Pike Place Market Dried Flowers Rachael Jones

Downtown Hotspots to Hit if You’re Going to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Downtown Seattle is having a moment right now. The city’s creatives have catapulted the neighborhood’s rebirth, turning the nooks and crannies of skyscrapers, historic buildings, and pocket parks into an urbanist playground.

If you’re coming into town for the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival this week, you’re sure to enjoy its location at the Seattle Convention Center. It sits along the newly landscaped Pike/Pine corridor and it’s just a quick wander away from several flourishing hotspots with green, woodsy, watery elements that echo the festival’s stunning displays.

Whether you’re an established green thumb or just looking for a houseplant you won’t kill, here are some Downtown spaces that feel tailor-made for festival goersand their social media accounts.


Around the Seattle Convention Center’s Arch & Summit Buildings

At the Union St entrance to Arch building, Level 3, is a brutalist jungle called Freeway Park, a series of concrete plazas that spill over I-5 and around other Downtown buildings.

On weekdays, I recommend getting lost among the evergreen plants and stumbling upon the park’s buskers, book carts, and fire pits. If you’re hungry, find your way to oak-laden Cortina at the base of 2 Union Square. They have a great happy hour with upscale Italian dishes you’ll enjoy in a modern setting that’s drenched in natural light.

Need a quick coffee? Try the local favorite that just opened a sleek streetside window in the Convention Center’s gorgeous new Summit building: Monorail Espresso. Their heated outdoor counter along Pine St is a great perch for watching all the people traveling to and from nearby Capitol Hill, or for inhaling baked goods from fellow local favorite Piroshky Piroshky next door.

If you have a few more minutes, head over to Mr. West on Olive Way, a charming modern café that swings subtly from brunch to bar service. You can buy houseplants here too—and a chai latte I dream about.

Around Westlake Park

As you wander downtown, keep your eyes open for several storefronts the folks at Seattle Restored have filled with foot traffic-stopping installations and pop-ups. One for the nature lovers is Esther Loopstra: Flourishing Underwater Forests, a painting series in Westlake Park exploring our connection to the ocean—specifically kelp and seaweed.

A few blocks west, you can get off the street and gain a little altitude at The Nest. The Thompson’s ever-popular rooftop bar is currently offering shelter from the elements and views of the Sound by way of exclusive winter igloos, an immersive experience for anyone who wants to know what it might feel like to be a raindrop.

In Pike Place Market

Now’s the time of year to grab one of Pike Place Market’s signature dried bouquets. If you’re looking for something more green, visit KUBODE on Western Ave, whose unique designs make plant-shopping feel like touring an art gallery.

Did you know there’s a Secret Garden at the Market? Residents and staffers keep this corner of Pike Place growing fresh herbs and vegetables for the Pike Market Food Bank, which helps neighbors experiencing food insecurity. You can find their garden just past the fish throwers and Maximilien’s.

By now you’re probably thirsty. Plant lovers need to try Rachel’s Ginger Beer in Post Alley. They source fresh ginger and lemons from local farms to create fragrant beverages with boozy and non-alcoholic options that people line the block for.

Around the Waterfront

If you haven’t been Downtown in a while, the Waterfront is undergoing some major changes. Amid the construction, the delights abound.

All the classics still deliver—whether it’s a cup of clam chowder at Ivar’s, a turn around The Seattle Great Wheel, or an afternoon cruise with Argosy or Salish Sea Tours. If you’re staying at a hotel, be sure to check whether it’s participating in Seattle Museum Month, which gives visitors half off admission to the Seattle Aquarium and other downtown museums like Seattle Art Museum.

If you’re traveling on a budget, the Waterfront boasts two awesome new community spaces thrilling locals and visitors alike. Head north to Pier 62 for free soccer, giant chess, and Connect 4, or south to Habitat Beach, where you can explore hundreds of native plants thriving beside the newly-renovated ferry terminal in a space deliberately designed for coastal restoration. The salmon loved it this fall—and you will too.

About the Author

Bobbie Nickel

Bobbie Nickel is the Public Affairs Manager at Visit Seattle. A longtime former news producer, she’s chronically online—but when she’s not busy tracking regional developments, she’s likely playing with her kitten Toaster or exploring the area’s dive bars by way of public transportation.

More Posts By Bobbie Nickel


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