Area code 206

Area code 206 is a North American telephone area code in the U.S. state of Washington serving Seattle and most of its innermost suburbs. The numbering plan area (NPA) includes such suburbs as Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, the islands of Mercer, Bainbridge, and Vashon, and portions of metropolitan Seattle from Des Moines to Woodway.

Numbering plan areas of Washington, with 206 highlighted in red.

As of January 2017, 206 was one of the last urbanized numbering plan areas in the North American Numbering Plan without a overlay area code, making Seattle one of the largest cities where calls could still be originated by seven-digit dialing. On January 28, 2017, area code 564 was activated as an overlay for most of the western portion of Washington, and ten-digit dialing became mandatory on July 29, 2017.[1][2]


Area code 206 was one of the original area codes assigned in 1947, and originally covered the entire state of Washington. On January 1, 1957, area code 509 was assigned for the eastern two-thirds of Washington in a flash-cut, with the split roughly following the Cascade Mountains.[citation needed]

Despite western Washington's explosive growth in the second half of the 20th century, this configuration remained in place for 38 years. By the start of the 1990s, however, 206 was on the brink of exhaustion because of the Seattle area's continued growth, as well as the proliferation of cell phones, pagers, and fax machines. The supply of numbers was further limited because much of the southern portion of the old 206 territory (Vancouver, Centralia, Kelso, etc.) is part of the Portland LATA, meaning many numbers in Portland's area code 503 weren't available for use.

Finally, on January 15, 1995, most of the old 206 territory outside of the Seattle/Tacoma area split off as area code 360, which was one of the first two area codes not conforming to the N0X/N1X format.[3]

Numerous residents in the Seattle exurbs protested about no longer being associated with 206, leading US West, now part of CenturyLink, to transfer these areas back to 206 shortly after the split. As part of the reintegration, the cities of Des Moines and Woodway were both split between the new area codes, required by the capacity of the switching centers.[4]

However, 206 was on the brink of exhaustion even after the 360 split. The return of these exurbs, combined with the continued proliferation of cell phones, faxes, and pagers, hastened a three-way split of the 206 territory, effective on April 25, 1997. The southern portion, including Tacoma, received area code 253, while the northern portion, including Everett and the Eastside, was assigned area code 425.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New area code coming to western Washington" (Press release). Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. May 19, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "WA 360, 206, 253 and 425 Area Code Overlay Notification | T-Mobile". Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  3. ^ Buck, Richard (January 27, 1995). "Some not quite on line with 360 area code". The Seattle Times. p. D1. Retrieved June 21, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Brooks, Diane (November 14, 1997). "Mayor's call splits up Woodway". The Seattle Times. p. A26. Retrieved June 21, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "New area codes coming: Thank your fax, modem". The Seattle Times. July 9, 1996. p. A1.
  6. ^ Lewis, Peter (April 3, 1997). "7-digit phone number no longer enough". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Retrieved June 21, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Washington area codes: 206, 253, 360, 425, 509, 564
North: 360, 425
West: 360 Area Code 206 East: 425
South: 253

Coordinates: 47°37′9.37″N 122°20′28.38″W / 47.6192694°N 122.3412167°W / 47.6192694; -122.3412167