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Seaplane on Lake Union

Photo by John Bahr

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History of Seattle

Seattle Culture

Image of People and Places in Seattle
  • Noah Sealth, chief of the local Suquamish Native American tribe, was one of the founders of the city. Seattle is named after him.
  • Before it got the name Seattle in late 1852, the city was known as Duwamps.
  • The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burnt up most of the first Seattle downtown. It was rebuilt within a year, literally on top of the remains of the older downtown. You can still see sections of the original downtown on the colorful Seattle Underground Tour.
  • 3.2 million people live in the Greater Seattle Area. About 570,000 live in Seattle itself. Read more data about Seattle.
  • More than 75% of Seattle residents have internet access at home. The Seattle WiFi Map Project mapped out thousands of wireless networks in Seattle.
  • Seattle is one of the fittest cities in the country, especially for walkers and bikers.
  • Seattle has the highest per-capita music and dance attendance in the country, with 80 live music clubs (not counting the movable dance clubs and shows) and 15 symphony orchestras.
  • The Seattle International Film Festival in mid-May to June showcases world film and new world filmmakers.
  • Seattle has 29 professional theatres, 56 fringe theatre companies and seven theatre schools.
  • Bumbershoot, over Labor Day weekend, is one of the largest entertainment festivals in the world.
  • Ballard, in north Seattle, was once a Norwegian fishing village. The Alaskan fishing fleet still winters there before heading out on salmon runs.
  • The Nordic Heritage Museum is the country's only museum honoring the heritage of people from the five Nordic countries.
  • Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Ernestine Anderson all lived in Central and South Seattle over the years.
  • Seafair is a massive two-month summer festival that showcases the traditions and diversity of Puget Sound with parades, festivals, triathlons, hydroplane races and air shows.
  • Alki Beach is one of the city's longest white sand beaches, 2 miles along the west side of West Seattle.
  • U-Dist is the nickname of the neighborhood surrounding the University of Washington.
  • The Wing Luke Museum in Chinatown/International District is the country's only museum devoted to Asian-American history, with displays on immigration, the arts and traditional medicine.

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