and festivals in Seattle
There are many fairs and festivals in Seattle that attract the attention of both locals and visitors. Below, you will find a few examples.
- The 24-day long Seattle International Film Festival in May/June, on of the top film festivals in North America.
- Festál is a free series of annual ethnically-related festivals held on the grounds of Seattle Center. The individual festivals range in scope, from small festivals with a few thousand attendees to the large Northwest Folklife Festival. The Northwest Folklife Festival that takes place over the Memorial Day weekend in late May. This is a festival focused on ethnic, folk and traditional art, crafts and music, and an average year, around 250,000 people visit it.
- Seafair is a summer festival that encompasses a wide assortment of small neighborhood events as well as several large citywide celebrations. The Torchlight Parade, the Torchlight Run, the Seafair Cup hydroplane races, and the Blue Angels flight demonstration with aviators from the Navy and Marines are a few examples, as is The Seafair Pow Wow – one of the largest of several notable annual Native American pow-wows in Seattle.
- The Bite of Seattle is a large food festival held one weekend in the month of July, with food samplings, cook-off contests, eating competitions, and more. A wide range of chefs, restaurants and food producers showcase their skills during this event.
- Seattle Pride, held in late June, is one of the largest Pride Festivals in the United States. The largest event within the festival is the Seattle Pride Parade, which takes place on the last Sunday of June.
- Bumbershoot, a music and art festival held over the Labor Day weekend in early September.
- The Seattle Hempfest is a three-day annual event in August for advocates of marijuana decriminalization. In an average year, it attracts around 100,000 attendants.
- The Greek Festival hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Montlake, an affluent residential neighborhood in central Seattle.
- The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair & Book Arts Show
- The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic
- The anime convention Sakura-Con
- The gaming convention Penny Arcade Expo
- The Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival
- The Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
- Translation: The Seattle Transgender Film Festival
- The Seattle Asian American Film Festival
- The Seattle Latino Film Festival
- The Seattle Polish Film Festival
- The Children’s Film Festival Seattle
Seattle is an important port for cruise ships heading for Alaska.
- The Seattle Underground Tour will let you know more about how this city was before the Great Fire of 1889.
- The Seattle Great Wheel is one of the largest Ferris wheels in the country. It’s a permanent attraction at Pier 57 by the waterfront.
- The Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 on the Elliot Bay waterfront.
- Woodland Park Zoo is a zoological garden in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.