Seattle is one of the most stunning cities in the United States. The city is surrounded by two bodies of water and two mountain ranges. On its west side is Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. On its east side, there’s a large lake and the Cascade Mountains.
With all this natural beauty, Seattle looks otherworldly in pictures. Throw in the fact that the vast majority of the United States population lives thousands of miles from Seattle and you can see people commonly wonder where Seattle is located!
Let’s dive into Seattle’s location. We’ll identify it on maps as well as discuss some of the nearby geographic features that make Seattle so unique.
Where is Seattle Located in the United States?
Seattle is located at 47.60° N and a latitude of 122.33° W in the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States. It’s located on the western side of Washington State bordering Puget Sound and is 98 miles south of the Canadian border.
Incredibly, Seattle is the most northerly major city in the United States. It’s further north than cities like Minneapolis and Boston. Its even further north than Canadian cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal!
Despite how far north Seattle is, its climate is quite mild. Winters rarely see snow while summers are considered a Mediterranean climate.
How Is Seattle’s Location Unique
Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. That makes it the economic and cultural center of an area that covers 253,625 miles between Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. That’s about the same size as the state of Texas.
The city of Seattle itself is located along a narrow coastal plain. Like many other cities (including Rome, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.), Seattle claims to be built on seven hills. Each of these hills is sandwiched between Puget Sound, which is a long body of water that makes Seattle accessible from the sea, and Lake Washington, which borders Seattle to the east.
The city of Seattle itself has a land area of 83.99 miles and as of 2020 had 737,015 residents. The greater Seattle area, which includes cities roughly 30 miles to the north and south of Seattle along Puget Sound has 4 million residents.
Why is Seattle So Remote?
Seattle is so remote partially because it was the last area of the United States to be explored. Incredibly, Europeans didn’t set foot into Washington State until after the Revolutionary War’s first battle!
Areas that are the last to be explored in the world generally have lower populations. Just look at how New Zealand (one of the last areas on Earth to be explored) only has about 5 million people in spite of being larger in size than the entire United Kingdom!
Another reason Seattle is so remote is that the United States West Coast is extremely mountainous. If you look from the tip of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula (near Neah Bay) and travel along the Pacific Coast all the way to San Francisco, you’ll find almost no major cities!
That’s because the terrain rarely has large areas of flat land suitable for building large cities. Seattle itself is on one of the larger coastal plains in the region and has protected access to the ocean thanks to Puget Sound. West of Seattle there are mountains for hundreds of miles and then a long prairie. All of these regions are lightly populated.
In fact, if you drive west from Seattle, you won’t hit a city with a metro population of more than a million for about 1,400 miles when you finally arrive at Minneapolis.
Here’s the straight line distance from Seattle to some of the cities “closest” to it:
- Seattle to Portland: 145 miles
- Seattle to San Francisco: 680 miles
- Seattle to Los Angeles: 960 miles
- Seattle to Denver: 1025 miles
- Seattle to San Diego: 1085 miles
- Seattle to Phoenix: 1105 miles
- Seattle to Minneapolis: 1394 miles
- Seattle to Dallas: 1660 miles
- Seattle to Washington DC: 2290 miles
- Seattle to New York: 2425 miles
- Seattle to Boston: 2515 miles
- Seattle to Miami: 2730 miles
Other Seattle Geography Facts
We’ve established that Seattle is the most remote major city in the lower 48 states, but what else is there to know about the city? Let’s review some other essential facts about Seattle:
|Pacific Daylight Time (GMT-7)
|County Located In
|City Population (2020)
|Nearby Mountain Ranges
|Cascade Mountains, Olympic Mountains
|Nearby Bodies of Water
|Puget Sound, Lake Washington
|July Average High (Fahrenheit)
|January Average High (Fahrenheit)