Analytics can be fussy. They will show us the most read, most engaging, and most shared stories, but they don’t necessarily show the personal favorites, the stories that kept us up at night, or the pieces that took hundreds of hours of reporting and transcribing and crying and staring at the floor until the words finally came. I kind of hate analytics.

Still, they can make for an interesting look back. And sometimes stars and analytics align and the story a writer is most proud of is also their most popular! How? Why? Who knows! Life is a mystery. Anyway, as we head into the second three-day holiday weekend in a row, I don’t want to turn on my brain to write a real post, so let’s take a look at the most popular Stranger stories of 2023!

Undoubtedly, our primary and general election endorsement guides and cheat sheets were the most-read pieces on the site. Hundreds of thousands of you beautiful voters read them! (They also top our “engaged minutes” analytics, proving you really did read them and didn’t just, like, click in and yell “Fuck you, Stranger cucks!” at the screen and close the tab. Cool!)

Along with our endorsements—which take more meetings and emails to organize than you’ll ever realize, tbh—this year we published nearly 2,000 articles, put out four more print issues, and still found time to produce an amateur porn festival, a comedy showcase, and a billion videos for social media because they say social media is the future of journalism. We’ve been very busy!

And next year will be even bigger. There’s a presidential election and a new, potentially more conservative city council that will need to be kept in check, and we have seven—count ‘em, SEVEN!—print editions in the works. Physical media is back, motherfuckers! Forget what I said about social media, print is the future! (You can follow us on TikTok here.) 

Whether you just read our most popular pieces or clicked on every single thing we published, thank you for reading, friends and foes alike. Sincerely. We’ll see you in 2024.

The Stranger's Top 20 News and City Stories*

After Months, SPD Finally Responds to Allegations of Serial Sexual Assault by Will Casey (January 6)

Is Bellevue Dying? by Charles Mudede (June 30)

How Portland Became Seattle Is Dying (May 31) by Charles Mudede

Seattle Police Officer Hurls Racist Slur at Chinese-American Neighbor by Ashley Nerbovig (September 22)

Trans Woman Faces Death Threats after Right Wing Blows Up Olympus Spa Lawsuit by Vivian McCall (June 13)

Vote Yes on Initiative 135 by Stranger Election Control Board (January 26)

Tenant Dead, Sheriff’s Detective Shot After Eviction Attempt by Ashley Nerbovig (March 20)

No, Washington Did Not Just Pass a Law Allowing the State to Kidnap and Transgenderify Children by Vivian McCall (April 19)

General Election Night 2023: Stop the Corporate Takeover by Stranger Election Control Board (November 7)

Y'all love to read about elections! RS

Vote “Approved” on King County’s Crisis Care Centers Levy by Stranger Election Control Board (April 6)

New Seattle Times Columnist Believes Hitler Wasn't as Bad as You Think by Charles Mudede (July 12)

Will the Unfinished Towers in the Denny Triangle Become Like the Pit Next to City Hall? by Charles Mudede (December 7)

Let's Be Real About Why MacPherson's Fruit & Produce Is Vanishing by Charles Mudede (October 5)

Read This Post If You Want to Learn the Real Reason for the Bartell Apocalypse by Charles Mudede (December 19)

Six Takeaways from Seattle’s 2023 General Elections by Hannah Krieg, Ashley Nerbovig, and Rich Smith (November 8)

Why I’m Not Running Again for City Council by Kshama Sawant (January 19)

Twenty-Six City Workers Told the Mayor That City Council Candidate Maritza Rivera Was a Bad Boss by Hannah Krieg (July 3)

Buybacks Continue to Take Big Bites Out of Seattle's Economy by Charles Mudede (May 15)

Why Did Marc Dones Resign? by Hannah Krieg (May 16)

Seattle Is Dying Doesn't Give a Damn About Cars Frequently Crashing Into Small Businesses by Charles Mudede (February 13)

*Excluding our endorsement packages and cheat sheets because those topped the list by a wide margin. Democracy!

Investigative journalism at its finest. ANTHONY KEO

The Stranger's Top 20 Arts and Culture Stories

Two Women Accuse Documentary Filmmaker Andrew Callaghan of Rape, Sexual Assault by Chase Hutchinson (February 28)

An Investigation of Seattle’s Most Expensive Taco Bell by Vivian McCall (May 16)

The 15 Best Restaurants in the Seattle Area 2023 by Meg van Huygen (July 19)

HoneyHole’s Owner Is Missing by Vivian McCall (October 31)

Young at Heart by Zenith Wolfe (March 31)

I’m Breaking Up with Seattle by Anonymous (July 6)

More Women Accuse YouTuber Andrew Callaghan of Sexual Misconduct and Assault by Chase Hutchinson (January 13)

Crying in Dirty Doc Martens with 30,000 Bisexuals by Brittne Lunniss (July 31)

Boygenius performing at the Gorge. BRITTNE LUNNISS

How a West Seattle Meat Emporium Quietly Became One of the Best Bakeries in Seattle by Megan Seling (August 11)

Comfort Zone by Meg van Huygen (November 24) 

David Byrne’s Reasons to Be Cheerful Is Exactly the Kind of Progressivism That Tanked in Seattle by Charles Mudede (November 20)

The Best Bites for Every Price by Stranger Staff (February 1)

How Yeet It Is by Brittney Bush Bollay (February 9)

The Stranger Presents: How to Seattle by Stranger Staff (June 15)

Eight Must-Try Restaurants in Seattle by Stranger Staff (July 6)

Bumbershoot Returns This Labor Day Weekend With New Leadership, Wrestling by Megan Seling (February 21)

What the TV Show The Diplomat Tells Us About Seattle Progressivism by Charles Mudede (May 1)

My Mom Came to Visit This Weekend by Hannah Krieg (July 24)

Where to Get Great Coffee in Seattle That Isn’t Starbucks by Meg van Huygen (June 20)

Stop Saying Kiddo for the Love of Goddo by Anonymous (May 3)