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.

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

Whether you're dreaming of a week-long expedition or an afternoon spent in the sun, the USA is ripe with possibilities for an outdoor adventure. From hiking to…

16 May 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place – but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change …

04 May 2017 • Rebecca Hallett insert_drive_file Article
7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

Ticked off New York City’s big sights and wondering where to go next? From sinking a pint in Brooklyn's Red Hook to sampling Italian delicacies in The Bronx, …

11 Apr 2017 • Stephen Keeling 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