In 2006, the city had an estimated population of 582,174 and an estimated metropolitan area population of approximately 3.3 million. Seattle is the hub and largest city of the Seattle metropolitan area, often called Puget Sound, which also includes Tacoma, Bellevue, and Everett. From 1869 until 1982, Seattle was known as the "Queen City". Seattle's current official nickname is the "Emerald City", the result of a contest held in the early 1980s; the reference is to the lush evergreen trees in the surrounding area. Seattle is also referred to informally as the "Gateway to Alaska", "Rain City", "Coffee Town", and "Jet City", the latter from the local influence of Boeing. Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.
Seattle is the birthplace of grunge music, and has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption; coffee companies founded or based in Seattle include Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Tully's. There are also many successful independent artisanal espresso roasters and cafes. Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle the most literate city of America's sixty-nine largest cities in 2005 and 2006 and second most literate in 2007. Moreover, analysis conducted in 2004 by the United States Census Bureau of 2002 survey data indicated that Seattle was the most educated large city in the U.S. with 48.8 percent of residents 25 and older having at least bachelor degrees. Based on per capita income, in 2006 the Seattle metropolitan area ranked 17th out of 363 metropolitan areas in a study by the Census Bureau. Seattle was also the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization.
Seattle's cool mild climate allows outdoor recreation including walking, cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, boating, team sports, and swimming. In town many people walk around Green Lake, through the forests and along the bluffs and beaches of 2.2 km² Discovery Park (the largest park in the city) in Magnolia, along the shores of Myrtle Edwards Park on the Downtown waterfront, or along Alki Beach in West Seattle. Also popular are hikes and skiing in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains and kayaking and sailing in the waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia.
Seattle is home to one of the United States's most respected public research universities, the University of Washington. A study by Newsweek International in 2006 cited UW as the twenty-second best university in the world. Seattle also has a number of smaller private universities including Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University, both founded by religious groups; universities aimed at the working adult, like City University and Antioch University; and a number of arts colleges, such as Cornish College of the Arts and Art Institute of Seattle. In 2001, Time magazine selected Seattle Central Community College as best college of the year, stating the school "pushes diverse students to work together in small teams".[wikipedia]