Why Is Seattle Called 'The Emerald City'?
Seattle is so scenically blessed it's almost laughable. Look to the west and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains frame your view. To the south lies 14,411-foot Mount Rainier, a majestic presence on the horizon despite it being 90 miles from the city. The sparkling waters of Puget Sound reflect the Seattle skyline and feature an intricate network of bays, inlets and islands large and small. Long, skinny Lake Washington is beautified by an almost continuous series of parks and greenbelts along its shore. And Seattle sits right in the middle of it all. The vistas are, in a word, awesome, and the city’s greenery is at the root of its nickname “The Emerald City.”
If you don't spend all day gawking at nature's splendor, plenty of fun things to do in Seattle await. Besides just the downtown Seattle area, this is a city full of distinctive neighborhoods—from hip, socially diverse Capitol Hill to the salty, Scandinavian-flavored Ballard, a reminder of Seattle's maritime heritage. So what are you waiting for? Ride to the top of the Seattle Space Needle for an incredible 360-degree view of the city. Shop for locally made crafts and souvenirs at Pike Place Market. Hop aboard a ferry to Bainbridge Island. Above all, drink plenty of coffee—you're going to be busy as you explore the Emerald City.