8 Nicknames for Seattle (And Where They Come From)

Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington and one of the most iconic cultural cities in all of the Pacific Northwest!

Despite having a reputation for being extra rainy, the seaport city is also one of the biggest trade centers in America and home to many unique things, so it’s no surprise that the city has got plenty of impressive nicknames!

If you’re interested in finding out more about these nicknames, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’ll walk you through a list of Seattle nicknames as well as the reasons why it has them!

Seattle Nicknames

1. Emerald City

“The Emerald City” is the current official nickname of Seattle. Not only that, but it’s also the most popular nickname on the list and the one used the most when describing the city.

One of the main reasons Seattle is called the “Emerald City” is because of the abundance of emerald green foliage all over the city. Whether it’s spring, summer, or winter, the evergreen bushes, moss, ferns, and trees are nearly everywhere!

This doesn’t only include the outskirts, but also within the city center where you can find plenty of forested parks as well as the Washington Park Arboretum.

As a result, Seattle has adopted the nickname officially since 1982. According to History Link, the first time it was used was by the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau, chosen from several entries during a contest to pick a new nickname for the city.

The “Emerald City” was found to be a more marketable name than other nicknames used at the time, but more about them in the following section.

Read Also: 17 Nicknames For Chicago

2. Queen City

The “Queen City” is one of the oldest nicknames that are still used to this day to describe Seattle. In fact, this one has been around for over 150 years!

According to the previously mentioned report by History Link, this nickname was first used in 1869 by a real estate firm based in Portland to describe Seattle in a promotional pamphlet that had the title “The Future Queen City of the Pacific Northwest”.

The nickname took after quickly because the locals didn’t like the older nicknames used to describe the city, but was later shortened into “Queen City”

While this one has a nice ring to it, it has been used as a nickname for many cities around the world, such as Vancouver, Auckland, and Manila, as well as tons of other American cities, which is why Seattleites opted for a more original name.

Read Also: 10 Nicknames for Los Angeles

3. Rain City

Despite being called the “Rain City”, it doesn’t rain as much as you might think in Seattle. According to data from Weather.com, the average number of rainy days in Seattle is around 150 to 155.

With that said, the amount of rain per day isn’t much, as the city only has an average of 5 days that receive more than 1 inch of rain. As a result, the city has an average annual rainfall of around 37.18 inches.

Similar to “Queen City”, this nickname is also used to describe many cities in the Pacific Northwest, which is why it’s also considered generic.

Read Also: 10 San Francisco Nicknames

4. Jet City

“Jet City” is one of the most popular nicknames of Seattle to this day. The name is originally associated with the aircraft manufacturer “Boeing”, which was founded in Seattle back in July 1916.

Another reason that made that nickname popular is the popular Queensrÿche song titled “Jet City Woman”, which is also the band’s hometown.

Although the current headquarter of Boeing is moved to Arlington, Virginia, many businesses and locals still use this nickname to this day.

5. The Coffee Capital of the World

This one is a well deserved nickname, as Seattle is the birthplace and the current headquarters of Starbucks.

Not only that, but Seattleites are known for consuming and spending more money on coffee than any other city

6. The Gateway to Alaska

This one is another relatively old nickname of Seattle. Thanks to the city’s geographical location on the Puget Sound, Seattle is one of the biggest shipping points to and from Alaska.

Seattle is around 1,314 miles far from Alaska and is considered one of the closest contiguous US cities to the Last Frontier.

7. Sea-Town

The word “sea-town” is often used to describe any city that has a large seaport. Additionally, there are some towns around the world that are officially called “Sea Town”, such as the one in England.

However, when it comes to Seattle, the nickname “Sea-town” has nothing to do with the sea. Instead, it’s simply a wordplay of the word “Seattle” itself. After all, Seattle doesn’t actually have any sea.

Since this one may cause some confusion, the nickname is not quite popular among locals, but there are still some folks who like it and still use it to that day.

8. Cascadia City

Although this one is rarely used when compared to other nicknames on the list, you might stumble across some locals who might use it to refer to Seattle.

The “Cascadia City” is often proposed as an unofficial nickname of the city because Seattle lies at the heart of the Cascadian Bioregion, which is an area that includes the American Pacific Northwest as well as Western Canada (British Columbia).

The reason why these cities are grouped under a bioregion is that they share similar environmental, ecological, cultural, and economic ties.

In fact, these ties are so strong that there are some activists that call for the region’s independence, namely the “Cascadia Independence Movement”.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A brief guide that walks you through 8 different nicknames of Seattle in addition to the story behind those nicknames.

As you can see, while the “Emerald City” is the current official nickname of the state, there are plenty of impressive nicknames that the locals use to refer to Seattle, such as “The Coffee Capital of the World”, “The Jet City”, and the “Queen City”.