"Well we spread the word through the underground That we were the hottest new thing in town A record guy came out to see us one day And just like always, we didn't play And it knocked him out - he said he loved our work He said he loved our work but he wasn't sure if he could sell a record with nothing on it I said, 'Tell him we're from Seattle
' He advanced us two and a half million dollars"
— Todd Snider, "Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues"
A city situated on the eastern bank of Puget Sound in the state of Washington
, and its surrounding metro area. Named for a 19th century Duwamish tribal chief from the region, who did not give an environmental speech often attributed to him.
Home base of (or at least origin-point for) Microsoft, Nintendo
of America, Valve
, Starbucks, Boeingnote
, Amazon and several other companies of note, and the birthplace of Grunge
in particular, despite not being from here). Its landmarks include Pike Place Marketnote
, Pioneer Square (which pre-gentrification was the original Skid Row
), The Experience Music Project
, a half-mile Monorail constructed for the 1962 World's Fair which exemplifies Zeerust
to a tee, the Seattle Underground
which was a partial inspiration for Ankh-Morpork
, and the Space Needle, also constructed for the World's Fair note
Seen as trendy and bohemian by many, thanks to grunge and Frasier
. Often used in fiction as a destination for a character being sent on a very long bus ride
In media, thanks to the cheaper filming costs, Vancouver
, British Columbia, is often used as a stand-in for Seattle or for unidentified parts of the USA resembling Seattle, leading to the term "Seacouver" for such settings.
Contrary to its treatment of other media Seattle remains one of the major hubs of videogame development in America behind the LA/San Francisco/Silicon Valley region. Possessing the aforementioned Nintendo and Valve software along with numerous other developers.
Until the 2014 Seahawks
team and their "12th Man" fan-brigade finally broke the drought, the city trailed only Cleveland
as the Butt Monkey
of the U.S. sports world due to its spotty track record in regards to major league sports. (Four championships in the entire city's modern history.note
) In recent years, the situation had been particularly grim, with even the once-powerful University of Washington Huskies NCAA football team having the worst single season record in history
, and the Seattle SuperSonics NBA team being spirited away to Oklahoma City
. Not helping matters is the fact that the city is famous for coffee, computers, grunge music, liberal politics note
, and rain,note
which are decidedly at odds with the interests of the typical sports fan. The sports fans who do
call the area home responded to the aforementioned pirating of their NBA franchise by latching onto Seattle Sounders FC, the newest MLS
expansion team, and making it one of the few teams in the league to regularly sell out the stadium. CenturyLink Field, the home stadium to the Sounders and Seahawks, was from 2007 to 2010 true to the city's rebellious spirit by being the only stadium in the NFL to serve neither Pepsi nor
Coca-Cola beverages on its grounds, having instead
awarded its concession to the locally-based Jones Soda Company. The rights have since been granted to Coca-Cola, which definitely makes going to Sounders games a lot less fun.
Home to the authors of the webcomic Penny Arcade
, who, as the above paragraph illustrates, have difficulty understanding
the Team Spirit
grew up in Seattle, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington.
Is also the hometown of Sir Mix-a-Lotnote
, whose song "Posse on Broadway" was based on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
In addition to the monorail, Seattle is the hub of the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the worldnote
. Its unique car ferries are almost always featured in media from Seattle. It's also home to the two longest floating bridges in the worldnote
, spanning Lake Washington to Mercer Island east of the city. One carries Interstate 90, the other carries State Route 520. The third-longest floating bridge, the Hood Canal bridgenote
, is around thirty miles northwest of the first two.
About half an hour to the south is the city of Tacoma (the "Tac" in SeaTac, which is a geographic area as well as the nickname for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). It used to be a fairly industrial town, infamous for the horrible "Tacoma Aroma" produced by the city's paper mills, but has undergone revitalization in recent years due to increased port traffic, various downtown renewal projects, and an influx of consumer dollars from troops stationed at the burgeoning Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an Army/Air Force facility just to its south. Even the former site of the ASARCO smelting plant is being turned into luxury housing (why anyone would want to live over a former toxic waste site is another question). Its most famous son is arguably the one-eyed glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose works are all over the city (from Benaroya Hall to one of the McDonalds). Unlike Seattle, Tacoma hosts no major league teams of its own, though the Mariners' triple-A affiliate (the Tacoma Rainiers) is regionally popular, and the Tacoma Dome (in addition to being an occasional WWE
venue) has occasionally hosted Seattle's teams while their home venues were being renovated.
Just to the east of Lake Washington is "the Eastside", which covers Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Kirkland, Issaquah, Medina, and other assorted smaller cities and towns. If you hear someone from this area mention the Eastside, this is what they're talking about—not Central and Eastern Washington, on the eastern side of the mountains.
Fiction set in or near Seattle:
- One of Bill Cosby's early comedy routines is about the city, and its supposed lack of sun.
- Green Arrow has spent much of his career based in Seattle.
- Battle in Seattle: A film about the fascinating Real Life WTO Riots that engulfed the city in 1999. Filmed mostly in Vancouver. Mixed reactions.
- The Parallax View.
- The Ring, surprisingly, was filmed in Seattle and the surrounding area, in particular a lot of the nature. As a result, there's some major Scenery Porn.
- Hype! a documentary about the grunge scene.
- Sleepless In Seattle, which suffers from a particularly egregious case of Artistic License - Geography. (The pivotal scenes all occur in Manhattan, anyway.)
- 10 Things I Hate About You is supposedly set in Seattle (the opening shots show the Space Needle), but was actually filmed mostly in nearby Tacoma.
- Trouble In Mind: Future Noir.
- Excellent use of the King Street Station, and of the streets under the Monorail.
- Rose Red was partially filmed in downtown Seattle and partially in Tacoma.
- Harry and the Hendersons
- Say Anything
- Singles. Filmed in 1990, right before the Grunge explosion of the early 90s, but not released until 1992.
- Boneshaker is set in a version of Seattle in which the Klondike Rush occurred before the Civil War ended, when Alaska still belonged to Russia... and the accidental release of volcanic gases from Mount Rainier turn most of the population into zombies.
- Twilight takes place in Forks, over on our Olympic Peninsula, but Bella does seek visits Seattle.
- Elizabeth Anne Scarborough's "The Godmother". The author makes a point of stating in the forward that the novel takes place in an alternate universe version of Seattle, possibly to avoid being sued for libel; in the novel, the entire City Council is corrupt and many members are pedophiles who have hamstrung the department of Social Services in order to create an environment where abused pre-teens have no choice but to run away, making them easy prey.
- Whered You Go Bernadette parodies life in the Seattle neighborhood of Queen Anne, and not very affectionately.
- The Seattle Stranger, a Sophisticated as Hell alt-weekly that boasts Pulitzer-prize winning journalism, Savage Love (Dan Savage's sex column), and NSFW personal ads.
- Betty Mac Donald's Anybody Can Do Anything details life in Depression-era Seattle.
- Wikipedia has a category for television shows set in Seattle. Some of these include:
- Dark Angel: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Dead Like Me: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor Armin Shimerman remarked that his character's home planet, a soggy mudball called Ferenginar, "Looks a little like Seattle on a bad day." It even has a Space Needle (the "Tower of Commerce").
- Frasier: Filmed in Los Angeles, except for the 100th episode, which was actually filmed in Seattle. And the episode gets as much mileage out of Seattle landmarks as it can, including Niles getting a fish thrown at him in Pike Place Market and Frasier getting trapped on the Monorail on the way to the Space Needle.
- Grey's Anatomy
- Highlander: The Series: at one point it's outright called Seacouver.
- The Killing
- Kyle XY: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Millennium: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Reaper: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Smallville: Vancouver doubles for Kansas, but one episode was set in the Seattle docks.
- The 4400: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Twin Peaks
- John Doe, filmed in Vancouver, to the point that the Television Without Pity recapper just kept calling the city "Seacouver."
- Almost Live!: Actually filmed in Seattle.
- The second of the Kolchak TV movies was set in Seattle, and several scenes were actually filmed there.
- The 1968-70 Western Here Come The Brides. Its theme song was "Seattle", a tribute to the city, and Perry Como's version became a Top 40 hit.
- Genius The Transgression includes a premade setting, the Seattle of Tomorrow.
- Shadowrun: Features Seattle and most of south Puget Sound as a walled-off metroplex. Considering its central location between several nations and status as a transportation hub between North America and Asia, it is treated as the setting's "home base".
- Word of God has it that Seattle was singled out by all the (Chicago-based) game designers because, at the time (1980s), it wasn't sufficiently prominent in pop culture to constitute a trope of its own; thus, they could freely make stuff up about the area without most of their game's audience catching on. They were aiming for Aliens in Cardiff, not realizing how Grunge and various movies and TV series would elevate the city's prominence in the near future. Ironically, Jordan Weisman (the lead designer on the original Shadowrun) would later move to Seattle, in part because of Microsoft acquiring FASA, and later to engage in game studio serial entrepreneurship.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War has its opening act set in Seattle.
- World in Conflict: The first and last missions take place in Seattle.
- Phantasmagoria 2 happens in Seattle.
- In Mass Effect 3, the opening levels take place in a Seattle/Vancouver hybrid megacity, where the two grew so large they sprawled into each other.
- An expansion pack for Railroad Tycoon 2 features a rather unique scenario where the player must build a metro transit system in Seattle. The city also shows up on North American maps in general.
- inFAMOUS: Second Son is essentially developer Sucker Punch's love letter to their hometown of the Seattle/Bellevue area.
- As per the tabletop game above, almost every (but not all) Shadowrun-licensed video game is set there, including Shadowrun Returns.
- The Gran Turismo games starting from 2 up to 4 had fictionalized circuits of the city. One prominent feature of the circuits was the Kingdome which had been recently demolished in 2000 because of the newly built Safeco Field. The exclusion of the Seattle circuits from 5 was due to the Kingdome featured in the earlier games.
- In Zak Mc Kracken, the title character is working on a tabloid article about a two-headed squirrel which lives in Seattle. The SEA-TAC airport and Mt. Rainier are also featured.
- Hey Arnold!: The city is never named, but per Word of God it's an amalgam of Seattle, Portland, and New York City. Arnold's house is underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
- Appears briefly in The Simpsons Movie.
- And in an Itchy & Scratchy short. Itchy saws the top off the Space Needle, and it gets stuck in Scratchy's eye.
- Springfield itself is an amalgam of several urban areas throughout the northwest, including Seattle as well as Portland, Oregon (where Matt Groening grew up) and Olympia, Washington (where he went to school). On one instance, a letter addressed to the Simpsons had the state abbreviation "NT", which Word of God claimed stood for "North Tacoma".
- In "Homer the Clown", Krusty gives a list of inherently funny place names, including Walla Walla, Cucamonga, and Seattle.
- Krusty himself is (vaguely) based on longtime television host and Seattle icon JP Patches.
- A setting for one episode of Scooby-Doo. Features a sequence set at a "Space Needle" that was evidently animated by someone who had the structure described to them third hand over a bad telephone connection.
- Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 is nominally set in Seattle, although the backdrops are competely unchanged from the earlier seasons when the show was set on the Jersey Shore. One promo refers to the setting as "Seattle and/or New Jersey".
- Phineas and Ferb though not set in Seattle, the city is mentioned more than any other U.S. city, and at the end of "The Chronicles of Meap" the credits were played beneath a "promo" for Meapless in Seattle which was originally not going to be made, but it was and was released.