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Seattle’s 1999 time capsule

What was Seattle like at the turn of the millennium? We took a look back at the final year of the 20th century to see what life was like pre-Y2K.

The Space Needle and a Seattle aerial shot with a search bar overlay reading "Seattle 1999"

Hey Google, what was Seattle like in 1999?

Photo via Canva

Do you remember 1999? Ricky Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca” topped the charts, the Blair Witch was providing ample nightmare fuel, and Google officially launched.

To celebrate (the era, not the nightmares), Google Trends opened its time capsule to see which fads were titanic in 1999.

According to the report, adults were watching “The Matrix” and “The Sopranos” while kids were into “Toy Story 2” and “Teletubbies.” People also used the search engine to learn about David Beckham or evaluate their Pokémon cards, and searches for hot sauce set the web ablaze.

Livin La Vida Local

Want to know what life was like in the Emerald City? We dug up some data to help us remember the final year of the 20th century — thanks to some help from a 25-year-old search engine.

The stats:

  • Median family income: $62,600
  • City’s population: 537,150
  • Estimated cost to buy a home: $209,321 (Prices have increased 276%)
  • Average cost of a gallon of gasoline in Washington: $0.771
Two pictures portray two halves of the Ballard Bridge, the left depicting the bridge in 1999 which shows less weather wear on the structure and more diluted coloring, the right side depicting the other side of the bridge in 2024 which looks brighter green, more weather worn, and has more light fixtures and lamp posts marking the passageway.

In 1999, the City Light Millennium Legacy Lighting Project was in its final stages of installing bridge lighting across Seattle ahead of the new millennium.

Left photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, right photo by SEAtoday staff

In the news

The Town Hall community center opened its doors + the Mariners played their first home game at the brand-new Safeco Field.

Major headlines mention the 1999 World Trade Organization protests, the federal government’s recognition of the Snoqualmie Tribe, and the Space Needle’s new historic landmark status.

Sounds of the ‘90s

In addition to drastic civic engagement and landmark-making, the city also hosted some iconic performances.

Spring of 1999 had an incredible lineup of touring artists including Elton John, NSYNC, Billy Joel, and Foo Fighters — the FOMO is real.

Cher made a comeback with her “Do You Believe?” tour at Key Arena (now Climate Pledge Arena), joined by Cyndi Lauper and Wild Orchid.

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