Pioneer Square/Downtown

Historic architecture, live music, and a thriving arts and culture scene.

Welcome to Pioneer Square

Historic architecture, live music, and a thriving arts and culture scene.
Considered Seattle’s “first neighborhood,” Pioneer Square was destroyed by the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. The following year, over 150 buildings were rebuilt. Much of its Richardsonian Romanesque and Renaissance Revival architecture has survived from that time, saved by Seattle’s historic preservation movement. Among them is the 1892 Pioneer Building, which was hailed as the finest building west of Chicago. Today, it’s used as a co-working space for small businesses. More recent revitalization projects have turned Pioneer Square into a thriving commercial and cultural hub with redesigned penthouse lofts and brand new luxury condominiums.
Downtown Seattle is home to the iconic Pike Place Market to the north. You’ll find historic converted lofts and newly-built high rises overlooking Elliott Bay. With Amazon and Starbucks headquartered here, it’s bustling during the day. There are bike lanes and plenty of options for public transit. Ongoing development projects are turning downtown into an exciting and ever-changing city. The new Pier 62 features a floating dock, public art installations, and programs for everyone. New luxury condominiums at The Emerald, The Modern, and Olympic Tower offer exclusive living spaces steps away from some of Seattle’s most popular attractions.

What to Love

  • A mix of historical and modern architecture
  • Thriving with arts and culture
  • Countless dining options

Local Lifestyle

Pioneer Square feels like a small town inside a big city. Century-old buildings and cobblestone steps give it a quiet, charming atmosphere. Longtime residents know each other and support all the independent businesses in the area. There’s a real sense of community. It’s also the main arts district with numerous cutting-edge art galleries. Downtown Seattle is more modern and fast-paced. There’s a big-city vibe with busy people working at the mega-corporations in town, but it’s also a haven for arts and culture.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Pioneer Square has a diverse selection of eateries and quaint boutiques. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar is an upscale chain with seafood specialties and raw dishes. Nirmal’s offers Indian food and a curated wine list in a sophisticated space, and 13 Coins is a quirky restaurant serving Italian and casual fare 24/7. Altstadt Bierhalle and Brathaus is a lively beer hall reinventing German classics. For fine dining, Il Terrazzo Carmine offers Italian cuisine and a wine list to pair. The London Plane is a wine bar serving small plates. Head to Seattle’s oldest bar, Merchants Café and Saloon, for handcrafted cocktails. Or you can check out the Observatory Bar at Smith Tower, Seattle’s oldest skyscraper. 
For shopping, Flora and Henri have luxury clothing and home goods. For books, Arundel Books has recently moved into a historic landmark building on First Avenue South.
Downtown Seattle has terrific restaurants, many specializing in seafood. Cutters Crabhouse is a landmark, serving Northwest seafood dishes in a fine dining setting. Elliott’s Oyster House is a waterfront restaurant serving sustainable seafood. The Pink Door is an upscale Italian restaurant with trapeze and burlesque entertainment, while the Metropolitan Grill is a steakhouse offering Wagyu beef and an award-winning wine list. Lola serves modern Greek cuisine using local ingredients.
You’ll find fresh produce, a flower market, specialty products, crafts vendors, retail shops, and numerous eateries at the famous Pike Place Market. Café Campagne is a classic French Bistro. Pike Place Chowder is a local institution serving specialty chowders counter-style. Lowell’s offers seafood dishes and three floors of amazing views. Sushi Kashiba showcases omakase service. Matt’s in the Market specializes in seasonal Northwest cuisine. The original Starbucks is also located here.

Things to Do

During the day, you can check out the pedestrian-only block of galleries on Occidental Avenue in Pioneer Square. Davidson Galleries hosts exhibitions and sells prints and art books. Every Friday and Saturday, Unexpected Productions in Pike Place Market hosts happy hour and improv. There are numerous green spaces in Pioneer Square and Downtown Seattle. Occidental Square hosts community events and live concerts in the summer. Workers and residents often visit Waterfall Garden Park during the day. Victor Steinbrueck Park is a waterside park great for family fun. Centennial Park has a rose garden, bike paths, and views of Mt. Rainer and Olympic Mountain.
Seattle is considered a mecca for live music. The Showbox, The Triple Door, The Crocodile, and Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley are all venues that host concerts year-round. Annual festivals include NW Folklife, Festal: The Italian Festival, and the Madaraka Festival.


Seattle Public Schools serve Pioneer Square and Downtown Seattle.

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