Seattle is known as the Emerald City and was established in 1851. It is named after Chief Sealth (Seattle) of the Duwamish tribe. It is the only major city with a Native American name. Seattle started as a logging town, and was a wild frontier town. After the business district was burned to the ground in the June 1889 fire, the new city was built over the old one. Many of the places in the greater Seattle area are named with Native American words or phrases, like the Duwamish River, Snoqualmie Falls and Tillicum Village. The city’s culture is heavily influenced by the Native Americans that live in this area. Discover more interesting trivia about our beloved city with these tidbits.

102 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 903-8010

Starbucks opened its first coffee shop in 1971 at the entrance to the Historic Pike Place Market, which is the longest running farmers’ market on the West Coast. This store is certified LEED Gold due to the use of recycled materials during its construction. The company’s name was inspired by the book “Moby Dick,” and the company has gone from a single shop to 18,000 shops in 62 different countries around the world. The world’s highest Starbucks is located in Seattle in the Columbia Center.

Columbia Center (Credit, Karen Ulvestad)

Columbia Center
701 5th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 386-5564

The Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle and has an observation deck on its 73rd floor called the Sky View Observatory. It is the highest public observation deck west of the Mississippi River. The observation deck offers a 360-degree view of Seattle, Mount Rainier, Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges and the Seattle Center. The building is designed to withstand a major earthquake and is thought to be one of the safest places to be in an earthquake event. It was built in 1985 and is 76 stories tall. Earlier in the 20th century, the Smith Tower was the tallest building on the West Coast and is nearing its centennial on July 4, 2014. It has an observation deck on the 35th floor.

Space Needle (Credit, Karen Ulvestad)

Seattle Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 684-7200

The Seattle Center was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The key pieces that still stand today are the Space Needle, Center House, Monorail, International Fountain, Pacific Science Center, the Coliseum (Key Arena) and other event buildings. The center still hosts large festivals like Folklife and Bumbershoot. The Key Arena is the former home of the Seattle Sonics basketball team, which was sold and left Seattle in 2008. The Space Needle was the first revolving restaurant and offers diners 360-degree views of Seattle, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. The observation deck on top is a great place to view the 4th of July firework display.

Related: Best Bars With History In Seattle

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tours
608 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-4646

The city of Seattle started in the Pioneer Square and was originally built on tidal mudflats. Rain would make the streets very muddy and unsuitable to walk on. The big fire of 1889 leveled 25 blocks of businesses built in this area, and the city decided to raise the road to rebuild the area. According to the Underground Tours site, “The city built retaining walls, eight feet or higher, on either side of the old streets, filled in the space between the walls, and paved over the fill to effectively raise the streets, making them one story higher than the old sidewalks that still ran alongside them. Building owners, eager to capitalize on an 1890s economic boom, quickly rebuilt on the old, low, muddy ground where they had been before.” Eight years later in 1897, many adventurers stopped in Seattle during the Yukon Gold Rush. Seattle was a major starting point for the journey to the gold fields in Alaska. The tour visits the below-street-level sidewalks and remains of shops. It has been running since 1965. Pioneer Square was named an Historic District in 1970.

Burke Museum
17th Ave. N.E and N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 543-5590

The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington’s main campus. It is home to one of the area’s largest collections of Coastal Native American art in Seattle. The collection is attributed to University Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus of Northwest Coast Indian Art Bill Holm. He is known as one of the leading experts and art historians on Northwest Coastal Native American art. At the 1962 World’s Fair, he displayed large native coastal art pieces, introducing the art style to the world.

Related: Guide To Seattle Center, 50 Years Later

Karen Ulvestad is a mother and professional writer/photographer, who lives in the greater Seattle area. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English Composition. Her background is in fitness, travel, photography and writing. She continually researches locations to visit, and/or entertainment opportunities for family outings and/or photo shoots. Her work can be found at