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
A city situated on the Puget Sound's eastern bank 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 the origin-point for) Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Valve, Starbucks, Boeing, Amazon and several other companies of note. The birthplace of Grunge music (Nirvana in particular, despite not being from the city itself). Its landmarks include Pike Place Market (where the very first Starbucks is located), Pioneer Square (which pre-gentrification was the original Skid Row), the Museum of Pop Culture (or whatever its name is this week), 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 (which is not nearly as tall as it looks in photos), also constructed for the World's Fair. Navigation and traffic in the area are notoriously frustrating, among the top ten worst in the country.
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.
Seattle remains one of the major hubs of video game development in America behind the LA/San Francisco/Silicon Valley region, possessing the aforementioned Nintendo and Valve along with numerous other developers. It's also ranked as the best American city for gamers not just for the aforementioned status as a game development hub; it's also notable for its abundance of video game stores.
Until the 2013 Seahawks team and their "12th Man" fan-brigade finally broke the drought, the city trailed only Cleveland in being the Butt-Monkey of the US sports world due to its spotty track record in regards to major league sports. (Six championships in the entire city's modern history) 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.
Don't fret, though! The city is still very known for sports notoriety, mainly because of the Seattle Mariners, an expansion team created in the wake of the original team, the Pilots, being moved after their first season to Milwaukee (a lawsuit was also involved). They didn't have a winning season for the first fourteen years of their existence. They nearly got moved to Florida before a miracle rally and their first playoff appearance saved the team, though they eventually lost to the New York Yankees. They won 116 games in 2001, matching a regular-season record, but not only fell to the Yankees in the playoffs but haven't even been to the playoffs since then. In the process, they had a year where they spent $100 million on payroll and still managed to lose over 100 games. Also, with the Washington Nationals making it to (and even winning) the World Series in 2019, the Mariners remain the sole MLB team with nary a single trip to the Fall Classic. One would not be surprised to find them pushing a boulder alongside Sisyphus.
Not helping matters is the fact that the city is famous for rain, which is 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 of MLS, and making it one of the few teams in the league to regularly sell out the stadium. Lumen Field (formerly Qwest Field and 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. In 2022, Lumen Field became home to a third team, namely OL Reign of the National Women's Soccer League. That team returned to Seattle after a three-season interlude in Tacoma.note
The city's tumultuous history with hockey should also be mentioned. The Seattle Metropolitans were the very first American team to win the Stanley Cup in 1915, but the team folded two years later. Various attempts to bring pro hockey back to Seattle were made in the 1970s and the 1990s, but such attempts never left Development Hell due to various issues. After the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City, interest began picking up in having an NHL expansion team. The Phoenix Coyotes almost moved to Seattle, but ultimately stayed where they were. Progress finally began when the Seattle City Council approved renovations to the former home of the SuperSonics, KeyArena, to make it more suitable for hockey (which had been one of the factors in previous attempts floundering). A new ownership group, with Jerry Bruckheimer at the helm, is in charge (and is also looking into potentially reviving the SuperSonics), perhaps even by having them play in their former home (now named Climate Pledge Arena). The name was announced in July 2020... the Seattle Kraken! And yes, they announced it exactly the way you'd think they would. The name was chosen to honor both Seattle's maritime heritage, and the native Giant Pacific octopus. The team's logo is suitably badass◊, as well.
Home to the authors of the webcomic Penny Arcade, who, as the above paragraphs illustrate, have difficulty understanding the Team Spirit of sports.
Bruce Lee settled in Seattle and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington. He is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Capitol Hill.
Is also the hometown of Sir Mix-A-Lot, 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 world, as measured by number of vehicles carried. Its unique car ferries are almost always featured in media from Seattle. It's also home to three of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the 520 bridge, officially known as the SR 520 Albert D. Rosellini Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (which replaced the original Evergreen Point Floating Bridge in 2016) being the absolute longest at 7,710 ft (2,350 m); the eastbound I-90 bridge, officially known as the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge, being the second-longest at 6,620 ft (2,020 m); and the westbound I-90 bridge (Homer Hadley Memorial Bridge) as the fifth longest at 5,811 feet (1,171 meters) - and the second widest, beat only by the aforementioned 520 bridgenote . The third-longest floating bridge, the Hood Canal bridgenote , is around thirty miles northwest of the first two.
Some of these bridges span Lake Washington and connect Seattle to "the Eastside", which covers Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Kirkland, Issaquah, Medina, and other assorted 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.
And about half an hour to the south is the city of Tacoma. 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 Seattle's Benaroya Hall to one of the McDonald's). 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. Its other famous piece of architecture is Stadium High School, most famous for being where 10 Things I Hate About You was shot, and for looking like a castle. About 10 miles southeast of Tacoma is the smaller city of Puyallup, a local shibboleth (in case you're curious, the correct pronunciation is something like "Pew-AL-up.") The Puyallup Fair was recently renamed the Washington State Fair, to mixed reception, and regularly ranks among the ten largest fairs in the country. And a little bit further down the road, at the very end of Puget Sound, you come to the state capitol of Olympia, which marks the unofficial southern end of the Seattle metroplex.
Tacoma is also the source the "Tac" in SeaTac, the universally-used nickname for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which has grown to become a large regional airport as it is both the home to Alaska Airlines as well as Atlanta based Delta Airline’s largest Western hub. There's also an officially incorporated town of SeaTac, which, yes, surrounds the airport.
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.
- Hate: During the first half of the 1990s timeline, Buddy resides in the Pacific Northwest. He later moves back to his native New Jersey.
- 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, most notably at the aforementioned castle-like Stadium High School.
- Trouble in Mind: Future Noir, with an excellent use of the King Street Station and the streets under the Monorail.
- Rose Red was filmed partially in downtown Seattle and partially in Tacoma.
- Harry and the Hendersons
- The Last Mimzy happens partially on Whidbey Island as well as Seattle, which is one of the many islands dotting the Sound - and perhaps one of the larger ones on this side of the Canadian border. Filming was done in surrounding areas, as can be evidenced by the bus stop signs at the beginning of the film.
- Say Anything...
- Singles. Filmed in 1990, right before the Grunge explosion of the early '90s, but not released until 1992.
- Death Note (2017), although it was actually shot in Vancouver
- WarGames is set in Seattle.
- Stay Tuned: The main protagonists reside in Seattle. Filmed in Vancouver.
- Mad Love (1995)
- 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 the Olympic Peninsula, but Bella does visit Seattle.
- Fifty Shades of Grey mainly takes place in 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 preteens have no choice but to run away, making them easy prey.
- Where'd You Go, Bernadette? parodies life in the Seattle neighborhood of Queen Anne, and not very affectionately.
- The 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.
- The second book of The Heroes of Olympus features the appropriately cold Seattle. The heroes visit the Amazon HQ, run by the actual Amazons.
- The Kane Chronicles: Walt is from Seattle, where he lives with his mother.
- A Yellow Raft in Blue Water alternates between this general location and the Montana Native American reservation in Rayona's and Christine's stories.
- The Compound: Eli’s family lived in Seattle.
- Devolution: Set entirely in a very rural enclave around Mount Rainier at the exact moment that Seattle is starting to collapse.
- Hollow Kingdom (2019) takes place in Seattle and its surrounding metropolitan area in the aftermath of a Zombie Apocalypse that only affected humans.
- Dark Angel: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Dead Like Me: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Fear the Walking Dead: Mentioned by George Greary in Season 2 that all major cities in the American West Coast, including Seattle, was bombed in order to eradicate the growing hordes of infected.
- 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.
- As the series focuses on a family of Upper Class Twits the city is portrayed as much more high society than it is, to the point that it bears a closer resemblance to New York than Seattle - the real-life Seattle Times does not have society pages, fine dining is not as exclusive as portrayed, and the show makes references to distinct districts like the “fashion district” and “paper district” which do not exist there.
- Grey's Anatomy
- Highlander: The Series: at one point it's outright called "Seacouver".
- The Killing
- Kyle XY: Filmed in Vancouver.
- Millennium (1996): 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. During the original run on ABC, only the Pilot and Exteriors were actually shot in Seattle. The Return actually filmed on Location as well as other places.
- 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.
- Also Bill Nye the Science Guy, who got his start on the above. Also actually filmed in Seattle.
- And it's spiritual successor, The 206
- The second of the Kolchak TV movies was set in Seattle, and several scenes were actually filmed there.
- Some boats features on Deadliest Catch are homeported in Seattle, such as Sig Hansen's Northwestern and Keith Colburn's Wizard. For the captains and crew alike, big football games involving the Seattle Seahawks are also Serious Business.
- It's After the End, so it looks much different, but a portion of The Shannara Chronicles was set in Seattle 3000 years in the future, indicated by the presence of The Space Needle in the pilot.
- Here Come the Brides is set in the 1860s, when Seattle was a small logging town. Its theme song is "Seattle," a tribute to the city, and Perry Como's version became a top 40 hit.
- Wolf Lake takes place in a Seattle suburb.
- Alice in Chains
- Blue Scholars
- Neko Case (Tacoma—her song "Thrice All American" is about how lovably awful Tacoma is)
- Band Of Horses
- Bing Crosby (born in Tacoma, raised in Spokane)
- Death Cab for Cutie (Bellingham)
- The Gits (formed in Ohio but got famous in Seattle)
- Green River
- Harvey Danger (best known for "Flagpole Sitta")
- Jimi Hendrix—born in Seattle, got famous in Britain first, buried in Renton. Has a statue in Capitol Hill and a park named after him.
- Quincy Jones
- Jeff Loomis (originally from Wisconsin, later moved to Seattle and got famous there with Nevermore)
- Macklemore (several of his songs mention Seattle)
- The Melvins
- Metal Church (originally from the Bay Area, relocated to Seattle to avoid Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich trying to join their band)
- Modest Mouse (Issaquah)
- Nirvana (Aberdeen and Olympia)
- Rockin' Robin Roberts and the Fabulous Wailers (Tacoma)
- Pearl Jam (formed from the ashes of Mother Love Bone, itself formed after the breakup of Green River. When MLB frontman Andrew Wood died of an overdose, Illinois native Eddie Vedder was drafted to front a new band.)
- The Presidents of the United States of America
- Queensr˙che (Bellevue)
- Bob Rivers
- Sir Mix-A-Lot (Tacoma)
- Sleater-Kinney (Olympia; their name comes from Sleater-Kinney Road, which crosses Interstate 5 at Exit 108, near Lacey)
- Soundgarden (Tacoma; named after a musical kinetic sculpture in Sand Point, Seattle. Due to it being on federal land, viewing the sculpture requires obtaining a day pass during work hours post-9/11.)
- Young Fresh Fellows
- Genius: The Transgression includes a premade setting, the Seattle of Tomorrow.
- Demon: The Descent also uses Seattle as a sample setting, as all the tech firms provide good cover for the God-Machine. There's also a good glimpse of the city's history... seeing as the God-Machine performed an experiment that created splinter timelines set at various points.
- 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 engage in game studio serial entrepreneurship.
- Theo from Celeste hails from Seattle.
- 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 takes place in nearby Bellevue, as seen on the map screen.
- According to Paul Mitri, who portrayed Trevor Barnes, production companies briefly considered Seattle to be "Hollywood North"...until they discovered Vancouver.
- 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.
- The "Gold Edition" Expansion Pack for Railroad Tycoon 2 features a rather unique scenario where the player must build a metro transit system inside Seattle. Even without the expansion, the standard campaign of RT2 has an early scenario where the player must build a transcontinental railway across the western United States, of which one route option (the hardest one) involves connecting Seattle with Minneapolis. 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, most (but not all) Shadowrun-licensed video games are set there, including Shadowrun Returns.
- The Gran Turismo games from 2 up to 4 had mildly-fictionalized circuits of the center of the city. One prominent feature of the circuits was the Kingdome, a circular indoor sports arena, which had been recently demolished in 2000 for what is now known as CenturyLink Field. The exclusion of the Seattle circuits from 5 was due to the Kingdome being featured in the earlier games.
- In Zak Mc Kracken, the title character is working on a tabloid article about a two-headed squirrel that lives in Seattle. The SeaTac airport and Mt. Rainier are also featured.
- Coffee Talk takes place in a coffee shop located in a Fantasy Kitchen Sink version of Seattle (Think Shadowrun without the cyberpunk). The game takes place over the course of two weeks, and every single night the weather is shown to be rainy. One of the characters, Myrtle the orc, is a game developer for a big name studio, and part of her arc is helping an aspiring indie game developer take part in a local video game convention that's an obvious parody of PAX West.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is confirmed to be set in Seattle, with the games insisting incident being a mass creation of new vampires happening in foggy Pioneer Square.
- Britannic: Patroness of the Mediterranean - and the Third Demo for currently in development game Titanic Honor and Glory - both feature a Player Character named Robin, who yearns to leave the dreary life of Edwardian Britain and move to far distant Seattle.
- The Last of Us Part II: The WLF (Washington Liberation Front) and Seraphites are based in Seattle, so a large part of the game takes place there. The WLF's base is the CenturyLink Field Stadium and a limited part of downtown Seattle (with some artistic liberties, such as the nonexistent Serevena Hotel and the altered courthouse) can be visited. In concept art, you could also find the remnants of the Space Needle, having crumbled to the ground after decades of decay.
- Ninja Baseball Batman has its first level take place in Seattle. Interestingly, while the game itself was programmed in Japan, the concept came from IREM's American offices in the nearby city of Redmond.
- The third Allied mission of the Yuri's Revenge expansion of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 takes place in Seattle, with Yuri attempting to gain war funds by holding the city hostage to nuclear weapons and besieging the headquarters of Mega-Corp MassiveSoft. A citywide sniper duel breaks out after each side's superweapons severely damage each other's bases, leaving only infantry barracks intact for a race to secure enough power stations to get their respective superweapons back online to finish the other off.
- In Half-Life's backstory, Gordon Freeman is said to have been born in Seattle. By the events of the game however, he has since moved a few times before arriving at the game's setting of the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico.
- Ozy and Millie
- Penny Arcade
- PvP: The characters in the comic relocated to Seattle at the same time as their creator, Scott Kurtz. He now works out of the Penny Arcade offices.
- In Homestuck, John Egbert and Jane Crocker both live in one of Seattle's suburbs. (21605 Fir DR, Maple Valley, to be precise, which is an actual location.) Not that it matters.
- Survival of the Fittest: According to the mods, the students of v5 will be from a school in Seattle.
- Season 2 of Video Game High School reveals the campus is located in Seattle (specifically, at the street address of The Simpsons).
- 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 what corresponds to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
- Appears briefly in The Simpsons Movie.
- Springfield itself is an amalgam of several urban areas throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle; 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.
- Appears in an Itchy & Scratchy short. Itchy saws the top off the Space Needle, and it gets stuck in Scratchy's eye.
- 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 completely 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 the show is not set in Seattle (it's set in the Tri-State Area), 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 actually made, but it was.
- Part of the Pinky and the Brain episode "Pinky's P.O.V." takes place in the Emerald City, complete with grunge rock, "Buckstars Coffee", and constant rain.
Pinky: Look Brain! I think I saw the sun for just a moment!Brain: No, that was just a yellowish cloud.
- Rick and Morty takes place in a suburb of Seattle, (most likely Renton). You can frequently see the Space Needle in the distance. A scene in Season Three's Rickmancing the Stone takes place in a post-apocalyptic downtown third avenue.
- Darby Allin
- Dove Cameron
- Erika Christensen
- Chris Cornell
- Emma Dumont
- Bill Gates
- Jimi Hendrix note
- Steven Hill
- Kimber Lee
- Rose McGowan note
- Joel McHale note
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan
- Bob Rivers
- Pablo Schreiber note
- Ryan Stiles
- Alison Sudol
- Jen Taylor
- Greg Valentine
- Rainn Wilson
- Su Yung
- Constance Zimmer