You can tell a lot about a city by its iconic signage. Are they old timey neon lights that tell a story about a city from time past? Are they giant & bold, screaming out to look at us cause we're going places?!? Are they trying to sell you a product, or at least an idea of what it means to be here? Seattle has had its share of historic signs and it still does. While many of the classic ones are gone (R.I.P., Grandma's Cookies sign, Carnation ice cream plant sign & Great Northern Railway sign). There are still stories in the sky here, ones that tell us where we are, where we're going and what we have in store. We perused all of the notable, infamous and iconic signs we could find and then mapped out the very best below. If you think we're missing any, let us know in the comments.Read More
Mapping 15 Iconic Signs That Define The Seattle Skyline
1. Pike Place Market
There's probably no Seattle sign found in more tourist photos than the Public Market Center sign atop the Pike Place Market stalls. The nearby "Meet The Producers" sign also warrants honorable mention. Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
2. Elephant Car Wash Sign
The owner of the car wash says the neon elephant is "probably the most photographed car wash sign in the country" and we're inclined to agree. Not too often a car wash sign becomes a major visual cue for both tourists and locals. Photo: Keith Bellvay
3. The Rainier Brewery R
Seattle, WA 98108
The red Rainier "R" logo has become an icon of the Rainier Brewing Company, dating back to the 1900s. The current "R" logo was adopted in the 1950s. It was replaced with a green neon Tully's "T" sign in 200 but a new version was re-installed in 2013. The replica "R" sign is different from the original, most notably that it has LED lights. Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
4. Fremont's Center of the Universe Mile Marker
Seattle, WA 98103
Located at the Center of the Universe, a.ka. right smack dab in the middle of Fremont, this notable mile marker lets you know how long it will take you to get to places near (The Troll), far (Rio De Janiero) and nonexistent (Atlantis). Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
5. Bardahl Manufacturing Corporation
"ADD IT TO YOUR GAS, ADD IT TO YOUR OIL, ADD BARDAHL." It's the message Ballardites have been getting loud and clear since 1953. Perched atop the headquarters of the Bardahl Oil Company, the neon sign shines bright every night forcing out-of-towners to wonder what the hell Bardahl is. Photo: Joe Wolf
6. Wallingford Sign at QFC
As the story goes, before there was a QFC on this spot, there was Food Giant. When they went out of business, letters from that sign were used to spell out a new WALLINGFORD sign. The rest is Wallingford history...
7. Blue Moon Tavern Sign
The Blue Moon Tavern opened in April 1934. The original sign dates from the 1990s but is now located inside. This replacement is smaller and the woman is differently posed, but it carries the same effect. Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
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8. Dick's Drive-In Sign
Is there no greater clarion call in Seattle at 1am than to turn onto Broadway and see the giant sign for Dick's beckoning you to devour their greasy burgers and salted fries? We think not... Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
9. The Edgewater Hotel "E"
The giant "E" atop the Edgewater Hotel made it past the 1994 renovation, though it was updated to have a bit more swooshiness. It still draws attention to one of Seattle's most iconic and infamous hotels.
10. Bread Of Life Mission Neon Sign
A religious gathering spot dedicated to helping Seattle's homeless, a lot of passers-by know it as the place with the bright red and green neon sign. You can't miss it, no matter what you're looking for. Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia
11. Wonder Bread Sign
Seattle, WA 98144
Only in Seattle do we place a giant Wonder Bread sign atop an apartment complex and not bat an eyelash. The Legacy at Pratt Park complex now sits where the old Wonder Bread factory once did, hence the signage. Photo: Paul Sableman
12. Rite Aid Broadway Marquee
The Rite Aid marquee dates back to the 1940s and marks the site of the old Broadway Theater. Depending on what's going on inside the store these days, you might still catch a show...
13. Safeco Field Sign
Maybe it's not the oldest or most iconic, but it's the sign that Seattle sports fans see the most these days and the one that welcomes them to watch whatever it is the Mariners are doing.
14. Top Pot Doughnuts Sign
The story behind the name helps give this sign a special bonus. Two of the company co-founders found a vintage rustic neon sign above a boarded-up Chinese restaurant called "Topspot". They bought the sign, and then left it idle in a backyard for four years. Then, when the sign was finally driven off to be restored, the center "S" fell off, leaving the words "Top Pot" behind. The rest is doughy history. Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia.
15. Alki Homestead Sign
Seattle, WA 98116
One of the earliest extant structures in West Seattle’s Alki neighborhood, it was almost lost to a fire in 2009. Since then the building has been restored and the homestead sign hangs on for dear life up top as a reminder of Seattle's birthplace.