Mystery Soda Machine – Seattle, Washington - Gastro Obscura
Mystery Soda Machine is permanently closed.

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Gastro Obscura

Mystery Soda Machine

An old vending machine serves up unpredictable beverages from its seemingly magical insides.  


A contraption out of time, Seattle’s Mystery Soda Machine dispenses cans of sugary pop for just 75 cents, and while no one knows who stocks this aging landmark, the real question is what it will spit out when the “Mystery” button is pressed.

On the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood lies the world’s most mysterious soda vending machine. Nobody knows the true history of the rusting machine, which looks like it was spat straight out of the Seventies, but locals continue to plunk down their change and the machine never seems to run out of stock. Who first installed the outdoor machine, who stocks it, and who collects the money are all a mystery. 

The modern antique offers a comparatively limited selection of drinks with yellowed plastic buttons offering Coke, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and Barq’s, but the intriguing button marked “Mystery” generally produces none of these. According to one report, after spending five dollars in change on the mystery button, the machine produced six different brands of soda, none of which had their own button on the machine.

UPDATE: The machine has been upgraded so now every button provides mystery!

Given the air of the unknown that surrounds the vending relic, many locals have tried to divine the origins of the machine and its endless wellspring of name-brand soda, but so far no answers have been forthcoming, no matter how many times the “Mystery” button is pressed.

Update as of July 2018: It appears the mysteries of the Mystery Soda Machine are continuing. The machine is missing, and it’s unknown who took it or why.

Update as of June 2019:  The mystery soda machine is missing from its previous home in front of the locksmith, and has yet to return.

Update as of October 2022: The Mystery Soda Machine can be found at 17503 8th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA On the corner of NE 175th and 8th Ave NE.

Update as of December 2022: The Mystery Soda Machine is no longer located at the above address and appears to be missing again. 

Know Before You Go

It is now outside a private residence in Shoreline Washington. Individuals are welcome to come up and try their luck. Just be respectful to the neighbors and residents.

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