Area code 206
206 is the North American telephone area code in the U.S. state of Washington for Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, the islands of Mercer, Bainbridge, and Vashon, and portions of metropolitan Seattle from Des Moines to Woodway.
Area code 206 was one of the original area codes created in 1947; at first, it covered all of Washington state. On January 1, 1957, area code 509 was created for the eastern two-thirds of the state in a flash-cut, with the split roughly following the Cascades. On January 15, 1995, most of the old 206 territory outside of the Seattle-Tacoma area split off to form area code 360 (one of the first two area codes not of N0X/N1X form).
Several residents in the Seattle exurbs complained about no longer being associated with 206, leading US West (now part of CenturyLink) to put them back shortly after the split. However, 206 was already close to exhaustion even after the 1995 split due to the proliferation of cell phones and pagers. This hastened a three-way split of the 206 territory that took effect on April 25, 1997. The southern portion, including Tacoma, became 253, while the northern portion became 425.
This area code is one of the few urbanized area codes without an overlay, meaning Seattle is one of the few major cities where seven-digit dialing is still possible. Despite the Seattle area's rapid growth, it will likely stay that way through at least 2025. Area code 564 has been reserved as an overlay for the entire western half of the state at some point after 2017. There are conflicting reports as to whether ten-digit dialing will become mandatory in Seattle and the surrounding area when area code 564 is implemented.
|Washington area codes: 206, 253, 360, 425, 509|
|North: 425, 360|
|West: 360||Area Code 206||East: 425, 509|
|South: 253, 360|
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