Beginning of main content

Pioneer Square

Seattle’s birthplace and oldest neighborhood is set in the National Historic District overlooking Elliot Bay. 

More a district than an actual square, Pioneer Square is where Seattle began. This historic district has been rejuvenated with green spaces, benches and fresh facades on some of the buildings, but still retains some old-world charm. It’s a sharp contrast to the nearby ultra-modern sports stadiums of Qwest Field and Safeco Field.

Early settlers in Seattle opened businesses along the Elliott Bay waterfront. The area boomed due to the many miners who passed through in the late 1800s, seeking their fortune further north during the Yukon Gold Rush. Pioneer Square earned the title “Skid Row” because lumberjacks skidded logs down Yesler Street to the wharf at the bottom of the hill.

Pioneer Square has transformed over time from a seedy red-light district to a respectable arts community and visitor attraction. Jump on a horse-drawn carriage and tour the cobblestone streets with a local guide at the reins. The ivy-covered brick buildings and mid-19th-century Romanesque architecture lend character and charm to the cafés, sports bars, bookstores and nightclubs.

There’s plenty to do here, rain or shine. Check out the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park to learn more about Seattle’s colorful history. And don't miss Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour of the old sidewalks, saloons, brothels and passageways of the original city. If the sun’s out, take your camera to the top of Smith Tower, riding up on the only manually-operated elevator on the West Coast. Completed in 1914, Smith Tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi and it still offers great views of the waterfront and distant Mount Rainier.  

After dark enjoy live music, bars, dancing and spicy food. The party atmosphere continues until the early hours. This area has some of the oldest drinking establishments in the city, as well as a few clubs that were mainstays of Seattle’s grunge era in the early ‘90s. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains all got their start here. 

Pioneer Square is located on the south end of downtown Seattle, easily accessible by car, bus or taxi. Free parking is tough to come by, but there are plenty of parking lots and street parking for a fee.


Guide to Exploring around Pioneer Square


Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5
Map

Lodging Near Pioneer Square

See all 715 Hotels near Pioneer Square
$149
Motif Seattle

Motif Seattle

1415 5th Ave, Seattle
4.2
of 5, from 5,479 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Seattle, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of 5th Avenue Theater and Nordstrom. Pike Place Market and Washington State Convention Center are also within 10 minutes.

$159
Sheraton Seattle Hotel

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

1400 6th Ave, Seattle
4.3
of 5, from 4,083 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This 35-story hotel rises above Seattle's shopping and entertainment district, within two blocks of the Paramount and 5th Avenue theaters and adjacent to the convention center.

$89
Mediterranean Inn

Mediterranean Inn

425 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle
4.2
of 5, from 10,799 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Center of activity Set in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, this hotel is 2 blocks from Seattle Center and 1.3 miles from Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle. Terminal 91 Cruise Facility is 1.5 miles from the hotel.

$235
Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle

Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle

1000 1st Ave, Seattle
4.7
of 5, from 2,041 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in the Central Business District, Loews Hotel 1000, Seattle is a great choice for travelers interested in shopping, culture and food. The Seattle Art Museum is 3 minutes' walk away. The Seattle Center is a 5 minutes' drive away, Pike Place Market is a 7 minutes' walk, and Pioneer Square is a 6 minutes' walk from the hotel. The Port of Seattle is 2 minutes' drive and it welcomes popular cruise ships. SeaTac International Airport is 14.3 miles away and the Washington State Convention Center is 17 minutes' walk from the property.

$149
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle

1101 4th Ave, Seattle
4.5
of 5, from 1,583 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This fashionable Seattle hotel is 3 blocks from the Seattle Art Museum and within 7 blocks of Pacific Place and Westlake Center shopping, Pike Place Market, and the monorail.     

$99
Executive Hotel Pacific

Executive Hotel Pacific

400 Spring St, Seattle
3.7
of 5, from 660 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Seattle's financial district since 1928, Executive Hotel Pacific is a 5-minute walk from the waterfront. Guests can stroll to Pike Place Market in 10 minutes to watch fish vendors flinging salmon, and to the Space Needle in 7. Washington State Convention Center is 3 minutes away by cab.

$105
Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel

Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel

77 Yesler Way, Seattle
4.2
of 5, from 828 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Pioneer Square, this historic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of CenturyLink Field, Seattle Art Museum, and Pike Place Market.

$129
Courtyard Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square

Courtyard Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square

612 2nd Ave, Seattle
4.3
of 5, from 1,054 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Pioneer Square, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Smith Tower and Columbia Center. Pike Place Market and CenturyLink Field are also within 15 minutes.