Seattle Inspiration to the Arts

Seattle Inspiration to the Arts



According to “The Seattle Times,” Seattle is one of the largest cities in the state of Washington and an inspiration to the arts. Over the years, it has inspired many of the artists who visited it. Numerous songs, movies and television shows are based on experiences made in Seattle also called, The Emerald City.

Being one of the biggest cities in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, Seattle is an important gateway for trade with Asia, as it has the third largest port in the area. Also, it is an important technological center, due to the companies that are established in the region, such as Microsoft and Amazon.

The artistic side of the city goes back in history. Between 1918 and 1951, there were over 20 jazz nightclubs where Ray Charles and Ernestine Anderson started their careers. Besides jazz, Rain City is the scene where the alternative rock sub-genre originated. The contemporary rock movement was helped by some of the most influential bands, created in Seattle, such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Moreover, Rain City is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Macklemore, and actors Jean Smart, Ryan Stiles, Maiara Walsh, and Zoe Weizenbaum.

The Emerald City’s Songs

Over the years, the town has inspired artists. Composers and singers were impressed by Seattle and wrote songs about it. One of the first songs written about the City of Goodwill is Arthur Dillon’s, “Seattle the Peerless City,” which in 1909, became the city’s anthem.

SeattleNirvana, Macklemore, Owl City, and Foo Fighters also dedicated some musical compositions to their beloved city. Some of these well-known songs are:

  • “The Shadow of Seattle,” by Marcy Playground
  • “Aurora,” by Foo Fighters
  • “Hello Seattle,” by Owl City
  • “The Town,” by Macklemore
  • “Welcome to Seattle,” by Boom Bap Project
  • “School,” by Nirvana

Some of the tracks that were inspired by the Emerald City refer to the town’s most beautiful sights or the activities that one can do in Rain City. Other songs are attributed to famous figures of the town, such as the sportscaster, David Niehaus.

Globally Recognized From Movies

Films are a much better tool than songs to show a city to the world. Dozens of movies have been filmed in and around Seattle, inspiring directors and actors in their great performances.

The iconic movie of the Emerald City is the 1993, romantic comedy-drama, “Sleepless in Seattle,” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Also, “10 Things I Hate About You,” “88 Minutes,” and “The Ring” were filmed in Seattle at some of the most popular locations. Other movies that were at least partially shot in the Rain City are:

  • “Captain Fantastic”
  • “Three Fugitives”
  • “Disclosure”
  • “21 and Over”
  • “Life or Something Like It”

Besides the movies, some TV shows too have revealed the city’s lifestyle. “Grey’s Anatomy” was filmed at some of the town’s locations. In fact, the hospital where everything happens was initially called Seattle Grace. Beyond the medical drama, there are some other shows that were at least set in Rain City, for example, “The Killing,” “iCarly,” and “Frasier.”


The Emerald City is a great place for artists to get inspired. The North American town has an enviable artistic history and, more than likely, it will not end here.

By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith


DestinationSOUNDTRACK: Songs about Seattle
MovieMaps: Movies filmed in Seattle, WA Seattle Municipal Archives
The Seattle Times: Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the U.S.

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Andrew E. Larsen’s Flick Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Jens Schott Knudsen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Howard Ignatius’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License