The Mystery Vending Machine In Seattle That Restocked Itself... And Then Vanished

Here today, gone tomorrow.

vending machine in the forest Mystery Soda Machine/Facebook

Capitol Hill, Seattle’s diverse residential area, is full of hip places to dine or swing by for a cocktail, coffee, or visit indie-style stores.

Known for its melting pot of people and "come one, come all" welcoming vibe, Capitol Hill has a little bit of everything from the eccentric to the eclectic.

But on the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East used to reside the Mystery Soda Machine, an antique vending machine that appeared out of nowhere one day.


The artifact received national news coverage digging into its origins. And then, one day, it just disappeared.

What is the mystery soda machine in Seattle?

The thing that made the aged machine, covered in graffiti and old, peeling paint, special was the excitement about what you might get when you pushed the mystery buttons.



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With any other machine, you might expect to insert your coins and get a Coke or a root beer, but when it came to the Mystery Soda Machine, your 75 cents would get you an unexpected drink that was rare or discontinued, like Mountain Dew White.

Some other beverage flavors it spit out were raspberry-flavored Nestea Brisk, Hawaiian Punch, Grape Fanta, Vanilla Coke, Black Cherry Fresca, and Sunkist Cherry Limeade.

There was no telling what might fall out of the mysterious machine as a push of the button seemed to give people whatever soda suited the machine's fancy.

mystery soda machine seattlePhoto: Another Believer via Wikimedia Commons


What are the origins of the soda machine?

The contraption first appeared sometime in the early 90s under mysterious circumstances.

Since the origins of the machine are unknown, people have come up with some interesting theories about where it came from.

One of those ideas is that it fell from a wormhole, traveling through space and time and landing on Capitol Hill. So, naturally, it left the same way it came.

Despite the media attention it received during its two-decade Capitol Hill run, no one had ever witnessed it being stocked.

But somehow, it always seemed to have soda ready to quench the thirst of anyone who passed by and got curious.

The most viable suspect was the owner of Broadway Locksmith, a local business that neighbored the vending machine.


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Where did the soda machine go?

The infamous Mystery Soda Machine disappeared on June 29, 2018. According to its Facebook page, it stepped away for a walk and a much needed shower.

Since then, the iconic machine has seemingly traveled the world starting with several Seattle landmarks like the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Gum Wall, and Woodland Park Zoo.

After visiting all of the popular Seattle landmarks, the ancient gadget embarked on a world tour, visiting tourist attractions around the world.

But that hasn’t stopped the machine from sending out positive messages on social media to acknowledge holidays and observances for its followers.


There is a beacon of hope for those who are waiting patiently to see if the Mystery Soda Machine will ever return.

On January 29, 2022, the beaten and battered machine posted an update to its Facebook page saying that it may be able to get repaired.


But since then, there have been no updates from the machine.

That news is sure to make the 33,000 people that follow the page diligently scramble to push the mystery buttons once again.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.