President Joe Biden is visiting Seattle on Friday, joining a long line of presidents that have come to the Emerald City.

Biden will use his Earth Day appearance to discuss his work “bringing down costs for American families” and growing the clean energy economy, according to a White House news release last week.

Before heading to Seattle, Biden will visit Portland on Thursday to discuss the $1 trillion infrastructure package approved by Congress and signed into law in November. The bill will allocate $1.2 billion in Oregon and $8.6 billion for Washington state.

Live news updates as President Biden visits Portland and Seattle Thursday

Past visits from the White House led to road closures and increased traffic because of presidential motorcades. Typically, the U.S. Secret Service does not reveal the exact route in advance, which can make it tough to predict which roads will be closed.

Biden last visited Seattle in November 2019 while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primaries, attending a fundraiser at the home of Amazon executive David Zapolsky.


His visit Friday comes 141 years after Washington’s first visit by a president, when President Rutherford B. Hayes arrived by steamship at the Yesler wharf in 1880 — 27 years after Washington Territory was founded, according to HistoryLink.

After that, presidents have regularly visited the Puget Sound area to give speeches and go on fishing trips, with Air Force One landing at Boeing Field or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

President Benjamin Harrison visited Seattle in 1891, two years after Washington became a state, and President Theodore Roosevelt visited Seattle in 1903, staying at the Washington Hotel during his trip.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower pressed the button that set in motion an electronic countdown chronometer on Nov. 10, 1958, starting the countdown to the Century 21 Exposition — the official name of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Then-former Vice President Richard Nixon, with his wife and daughter, rode the Seattle Center Monorail during their stay in 1962. President Gerald Ford spoke to a regional convention of restaurant and hotel operators in Seattle in 1980.

President Ronald Reagan was once given a University of Washington hat and football while visiting Seattle Center.


In more recent history, President Barack Obama visited Seattle in June 2016 to campaign for Gov. Jay Inslee and congressional Democrats.

In a less-than 24-hour period, Obama rolled through Seattle and the Eastside in a motorcade and gave a 30-minute speech at the Washington State Convention Center, mentioning that his mother once lived on Mercer Island.

Obama also visited Seattle in 2015 for a reelection event for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray at the Westin Seattle Hotel. Traffic was halted as Interstate 5 and other downtown streets were cleared.

While Donald Trump never visited Seattle as a sitting president, he did campaign in Everett, Lynden and Spokane in 2016.

Before that, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were greeted by typical Seattle weather in 2006 and 1996, respectively.

“I know that it’s a little wet out here,” Clinton said at a rally at Pike Place Market, before adding that it hadn’t rained on his previous visits. “I feel that finally you have finally accepted me as one of your own.”

Material from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect date for President Eisenhower’s visit and the incorrect status of Richard Nixon in 1962.