Green City: Seattle

by Beth Hurtubise

We, the editors at, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.

I visited Seattle, WA, for the first time this past summer. As I was being shown around town, I kept hearing “The University is right on the water; it’s beautiful,” followed by “Let’s get lunch at this great place down by the water,” and “My favorite place in the city is a cool statue park next to water.” It turns out most things in Seattle are very close to water. The entire city is surrounded by nature, by design. Tucked in the northwest corner of the US, Seattle lies on the Puget Sound, whose arms stretch through the city and surrounding areas, emptying into inlets and lakes on either side. Beyond that, the Cascade Mountains to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west provide a perfect backdrop for hiking, sailing and generally enjoying the outdoors.

According to Mother Nature Network, over 20 of Seattle’s public buildings are LEED-certified and residents are given incentives for adding solar panels and other energy-saving measures to their homes. Even though  Seattle is known for its overcast skies and rainy days, this weather rarely lasts all day and solar panels continue to work, even on cloudy days.

One of the favorite stomping grounds for Seattle residents and tourists alike is Pike’s Place Market (yes, home to the original Starbucks store). While the vendors at the market are varying shades of “green,” they all seem to love giving free food samples (yum!). It’s also home to music maker, troupes and the longest table of bright, beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen in my life.

Seattle takes its green lifestyle very seriously. Check out these two city-wide events both taking place in the next month:

  • Green Seattle Partnership is holding Green Seattle Day on Saturday, November 5th. Hundreds of volunteers will gather  in 20 parks throughout the city with a goal of restoring Seattle’s forests.
  • Green Festival Seattle will take place November 12-13. Areas of the festival include the Community Action Pavilion, Music Stage, Mother Earth News Stage, Green Building and Renewable Energy Pavilion, Green Kids Zone, Fair Trade Pavilion and more.

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