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Nickname : The Emerald City
Downtown Seattle with Space Needle and Mount Rainier
Downtown Seattle with Space Needle and Mount Rainier
Seal of Seattle
Seattle flag
Location in Washington
Location of Seattle in King County (left) and Washington (right)
Basic data
Foundation : 1869
State : United States
State : Washington
County : King County
Coordinates : 47 ° 36 ′  N , 122 ° 20 ′  W Coordinates: 47 ° 36 ′  N , 122 ° 20 ′  W
Time zone : Pacific ( UTC − 8 / −7 )
Inhabitants :
Metropolitan Area :
704,352 (as of 2016)
3,798,902 (as of 2016)
Population density : 3,242.9 inhabitants per km 2
Area : 369.2 km 2  (about 143 mi 2 ) of
which 217.2 km 2  (about 84 mi 2 ) is land
Height : 54 m
Postcodes : 98101-98199
Area code : +1 206
FIPS : 53-63000
GNIS ID : 1512650
Website :
Mayor : Jenny Durkan
Seattle Ferry.jpg
Seattle (USA)
Seattle on the map of the United States

Seattle (English:  [ sɪˈætəl ] ; German: [ siˈɛtl̩ ]) is the largest city in the northwestern United States . It is the administrative seat of King County in the US state of Washington and is located between Puget Sound and Lake Washington , about 155 kilometers south of the border with Canada . In addition to Vancouver and Portland , Seattle is the transportation hub and economic, scientific and cultural center in the Pacific Northwest . Please click to listen!Play

The city is nicknamed The Emerald City , which is an allusion to the greenery in the city and the large forests (it is almost never referred to by the locals as that), and Rain City - although the rainfall is lower than many other American cities. The nickname comes from the many cloudy and rainy days in the year. It is also referred to as the Jet City by the locals, a reference to the nearby Boeing factory .

The Port of Seattle is a major trading hub for trade with Asia , Alaska, and Hawaii . The most important local industries are the aerospace (Boeing), iron and steel industry and wood processing. The Space Needle tower, built for the 1962 World's Fair, is a structural landmark of Seattle . The city is the seat of the University of Washington .

The city was named after Noah Sealth, chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish , better known as Chief Seattle .


360 ° panorama of Seattle, photographed from the Space Needle
Map of Seattle

Geographical location

Seattle is located on the isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington at 47 ° 37'35 "N. B. and 122 ° 19'59" W. L., in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains to the west ; to the east are the Issaquah Alps and the Cascade Range . The rivers, lakes and forests were once very fertile, so that the original inhabitants formed one of the few settled hunter-gatherer cultures.

The city itself is very hilly, with the greatest slopes in the old town. The geography of the downtown district has changed dramatically over the decades. At the beginning of the settlement it was still a short, flat and flooded coast followed by a steep slope, the steep slope was flattened and, in order to end the regular flooding, the land on the coast was poured up, so that today there is a continuous one in the downtown district finds a steep rise from the coast. During this work, a network of underground passages and cellars was created, Seattle Underground .

Seattle is dominated by water, along with mountains and hills. On the western side, Puget Sound allows access to the Pacific . There are several lakes within the city, such as Lake Washington and Lake Union , which are connected by canals. The city has an area of ​​369.2 km 2 . 217.2 km 2 of this is land, 152.0 km 2 is water. This means that the proportion of water in the area is 41.16%.

Due to their location, the city and its surroundings allow a variety of leisure activities from water sports to hiking and mountain climbing to winter sports.

Seattle is located in the Pacific Northwest on a geologically active zone. Several strong earthquakes have shaken the city in its history so far:

  • December 14, 1872 ( M w 7.3)
  • April 13, 1949 (M w 7.1)
  • April 29, 1965 (M w 6.5)
  • February 28, 2001 (M w 6.8)

Mount Rainier , a 4,392-meter-high stratovolcano that last erupted in 1854, lies just 83 kilometers to the southeast .


The climate is maritime . There is (September to early June) both humid ( humid ) and dry ( arid ) climates (late June to late August). The annual average temperature is 11.2 ° C. The frequent rainfall results in an annual total of 857 mm. In summer it hardly rains at all, whereas in winter there is a monthly rainfall of up to 140 mm. The temperatures are mild, which is a typical sign of a maritime climate. The lowest average values ​​are around 7 ° C, in summer they almost reach the 20 ° C mark between June and September. The city is protected from strong gusts of wind by the surrounding mountains. In winter there is only light snowfall.

Seattle, Washington
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: National Weather Service, US Dept of Commerce
Monthly average temperatures and rainfall for Seattle, Washington
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 7.2 9.7 11.5 14.0 17.7 21.1 24.0 24.0 20.7 15.4 10.3 7.3 O 15.3
Min. Temperature (° C) 1.8 3.0 3.6 5.1 7.9 11.1 12.9 13.2 11.1 7.7 4.5 2.1 O 7th
Precipitation ( mm ) 136.7 101.3 89.9 59.2 43.2 38.1 19.3 29.0 47.8 82.0 148.1 150.1 Σ 944.7
Rainy days ( d ) 15.5 13.1 13.7 10.6 7.8 6.0 3.4 4.5 6.8 10.0 15.3 15.8 Σ 122.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


The arrival of the Denny family, the so-called Denny Party , which landed at Alki Point on November 13, 1851, is seen as the hour of birth of Seattle . In April 1852 they moved to the more sheltered Elliott Bay , now Pioneer Square . The first plans to establish a settlement (town), the so-called plats , were submitted on May 23, 1853. The corresponding first cadastral boundaries can still be read in the cityscape today. The city's first boom was based on the logging industry and the money drawn from the loggers' pockets by enterprising ladies like Mother Damnable, among others . The city of Seattle has gone through several boom-crash cycles and successfully used times of crisis to expand the infrastructure.

The founding of the city (City) as such dates back to 1869, the naming after the Indian chief Seattle was essentially the result of the operation of David Swinson "Doc" Maynards , the city 's first doctor.

Building of the Puget Sound News Company, part of the American News Company, circa 1900

Seattle's population increased sixfold between 1890 and 1910. On June 6, 1889, a major fire destroyed large parts of the city. A dry spring and strong winds hampered the fight against the flames. In the evening almost 26 hectares of the city were destroyed. In 1909 the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition took place on what is now the University of Washington campus. In 1914, one of Seattle's first landmarks, the Smith Tower , opened. At 159 meters, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi . In 1919, the country's first general strike took place in Seattle.

The inception of the modern Seattle is the World's Fair Century 21 Exposition seen from 1962, during which many of the city's landmarks such as Space Needle , KeyArena (Coliseum), Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Center Monorail emerged. In 1994, as in Portland, a new Urban Villages Strategy was adopted as part of town planning . In it, the districts were determined that were intended for a further concentration and intensification of trade and economy or as residential area, the design of infrastructural investments as well as the preservation of the cityscape and landscape and nature protection.

In December 1999, on the sidelines of the WTO conference in Seattle , violent clashes broke out in the city between opponents of globalization and the police.


According to the 2010 census, the population was 66.3 percent white and 7.9 percent African-American; 13.8 percent were of Asian origin. 6.6 percent of the population were Hispanics . The median income per household was 2,015 at 70,594 US dollars . 13.7 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. Seattle's poverty rate was among the lowest of any major American city.

Population development of Seattle

Population development

year Residents¹
1900 80,671
1910 237.194
1920 315,312
1930 365,583
1940 368.302
1950 467.591
1960 557.087
1970 530.831
1980 493,846
1990 516.259
2000 563,374
2010 608.660
2012 634,535
2016 704.352

¹ 1980–2010: Census Results. 2012 and 2016: United States Census Bureau estimate ;


The 157 m high "Rainier Tower" in the center of Seattle
Rem Koolhaas public library (interior view)

Seattle is the cultural center of the Pacific Northwest . In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Seattle ranked 44th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


McCaw Hall, Seattle Opera

Seattle is home to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet . The three-week Earshot Jazz Festival , which takes place annually in autumn, is a large, nationally recognized music event.

In pop culture, Seattle became known in the 1990s as the starting point for a new style of rock music, grunge, with its most famous representatives, the bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam as well as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains . But the avant-garde jazz musicians Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz as well as the rappers Sir Mix-a-Lot and Macklemore as well as the bands Goodness , The Walkabouts , Queensrÿche and The Presidents of the United States of America come from Seattle. In addition, were Jimi Hendrix and Duff McKagan born here. Subsequently, Seattle is home to internationally successful metal bands such as Nevermore and Sanctuary and their best-known members Jeff Loomis and Warrel Dane .


Seattle has several art museums including the Consolidated Works , Frye Art Museum , Henry Art Gallery , Seattle Art Museum, and Seattle Asian Art Museum . In addition, other museums and cultural institutions have art collections, such as the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture , which has an excellent collection of Native American art. There are also around a hundred commercial and a dozen non-commercial art galleries and studios in Seattle that are open to the public at least once a month. Many of the galleries and studios are located around Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square is one of the National Historic Landmarks with the Seattle Totem Pole , which was first erected there in 1899, the Pioneer Building built in 1892 and the iron pergola built in 1909 .

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the university campus displays a variety of objects from botany, zoology and geography, as well as an anthropological collection with a focus on Native American peoples of the Northwest . The Maritime Heritage Museum on Lake Union shows maritime history . The Museum of Flight , which is located in the original Boeing production plant, shows the history of aviation. The Museum of History and Industry focuses on local culture and history.

The Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard shows the history of Scandinavian immigrants, the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum in Pioneer Square the history of the Seattle Police Department . The Seattle Center campus is home to the Pacific Science Center , the Science Fiction Museum, and the Paul Allen- sponsored Experience Music Project .

The Seattle Aquarium is located on the Elliott Bay Waterfront ; the Woodland Park Zoo is in the north of the city.


T-Mobile Park
Panorama CenturyLink Field

Resident sports teams are or were represented in all major professional leagues with the exception of the NHL ice hockey league , although this will also have a team with the Seattle Kraken from 2021 . The Seattle SuperSonics basketball team from the NBA is best known in Germany for the German basketball player Detlef Schrempf , who played in Seattle for six years. For the 2008/09 season, the team moved to Oklahoma City . The games of the Supersonics as well as the games of the professional women's team Seattle Storm ( WNBA ) took place in the Key Arena .

In Major League Baseball are Seattle Mariners represented. They have played their games in T-Mobile Park (formerly: Safeco Field) since 1999 , and before that they played in the Kingdome .

The Seattle Seahawks (football, NFL ) and the two Seattle Sounders football teams play at CenturyLink Field . The women's team is in the W-League , the top division in American and Canadian women's football, and the men's team has also played in the top division Major League Soccer since 2009 .

The games of the Washington Huskies , the sports teams of the University of Washington , are also attracting great interest . In the Legends Football League , Seattle is represented by the Seattle Mist .


skyline , view from the Space Needle

The economy is determined by constant ups and downs. The city experienced its first economic rise through the rapid growth of the timber industry. In 1897, the Klondike gold rush fueled another surge, followed by strong growth in the shipping industry. The port of Seattle was the fifth largest seaport in the United States in terms of container throughput in 2005.

The Boeing company was founded in Seattle in 1916 and is still a strong economic factor in the city today. In 2001 Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle and relocated it to Chicago after a competition between different American cities due to tax breaks . Regardless, the Seattle area is still home to the commercial aircraft division and various other Boeing plants as well as the Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU).

In the recent past the city has become one of the centers of the IT industry, which on the one hand gave the city a strong impetus for growth and on the other hand also made the city feel the effects of the end of the new economy bubble. The most important of the IT companies based in Redmond near Seattle is the software manufacturer Microsoft . But other well-known IT and telecommunications companies such as Amazon (in the Columbia Center , the tallest building in the city), RealNetworks and T-Mobile US have their headquarters in and around Seattle.

Other well-known Seattle-based companies include the global coffee house chain Starbucks , which was founded in Seattle, the American department store chain Nordstrom and the snowboard manufacturer Nitro .

Seattle-based Washington Mutual bank went bankrupt in the course of the financial crisis in 2007 , causing the largest bank failure in the history of the United States .

The metropolitan area of ​​Seattle generated an economic output of 330.4 billion US dollars in 2016, making it 11th among the metropolitan areas of the United States. With a per capita income of $ 64,553 (2016) Seattle is also one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. The unemployment rate was 3.8 percent (as of May 2018).



Interstate 5, in the background the Seattle skyline at night

Seattle begins west Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge to Interstate 90 , the longest in North America highway over 5,000 kilometers east to the Atlantic coast to Boston lead. In north-south direction, Interstate 5 (part of the Panamericana ) runs through the city and connects Seattle with the Mexican border near San Diego in the south and the Canadian border near Vancouver in the north.

There are also several state highways, including Washington State Route 520 to Redmond . Washington State Route 99 runs mostly directly along the coast , which is developed from the city center in a southerly direction as a motorway (otherwise as a multi-lane expressway ) and in the city center as an Alaskan Way Viaduct runs along the steep coast.

Rail transport

The city is connected to three lines of the Amtrak long-distance train network: the Cascades from Vancouver, Canada to Eugene in Oregon, the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles, California, and part of the Empire Builder train from Seattle to Chicago . All trains run once a day, the Cascades several times a day on sections.

There are also local trains running several times a day with the Sounder Commuter Rail from Sound Transit to the neighboring city of Tacoma ( South Line ) and Everett ( North Line ).

All trains depart from King Street Station on the south edge of the city center.

Long-distance bus transport

The long-distance bus company Greyhound Lines has two stations in Seattle. There are connections to Bellingham and Vancouver in the north, connections to the east to Spokane and the southeast of Washington state to Yakima , Pasco and on to Boise , Idaho, and a line south to Tacoma, Olympia and Portland in Oregon.


Ferry and downtown Seattle in the background

Since the city is located on Puget Sound , in which there are several medium to large islands, and the overland route to the opposite Olympic Peninsula is quite long (possibly 200 to 300 kilometers), numerous ferry lines run under the name Washington State Ferries through the inlet - including to Vashon Island , Bainbridge Island and Bremerton on the Olympic Peninsula, all of which depart from Pier 50 or 52 in the city center. In addition, high-speed catamarans operate from Pier 48/49 to Victoria, Canada on Vancouver Island . Washington State Ferries' route network is considered the largest in North America and the third largest in the world.

Local transport

Trolley bus on a steep street in the city center, 2015

The bus service is operated by King County Metro. There are currently 231 bus routes, 14 of which are DART (Dial-a-Ride) lines. The line network extends across the entire King County. Sound Transit's express bus routes also operate between Seattle and the neighboring counties of Snohomish County and Pierce County. Pierce Transit also offers connections to Pierce County (Tacoma City).

Mainly trolleybus lines operate in the city as well as normal bus lines as a connection to the surrounding cities. In the city center there is a bus tunnel that went into operation in 1990 and has five stations, in which several bus routes run from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Until 2005, there was a double overhead line for trolleybuses in the tunnel. Between 2005 and 2007, it was equipped with tracks and an overhead line so that it could be integrated into the urban railway network that was being built. The trolleybus overhead line was removed. Since it reopened in 2007, the tunnel has been served by duo buses . Outside the tunnel operating hours, the bus routes operate on the normal road network on the surface.

In December 2007, the South Lake Union Streetcar was opened, a 2.1 km long, newly built tram line, which connects the Westlake Center in the city center with the South Lake Union development area.

Light rail train in the "Pioneer Square" station of the inner city tunnel

On July 18, 2009, the first line of the Seattle light rail under the name Link Light Rail was put into operation between the Westlake in the north and Tukwila International Boulevard stations and extended on December 19, 2009 to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport . The route is currently 32.1 km long. The low-floor trains reach a cruising speed of 39.5 km / h. A total of 13 stations are served, including the stations in the inner city tunnel together with the bus service and another tunnel station Beacon Hill. In the southern part of the route there are larger sections on separate track in the central position and viaduct sections. In the future, the system is to be expanded to over 180 km in the greater Seattle area.

Seattle has a monorail that connects downtown over a mile (1.6 km) with the Seattle Center and the Space Needle there .

Buses in downtown Seattle have been free on weekdays since the 1970s. This free ride zone was abolished at the end of September 2012.

Air traffic

There are several airfields and airports in and around Seattle. The largest is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport . With the Boeing Field , formerly known as King County International Airport , there is a smaller airport directly in the city area, which is only used by Boeing for charter and private air traffic and test flights.



Two major daily newspapers are published in the city, the Seattle Times and the Post-Intelligencer . Due to ongoing financial difficulties, the print edition of the Post-Intelligencer was discontinued in mid-March 2009 as it has made losses every year since 2000, most recently in 2008. The circulation (weekday) in 2008 was about 118,000, which the Times was with 199,000.

Radio and television

The public radio station KEXP is known far beyond the city ; he is considered a specialist in alternative and indie rock. In addition, various stations broadcast from Seattle, such as KING-FM Klassik Radio and others.

The US-wide sports television network ESPN is based in Seattle.


University of Washington

36% of the city's population over 25 have at least a bachelor's degree; 93% have a high school degree.

In addition to the public school system, there are a number of private schools. Four of the high schools are Catholic, one is Protestant and another six are non-denominational. There are also three community colleges in Seattle.

The University of Washington has more than 44,000 students, making it the largest and by far the most prestigious university in the American Northwest. The German department is one of the best in the USA. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is also located there . More recently, several professors and graduates have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The university's mascot is the husky .

Other universities include Seattle University , a Jesuit college , and Methodist- founded Seattle Pacific University . Other smaller schools such as the Cornish College of the Arts are devoted to training in the arts or psychology.


Seattle was already several times to "lebenswertesten City" (most livable city) elected the United States.

With the International District, Seattle has one of the largest Asian quarters on the US west coast, in which, in addition to the Chinese, many other population groups of different origins live together in one district, especially the Japanese, Filipinos and Vietnamese.

The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle .

Seattle has one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the United States with the Pike Place Market on the Waterfront, which opened in 1907 . The Gum Wall tourist attraction is also located here .

TV series like Dark Angel , Grey's Anatomy , Frasier , iCarly , Rick and Morty , The Killing , iZombie and others play in Seattle . a.

The city is also the setting for the video games Infamous: Second Son , its sequel Infamous: First Light and The Last of Us Part II .

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone was created in Seattle as part of the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd .

Evening city panorama with Mount Rainier in the background.


Town twinning

Seattle is twinned with:

See also

Portal: Seattle  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Seattle


  • Coll Thrush: Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place . University of Washington Press, 2007.
  • Matthew W. Klingle: Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle . Yale University Press, New Haven 2007, ISBN 978-0-3001-1641-0 .

Web links

Commons : Seattle  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Seattle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Seattle  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John Punter: Design Guidelines in American Cities: Conclusions . In: Michael Larice, Elizabeth Macdonald (Eds.): The Urban Design Reader (2nd edition). Routledge, London 2013, ISBN 978-1-1362-0566-8 , p. 609
  2. US Census Bureau: American FactFinder - Community Facts. Retrieved November 8, 2017 .
  3. Quickfacts: Seattle (English)
  4. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .
  5. ^ Earshot Jazz :: About Earshot Jazz
  6. ^ US Department of Commerce, BEA, Bureau of Economic Analysis: Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved July 4, 2018 (American English).
  7. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( [accessed July 4, 2018]).
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Economy at a Glance. Retrieved July 4, 2018 .
  9. Washington State Ferries: Terminal Information - Seattle Pier 52
  10. ^ Ride Free Area Elimination King County Metro Transit. Accessed March 14, 2013
  11. ^ Richard Perez-Pena: Hearst Looks to Sell, or Close, Seattle Paper . In: The New York Times , January 9, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  12. History and Information from Seattle Pacific University
  13. ^ Seattle Office of Intergovernmental Relations