Washington Fun Facts & Trivia

Mount St. Helen’s lost 1,131 feet of elevation in the May 1980 eruption and spewed forth about one cubic mile of dust, ash, and debris. The blast leveled over four billion feet of usable timber, enough to build 150,000 homes.

Everett is the site of the world’s largest building by volume, Boeing’s final assembly plant.

The highest point in Washington is Mount Rainier. It was named after Peter Rainier, a British soldier who fought against the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

It is illegal to display a hypnotized person in a store window in Everett.

Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president.

Seattle built the first revolving restaurant in 1961.

It is illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag.

Washington is home to three National Parks, 1,462 National Register of Historic Places, 17 National Natural Landmarks, 24 National Historic Landmarks, and 186 State Parks.

Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.

On the afternoon of July 4, 1947, Frank Ryman, an off-duty U.S. Coast Guard Yeoman, snapped the first photograph of an alleged flying saucer from the yard of his home in Lake City, north of Seattle.

Mt Rainier, Washington. Photo by the National Park Service.

Mount Rainier has more glacial ice than any other peak in the lower 48 states.

In Wilbur, it is against the law to ride an ugly horse.

Medina is the home of the United States wealthiest man, Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

The Northwestern point in the contiguous U.S. is Cape Flattery on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Microsoft Corporation is located in Redmond.

Spokane was the smallest city to host a World’s Fair in 1974.

Walking about in public is against the law if you have a cold.

Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world, was founded in Seattle.

In Washington, pretending one’s parents are wealthy is illegal.

Washington is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix in Seattle and Bing Crosby in Tacoma.

Destroying the beer cask or bottle of someone else is illegal.

Evergreen Bridge

The Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge at Evergreen Point is the longest floating bridge in the world. The bridge connects Seattle and Medina across Lake Washington.

Seattle was the first city in the world to pump Foreground Music into stores and offices.

X-rays can not be used for shoe fittings.

The world’s first gas station opened in 1907 at Western Avenue and Holgate Street in Seattle.

Seattle was the first American city to put police on bicycles.

In Seattle, it is against the law to carry a concealed weapon over six feet in length.

The first general strike in the nation was in Seattle in 1919 – it lasted five days, February 6-11, as 60,000 shipyard workers left their jobs.

Northgate Center, built in 1950, became the world’s first in the United States to be described as a mall and the first to have public restrooms.

Pike Place Market, photo by Carol Highsmith.

The Pike Place Market in Seattle is said to host a bevy of ghosts and might be the most haunted place in Washington.

Harbor Island is the largest man-made island in the nation.

The Farmer’s Market at Pike Place Market, since 1907, is the longest continuously operating farmer’s market in the U.S.

Vancouver, Washington, requires all motor vehicles to carry anchors as an emergency brake.

Seattle’s houseboat population is the largest east of the Orient.

The First permanent settlement in Puget Sound was Tumwater.

A law in Washington states: “It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police as he is entering the town.”

The Lunar Rover, the vehicle used by astronauts on the moon, was made by Boeing, based in Seattle.

Captain George Vancouver discovered Puget Sound in 1792.

The Square Dance is Oklahoma's State Dance.

Square Dance

In 1979, the square dance was designated as the official Washington state dance.

Hells Canyon is claimed to be the deepest river gorge in North America at 7,993 feet deep. However, that claim is disputed because the reference for the canyon’s depth is a mountain over five miles away and not perceivable from the river.

It is illegal to entice girls away from Maple Lane School for girls.

La Push has the westernmost zip code in the contiguous United States.

The five-mile-long Emmon glacier on Mount Rainier is the longest in the continental United States.

The world’s first espresso cart was established below the Seattle Monorail terminal at Westlake Center in 1980.

Washington has over 40,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 8,000 lakes.

It is against the law to spit on a bus.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls plunges 100 feet further than Niagara Falls.

Mount Rainier was first climbed in 1870 by P.B. VanTrump and General Hazard Stevens.

Long Beach, Washington, is home to the world’s largest frying pan.

The Mercer Island Floating Bridge (now I-90), built in 1950, was the first floating bridge in the world.

The small village of Bickelton is filled with bluebird houses, seen on the posts of every house.

The longest natural sandspit in the United States is the Dungeness Spit along the Straits of Juan de Fuca shoreline.

During the day, motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag. At night, the man should carry a red lantern instead.

Seattle has the country’s highest percentage rate of residents with a college degree.

The Washington State Ferry System is the most extensive Ferry System in the U.S. and the state’s number one tourist attraction.

The Coleman Dock/Washington State Ferry Terminal – Pier 52 is the busiest ferry landing in the U.S.

Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River west of Spokane, Washington, is one of the most significant structures ever built by mankind — a mass of concrete standing 550 feet high and 5,223 feet long, or just shy of a mile. Grand Coulee contains 12 million cubic yards of concrete to build a highway from Seattle to Miami.

The Ginkgo Petrified Forest is one of the largest petrified forests in the world.

There can be up to 786 islands at low tide in Puget Sound.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated March 2023.

Also See: 

United States Trivia, Fun Facts & Firsts

Twisted Facts, History, & More

Offbeat Roadside Attractions, Trivia, & More

Washington – The Evergreen State