There are a whole lot of really cool places to see in Seattle, Washington – Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, Puget Sound, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and plenty of other things make it a fun and place to play tourist. But there’s one interesting thing you can visit in Seattle that many tourists don’t know about – and it’s so small that it’s really simple to miss, too.
The Mystery Soda Machine can be found on the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, right in front of Broadway Locksmith. Looking like a typical 1970s era Coca Cola machine that’s weathered the last handful of decades, for years it’s offered relatively typical choices of Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi and Barq’s, but also has had 2 “mystery” selections that, for the price of just three quarters, will be a surprise. Maybe it would be a Dr. Pepper! Or a Sunkist! Or maybe it won’t be a soda at all and you’ll get a can of Lipton Brisk Iced Tea! You never knew what you’re going to get. It’s…a mystery.
To add to the fun, a couple of years ago, maybe around 2014ish, they went from 2 mystery flavors to all 6 buttons being mystery choices. The boys below recently got Mt. Dew Voltage (left) and A&W Cream (right).
The other mystery is apparently the machine never (well, rarely) runs out of cans, yet no one knew when the machine would be refilled, or who did it. For years and years no one ever saw anyone take all the coins out or put more cans in. So again…it’s a mystery (spoiler alert…that part of the mystery was apparently solved a few years ago; we found an article that reported the details of the “Who refills the machine?” question. But we’re not going to link the article – that would be like proving there’s no Santa Claus).
Now, I wouldn’t say the Mystery Soda Machine is a reason to go to Seattle in the same way as people go to NYC to see Broadway shows or to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World. But if you’re already in the neighborhood, why not stop by and drop some quarters? You never know what you’re going to get!
UPDATE FEBRUARY: This post was originally written in mid-2017 and it seems that the mystery of the Mystery Machine has become even more mysterious. In June of 2018, the Mystery Machine just…disappeared, leaving only a sign that said, “Went For A Walk.”
Since then the Mystery Machine’s Facebook page has posted photos of itself Photoshopped all over Seattle, but its actual whereabouts are, at this time, a mystery.
Hopefully, it’ll return home soon.
*** Huge thanks to Kat O. for her assistance with this post!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary