Few people outside the Pacific Northwest knew much about SEATTLE before 1991, and it was considered a distant, rainy backwater even by most Americans. Since Nirvana and grunge rock exploded that year, things have never been the same: Hollywood quickly jumped on the bandwagon with Sleepless in Seattle, Frasier and Grey’s Anatomy, and today the tourists and Alaska cruise ships flock in to soak up the city’s famously picturesque setting, lively Pike Place Market, stunning Chihuly Garden and Glass, fun coffeehouses and slew of excellent museums, framed by a modern skyline of shiny skyscrapers and the snowy peak of Mount Rainier in the distance.

Yet the 1990s wasn’t the first time Seattle made a global impact. Founded in 1851, the city was really put on the map after the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s, Seattle’s population doubling and economy booming as it served as the main port of embarkation for hopeful miners; in 1962 the World’s Fair saw the construction of the iconic Space Needle and brief attention again thanks to Elvis in It Happened at the World’s Fair. From the beginning of the twentieth century, Boeing was crucial to the city’s economic strength, and more recent success stories have included global corporate icons Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon.com, all based here. One Seattle stereotype that remains true: it still rains a lot here, especially from October to May.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, glaciers to coo over and a bevy of bears to photograph, Alaska is the ultimate wilderness. From the moment you arrive, …

18 Jan 2017 • Sarah Reid camera_alt Gallery
8 ideas for cheap vacations in the US

8 ideas for cheap vacations in the US

Only a few of us can take a vacation that includes a private jet and a 15-course chef’s tasting menu at a top restaurant. For the rest of us, we have to make …

17 Jan 2017 • Jason Frye insert_drive_file Article
Why Atlanta is one of the top 10 cities you should visit in 2017

Why Atlanta is one of the top 10 cities you should visit in 2017

Georgia’s leafy capital is due its time in the spotlight. Dynamic, progressive and home to one of the country’s most exciting food scenes, Atlanta is the ne…

11 Jan 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month