Pioneer Square Pergola Photo Jorge Garrido
Grand Central | Lauren Stelling
Photo: Diesel Demon
Photo: Nicholas Boos
Photo: David Newman
Photo: David Newman

Pioneer Square

Seattle’s original neighborhood blends trendsetting creativity with legendary history.

A photo of a dozen oysters on a plate of ice with a lemon wedge. Courtesy Taylor Shellfish
A photo of a waterfall in a courtyard. Shrubs and trees line the perimeter of the space. Two people sit at a cafe table. Waterfall Garden Park Shutterstock

Explore

After white settlers arrived, they built the Emerald City’s first downtown in what’s now known as Pioneer Square. The Great Fire of 1889 decimated the burgeoning town, but ever-innovative Seattleites evolved, moving downtown north to higher ground and developing anew. Learn the entire fascinating story on a guided history-entertainment walkabout with Underground Tour (614 First Ave), which literally takes visitors below ground to the remains of the old downtown, or Beneath the Streets (102 Cherry St; beneath-the-streets.com), which also offers Redlight District and Queer History tours. Delve deeper into local history at Seattle’s oldest skyscraper Smith Tower (500 Second Ave), where a 35th-floor observation deck affords stellar views of the city and a speakeasy-style bar serves cocktails with Prohibition-era flair. Kick back after all that time traveling with a stroll through Waterfall Garden Park (219 Second Ave S), a pocket park with a 22-foot manmade waterfall, or a round of indoor putt-putt and beers at Flatstick Pub (240 Second Ave S).

Eat and Drink

Playful elephant lanterns lend warmth to the airy, marble-swathed interior of General Porpoise (401 First Ave S), a trendy doughnut shop that fills its sugary dough with creative fillings like blackberry cream. ʔálʔal Café (122 Second Ave S) dishes up authentic Indigenous flavors for breakfast and lunch—seek out the bison barbacoa tacos or wojape parfait—with 100 percent of profits going back to its Native homeless advocacy organization. Freshly shucked oysters and curated cocktails await at Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar (410 Occidental Ave), while fresh pastas and Italian sandwiches come with an undeniable cool factor at new hot spot Darkalino’s (300 Occidental Ave S). At Locus Wines (307 Occidental Ave S), opt for a flight of locally made wines. The bartender roulette, where staff select options based on what you might like, is always fun, or enjoy your sips with a matching chocolate pairing.

Shop

Taswira (510 Occidental Ave S) is a combination fashion house, gallery, and African-empowerment organization where you can shop for bucket hats, woven crafts, and photo prints. Around the corner, stock up on locally made snacks, tote bags, and beauty items at mini mercantile and market Cone & Steiner (135 S King St) or artisan clothing, accessories, and gifts from indie makers at Velouria (145 S King St). More into the streetwear and sneakers vibe? The Hometeam (300 Occidental Ave S), inside Italian restaurant Darkalino’s, ups the cool factor with collectible fashions.

Pioneer Square Partners

SEA Crab House Pioneer Square

SEA Crab House

  • Address 166 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Phone (206) 420-2306
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Saigon Drip Cafe Pioneer Square

Saigon Drip Cafe

  • Address 161 S Washington Street, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Phone (253) 217-2996
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Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel Downtown Pioneer Square

Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel Downtown

  • Address 77 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Phone (206) 340-1234
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Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Pioneer Square Pioneer Square

Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Pioneer Square

  • Address 612 Second Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Phone (206) 625-1111
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