What Makes Seattle Like No Place Else
Learn what makes Seattle, Washington, such a unique city.
Outdoor recreation at your fingertips: In the winter, it’s a short drive up to the mountains to go skiing. During the rest of the year, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and their foothills make for great hiking opportunities. City lakes are a boater’s paradise. Even if you don’t have your own boat, kayak and canoe rentals are plenty.
The Space Needle: Seattle’s most iconic landmark was built for the World’s Fair in 1962. Now it’s the city’s most famous tourist attraction. At the top there’s a restaurant with a dining room that slowly rotates so diners can see the entire view. The Space Needle is built to sway with the wind. It can withstand up to 200 mile-per-hour winds.
Pike Place Market: The market started with a few farmers in 1907 and has since grown to be a city staple. Although often swarming with tourists, Pike Place Market is still known to locals as the best place to pick up fresh products.
Ferries: The iconic car and passenger boats are more than a novelty here; they’re a method of commuting for millions of Seattle-area residents. Like any public transportation system, the ferries occasionally have their problems. The boats can be late or can malfunction, but it’s still a scenic way to get from points A to B.
Mount Rainier: The first time you see the majestic mountain it takes your breath away. It’s so spectacular it almost looks fake. And, then, on a cloudy day you’d never know it was there. The mountain has claimed the lives of many climbers over the years, but it still remains a destination climbing and hiking spot. Mount Rainier is still considered to be an active volcano.
Coffee, coffee, coffee: Although Seattle is famously home to Starbucks and other well-known brands, the big chains have made way for a smaller coffee culture to exist. On nearly every street, there are neighborhood coffee shops to explore, each one a little different. Many Seattlites agree that coffee is the key to surviving the gloomy Seattle winter.
An appreciation for the sun: Because Seattlites spend much of the year under a cloud cover, when the sun comes out, no one takes it for granted. It may only be 60 degrees, but if it’s sunny, people come out of their houses to take part in some outdoor activities. The rain washes away pollutants and makes the sunny skies exceptionally crisp.
Seattle's Top Companies
- Boeing: Some would say that Seattle didn’t exist before Boeing. No doubt, the airplane giant has shaped the region’s history. Although it no longer has its headquarters here (the firm moved to Chicago in 2001), Boeing is still a major employer and the local economy is tied closely to the massive company. The company’s commercial and government planes are built in the Seattle area.
- Starbucks: The world’s most recognizable coffee brand began in a modest neighborhood in Seattle. Founder and CEO Howard Schulz started the company in 1982 after a trip to Italy inspired him to bring the European coffee-drinking ways to the United States. The company has its headquarters in a mermaid-topped building in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.
- Microsoft: If you’ve used a computer, you have this company to thank. Since Bill Gates started the company in 1975, it’s taken over with a business presence that extends over much of the Seattle area and the Eastside. The Microsoft wealth boom is largely responsible for the new money explosion in the Eastside communities like Bellevue and Kirkland. Gates still lives in the area, maintaining an expansive compound on the shores of Lake Washington. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the family’s philanthropic arm, has its main offices in Seattle.
- Amazon: It started off as an online bookseller and has become an online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. Although their employees are now scattered around different locations in Seattle, the company has plans to move into a large headquarters space in Seattle’s growing South Lake Union neighborhood. Seattlites get an added benefit to having the company headquarters here: Amazon Fresh, the company’s fledging home delivery grocery service. It’s a test project and available to Seattle residents right now.
- Costco: With headquarters in Issaquah, a roomy suburb east of Seattle, Costco has grown to be a giant in the wholesale marketplace, with stores all over the world. President and CEO Jim Sinegal is famously modest; he still answers his own phone when he’s in the office.