84 Interesting & Fun Facts About Washington

Are you ready to dive into the world of a state known for its towering mountains, lush forests, and tech-savvy cities? Let’s journey to Washington, a place where nature and innovation meet. From the bustling streets of Seattle to the serene beauty of Olympic National Park, Washington is full of surprises waiting to be discovered. So, let’s put on our explorer hats and find out what makes Washington an amazing state with these facts about Washington!

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First up, did you know that Washington is called the “Evergreen State”? That’s because it’s full of beautiful green trees that stay green all year round, no matter the season. With its thick forests and lovely parks, Washington is a dream come true for nature lovers. Imagine walking through a forest filled with tall, green trees, even in the middle of winter!

But there’s more to Washington than just its forests. It’s also home to some super cool tech companies, like Microsoft and Amazon. That’s right, some of the gadgets and websites you love to use were created right here in Washington. This state is a place where people are always coming up with new ideas and inventions.

And here’s something really cool for all you music fans: Washington is known as the birthplace of grunge music, a rock music style that became popular in the 1990s. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam started in Washington, changing the music world forever. It’s a state that’s not just green in its landscapes but also in its creativity and culture.

Are you excited to learn more facts about Washington? From its evergreen forests and innovative tech scene to its musical legends, Washington is full of interesting stories and fun facts. Let’s keep exploring and uncover all the amazing things that make Washington a unique and fascinating place to learn about!

Be sure to discover even more interesting facts with our Facts about Kentucky and Facts about Idaho.

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Facts about Washington

  1. The state of Washington was named after the first U.S. president George Washington.
  2. Popularly nicknamed the “Evergreen State” but also known as the “State of Love and Trust,” Washington was the 42nd state to join the United States of America on November 11, 1889.
  3. Washington’s state bird is the American Goldfinch. The American Goldfinch is characterized by its black cap and black wings, and its song.
  4. Apples are a huge export for Washington. Washington produces more apples than any other state.
  5. Washington is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by British Columbia, to the east by Idaho, and to the south by Oregon.
  6. The town of Walla Walla is known for its wine production and is often referred to as the “Napa Valley of Washington.”
  7. The square dance was voted the official state dance back in 1979. That’s because the earliest settlers in Washington, then called the Oregon Territory, brought the dance with them when they headed west. The square dance originated from the French quadrille and evolved among the pioneers on the American frontier.
  8. Boeing camouflaged a secret bomber-maker during World War II by building a fake neighborhood. During World War II, airplane and defense manufacturer Boeing built a giant fake neighborhood atop its Plant No. 2 in Seattle.
  9. In 1969, Washington’s Skamania County passed a law making it illegal to kill Bigfoot. At the time, Sasquatch hunters and believers were showing up to the county with firearms that made locals uneasy. 
  10. The state capital of Washington is Olympia. It is located in Thurston County, on the southern end of Puget Sound. The city has a population of around 52,000 people and is known for its mild climate, beautiful natural surroundings, and diverse cultural and recreational opportunities.
  11. It has a population of 7,614,893 people (as of 2019), making it the 13th most populous state.
  12. Washington’s state flower is the Coast Rhododendron. It was chosen as the state flower in 1892 by the women of Washington–before their right to vote–at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
  13. Everett, Washington is home to the world’s largest building: the final assembly plant for Boeing.
  14. The state has a total size of 71,362 mi² (184,827 km²), putting it right between South Dakota and North Dakota in terms of size.
  15. The town of Winthrop is designed as a Western-themed town, complete with wooden boardwalks and Old West-style facades.
  16. The 1974 World’s Fair was held in Spokane, Washington. At the time, Spokane was the smallest city to host the World’s Fair.
  17. There are approximately 88 UFO sightings per 100,000 residents according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
  18. The state’s largest city is Seattle. The city has a population of around 730,000 people and is known for its mild climate, beautiful natural surroundings, and vibrant cultural and economic scenes.
  19. Washington is bordered by the states of Oregon and Idaho.
  20. Washington’s state insect is the Green Darner dragonfly.
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  1. The largest coffee chain in the world, Starbucks, was famously founded in Seattle, Washington.
  2. If it were a country, Washington would be almost the same size as Syria and slightly larger than Cambodia.
  3. The town of Walla Walla is known for its annual “Onion Festival,” where visitors can enjoy various onion-related activities and culinary delights.
  4. The Washington State Patrol started in 1921 with an initial force of six officers. They didn’t patrol the road by car, however. Their first vehicles were a fleet of Indian Motorcycles.
  5. Washington State produces around 75% of all the hops grown in the United States.
  6. The 11th of November in 1889 was the day when Washington became the 42nd state to join the Union. It was the only state that joined the Union in the same year that the Dakota Territory did. The western portion of the Washington Territory, which had been established in 1853, served as the basis for its formation.
  7. With a total of 71,362 square miles (184,827 square kilometers) of land and water, it is the 18th largest state.
  8. Washington’s state flag is the only green state flag. It was created by a jeweler in 1889 with an ink bottle, a silver dollar to draw the rings, and a postage stamp of George Washington!
  9. The Olympic Peninsula in the northwest corner of Washington is one of the rainiest places in the world, containing the only rainforest in the continental United States.
  10. With a population of over 7.7 million people, Washington ranks 13th in the country, putting it between Virginia and Arizona in terms of population.
  11. Washington State has four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Bridge and Homer M. Hadley Bridge, the Hood Canal Bridge, and the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge.
  12. Washington State is known for having the highest number of glaciers in the contiguous United States. 
  13. The highest point in Washington is Mount Rainier. The mountain stands at an elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 meters) and is covered in glaciers and snowfields. It is an active volcano and has the potential to erupt again in the future. 
  14. Mount Rainier is a popular destination for climbers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, who come to admire its natural beauty and challenge themselves on its steep slopes. 
  15. The capital of Washington is Olympia, which is located in the west of the state. With a population of 54,000, it is smaller than 23 other cities in the state.
  16. Palouse Falls drops 189 feet into the basin below. It’s 10th on the list of the world’s most amazing waterfalls! Palouse Falls is one of the last remaining Washington waterfalls that flows year-round and was left behind by ice-age floods.
  17. The first exploration of the area that is now Washington was in 1775 by the Spanish; however, the area was famously explored by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
  18. Washington is home to the largest ferry system in the United States.
  19. The Pig War occurred in 1859 after an American living on the contested San Juan Islands shot a pig rooting through his garden. The pig belonged to a British resident who reported the American, Lyman Cutlar, to the island’s British authorities.
  20. In 1965, three dads on Bainbridge Island came up with a new sport called pickleball to keep their kids entertained. The popular game is still played all over the island and beyond. 
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  1. The state’s economy is driven by industries such as technology, agriculture, and aerospace.
  2. People have been living in Washington for at least 13,000 years!
  3. Women could technically face an automatic six-month jail term for sitting on a man’s lap on a train or bus, without placing a pillow between them first, that is. 
  4. With more than 1,000 wineries in Washington, the area is abundant in vineyards and tasting rooms. Washington state has 19 unique AVAs, with most of them located in the sunny Columbia Basin.
  5. The Washington state flower is the coast rhododendron, and the state bird is the willow goldfinch.
  6. Vancouver, Washington sits right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The river forms much of the border between the two states.
  7. Washington is one of the few states where it is legal to possess and consume raw milk. There are even raw milk vending machines in some areas.
  8. From 17 to 6 million years ago, lava erupted from fissures and covered much of Washington state in a layer hundreds of thousands of feet deep.
  9. In 1969, a law was passed to punish anyone proven guilty of murdering Sasquatch with up to five years in jail. The law was amended in 1984, reducing the penalty to no more than six months of incarceration and a $500 USD fine.
  10. Spitting on a bus or painting polka dots on the American flag are both punishable by law.
  11. Petrified wood is a type of fossilized wood. This unique fossil is found all over North America. It was named Washington’s state gem because of the vast presence of rare petrified Gingko trees in the state.
  12. There were at least 125 unique tribes living in Washington before Europeans arrived.
  13. Washington state is home to six four-year public universities, along with more than 300 private colleges and career schools. 
  14. Before Washington became a state, it was known as the Columbia Territory. However, so that it would not be confused with the District of Columbia, the name was changed to Washington.
  15. WA is the official abbreviation for Washington.
  16. Washington State is known for mining metals such as aluminum, lead, and gold.
  17. In 1963, Amos Peters built the 60-foot Nutty Narrows Bridge six yards above the road to allow for safe squirrel passage between R. A. Long Park and the neighboring area.
  18. The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge over Lake Washington is the longest floating bridge in the world. This bridge, which connects Seattle to Mercer Island, Bellevue, and beyond, is 7,710 feet long.
  19. Washington has three national parks for outdoor enthusiasts. The parks are Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and the Olympic National Park.
  20. The state is also home to several military bases and facilities, including Joint Post Lewis-McChord which houses The I Corps and 62nd Airlift Wing in Pierce County. 
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  1. Washington State became the 42nd state in the United States. Washington state gained its star on the American flag on November 11, 1889, after a hiatus of thirteen years when no new states were accepted by Congress into the Union.
  2. Seattle is home to the first gas station in the world.
  3. Washington has plenty of strange laws. For instance, purchasing a mattress or meat on a Sunday is technically illegal.
  4. Residents of Washington are called Washingtonians or ‘toners.
  5. A tiny piece of Washington State called Point Roberts can only be accessed by land from Canada (making it a “pene-exclave”). It’s at the southern tip of the Tsawwassen peninsula south of Vancouver. 
  6. The town of Soap Lake is known for its unique mineral-rich lake, which is said to have healing properties. People visit the lake for its purported therapeutic benefits as it has 23 minerals.
  7. The small town of Bickleton, Washington, is known as the Bluebird Capital of the World. For a town with a population of fewer than 100 residents, they impressively maintain around 2,000 wooden bluebird houses in Bickleton and the surrounding area.
  8. The remote Palouse Falls is one of Washington’s best waterfalls. Despite how far it is from most major cities, Palouse Falls is well worth a visit and makes for a great road trip. It was named Washington’s state waterfall in 2014.
  9. Washington was the first state to have a female governor, Dixy Lee Ray, who served from 1977 to 1981. Ray was a scientist and professor before she got into politics.
  10. Washington is home to several major technology companies, including Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon.
  11. The Lewis and Clarke Expedition reached Washington in November 1805.
  12. Washington’s Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydroelectric plant in the U.S. The Grand Coulee Dam is the greatest source of hydroelectric energy in the United States! It has a total generation capacity of 6,765 MW.
  13. Father’s Day was first started in Washington in 1910.
  14. 52% of the state’s total land area is covered by forests, mostly to the west of the North Cascades.
  15. Seattle is known as “The Coffee Capital of the World” due to being the birthplace of latte art as well as Starbucks Coffee.
  16. The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area around the Pacific Ocean known for abundant active volcanoes, with the Ring of Fire’s Cascade Range partly within Washington State. The Cascade Range is home to several threatening peaks and goes from California to British Columbia, Canada, passing through Oregon and Washington.
  17. Washington is one of only 8 states in the U.S. that collects no personal state income tax. One reason is that the state has a diverse economy and can generate sufficient revenue from other sources.
  18. Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. This mountain went from being the fifth tallest peak in Washington to the 35th in the span of nine hours. When it erupted, it covered the surrounding area in ash, which reached Idaho by noon and drifted as far as Edmonton in Alberta, Canada!
  19. Outside of California’s Silicon Valley, Seattle is the fastest-growing tech startup city. Online retail giant Amazon was started outside of Seattle.
  20. Panama Hotel in Seattle has the last remaining Japanese bathhouse in the United States.
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  1. On June 29, 2021, Hanford experienced the state’s highest temperature ever recorded, 120°F (48.9°C). On December 30, 1968, Mazama and Winthrop experienced the state’s lowest temperature ever recorded at -48°F (-44.44°C).
  2. The world-famous parcel delivery service UPS started in Seattle in 1907.
  3. Washington is home to one of the world’s largest populations of orca whales, the state’s official marine mammal.
  4. In 1853, the Washington Territory was established to distinguish the area north of the Columbia River from that to the south (Oregon). Olympia was its capital.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Washington? Share them with us in the comments! 

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