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Downtown, Seattle Travel Guide

Downtown Seattle Summary


  • Activities galore, including Seattle Central Library and the Seattle Aquarium
  • Pike Place Market, popular for its "three-Fs" -- flying fish, flowers, and fabulous food
  • Compact enough to explore by foot
  • Family-friendly sites: museums, art galleries, and theaters
  • Array of dining options, from sit-down dinners to fast-food fare


  • Parking is a disaster; it's difficult to find and usually expensive
  • Even so-called "cheap" hotels aren't that affordable in the summertime

What It's Like

Don't let Downtown Seattle's reputation of being a commercial hub fool you; it isn't all business in this neighborhood. Home to some of the city's most popular tourist sites, including the internationally-known Pike Place Market, Downtown Seattle is the perfect part of the city to get a true taste of Seattle -- renowned coffee included.

The "Retail Core" -- a compact square of shops with brand names like Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Banana Republic -- also lies in this district. If you're more of a boutique-goer, check out high-end, eclectic options, like Betsey Johnson and Isadora's Antique Clothing Store, sprinkled throughout the district.

Downtown Seattle offers a smorgasbord of activities. To name a few: The Seattle Art Museum on 1st Avenue; The Green Room, where Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole played while passing through; and Waterfront Park on Alaskan Way. You won't go hungry here, both literally or figuratively. We promise.

Where To Stay

All the major chains are here, including the Sheraton, Grand Hyatt, Crown Plaza, as well as smaller boutique properties. If you're visiting in the summer months, don't expect to find a steal. It may be difficult to find a room for under $150 even at budget hotels during the peak season. Naturally, the closer you get to the waterfront, the higher the prices.

Some wallet-friendly hotels can be found in the northwest area of downtown, bordering Belltown. Just keep in mind that you'll face a longer walk to popular attractions.

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