Seattle Travel Guide

Culture

Nicknames

From 1869 until 1982, Seattle was known as the "Queen City". Seattle's current official nickname is the "Emerald City", the result of a contest held in 1981; the reference is to the lush evergreen forests of the area. Seattle is also referred to informally as the "Gateway to Alaska" for being the nearest city in the contiguous US from Alaska, "Rain City" for its frequent cloudy & rainy weather, and "Jet City" from the local influence of Boeing. The Seattle area has also been called "The 206" in reference to its telephone area code. The city has two official slogans or mottos: "The City of Flowers", meant to encourage the planting of flowers to beautify the city, and "The City of Goodwill", adopted prior to the 1990 Goodwill Games. Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.

Performing arts

Seattle has been a regional center for the performing arts for many years. The century-old Seattle Symphony Orchestra is among the world's most recorded and performs primarily at Benaroya Hall. The Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet, which perform at McCaw Hall (opened 2003 on the site of the former Seattle Opera House at Seattle Center), are comparably distinguished, with the Opera being particularly known for its performances of the works of Richard Wagner and the PNB School (founded in 1974) ranking as one of the top three ballet training institutions in the United States. The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) is the largest symphonic youth organization in the United States. The city also boasts lauded summer and winter chamber music festivals organized by the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

The 5th Avenue Theatre, built in 1926, stages Broadway-style musical shows featuring both local talent and international stars. Seattle has "around 100" theatrical production companies and over two dozen live theatre venues, many of them associated with fringe theatre; Seattle is probably second only to New York for number of equity theaters (28 Seattle theater companies have some sort of Actors' Equity contract).

In addition, the 900-seat Romanesque Revival Town Hall on First Hill hosts numerous cultural events, especially lectures and recitals.

Seattle is considered the home of grunge music because it was home to artists such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney, all of whom reached vast audiences in the early 1990s. The city is also home to such varied musicians as avant-garde jazz musicians Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz, hot jazz musician Glenn Crytzer, rappers Sir Mix-a-Lot and Macklemore, smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G, classic rock staple Heart, heavy metal bands Queensrÿche, Demon Hunter, Metal Church, Nevermore, Himsa, and Sunn O))), as well as such poppier rock bands as Harvey Danger, Goodness, and The Presidents of the United States of America. Such musicians as Jimi Hendrix, Duff McKagan, Nikki Sixx, and Quincy Jones spent their formative years in Seattle.

Since the grunge era, the area has hosted a diverse and influential alternative music scene. The Seattle record label Sub Pop—the first to sign Nirvana and Soundgarden—has signed such non-grunge bands as Foo Fighters, Band of Horses, Modest Mouse, Murder City Devils, Sunny Day Real Estate, Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, Iron and Wine, Flight of the Conchords, and Fleet Foxes. Seattle also continues to have a lively hiphop scene with artists such as Blue Scholars, Macklemore, Fresh Espresso, and group Shabazz Palaces.

Earlier Seattle-based popular music acts include the collegiate folk group The Brothers Four; The Wailers, a 1960s garage band; The Ventures, an instrumental rock band; pop Young Fresh Fellows and The Posies; pop-punk The Fastbacks; the well-traveled avant-rock of Sun City Girls; and the outright punk of The Fartz (later 10 Minute Warning), The Gits.

Over the years, a number of songs have been written about Seattle.

Seattle annually sends a team of spoken word slammers to the National Poetry Slam and considers itself home to such performance poets as Buddy Wakefield, two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champ; Anis Mojgani, two-time National Poetry Slam Champ; and Danny Sherrard, 2007 National Poetry Slam Champ and 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam Champ. Seattle also hosted the 2001 national Poetry Slam Tournament. The Seattle Poetry Festival is a biennial poetry festival that (launched first as the Poetry Circus in 1997) has featured local, regional, national, and international names in poetry.

The city also has movie houses showing both Hollywood productions and works by independent filmmakers. Among these, the Seattle Cinerama stands out as one of only three movie theaters in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films.

Media

As of 2010, Seattle has one major daily newspaper, The Seattle Times. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, known as the P-I, published a daily newspaper from 1863 to March 17, 2009 before switching to a strictly on-line publication. There is also the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, and the University of Washington publishes The Daily, a student-run publication, when school is in session. The most prominent weeklies are the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger; both consider themselves "alternative" papers. Real Change is a weekly street newspaper that is sold mainly by homeless persons as an alternative to panhandling. There are also several ethnic newspapers, including the Northwest Asian Weekly, and numerous neighborhood newspapers, including the North Seattle Journal.

Seattle is also well served by television and radio, with all major U.S. networks represented, along with at least five other English-language stations and two Spanish-language stations. Seattle cable viewers also receive CBUT 2 (CBC) from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Non-commercial radio stations include NPR affiliates KUOW-FM 94.9 and KPLU-FM 88.5 (Tacoma), as well as classical music station KING-FM 98.1. Other stations include KEXP-FM 90.3 (affiliated with EMP), community radio KBCS-FM 91.3 (affiliated with Bellevue College), and high school radio KNHC-FM 89.5, which broadcasts an electronic dance music radio format and is owned by the public school system and operated by students of Nathan Hale High School. Many Seattle radio stations are also available through Internet radio, with KEXP in particular being a pioneer of Internet radio. Seattle also has numerous commercial radio stations. In a March 2012 report by the consumer research firm Arbitron, the top FM stations were KRWM (adult contemporary format), KIRO-FM (news/talk), and KISW (active rock) while the top AM stations were KOMO (AM) (all news), KJR (AM) (all sports), KIRO (AM) (all sports).

Seattle-based online magazines Worldchanging and Grist.org were two of the "Top Green Websites" in 2007 according to TIME.

Seattle also has many online news media websites. The two largest are The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Tourism

Among Seattle's prominent annual fairs and festivals are the 24-day Seattle International Film Festival, Northwest Folklife over the Memorial Day weekend, numerous Seafair events throughout July and August (ranging from a Bon Odori celebration to the Seafair Cup hydroplane races), the Bite of Seattle, one of the largest Gay Pride festivals in the United States, and the art and music festival Bumbershoot, which programs music as well as other art and entertainment over the Labor Day weekend. All are typically attended by 100,000 people annually, as are the Seattle Hempfest and two separate Independence Day celebrations.

Other significant events include numerous Native American pow-wows, a Greek Festival hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Montlake, and numerous ethnic festivals (many associated with Festál at Seattle Center).

There are other annual events, ranging from the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair & Book Arts Show; an anime convention, Sakura-Con; Penny Arcade Expo, a gaming convention; a two-day, 9,000-rider Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, and specialized film festivals, such as the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (formerly known as the Northwest Asian American Film Festival), Children's Film Festival Seattle, Translation: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival, the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Seattle Polish Film Festival.

The Henry Art Gallery opened in 1927, the first public art museum in Washington. The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) opened in 1933; SAM opened a museum downtown in 1991 (expanded and reopened 2007); since 1991, the 1933 building has been SAM's Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM). SAM also operates the Olympic Sculpture Park (opened 2007) on the waterfront north of the downtown piers. The Frye Art Museum is a free museum on First Hill.

Regional history collections are at the Loghouse Museum in Alki, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the Museum of History and Industry and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Industry collections are at the Center for Wooden Boats and the adjacent Northwest Seaport, the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, and the Museum of Flight. Regional ethnic collections include the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Wing Luke Asian Museum and the Northwest African American Museum. Seattle has artist-run galleries, including 10-year veteran Soil Art Gallery, and the newer Crawl Space Gallery.

Woodland Park Zoo opened as a private menagerie in 1889, but was sold to the city in 1899. The Seattle Aquarium has been open on the downtown waterfront since 1977 (undergoing a renovation 2006). The Seattle Underground Tour is an exhibit of places that existed before the Great Fire. The Seattle Great Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels in the U.S., opened in June 2012 as a new, permanent attraction on the city's waterfront, at Pier 57, next to Downtown Seattle. The city also has many community centers for recreation, including Rainier Beach, Van Asselt, Rainier, and Jefferson south of the Ship Canal and Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Loyal Heights north of the Canal, and Meadowbrook.

Since the middle 1990s, Seattle has experienced significant growth in the cruise industry, especially as a departure point for Alaska cruises. In 2008, a record total of 886,039 cruise passengers passed through the city, surpassing the number for Vancouver, BC, the other major departure point for Alaska cruises.

Professional sports

Seattle has three major professional sports teams: The National Football League's Seattle Seahawks, Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners, and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC. Other professional sports teams include the 2004 and 2010 Women's National Basketball Association champions, Seattle Storm.

The Seahawks' CenturyLink Field has hosted playoff games in 2006, 2008, and 2014. The Seahawks have advanced to the Super Bowl twice (2005 and 2013 seasons), winning their first title in the latter season.

The Seattle Sounders FC began play in Major League Soccer in 2009, and also play at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle's professional sports history began at the start of the 20th century with the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans, which in 1917 became the first American hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.

Seattle was also home to a previous Major League Baseball franchise in 1969, the Seattle Pilots. The team relocated and became the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970.

From 1967 to 2008 Seattle was also home to an NBA franchise: the Seattle SuperSonics, who were the 1978–79 NBA champions. The team relocated and became the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2008-09 NBA season.

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held in Seattle twice, first at the Kingdome in 1979 and again at Safeco Field in 2001. That same year, the Seattle Mariners tied the all-time single regular season wins record with 116 wins. The NBA All-Star game was also held in Seattle twice, the first in 1974 at the Seattle Center Coliseum and the second in 1987 at the Kingdome.

The Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team plays in the Canadian major-junior Western Hockey League and are based in the Seattle suburb of Kent.

Seattle also boasts a strong history in collegiate sports. The University of Washington and Seattle University are NCAA Division I schools.

Outdoor activities

Seattle's mild, temperate marine climate allows year-round outdoor recreation, including walking, cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, motor boating, sailing, team sports, and swimming. In town, many people walk around Green Lake, through the forests and along the bluffs and beaches of Discovery Park (the largest park in the city) in Magnolia, along the shores of Myrtle Edwards Park on the Downtown waterfront, along the shoreline of Lake Washington at Seward Park, along Alki Beach in West Seattle, or along the Burke-Gilman Trail. Also popular are hikes and skiing in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains and kayaking and sailing in the waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia. In 2005, Men's Fitness magazine named Seattle the fittest city in the United States.

In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, reported that Seattle had the 20th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes acreage, access, and service and investment.

source: Wikipedia

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