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Mapping 15 Iconic Signs That Define The Seattle Skyline

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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.

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1. Pike Place Market

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85 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 682-7453
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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

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616 Battery St
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-6776
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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

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Airport Way South & South Doris Street
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

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Fremont Avenue North & North 35th Street
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

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1400 NW 52nd St
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-4851
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"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

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1801 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 632-9253
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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

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712 NE 45th St
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 675-9116
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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

8. Dick's Drive-In Sign

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115 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 323-1300
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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"

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2411 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-4119
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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

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97 S Main St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-3579
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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

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1800 South Jackson Street
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

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201 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 324-7111
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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

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1250 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
(206) 346-4001
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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

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2124 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 728-1966
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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

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2717 61st Avenue Southwest
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.

1. Pike Place Market

85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

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

85 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101

2. Elephant Car Wash Sign

616 Battery St, Seattle, WA 98121

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

616 Battery St
Seattle, WA 98121

3. The Rainier Brewery R

Airport Way South & South Doris Street, 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

Airport Way South & South Doris Street
Seattle, WA 98108

4. Fremont's Center of the Universe Mile Marker

Fremont Avenue North & North 35th Street, 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

Fremont Avenue North & North 35th Street
Seattle, WA 98103

5. Bardahl Manufacturing Corporation

1400 NW 52nd St, Seattle, WA 98107

"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

1400 NW 52nd St
Seattle, WA 98107

6. Wallingford Sign at QFC

1801 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

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...

1801 N 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103

7. Blue Moon Tavern Sign

712 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105

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

712 NE 45th St
Seattle, WA 98105

8. Dick's Drive-In Sign

115 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

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

115 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

9. The Edgewater Hotel "E"

2411 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121

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.

2411 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98121

10. Bread Of Life Mission Neon Sign

97 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

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

97 S Main St
Seattle, WA 98104

11. Wonder Bread Sign

1800 South Jackson Street, 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

1800 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98144

12. Rite Aid Broadway Marquee

201 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

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...

201 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

13. Safeco Field Sign

1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

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.

1250 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134

14. Top Pot Doughnuts Sign

2124 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

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.

2124 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

15. Alki Homestead Sign

2717 61st Avenue Southwest, 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.

2717 61st Avenue Southwest
Seattle, WA 98116