Is Seattle a State?  A Guide to Seattle and Other Nearby Cities

Most people have heard of Seattle.  From the Seahawk to Starbucks, the grunge scene of the ‘90s to Sleepless in Seattle, it’s the most well-known city in the entire northwestern United States.  While most people have heard of Seattle, how much do you really know?  Let’s dig into some basic facts about the area as well as take a look at other important cities around Seattle.

Is Seattle a State?

Washington State Flag
Seattle is located in Washington State

No, Seattle is not a state.  It is the largest city and most influential city in the state of Washington and the northwest region as a whole.  Seattle is the 15th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

In total, the Seattle Metro area is home to more than 4.1 million people and includes dozens of cities. We’ll explore some of the more famous ones in more detail below.

Where is Washington State Located? 

Map of Washington State
Washington State is located in the northwest corner of the US (Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock)

Washington is the northwestern-most state in the continental United States.  It’s bordered on the West by the Pacific Ocean and the North by Canada.  The state is divided in half, North to South, by the Cascade Mountain Range, making two distinct regions; Western Washington and Eastern Washington.  Western Washington is known for its moderate temperature extremes and high volume of rainy days.  Eastern Washington with its plains and farmlands has a climate much more similar to the Midwest.

Where is Seattle located?

Seattle is located in Western Washington, surrounded on two sides by water.  Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, spans the entire Western border, and the nearly 22-mile-long Lake Washington spans the entire Eastern border.  The city sits in the Northern half of the state with 161 miles of Interstate 5 South of it before reaching Oregon and 102 miles to the North before reaching Canada.

What Cities are Near Seattle?

Eastside of Seattle Map
The Eastside includes cities like Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, and Woodinville (SevenMaps/Shutterstcok)

To the North, Seattle is bordered by the cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.  To the South, Seattle borders the cities of Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Renton.  The Seattle metropolitan area also stretches off to the East beyond the shores of Lake Washington thanks to three of the longest five pontoon (floating bridges) in the world spanning and allowing easy access across the deep and muddy-bottomed lake.  To the East sit the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, and Renton (which spans around from the South).  The city of Mercer Island is also close as it is located on a nearly 13 square-mile island in the Southern part of Lake Washington.  

Largest Cities in the Seattle Metro Area

The largest areas in the Seattle Metro Area include:

CityPopulation (2021)
Seattle 733,919
Tacoma 219,205
Bellevue 149,440
Kent 134,835
Everett110,629
Renton105,179
Federal Way99,037
Kirkland92,175
Auburn85,699
Redmond73,256
Sammamish 65,455

What Other Influential Cities are Near Seattle?

Seattle is the largest city in Western Washington.  In Eastern Washington, the largest city is Spokane.  Spokane’s population is around 230k people, with just under 600k in its greater metropolitan area.  The city itself is just under one-third the size of Seattle.  It is home to both Gonzaga and Whitworth colleges.

Tacoma is the second largest city in the Puget Sound region with around 220k people, very similarly sized to Spokane.  It sits right in the center between Seattle and the state’s capital, Olympia.  The Port of Tacoma is Washington’s largest port and the city is also known for lumber production.

Olympia is also an influential city near Seattle as it is the capital of Washington State although its population is much smaller at around 55k.

Bellevue sits just across Lake Washington from Seattle and has its own booming downtown area.  With a population of around 150k, Bellevue is the headquarters to many technology firms such as Expedia, T-Mobile US, Paccar Inc, SAP Concur, and Symetra.  Amazon and Microsoft were both founded in Bellevue and, while neither is headquartered here any longer, both are nearby and do have offices still located in the city.

Redmond is just to the East of Bellevue and is the current headquarters of Microsoft.  It employs around 40k people in the city of around 74k (although many come from neighboring cities).  Redmond is also home to Nintendo of America and Genie Industries as well as a satellite office of SpaceX.

Outside of the state, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada are relatively close major metropolitan areas.

Is Cascadia a state?

No, Cascadia is a region.  It also refers to an independence movement proposing that this region form a new country.  The suggested boundaries generally encompass Washington and Oregon states, as well as the province of British Columbia, although maps vary with some following ecological and cultural lines rather than political boundaries.  It is based on the concept of Bioregionalism.  That the needs of this area can’t be met well by a capital so far away and the area, with its high GDP, pays heavily into the National coffers without effective representation or return on that investment.  The movement also places a high priority on environmentalism.

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