Pioneer Square, Seattle’s historic district, is at the southern end of downtown Seattle and is borderd on the south by Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, on the west by the waterfront and on the east by the International District.
Seattle was settled at Alki in 1851 by a party led by Arthur Denny, but by the following year, a commercial core began taking shape to the east, across Elliott Bay, in what is now Pioneer Square. A thriving young town grew with the help of a natural deep-water harbor, timber and the Klondike Goldrush.
Today, some 20 square blocks that make up Pioneer Square boast beautifully restored buildings designed in the Second Renaissance-Revival, Beaux-Arts Classical, and Richardsonian-Romanesque styles
A stroll around this highly walkable area is all it takes to familiarize visitors with the neighborhood. Public parks and art installations are scattered throughout, and the pedestrian-friendly environment means visitors can enjoy the sights on foot — and for free. Highlights include admiring the century-old pergola in Pioneer Square Park, catching views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains from the Washington Street Boat Landing, challenging a friend to a game of bocce-playing in Occidental Park or enjoying a peaceful lunch at Waterfall Garden Park.
Much of Pioneer Square's charm and energy are the result of its rich and varied history. The character many visitors enjoy today is largely the result of the Great Fire of 1889, after which most of downtown Seattle was rebuilt. But the Great Fire was just one of the many historic events that helped shape this community: this neighborhood's colorful past is also one of brothels and bureaucrats, corruption and community, artists and Arctic explorers, Skid Road and subterranean sidewalks.
Today that rich history has given way to a lively and diverse community that bustles nearly 24/7. Artists, who helped revitalize this neighborhood in the 1970s, remain an important part of the community, and during the First Thursday Art Walk visitors can enjoy the hundreds of galleries and studios that call Pioneer Square home. Small shops selling one-of-a-kind fashions and antique furnishings fill storefronts, and the holiday season is always a great time to enjoy Pioneer Square's destination shopping.
For an additional resource on Seattle's neighborhoods, click here or visit www.pioneersquare.org