Packed between Elliott Bay and the hilly neighborhoods to the east, Downtown Seattle unsurprisingly contains the city's bustling financial and retail district. This is also where many of Seattle's tourist attractions are, including the iconic Pike Place Market, the expansive Seattle Art Museum, the touristy waterfront, and some of the city's most stunning architecture, all within easy walking distance of each other.
Get in Edit
By car Edit
Getting in by car is not recommended, due to the congestion and parking problems, but if you have to, these are the main routes to get in:
- From I-5 northbound, exit either onto James Street (Exit 164) or Seneca Street (Exit 165, on the left side of the road).
- From I-5 southbound, exit onto Stewart Street (Exit 166), Union Street (Exit 165B) or James Street (Exit 165A).
- From SR-99 northbound, exit onto Seneca Street.
- From SR-99 southbound, exit onto Wall Street then turn left onto 5th or 2nd Avenue.
- From I-90 from the Eastside, continue straight onto the 4th Avenue S exit, then turn left towards Downtown, or exit onto I-5 north and follow the I-5 northbound directions.
- From WA-520 from the Eastside, exit onto I-5 south and follow the I-5 southbound directions.
By ferry Edit
Additionally, the 2 King County Water Taxi offers service between Pier 50 on the downtown Seattle waterfront and Seacrest Park in West Seattle and to Vashon Island, with amazing views of the city. Fare is $4.75 for adults ($4 with an ORCA card), $2 for seniors/disabled, $4.75 youth ages 6-18 ($3 with an ORCA card), free for children 5 and under.
3 Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry offers passenger-only ferry service from Pier 50 of the Seattle waterfront to Bremerton, Southworth and Kingston where passengers connect to Kitsap Transit buses on the other side. For going to Port Orchard or Annapolis passengers would transfer to Kitsap Transit's other foot ferry in Bremerton. Washington State Ferries is the only option for going to Bainbridge Island. They go faster than the larger Washington State Ferries.
By public transit Edit
- See also: Seattle#By bus for a list of intercity bus companies serving the Seattle Metropolitan area from Vancouver, BC; Portland, Spokane, and all parts of the state.
Downtown is the hub of Seattle's public transit system and almost every neighborhood in Seattle and outlying suburban cities are connected by a direct bus route to Downtown:
- Community Transit (CT) operates local bus routes within Snohomish County and express buses from downtown Seattle to Lynnwood (402, 421, 422, 425); Edmonds (405,416); Everett (510); Lake Stevens (425); Mukilteo (417); Marysville (421, 422); Snohomish via Monroe (424), Stanwood (422), and to other places in Snohomish County. Express buses operate only during weekday rush hours with buses going into Seattle in the morning and out to Snohomish County in the afternoon/evenings. NB buses board on 4th Ave, check website and schedules for boarding locations.
- Island Transit operates local bus routes within Island County (Whidbey Island and Camano Island). From Everett Station Island Transit goes to Camano Island via Stanwood (412). Passengers can also connect to #3, 411C, 412 bus from CT #422 in Stanwood to get to Camano Island. From the Clinton Ferry Terminal they go up to Oak Harbor (1); and to Freeland via Langley (60) on Whidbey Island.
- King County Metro buses serve Seattle neighborhoods and the surrounding cities in the suburbs of King County. Fares are $2.50 ($2.75 during the weekday rush hour) and include a paper transfer (or an automatic transfer if you pay using an ORCA card) good for two hours. Buses board on 3rd Ave (both directions); 2nd Ave (SB); and 4th Ave (NB). They also board on some of the east-west streets. Check website and schedules for stop locations of your particular route.
- Kitsap Transit operates passenger only catarman ferries to Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth from Pier 50 of the downtown waterfront. Washington State Ferry is still the only thing available for going to Bainbridge Island. Passengers transfer to Kitsap Transit buses from the ferry terminals in Kitsap County and to the following for going further north:
- Jefferson Transit connects Port Townsend to the Kingston Ferry Terminal (14) and the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal via Poulsbo (7 & 390) as the nearest stops to Downtown Seattle. Kitsap Transit #390 connects the North Viking P&R to the Bainbridge Ferry terminal.
- Clallam Transit Strait Shot #123 provides a direct route between the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal and Port Angeles via Poulsbo, Discovery Bay, US-101 @ Jamestown, and Sequim. For going to Port Townsend on the Strait Shot one can transfer to Jefferson Transit #7 at the Poulsbo North Viking P&R or to the #8 bus from Discovery Bay (Jct US-101 and SR-20). A two-hour bus ride from end to end. Check schedules.
- Sound Transit (ST) provides all-day express bus service from the outlying suburbs and cities/municipalities of the Seattle Area such as Bellevue (550), Everett (510), Issaquah (554), Redmond (545), Federal Way (577, 578) and Tacoma (590, 594, 595). Northbound ST buses board along 4th Ave between Jackson and Olive while southbound buses board along 2nd Ave from Stewart to Yesler. Check ST website and schedules for stop locations of your particular route.
- The Sounder, a commuter rail service, has lines running south to Lakewood via Tacoma (S-Line) and north to Everett (N-Line) on two separate routes. The Sounder's station is in the King Street Station, at the southern end of Downtown.
- Pierce Transit (PT) Operates local and regional public transit bus routes in Pierce County. Communities within the county served by this operator's routes include Fife, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup, Steilacoom, Tacoma. From downtown Seattle they operate the Sound Transit routes to Tacoma (590, 594, 595); Lakewood (592,594); Dupont (592); Gig Harbor (595), Federal Way (577,578); Puyallup, and Auburn (578).
- Intercity Transit #620 continues to Lacey and Olympia from SR-512 P&R and the Lakewood Sounder Station in Lakewood.
- Skagit Transit 90x serves as a continuation from ST 510 or Sounder in Everett Station to South Mt Vernon P&R, Mt Vernon Skagit Station, and Burlington. Route 80x continues north from Mt Vernon to Bellingham.
- In addition to buses, Sound Transit also operates the Link Light Rail Line 1, which runs north to Northgate through Capitol Hill and University of Washington. Going south the train goes towards Angle Lake Station in SeaTac via the airport, Tukwila and South Seattle (Rainier Valley). In downtown the light rail runs under 3rd Ave & Pine St with stops in Westlake (5th & Pine, Westlake Mall); University St (3rd Ave & University St); Pioneer Square (3rd & James St); and International District (King St Station on 5th Ave & King St). Construction is underway to extend the light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood and from Angle Lake to Federal Way.
- The South Lake Union Streetcar connects the Westlake Center in north Downtown to the nearby neighborhood of South Lake Union just to the north. Fare is $2.25 for adults, $1.50 youth, and $1 for seniors.
- The Seattle Center Monorail makes a direct connection between Westlake Center and the Seattle Center north of Downtown, which is home to the Space Needle. One-way tickets are $2.25 for adults, $1 seniors/youth; transfers or ORCA cards are not accepted.
Get around Edit
Seattle's downtown is quite compact, and avenues (running NW to SE, parallel to the waterfront) are hill-free and can easily be walked. However, streets (running NE to SW) can be extremely steep. When your feet are tired, hop onto the Metro buses for a break.
A rule of thumb to remember the downtown street names, from Yesler Way to Westlake Park, is the mnemonic "Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest", as the streets are named as six first-letter pairs of these words (Jefferson & James, Cherry & Columbia, Marion & Madison, Spring & Seneca, University & Union, Pike & Pine).
- 1 Argosy Cruises, 1101 Alaskan Way, Pier 55. Cruise times vary by season. Offers special dinner and sightseeing cruises. The most common tour visitors take is the hour-long journey on Elliott Bay, which gives you an excellent view not just of the Space Needle and the Downtown skyline, but the freight harbor to the south as well. Prices vary according to your itinerary; $23.75 for harbor cruise.
- 2 Miner's Landing at Pier 57, 1301 Alaskan Way (on the waterfront below Pike Place Market), ☏ , fax: . Named for once being the main departure point during the Seattle gold rush, Miner's Landing now hosts a food court and a variety of gourmet restaurants, a sports merchandise store, a carousel for kids and the Seattle Great Wheel.
- 3 Seattle Great Wheel, 1301 Alaskan Way, ☏ . Hours vary by season; closes F Sa at midnight, 11PM (July–September) or 10PM (other months) all other days. Rising 175 feet in the air, this Ferris wheel offers a 15-minute ride in one of the wheel's 42 gondolas, each of which can hold up to 8 people. You'll get a wonderful view of the Seattle waterfront, the Downtown skyline, as well as the Puget Sound, the snow-covered Olympics, and the green city hills. $13, $8.50 ages 4-11.
- 4 Pike Place Market, 1501 Pike Pl (1st and Pike, above the waterfront), ☏ , email@example.com. Produce stands: 9AM-5PM daily. Fish markets: 9AM-3PM daily. Crafts market: Th-M 10AM-3PM. Lower levels: 11AM-5PM daily. Restaurants vary. One of Seattle's most touristy destinations, Pike Place Market is a functioning public market; one of the oldest in the country. Mostly indoors, it consists of dozens of little shops tucked into a few square blocks downtown, situated on multiple levels. Even if you hate shopping you might still like this place, with its colorful atmosphere and quirky gimmicks, like the famous seafood stand where the staff toss fish from one end to the other. As the weather gets warmer, many artisans set up booths to sell photographs, glass, ceramics, and fresh flowers. Farmers come to sell their produce, and a vast amount of tiny hole-in-the-wall places offer all kinds of cuisine (French, Russian, Chinese, etc.) It's within walking distance of the waterfront, and crowds fill the market each time a cruise ship is parked in the harbor. Look for big blond Johnny Hahn on his portable piano or one of the other regular street musicians around the market. Be sure to head into the lower levels beneath the crowded main arcade to explore the cramped, dusty shops buried within the building. And don't miss adjacent Post Alley, a hidden gem filled with gourmet restaurants and unique souvenir shops, as well as odd sights like a gum-covered wall.
- 5 Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way (on Pier 59 on the waterfront), ☏ . Exhibits open 9:30AM-6PM; last admission at 5PM. Showcases native fish and mammals of the Pacific Northwest. Among the highlights are the Windows on Washington (WOW) exhibit, two touch tanks featuring animals of the inland sea and outer coast, and a display that holds two giant pacific octopuses, gill sharks and Pacific coral reefs. The outdoor exhibit upstairs features a collection of birds, harbor and Northern fur seals, as well as river and sea otters. At a separate area on the lower level, you can go inside an underwater dome to get up-close with swimming animals from the Puget Sound. $21.95 adults, $14.95 children (4-12), children 3 and under free.
- 6 Seattle Art Museum (SAM), 100 University St (at 1st Ave), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu W F-Su 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-9PM, closed M. The museum's physical displays a good assortment of art from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Though the permanent exhibitions only occasionally delve deeply into a specific subject (such as the enormous variety of pieces in the porcelain room), extensive special exhibitions fill the gap. Tours available. Suggested admission: $19.50 adult, $17.50 senior/military, $2.50 students/youth, children 12 and under free. Admission is free on first Thursday of the month.
- 7 Seattle Public Library-Central Library (Seattle Central Library), 1000 4th Ave, ☏ . M-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. A dramatic glass and steel structure in the heart of Downtown, designed by Rem Koolhaas. This is not an average public library and has become a tourist destination in its own right. A popular way to experience the unique architecture of the building is to take an elevator to the 10th floor, the highest observation deck in the building. From here you can walk down to the main floor through the Book Spiral; the core of the structure which organizes the library's books in one continuous path organized by the Dewey decimal system. Free.
- 8 Sky View Observatory, 701 5th Ave (Take an elevator to the 40th floor, then another elevator to the right to the 73rd floor.), ☏ . Daily 10AM-8PM (check website for extended summer hours and special hours for holidays). This observatory sits on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, one of the tallest buildings on the West Coast and the tallest public observation deck in the Pacific Northwest, sitting 932 feet (284.2 meters) above the ground and more than 330 feet taller than the Space Needle. Great views are offered from the top and some people claim the view is better from here than from the Space Needle. Another advantage over the Space Needle is that this building isn't well known as a tourist attraction, so there's usually little to no line to get to the top. Tickets are available for purchase online ($2 less expensive or in the atrium at the Columbia Center). There is a cafe in the observation deck serving sandwiches and drinks (including beer and wine) and a food court at the bottom of the Columbia Center. $22 adults, $19 seniors and military with ID, $16.for kids 5 to 13.
- 9 Tilikum Place, 2701 5th Ave, ☏ . 6AM-10PM. Etymologically meaning "welcome" in the native Chinook language, Tilikum is home to a statue of Chief Seattle, the chief of the Duwamish tribe that gives this city its name. Sit in the park or in the Tilikum Place Cafe's outdoor seating and enjoy views of the Space Needle while sipping a coffee or enjoying a lunch, and watch the monorail go by.
- 1 Benaroya Hall, 200 University St (at 2nd Ave), ☏ . Free tours offered Tuesday and Friday at noon and 1PM. An aesthetically and acoustically beautiful new concert hall. The official home of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, it also houses other classical and performing arts roadshows.
- 2 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Ave (between Union and University Streets on 5th Avenue), ☏ , email@example.com. The main Seattle venue for touring Broadway musical shows; also hosts a number of original musicals that later head to Broadway.
- 3 Unexpected Productions, 1428 Post Alley (Pike Place Market, look for the gum-covered wall in front), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Seattle's longest running improv theater.
Most of the district's retail is situated around Westlake Station, roughly in an area bordered by 3rd and 8th Avenues, Olive Way and University Street. Brand-name clothing and outerwear are the main draws: the flagship Nordstrom department store dominates the high-end, and the adjacent Macy's serves a more midrange market. Westlake Center has many well-known shops and a food court, and a handful of outlet stores for brands like Columbia and Mountain Hardware are nearby.
Pike Place Market is a tourist attraction, and a place to buy souvenirs and groceries.
- 1 Made in Washington, 1530 Post Alley, ☏ . Daily 10AM-6PM. Sells all kinds of souvenirs exclusive to Washington state. Along with the usual coffee mugs and fridge magnets, they also sell glass sculptures you can find at the Chihuly Arts and Glass, baked salmon, artisan chocolates and the rain-globe, an equivalent to a snow globe but adapted to suit the stereotypical Seattle drizzle. They also have another shop in Westlake Center.
- 2 Pacific Place Mall, 600 Pine St, ☏ . Daily 10AM-8PM. An upscale shopping mall at the heart of Downtown Seattle, featuring brand tenants, but only a handful of dining options. There is also a large movie theater upstairs. "Snow" falls hourly every afternoon to dusk during the holiday shopping season.
Many of the best eating options in Seattle can be found downtown, primarily at the Pike Place Market and in the Belltown neighborhood.
- 1 The 5 Point Cafe, 415 Cedar St (at 5th Ave & Cedar St, adjacent to Tilikum Place Park), ☏ . 24 hours. Seattle's oldest restaurant, serving huge portions of American comfort food since 1929. The full menu is served 24 hours every day. Full bar with stiff drinks, over 25 local beers and liquors. Great jukebox and an eclectic mix of regulars and locals, tourists, politicians, young hipsters, freaks and grouchy old men. Free wifi. Outdoor seating. This is a true piece of Seattle history not to be missed. $10.
- 2 Biscuit Bitch at Caffé Lieto, 1909 1st Ave, ☏ . Weekdays 7:30AM-3PM, weekends 8:30AM-3PM, F Sa 9PM-2:30AM. The b-word is in every single item on the menu, and this excellent breakfast place is a siren call to those seeking hangover relief, providing burgers (replace the bun with a biscuit) sandwiches (replace the bread with a biscuit), and typical Southern style food. $6-$10.
- 3 Ivar's Acres Of Clams, 1001 Alaskan Way (At Pier 54), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM. Smoked salmon plate-lunch and fish-n-chips served outdoors at a scenic downtown waterfront location. Ordering at the walk-up counter outside is inexpensive.Please do not feed ducks and seagulls as human food is harmful for birds! Good food, but pretty touristy $7.
Pike Place Market Edit
The shops around Pike Place Market are an excellent place to grab some cheap eats. Pick up some bread, cheese, sausage and smoked meats and have a picnic on the park at the north end of the Market, or get a cup of coffee and sit at a table on the sidewalk.
- 4 Beecher's Handmade Cheese, 1600 Pike Pl, ☏ . Daily 9AM-6PM. A library of artisan cheese from Pacific Northwest farms, as well as some handmade cheese in the factory next door, worth bringing home as a Seattle souvenir. Try some free samples and be sure to get some of their mac and cheese. Prices per cheese vary, but a piece weighing 0.5 lb generally costs $10.
- 5 The Crumpet Shop, 1503 1st Ave, ☏ . Closed Monday, Tu-Th 7AM-3PM, F-Su 7AM-4PM. Crumpet is a griddle cake originated from England, but you can get one here in Seattle, made with organic ingredients, sweet or savory with a number of toppings. up to $10.
- 6 Ellenos Greek Yogurt, 1500 Pike Pl, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5:30PM, public holidays 9AM-5PM. A bit expensive compared to its supermarket counterparts, but richer in flavor and milk, making this a local favorite. Often has long lines, but they move quickly and the owner is generous with free samples. From $3 for a small cup.
- 7 Jack's Fish Spot, 1514 Pike Pl (in Pike Place Market), ☏ . M–Sa 7:30AM – 6PM, Su 8AM – 5PM. A good place to get seafood, especially dungeness crabs. Market-like atmosphere, seating in stools, and they can cook what you buy.
- Pike Place Chowder. One of the most famous restaurants at Pike Place Market. Selections of exceptional chowder, as well as sandwiches and seafood cocktails. Chowders $5.45 8 oz, $6.75 12 oz, $7.95 16 oz, $10.45 with bread bowl, $13.95 32 oz..
- 8 Pike Place Chowder, 1530 Post Alley, ☏ . Daily 11AM-5PM. Usually has long lines (up to 30 minutes) due to the fact this location is more well-known. Has more choices of chowder. Seats quickly fill up!
- 9 Pike Place Chowder, 600 Pine St (4th floor of Pacific Place), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM.
- 10 Piroshky Piroshky, 1908 Pike Pl (on the east side of the market), ☏ . Weekdays 8AM-6PM, weekends 8AM-6:30PM. A very popular eatery, specializing in their namesake Russian pastries. They have many varieties from which to chose. The smoked salmon, the cheese, onion and garlic roll, and the apple cinnamon roll are all excellent. Be prepared for long lines and out of stock items if you come in late! $3-7 per piece.
- 11 [dead link] Uli's Bierstube, 1511 Pike Pl, ☏ . Deli daily 9AM-6PM, dine-in daily 11AM-5PM. Delicious sausages from a German master butcher. Sausage sandwich $8, plate $12-18.
- 12 Campagne Restaurant, 1600 Post Alley, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-10PM. Country French cuisine.
- 13 chan, 86 Pine St, ☏ . Tu-Su 5-10PM. Petite gourmet restaurant. Korean fusion food cooked with Western techniques. Don't expect a wide array of dishes because the place itself is small and rustic, but the taste is worth the price. Up to $15.
- 14 Matt's in the Market, 94 Pike St, Ste. 32, ☏ . M-Sa lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM, dinner 5:30PM-10PM; happy hour Saturdays 5PM-7PM. Charming market ambiance and tasty seafood selections make for a fine low-key dining experience at this small spot. Lunch $7-15, dinner $10-45.
- 15 Palace Kitchen, 2030 5th Ave, ☏ . Daily 4:30PM-1AM. Tom Douglas' upscale saloon is a hit any time of day. All meals range from $10-25.
- Serious Pie, 2001 4th Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-8PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-9PM. Regular and specialty Neapolitan style pizza in one of the best pizza restaurants in Seattle. This small space gets overwhelmed with customers around mealtimes. Pizzas $15-20.
- 16 Wild Ginger, 1401 3rd Ave (at Union St, just north of Benaroya Hall), ☏ . Lunch: M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM; dinner: M-F 5-11PM, Sa 4:30-11PM, Su 4-9PM. Fine Chinese and Southeast Asian dining experience, but if you want your meal to be spicy, you'll want to specify when you order. Wide selections of meat for satay along with soup and mainly meat for entrees. Gluten free and vegan friendly. Up to $30.
- 17 Dahlia Lounge, 2001 4th Ave, ☏ . M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, M-Th 5-10PM, F Sa 5-11PM, Su 5-9PM. Tom Douglas' premiere restaurant and, perhaps, one of Seattle's very finest. It's a very eclectic and creative restaurant, with an emphasis on seafood that runs throughout the ever-changing menu, with many Asian influences too. The appetizers tend to outshine the entrees, so opt for making a meal by ordering one of each and leaving room for dessert (the freshly-fried doughnuts delivered in a paper sack are a bit incongruous, but deservedly popular).
- 18 Le Pichet, 1933 1st Ave. An excellent French bistro in the heart of Downtown. Try the roast chicken.
- 19 Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 727 Pine St, ☏ . Tucked in the center of Downtown. Side dishes served on a per-table basis, so make sure you can agree with your companions! Skip the happy hour.
- 20 The Metropolitan Steakhouse, 820 2nd Ave (at Marion St.), ☏ . Caters to those with fat wallets, with massive portions, classic steakhouse ambiance, and top-grade beef. $50.
- 21 Purple Cafe & Wine Bar (Purple), 1225 4th Ave (at University St.), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-11PM. Has an extensive wine list and some of Seattle's best food. Don't forget to try the salted caramels for dessert.
- 22 Elliott's Oyster House, 1201 Alaskan Way (between Ferry Terminal and Waterfront Park), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM, happy hour M-F 3-6PM. Seafood restaurant that's most famous for serving fresh oysters. In addition, the menu has various seafood to choose from, such as king salmon, sockeye, dungeness crab, king crab, yellowfin ahi tuna, you name it. Happy hour is affordable, with chef's choice of fresh oysters on the half-shell starting at $0.75 each at 3PM, $1.25 each at 4PM, $1.75 each at 5PM, and other deals. The restaurant is located right by the dock and the view is fantastic during the summer when you can sit outside.
Bars and taverns Edit
The Belltown neighborhood is an excellent place for barhopping, particularly along 2nd Ave.
- 1 Cyclops, 2421 1st Ave (Belltown). Good, hip (but not ultra-hip) bar, and not a bad restaurant either. Interesting neo-retro decor. The Ace Hotel is upstairs. Excellent breakfast.
- 2 The Owl N' Thistle, 808 Post Ave (in Post Alley). A great Irish bar. A house band, nice regulars, and halibut burger to die for. Happy hour is M-F 3-7PM.
- 3 The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley (at the Pike Place Market). M-Th 11:30AM - 11:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM - 1AM, Su 4-11PM. Reasonably good Italian restaurant, but it's a better bar, with a rather romantic European market ambiance and a trellis-covered outdoor deck. Occasional cabaret-style live entertainment, no cover.
- 4 Shorty's, 2222A 2nd Ave. A variety of classic pinball games and honest hot dogs. Be sure to check out the Trophy Lounge hidden in the back.
- Diller's Room, 1224 1st Avenue (corner with University Street, near the Seattle Art Museum and the University Street light rail station). Daily 2PM-2AM. Classic cocktail bar with a historic vibe and extensive drink selection. Happy hour is from 4PM to 6PM with 1$ off drinks and 12$ Pizza.
- 5 Pike Brewery, 1415 1st Ave (near the Pike Place Market). Great variety of beers (try the Kiltlifter) and good food too. Can be found in grocery stores and on tap at some bars.
- 6 Original Starbucks, 1912 Pike Pl (in the Pike Place Market). Who would have thought, when this unassuming place opened in 1971, that it would give rise to a global empire? Now flocks of tourists crowd the original Starbucks, resulting in long lines to get exactly the same drinks you can get at every other location. The wise coffee lover would skip Starbucks and go to any of the hundreds of local Seattle coffee shops. Starbucks aficionados would walk past this location (after checking out the uncensored mermaid which acted as the original logo for the company) and instead go to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Capitol Hill.
If you're staying in Seattle, you're very likely to stay in Downtown, as here is where most of the city's accommodations are offered. Most splurge options are in the area surrounding the Pike Place Market or Westlake, while most budget options can be found in the Belltown neighborhood.
- 1 Ace Hotel, 2423 1st Ave, ☏ . Budget hotel in the Belltown area. Rooms have an option of shared bath. Minimum furniture and quaint. Shared bath rooms from $120, deluxe from $200.
- 2 City Hostel Seattle, 2327 2nd Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Warm friendly accommodation. Private room available. Free breakfast and Wi-fi. All rooms have murals painted by local artists. $25 dorms.
- 3 Green Tortoise Hostel, 105b Pike St (across the street from the Pike Place Market), ☏ , toll-free: . Has a view of the Puget Sound and the Market, 30 bunk rooms in the elegantly restored Elliot Hotel Building. Free Internet stations and Wi-Fi, free dinner 3 nights a week, and free breakfast every morning. The Green Tortoise is a Seattle backpacker institution that also runs festive low-budget bus tours to Mexico and Central America.
- 4 Hotel Five Seattle, 2200 5th Ave, toll-free: . Its namesake comes from the site of the hotel at Fifth Avenue, below the monorail tracks. Urban-designed rooms. Complimentary shuttle and bike to roam the city. From $125.
- 5 La Quinta Inn & Suites Seattle Downtown, 2224 8th Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Very close to Seattle Center and the downtown shopping core. High-speed internet in rooms and free breakfast included. From $130.
- 6 Belltown Inn, 2301 3rd Avenue, ☏ . This little establishment at the heart of Belltown offers kitchenette on every room. Rooms only have fans for summer. From $190.
- 7 Executive Hotel Pacific, 400 Spring St, toll-free: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. A small hotel in the Belltown area. Standard rooms have small bathrooms, deluxe are slightly larger, suites' bedrooms are perfect for a family and features free Internet and newspaper. From $150.
- 8 Hotel Max, 620 Stewart St, toll-free: . In the heart of downtown, offers an artistic setting for both business and leisure travelers. From $150.
- 9 Mayflower Park Hotel, 405 Olive Way, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: Noon. Built in 1927, the centrally-located hotel retains its classical colors on most of its interior, with modern amenities in the rooms such as flat-screen TV and coffee machine. Wi-Fi is complimentary. From $114.
- 10 Palladian Hotel, 2000 2nd Avenue, ☏ , toll-free: . A boutique hotel, developed by Kimpton, adopts a European flair. Every room is equipped with a yoga mat and a daily social (wine) hour is available at the hotel's classic bar. From $200.
- 11 Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison St, ☏ . A full service hotel in the heart of downtown. From $210.
- 12 The Roosevelt Hotel, 1531 7th Avenue, ☏ . Another boutique and historic option at Belltown. From $180.
- 13 Warwick Seattle, 401 Lenora Street, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. One of the few budget options in the middle of downtown. Rooms have a view of either the skyline or the Space Needle, added with a Juliet balcony. From $150.
- 14 The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel Seattle, 1007 1st Ave (near the Coleman ferry docks), ☏ . This art-themed hotel has original works throughout the lobby and in the rooms. Furthermore, it sports a big old Dale Chihuly glass piece in the lobby. From $280.
- 15 The Edgewater, Pier 67, 2411 Alaskan Way, ☏ , toll-free: . Near the Pike Place Market, right on the water, and famous for three things: you could at one time literally fish right out of your window, it was the site of a notorious Led Zeppelin incident, and the Beatles stayed here during their 1964 tour. Rooms either face the city with no great view other than the Space Needle, or face the water. These latter rooms enjoy the non-stop action of the ferries and cruise liners in the harbor. The restaurant is elegantly decorated with a few outdoor tables right over the water. From $300.
- 16 The Fairmont Olympic, 411 University St, ☏ . The only hotel in the Northwest to win a five-diamond award. Pulls off grand and luxurious perfectly, is in the middle of downtown. From $300.
- 17 Hilton Motif Seattle, 1415 Fifth Ave, ☏ , fax: . Distinctive downtown hotel featuring modern lifestyle amenities, concierge, restaurants and lounges, meeting venues, business & fitness centers, and Seattle's largest rooftop dining patio - a unique Seattle Lodging experience. From $242 (Feb 2023).
- 18 Hotel 1000, 1000 1st Ave, ☏ . New high-tech, boutique style hotel in downtown. From $250.
- 19 Hotel Andra, 2000 4th Ave, ☏ . A hotel of a local brand with a luxury and modern touch. Rooms have private bars and ironing boards, with plush Turkish towels and Swedish bath amenities. The in-house Mediterranean restaurant is managed by the locally-renowned restauranteur Tom Douglas. From $300.
- 20 Hotel Monaco Seattle, 1101 4th Ave, toll-free: . Centrally located in the historic Pike Place Market downtown, facing the waterfront and Elliott Bay. Short walk to Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Hall, Pioneer Square, Westlake Center, and lots of dining and shopping. From $280.
- 21 Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle, 2125 Terry Ave, ☏ . This pet-friendly property offers an array of luxury fully furnished rooms and suites equipped with all modern amenities. Facilities include a business center and a fitness center. From $250.
- 22 Sheraton Grand Seattle, 1400 6th Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Immediately adjacent to the convention center. From $280.
- 23 W Seattle, 1112 4th Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. For the terminally hip traveler. Decorated in a stunning palette of black, black, silver, cream, and black. From $280.
- 24 The Westin Seattle, 1900 5th Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Perhaps the hotel that has the most rooms in the city. Standard luxurious Westin-style hospitality. It is linked by a skybridge that connects with Westlake Center. From $280.
Cellphone signals are strong throughout Downtown, save for in the Downtown Transit Tunnel. Wi-Fi connectivity is available at most coffee shops. The Seattle Central Library has lightning-speed plug-in and wireless internet connections.
- Seattle Public Library. All branches of the Seattle Public Library have open wireless, using the SSID spl-public. Public computers with Internet access and basic office software are available for up to 90 minutes at a time, but require either a SPL library card or a temporary pass available from the circulation desk. Free.
Stay safe Edit
Downtown Seattle has a sizable population of homeless people (many neighborhoods have forced their homeless into Seattle's downtown core), and while many beg for change and some seem unstable, only a few are actually dangerous. It is worthwhile to be careful after dark in some areas around the downtown core. Some places to watch your back near major tourist areas include Belltown, between Pine and Pike Streets in Downtown, around Pioneer Square and the King County Courthouse; and SODO and International Districts, south of Downtown, where you'll want to beware of drug dealers and beggars.
Go next Edit
- A short ride by rail or bus takes you to Pioneer Square and International District, the Georgetown neighborhood, and South Seattle.
- A ride by the South Lake Union Streetcar or the monorail will take you to the districts of Queen Anne and South Lake Union
- A short walk away to the other side of the Interstate 5 is the hip district of Capitol Hill.
- Blake Island State Park (in Puget Sound in the waters between Seattle and the Kitsap Peninsula). Argosy Cruises offers regular service from Pier 55 to this island state park visible from downtown that was the birthplace of Chief Seattle and still offers guests Native American style dinners and dancing.