Why Is Seattle Called The Emerald City?

January 20, 2021

While most people would think of the Wizard of Oz when they hear the name ‘Emerald City’, it is also the nickname of Seattle, named so as Seattle is the ‘Jewel of the evergreen state’.

So, why it called the Emerald City?

Seattle, The Emerald City
Do we make Emeralds here in Seattle? Is that it?

Seattle’s nickname was adopted in 1982, after the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau, while putting together an ad campaign, ran a competition to come up with a slogan for the city. Athough no-one in Seattle was tempted by the prize of a weeks vacation in Seattle, The winning entry, from Sarah Sterling-Franklin of Carmel, California was "Seattle, the Emerald City. Seattle is the jewel of the Northwest, the queen of the Evergreen State, the many-faceted city of space, elegance, magic and beauty". This catchy, trips-off-the-tongue slogan soon caught people's attention and the nickname was born.

Seattle could be described as emerald in colour, as it is lush with greenery, though technically, with only 2,962 square feet of green space per capita, it ranks as only America’s 46th Greenest City. A long way behind Minneapolis with an amazing 105,843 square foot of green space per capita. Sorry Seattle. However, the city does rank 6th in the greenest (cleanest and most sustainable) cities in America. Go Seattle!

You’d expect a lot of greenery with all of the rain right?

Man Under Waterfall
Man in the rain, probably not in Seattle, more likely in Rochester or Cleveland

On average it rains 150 days of the year. Though this doesn’t quite get it the title of America’s rainiest city. That award goes to Rochester New York with 167 days of rain a year. In fact, most years, Seattle is less rainy than Portland, Cleveland and Pittsburgh too!

If the though of all that rain makes you think you should avoid Seattle, think again! On top of the 150 days of rain it also gets 150 days of sunshine, and the people of Seattle buy more pairs of sunglasses per capita than any other US city! So, in spring and summer you should expect sunny days (just always keep an umbrella close by)

Some other Seattle facts you may or may not care about

Dogs on Leads
Much like this picture, there are more dogs than children in Seattle

Seattle is birthplace of Starbucks (Pike Place Market 1971), also Jimmy Hendrix, Boeing, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Kenny Logins and famous computerist Bill Gates. Seattle is thought to have been originally called New York, though the name Seattle was adopted, after a local tribal Chief. Seattle is home to more dogs than children and it is the most literate city in America with over 80% of adults having library cards. Seattle is also the setting for a number of film and TV shows, but Sleepless in Seattle is the answer everyone would give in a quiz about films set in Seattle, so we’ll just stop there.

Is something missing or not quite right? Let us know if we've missed something great that deserves to be featured on this page

We value your privacy We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy. You can manage your cookie preferences here.