Why Is Seattle Called the "Emerald City"?

Seattle is full of evergreen trees.
Many varieties of moss grow in Seattle, helping give the city its green color.
Seattle is not called "The Emerald City" for its downtown, but for its many parks and forests.
Seattle is known for grunge music.
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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2014
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Seattle is located in Washington State, which is in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is often referred to as the Emerald City, a name that first became popular in the mid 1980s. This nickname was given in part because of the vast forests full of dark evergreen trees which surround this metropolis. The lush landscapes and wide diversity of plants in the city parks also make this town known for being green. Other nicknames for Seattle include Jet City, Queen City, Seatown, Gateway to the Pacific, and Gateway to Alaska.

The nickname Emerald City first came into being during the mid 1980s, when a local organization decided to hold a contest. This contest was to give Seattle a nickname that would boost tourism while reflecting the climate within the city parks and surrounding mountains. Emerald City was chosen from a number of entries, largely in part because of Seattle's evergreen trees, which are typically an emerald green color. It has become a widely recognized nickname by local citizens and tourists alike.


Although it is a rather large city, Seattle is known for lush landscapes both inside the city limits and out. There are more than 6,000 acres of land devoted to city parks, many of which have a wide diversity of plants. These urban areas contain many varieties of moss, flowers, and shrubs in addition to deciduous and evergreen trees. Many specimens are also a deep green color because there is a great deal of moisture in the soil due to the frequent rain.

Seattle is located on seven hills, which may be one reason why it often appears to be very green. The view from these hills affords visitors a view of the nearby mountains as well as Puget Sound. Although the Emerald City is very developed, much of its natural habitat has been preserved for her citizens and visitors to enjoy.

This city receives a great deal of rainfall each year, but there is still plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation in both the city parks and the local waterways. Some of the things people can enjoy doing in Seattle include hiking, boating, bicycling, and fishing. The Emerald City is also known for coffee, grunge music, and the Space Needle and other landmarks. Taking a trip to Seattle can provide visitors with an urban vacation that is also tranquil and relaxing.


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