Seattle in the state of Washington is between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. It is 96 miles (154 km) south of the Canada and is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Although inhabited for about 4,000 years by Native Americans, the first European settlement did notcame until the mid-19th century. The city was named Seattle in 1853, but from 1869 until 1982, it was called Queen City. Its nickname is Emerald City for the evergreen trees in the area.
Today there are over 580,000 residents in the city and about 3.2 million in the surrounding metropolitan areas. According to an analysis done in 2004 by the U.S. Census, Seattle is the most educated of the larger cities in the United States.
Some of the yearly cultural events and fairs are the 24-day Seattle International Film Festival, Northwest Folklife during the Memorial Day week, a large number Seafair events in July and August. Bumbershoot music programs over the Labor Day weekend, and other arts and entertainment events. These events are usually attended by 100,000 people each year, as are Hempfest and two different 4th of July celebrations. They also have several Native American powwows, a Greek Festival and other ethnic festivals.
The Space Needle, from the Century 21 Exposition in 1962, is Seattle's most well known landmark. The fairgrounds around the Needle have been changed into Seattle Center, which is the site of quite a few local city and cultural events, such as Bumbershoot, Folklife, and the Bite of Seattle. Seattle Center has many uses in the city, from a public fair grounds to a civic center. The Seattle Center Monorail was also built for Century 21 and still operates from Seattle Center to Westlake Center, a Downtown shopping mall, a little over a mile to the southeast.
The Henry Art Gallery started in 1927 is the first public art museum in Washington State. The Seattle Art Museum opened in 1933; they also opened a museum in the downtown area in 1991. It was made larger and opened again in 2007; since 1991, the 1933 museum has been Seattle Asian Art Museum. This museum also manages the Olympic Sculpture Park, which opened in 2007 on the waterfront that is north of the downtown piers. The Frye Art Museum is a free museum on First Hill. Seattle also has artist-run galleries, to include 10-year veteran Soil Art Gallery, and the newer Crawl Space Gallery.
Local history can be seen at the Loghouse Museum in Alki, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the Museum of History and Industry and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Collections highlighting industry are at the Center for Wooden Boats, the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, and the Museum of Flight. There are displays showing other heritages at the Nordic Heritage Museum and the Wing Luke Asian Museum.
Woodland Park Zoo opened in 1889, but the city bought it in 1899. The Seattle Aquarium opened on the downtown waterfront since 1977 (newly re-done in 2006). The Seattle Underground Tour, a display of sites that were before the Great Fire, is also popular.
The Smith Tower was the tallest structure on the West Coast from 1914 until the Space Needle in 1962. The late 80s saw the building of Seattle's two tallest skyscrapers: the 76 story Columbia Center finished 1985 is the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest and the fourth tallest building west of the Mississippi River; the Washington Mutual Tower was completed 1988 and is Seattle's second tallest building. Other Seattle landmarks are Pike Place Market, the Fremont Troll, the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center and the Seattle Central Library.
Seattle's climate is moderate, however, the wet winter/dry summer shows some weather patterns of a Mediterranean climate. Puget Sound the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington keeps the extreme temperatures at a minimum, The area is somewhat protected from Pacific storms by the Olympic Mountains and from cold Arctic air by the Cascade Mountain Range. It is on the margin of the Olympic Mountains rain band, but still gets a lot of rain. But even so, this "rainy city" gets a smaller amout of actual precipitation yearly, at 37.1 inches (94 cm), than New York City, Atlanta, Houston, and other cities of the Eastern coast of the U.S. Seattle's reputation for rain comes from the frequency of rain as well as the fact that it is cloudy an average of 226 days per year. Most of the rain is light, with few hard rains. Spring, late fall, and winter have many days when there is no rain but just cloudy, overcast skies. Winters are cool and wet with average lows around 35 to 40 °F (2 to 4 °C) on winter nights. Colder weather can occur, but does not last for more than several days. Summers are dry and warm, with average daytime highs around 73 to 80 °F (22.2 to 26.7 °C). Hotter weather happens only in a few summer days.