Seattle is known as the Emerald City primarily because of the lush forests that surround it, but the largest city in the Pacific Northwest qualifies as a true "gem" for a variety of reasons. From a thriving waterfront to a celebrated arts and music scene, Seattle offers residents and visitors alike a unique blend of modern culture.
While it’s experienced a number of boom-and-bust cycles since its founding in the 1860’s, Seattle’s distinctive vibe has contributed to its economic growth over the last quarter century. Technology has played a major role in the city’s economic revival, with Microsoft based in nearby Bellevue and numerous smaller ventures springing up within Seattle itself. Four Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Seattle, including the mammoth online retailer Amazon and coffee giant Starbucks. The original Starbucks cafe can still be visited today at Pike Place Market, a popular attraction for over 100 years that remains an active market where fishmongers sell the freshest catch.
Transportation is an integral part of Seattle’s identity. The city’s waterfront location and proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it one of the country’s most important seaports, for everything from fish to cars. The airplane manufacturer Boeing has built thousands of planes in the Seattle area since World War II. Cutting through the city’s downtown core is Interstate 5, a highway that links the West Coast with Mexico to the south and Canada to the north.
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