Seattle’s downtown is a major business and retail center, set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Puget Sound and waterfront activity. Urban parks and plazas are surrounded by a manmade forest of high-rise architecture with some older buildings mixed in. Further west is the famous Pike Place Market. Dotted in between are a myriad of small and charming bars and restaurants, as well as an assortment of larger establishments and well-known retail outlets.
Start your downtown experience by heading to the Visitor Information Center in the lobby of the Washington State Convention Center on Seventh Avenue and Pike Street. Pick up a walking map of the area and find out what local events are scheduled. Downtown Seattle and its surrounding neighborhoods host around 70 festivals each year, including Bumbershoot, the country’s largest urban arts festival, and the Seattle International Film Festival. It also promotes dozens of musical performances at Benaroya Hall as well as outdoor public concerts on the waterfront. You can hear everything from classical to contemporary throughout the summer.
With more than 1,000 retail outlets, Seattle’s downtown is a great place for shopping in flagship stores, such as Nordstrom, Macy's and REI, as well as a wide array of smaller boutiques. Take in a movie at the multi-screen cinema in ultra-modern Pacific Place. During the winter holiday season, ride the carousel and check out the festivities at Westlake Center, which is the downtown terminal for the Seattle’s Monorail. Don't miss a trip to Pike Place Market, Seattle's famous foodie haven. Here you can see fresh produce from the region, as well as dine, shop and enjoy the views across Puget Sound.
Family members not into shopping may enjoy a visit to the Seattle Art Museum or take the kids on the Monorail and head to the Space Needle, a little over a mile (1.6 kilometers) north of downtown. Meet later at one of the 150 eateries that make downtown such a haven for food-lovers.
Downtown Seattle is a great base to stay while on a visit to the city. It is adjacent to the waterfront area to the west, Belltown and Capitol Hill to the north, and Pioneer Square to the south.