Seattle Center Monorail moving through the Museum of Pop Culture Rachael Jones

Must-Do Adventures If You’re Going to Emerald City Comic Con

Emerald City Comic Con is a Seattle stapleand for good reason. Seattle is so interested in pop culture, we have a whole museum dedicated to it. Combine that with our inherent sense of inclusivity and our winter weather-driven creativity, and we’re the perfect host city for this multi-faceted storytelling celebration. 

This week, Emerald City Comic Con returns to the Seattle Convention Center for the 16th year in a row, but even seasoned fans will notice changes in the neighborhood. Downtown Seattle is filled with new spaces for playful minds, whether you’re a cosplayer looking for a photo op or a young family exploring another world for the weekend (or both!). Combine those new spaces with the layers of the city that have stood the test of time, and adventure is calling. 

Here are all the activities Emerald City Comic Con fans should consider while visiting Downtown Seattle this year. 


Around the Seattle Convention Center

Looking for a breather outside the Convention Center? Post up at the brand-new Pike Taproom Summit, which opens its giant sidewalk window on nice days. The taproom allows kids and offers locally-sourced and vegan hot dogs in addition to its award-winning beer.

Anime lovers should head a few blocks down Pine Street to AniMyNation in Westlake Center, a store chock full of everything from Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z to Sanrio and Funko merch.

Fuel up afterward at Asean Street, a nearby food hall full of Southeast Asian food carts, then head over to the stunning Seattle Central Library for photo ops. The Red Room demands photos, looking something like an architectural version of Britney Spears’ red catsuit in “Oops!…I Did It Again.”

Autograph-obsessed ECCC fans may want to make an appointment to check out the library’s Autograph Collection, which features personal letters from celebrities like P.T. Barnum, a Polar explorer, and multiple astronauts and cartoonists—to name a few.

You can keep the fantasy going a block away at Teatro Zinzanni, the cirque-style show at the Lotte Hotel Seattle which welcomes dress-up and conveniently offers matinees and evening shows. Pro Tip: this production runs through March 31, 2024.

South Lake Union

Did you know the Amazon Spheres are just three blocks west of the Convention Center? As luck would have it, they’re open to the public on the Saturday of Emerald City Comic Con. You can make a free reservation here.

If you’re a cocktail drinker, consider descending into the bottom of the Spheres, where moody Deep Dive sits like the belly of a ship.


If pinball is more your thing, head to Jupiter Bar in nearby Belltown where you can also catch a showing of Dune: Part Two at the recently-reopened SIFF Cinema Downtown, formerly Cinerama. You’ll smell their signature chocolate popcorn from a block away.

Pike Place Market to the Waterfront

Emerald City Comic Con fans could probably spend a whole day discovering the pop culture side of Pike Place Market. Here’s what you may want to prioritize:

Get directions to any of the above at Visit Seattle’s Market Information Center on First Ave and Pike St. Then venture down to Olympic Sculpture Park for some fresh air on the water and photo ops with cool sculptural pieces like Echo by Jaume Plensa.

Finish your evening at the amazing Can Can Culinary Cabaret, currently performing the original fantasy story House of Hearts through Sunday.

Westlake to the Seattle Center

The Seattle Center Monorail is a piece of pop culture history itself, opened in 1962 for the World’s Fair and still running today between Westlake Center and Seattle Center. The $3.50 ride to Seattle Center will carry you through the colorful metal panels coating the outside of MoPOP, a whole museum dedicated to contemporary pop culture, from Nirvana to the films of LAIKA.

Hungry now? Head to Dick’s Burgers for a budget-friendly Seattle favorite. And if you need coffee, visit the KEXP Gathering Space, where you can listen to Seattle’s internationally-beloved independent music station just steps away from the DJ—all while sipping delicious Caffe Vita.

Outside the Downtown area

… the options abound:

Take the light rail from Westlake Center to Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. There, you’ll find toys and collectibles at Magic Mouse Toys, rare books at Mortlake and Company, and underground mini golf at Flatstick Pub.

One more stop on the light rail and you’re in the Chinatown-International District, where you can play at the Seattle Pinball Museum, shop Japanese books and stationery at Kinokuniya, explore video games at Pink Gorilla Games, and even train Pokémon at Tabletop Village.

Need some new—or old—threads? Take the light rail the other direction to the thrift and vintage shops in Capitol Hill. Trendy Wendy and the New York XChange are great options if you’re looking for cosplay supplies, though you may also want to check out the retro pieces in Pretty Parlor and Throwbacks Northwest.

Archie McPhee is a novelty store institution in Wallingford. Don’t skip its world-famous Rubber Chicken Museum—and keep things funky next door with a meal at the eclectic Bizarro Italian Cafe.

If you like old-school arcade games, cheap beer, and almost-hidden bars, you have to try Add-A-Ball in Fremont. Catch a show afterward at Nectar Lounge, Seattle’s largest indoor/outdoor music venue and an inclusive hotspot for multi-genre music from all over the globe.

Board game fans should head to Mox Boarding House in Ballard, a suave combination restaurant/game-testing space. Fans of small shops with everything from incense to Tarot cards should venture up Ballard Ave to LUCCA.

Whatever adventure you decide to take, Seattle is open for exploration. Get out there!

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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