Due to the proximity, Seattle is a city like no other due to its Asian influence. The city is the largest metropolis in the Pacific Northwest and is a crucial gateway between Asia and the United States.


Seattle History

Seattle lies on a land strip between Lake Washington and the waters of Puget Sound. What is now known as West Seattle, natives settled in the city on November 13, 1851. Around the 1870’s, immigrants from Asia traveled and settled in the newly founded town because there was an abundance of service and lumber jobs. Specifically, Asian men immigrated to work on the railroads being built, in coal mines, on boats fishing or even at canneries and sawmills. In the mid-1880’s, during an economic downturn, the Asian settlers were accused of taking jobs away from the majority white population and were therefore driven out of the city through a series of destructive anti-Asian riots. However, Asian settlement persisted, with the immigrants established in a well-defined Chinatown where they maintained their culture through family groups, associations, and churches.


Current Seattle

The city’s population has become increasingly diversified. The second largest racial group in Seattle is Asian, which is also the fastest growing group in the city. Throughout the years, Asian immigrants have created and shaped complex and urban neighborhoods throughout the city, establishing an Asian influence all over Seattle.

Within the city, there are two neighborhoods known as the International District and Little Saigon that are filled with influences from the Filipinos, Pacific Islanders, Vietnamese, Korean and other South/Southeast regions. These neighborhoods are filled with Asian traditions, decorations, and cuisine. The International District, also known as Chinatown, is home to many Asian influenced restaurants, shops, markets, herbalists, galleries and more. A favorited attraction in Chinatown is the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience because it is the only pan-Asian Pacific American museum in the country. The museum is home to beautiful monuments of culture, history, and art. The Kubota Garden is another favorite spot due to its extensive traditional work by the Japanese-American Fujitaro Kubota.

Seattle also holds many events throughout the year based on Asian tradition. One popular event is the Lunar Year Celebration, which is held in January or February. The event features lively dragon and lion dances, traditional cuisine and taiko drumming. Other famous events include the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Dragon Fest, Bon Odori, Pista Sa Nayon, Chinatown Seafair Parade, and the Seattle Dragon Boat Festival.


The city of Seattle is full of rich cultural heritage, primarily based on Asian influence. Ever since settlement, Asian Pacific Americans have played an important role in shaping the culture of Seattle.

Mitch Levy is originally from the east coast, but spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. Read more on why he loves Seattle or check out his Twitter!