6.7 out of 10

Downtown (Central Business District)

Ranked 41st best neighborhood in Seattle
47.6083263906794 -122.331950712476
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Nightlife
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Schools
  • Childcare
  • Lack of Traffic
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

4/5
Mar 19, 2016

"Rock, Blues, and Alternative music venues"

The only reason I go to downtown Seattle is to catch a specific show. Otherwise the nightlife isn’t great here, so I’ll head to the other neighborhoods for a more casual night out.

*Showbox: The Showbox is the heavy hitter music venue of downtown. They bring in the medium to big names, mostly in rock and alternative music. The venue is built to last, with thick, soundproof walls, sticky black painted walls and floors, and sturdy bars. It’s not where you go to feel classy and sip champagne. It’s where you go to rock out! You’ll also get some hip hop, pop, folk, and dance music here, like Ellie Goulding and Miike Snow. But the majority is stuff like Killswitch Engage, Fall Out Boy, The Used, Modest Mouse, and Flogging Molly.

*Triple Door: This is one of my regular haunts. They bring in a tons of different styles of musicians from hip hop to jazz, even dance sometimes. I really like how they have multiple shows per night, including happy hour at 5. This is nice so that you can still catch a show depending on what time works for you. Cover is generally pretty decent, usually under 20 bucks.

*Highway 99 Blues Club: Is a very R&B, Jazz, and Blues style music venue. It has a down-south feel, a bit like New Orleans… but Seattle version. I’m not a huge fan of this place because of the set up. It’s kinda grimy, there are poles that block your view and their sound system is too huge for the space. But it can be a fun place if you can put up with your ears being blasted and the band is good.
4/5
Jan 28, 2016

"Aquarium, big wheel, shopping"

Downtown is not the most family friendly neighborhood in Seattle, but there are still some nice activities.

The waterfront is the best place downtown for families, though I am hopeful that the renovations will be complete soon, because they detract from our enjoyment. Despite the construction, you can still enjoy the Seattle Aquarium. During the winter on several Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, they host free toddler time with fun activities for young children up to age 5. Waterfront park is right next door, as well. It is simply a small area of public access on the pier, but is quite pleasant in the summer.

Also on the waterfront, we once rode the big wheel, just south of the aquarium. It was an exciting one-time activity, but we will not be regular patrons. Further south still, you can explore Ye Olde Curiosity shop, though you must keep a close watch on toddlers as there are many tiny items that can end up in their mouths.

We occasionally enjoy a visit to the Pike Place Market, where we watch the fish being thrown and buy a bouquet of flowers. But a word of caution: many of the stalls sell child-friendly toys and items, so it can be a challenge to shop here as your child may want many items!
Pros
  • Aquarium
Cons
  • Construction
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Jan 28, 2016

"Museums, music, and coffee"

I rarely find myself downtown these days, since I work in South Lake Union and live north of town. As a local, there’s so much in the surrounding neighborhoods that there’s really no need to spend much time downtown unless you work there. There are a few reasons I end up there though.

First is the Seattle Art Museum. They have excellent exhibits, and I often bring friends to free First Thursday nights with me.

Second is Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony plays. You’ve got to hear them at least once.

Finally, I go downtown for meetings with clients occasionally, as this is the main business district of the city. Being Seattle, there are also dozens of cafes to visit if you are so inclined. The best one, in my opinion, is the little-known Caffe Senso Unico. They do, by far, the best espresso in Seattle. It is owned and operated by an Italian family, and they are meticulous with the ingredients and preparation of their specialty drinks.
Pros
  • Museums and music
  • Excellent cafes
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
Jan 28, 2016

"Decent shopping, ok but not great nightlife"

Decent shopping, ok but not great nightlife

Downtown Seattle doesn’t really have much going on besides work. There are a few bars and restaurants, but if you want to go out, it’s way better in the neighborhoods. I don’t work downtown, so I don’t end up here very often, but a few of the places I’ve been to that I like are:

--The Elysian Bar on 2nd. This is a local Seattle brewery that has a few pubs around town.
--Sazerac: They make good cocktails and I like their happy hour.
--The Triple Door: This is a small music venue that also does happy hour. So if you want something different for drinks after work, you can see an early, low-key show here at the same time. Their food is from Wild Ginger next door, so it’s pretty good.

Shopping downtown isn’t bad. Most of it is on Pike and Pine, and a few places on 1st. Seattle actually has pretty good style, so there are some nice stores that are hard to find in other cities, like All Saints and Brooks Brothers.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Dec 02, 2015

"Good for working and sightseeing, but not for living"

Downtown Seattle is where you go to work, see a show, or take your mom. Unless you have a large disposable income, it’s not where you go to live.

To work:
What’s nice about downtown is that a large percentage of workplaces are located here in the high-rises. That means they’re contained in one place, and you can ‘leave work at work,’ when you go home.

Food & nightlife
Having so many work buildings means that there are quite a few ‘dead zones’ where nothing is open at night. If you want to find a place to eat, it’s better to do your research ahead of time, or you could end up wandering around for a while. There are a few little places in Pike Place (ex: Alibi Room), and along third, but it’s not ideal for bar hopping. I usually prefer Capitol Hill. That being said, if you’re going fancy, there are some great spots on the water, namely, Anthony’s seafood restaurant where you can pick which bay your local crab came from.
However, downtown is also where some of the big venues are. You can see a concert at the Showbox, the symphony at Benaroya Hall, or theater at ACT or the Paramount (I saw Broadway's Wicked there recently). But as for going out more casually with your friends, most Seattleites opt for something in one of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Transportation:
To get to work, it’s easy if you’re headed to 3rd avenue, because this is the bus corridor, and it’s closed to cars during peak hours. But if you have to transfer, it can be a bit of a hassle and I often just end up walking the rest of the way.

Locals love:
I never get tired of the enormous downtown library. Everyone should check it out at least once. The architecture is pretty impressive, and the bookshelves are one giant spiral that book-lovers can easily get sucked into for hours. I also have a Seattle Art Museum (SAM) membership, which has excellent rotating exhibits. There's also your typical shopping at the Westlake Center and Pacific Place, nothing too outstanding.

Places to take your family and visitors:
If you’ve heard that locals never go to Pike Place, it’s not true. We go there when we have visitors, and secretly enjoy it sometimes too. There’s the fish market of course, and also the flower bouquets and crafts, the gum wall (slightly gross), and Pike Brewing. But my favorite is to get a coffee and sit at a table at the park just north of the market that overlooks the ferries and Puget Sound. Speaking of, I love how the ferry terminal is right in downtown and you can walk on the boat to go to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. Also a good mom activity, and only $8 round trip for walk-on passengers. You really can't beat the view of the city and Mt. Rainier from the ferry.

Views from up high:
If you want to see the city view, you *could* go to the Space Needle. But there are other spots that are more fun. One of the Seattle secrets is the 40th-floor Starbucks in the Columbia Tower. It’s free to enter, and anyone can go up, get a coffee, and read a book next to the window. Skip the “first Starbucks” at Pike Place and go here instead.

Living:
Like I said, very few people actually live downtown. I don’t know anyone who does because the prices are so high, and Seattle’s neighborhoods are more walkable and fun.

Parks:
There aren’t too many green spaces in downtown. Westlake Center Park is cement, but it has some outdoor games like a jungle gym and checkers. There are often political demonstrations here, so if you’re involved in activism, you’ll get to know the space well. Recent visitors have been sHell No, Black Lives Matter, and Bernie Sanders. The closest grassy park is the Sculpture park, just north of downtown on the waterfront.

Overall, downtown Seattle is fun to visit occasionally, but you won’t see too many locals living there or spending their free time there.
Pros
  • Entertainment
  • Tourist attractions
  • Proximity to downtown
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • More expensive housing
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Hills And High Rises—Plenty To Do"

The Central Business District (CBD) occupies a large area on each side of Interstate 5, unique to typical Seattle neighborhoods (http://streetadvisor.com/user/hudsonite). The I-5 corridor typically has a "Berlin Wall" effect, with distinct differences on each side of the freeway. It's boundaries are roughly Olive Way and Pike Street to the north, 12th Avenue to the east, James Street to the south, and the waterfront to the west. The feel of the CBD is compact, due to Seattle's greater downtown area being restricted by hills (on the north and east) and water (on the west).

History

A miraculous rebirth occurred after the Great Seattle fire of 1889 (http://bitly.com/es9KsP), which destroyed the CBD. The city emerged more glorious, indicating the strength and determination of its inhabitants. The panic of 1893 (http://bitly.com/ehGNTY), a severe economic depression, deeply effected Seattle. The Klondike Gold Rush (http://bitly.com/eCBj22) brought about not only an end to the depression, but an influx of creative and innovative people. One man, James E. Casey, began UPS (http://ups.com) with $100, which he had borrowed from a friend. Other companies, like Nordstrom (http://nordstrom.com) and Eddie Bauer (http://eddiebauer.com) surfaced, which helped bolster the economy, growing it into what it visibly represents today.

Demographics and Income

It is no surprise that most of the demographic is comprised of transient individuals or couples, mainly in the 25-40 year old age range. Income levels, unfortunately, do not follow the “day” population demographic of suited professionals. In fact, the average income is well below the Seattle average, dipping beneath the poverty level on the Southwest side. Almost half of the residents are single, and virtually no children for the married portion. Divorcees are alive and well in the CBD.

Culture

The epicenter for commerce, conventions, and tourist accommodations. Not a day passes without running into an out-of-town visitor, whether they are attending meetings at the Convention Center (http://wsctc.com/), enjoying a vacation or honeymoon, or preparing for an Alaskan cruise (http://bitly.com/gYy7RK). The flip side of the visitor is the “suit” or the bum. Many homeless look for means to survival, taking advantage of the wealth on these streets. It’s a sad picture, but one which continues to plague Seattle.

Real Estate

Looking for a single family home in the CBD? Not one can be found among this concrete and steel jungle. Condos are about it, with 80% being rented. Most domiciles are under 1400 Sq. Ft., so don’t count on an abundance of storage. Values have had roller coaster-like tendencies, fluctuating almost $200K!

Local Business Tour (Restaurants, Pubs, Coffee Houses, Shops and other Amenities)

Restaurants can be mentioned by the dozen, but initial places to explore would include one of our favorites, Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant (http://wildginger.net) - An Asian dining experience inspired by a trip to Southeast Asia by owners, Rick and Ann Yoder. Others include: Ipanema Grill (http://ipanemabraziliangrill.us) - A restaurant saturated in “Rodizio,” a Brazilian style of enjoying dinner among friends; Benihana (http://bitly.com/e6sRCQ) - Where every meal [Japanese] is a show; Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (http://rockbottom.com/seattle) -A wide variety of dishes with beer brewed on site; McCormick & Schmick's Seafood (http://bitly.com/idSX3G) - An extensive Pacific Northwest seafood menu with daily chef specials; Licorous (http://licorous.com) - Specialty drinks and liquor, along with a distinctive small plate menu; and The Honeyhole (http://thehoneyhole.com) - Serving delicious sandwiches and several choices of local ales—all since 1999.

Nightlife is no challenge for the CBD, with places like The Triple Door (http://thetripledoor.net), PF Chang's China Bistro (http://pfchangs.com), Dragonfish Asian Cafe (http://dragonfishcafe.com), Urbane Restaurant and Bar (http://urbaneseattle.com), and several others.

Living up to Seattle’s reputation of a coffee shop on every corner, and then some, the CBD has on overwhelming selection of places to grab a cup of “joe”. There is, of course, the usual Starbucks shops—a welcome site for some and an eyesore for others. Looking to the east side of I-5: Victrola Coffee (http://victrolacoffee.com/) - An ever-expanding venue with a passion for jazz and ambience; Bauhaus (http://bauhauscoffee.net/) - Set in a historic structure, features large windows and even bookcases for an intelligent feel; Kaladi Brothers Coffee (http://kaladi.com/) - Coffee with an Alaskan heritage, featuring a revolutionary roasting process which requires arctic air; and Stumptown Coffee (http://stumptowncoffee.com) - Originating in Portland, OR, this place features uniquely-styled seating, a full roasting facility, and training room. Highlighting coffee stops on the west side: Seattle Coffee Works (http://seattlecoffeeworks.com) - Two types of counters: An express bar for the get it and go crowd, and a “slow bar” for the more contemplative coffee drinker (the coffeeaholic); Fonté Coffee & Wine Bar (http://fontecoffee.com) - The Northwest’s finest micro-coffee roaster, selecting the top 1% of beans and having them shipped within hours to the store; and Stella Caffé (http://stellacoffees.com) - An Italian-based shop with acute attention to coffee brewing, trusting in a demographic for this experience.

Merchandise stores are almost innumerable—too many to mention, with most located west of the Interstate. Pike street offers the greatest density for shoppers, culminating, of course, at the market. 4th and 5th avenues drum up special beats, especially for the business traveler and tourist. Having an upper-hand on hotels gives any entrepreneur the edge in the CBD.

Accommodations

Multiple hotels stand in the area, mainly used by the convention center. A few are: Red Lion Hotel (http://seattleredlionfifthavenue.com) - A newly rennovated facility on 5th Avenue, Fairmont Olympic Hotel (http://fairmont.com) - A combination of superb customer service and eye-catching architecture, Sheraton Seattle Hotel (http://starwoodhotels.com) - Comfortable rooms with the deep-reaching reputation of the Sheraton family, Hilton Seattle (http://hilton.com) - Welcome to the most forward-thinking hotel company on the planet, or Crown Plaza Seattle (http://cphotelseattle.com) - 415 rooms strong with claim to the Torchbearer Award—while enjoying close proximity to all the sights and sounds of the Emerald City.

Schools

While walking among the concrete and steel “jungle” in this neighborhood, the first thought in a person’s mind is usually not focused on the education system. However, students have much to celebrate by way of the resources available to them via Seattle’s central nervous system: Seattle University (http://seattle.edu) - A renown campus with strong programs in law, business, engineering and art; O’Dea High School (http://odea.org) - Quality Catholic education among a diverse economic, racial and ethnic student body; Bakke Graduate University (http://bgu.edu) - Offering theological education with a combination of seminary training and an emphasis towards urban challenges and a global constituency; Foundation for Early Learning (http://earlylearning.org) - Seeking to close the gap on the number of unprepared, educationally, children; and Diane’s Market Kitchen (http://dianesmarketkitchen.com) - Explore Pike Place market (http://bitly.com/hOKEcJ) through the food, especially in a hands-on cooking class.

Recreation

With so many buildings packed into the CBD, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The tallest, having the most floors of any building west of the Mississippi, is the Columbia Tower (http://bitly.com/aJORuw). The view from the tower is astounding, topping that of the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com). Other well-known establishments are Benaroya Hall (http://seattlesymphony.org/benaroya/), Nordstrom's flagship store (http://nordstrom.com), Seattle Central Library (http://bitly.com/at1xtb) - With it’s unique window architecture, Seattle City Hall (http://bitly.com/c1irBH), Seattle Art Museum (http://bitly.com/9KbHrF) - Complete with “working man” statue at entrance, Washington State Convention Center (http://wscc.com) - An enormous space for big-scale events, and Westlake Center (http://westlakecenter.com) - A haven for shoppers and center for holiday entertainment.

Despite the urban density, a couple of parks do exist, though with limited green space. The Westlake Park (http://bitly.com/bQTXAp) is a spacious area across from the Westlake Center. Freeway Park (http://bitly.com/crf9zC) helps to connect the Convention Center to First Hill (http://bitly.com/hrbpeS). It features an attractive water structure and can be a peaceful setting to meet a friend or to enjoy a sack lunch.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

The medical facilities in the CBD are outstanding, with Virginia Mason Hospital (http://virginiamason.org) - Having received recent awards for doctors and services and Swedish Medical Center - First Hill (http://swedish.org) - The uncontested, premier health facility of Seattle. Others include: The Polyclinic (http://polyclinic.com) - One of the largest multi-specialty clinics in Puget Sound, with over 150 primary care physicians; Aurora Medical Services (http://auroramedicalservices.com) - Providing a wide range of women’s reproductive health services; Seattle Children’s Hospital - Respiratory Therapy (http://bitly.com/eHvZxm) - Assisting children and families who require specialized treatment for breathing; City Center Massage (http://massageseattle.net) - Owned and operated by Julie Onofrio, LMP, having been in the profession since 1989; Group Health Downtown Seattle Medical Center (http://bitly.com/fcTHEp) - Offering choice and flexibility with doctors, pharmacies and other services; Advanced dentistry at Century Square (http://advanceddentistryatcenturysquare.com) - Dr. Andreea Larhs and her staff provide patient-centered approach to dental care; and Specialty Dentistry (http://drbutson.com) - Accomplished dentistry with a gentle touch.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Even though comprised, primarily, by traditional congregational churches, the CBD still delivers a variety of spiritual options for travelers and locals. Here are some of the options: Plymouth Congregational Church (http://plymouthchurchseattle.org) - Over 100 years of social justice, implanted in a diverse congregation; First Covenant Church (http://firstcovenantseattle.org) - Seeking to make a difference in the neighborhood, with over 100 years of history; Seattle First Presbyterian Church (http://firstpres.org) - A community of disciples who passionately love God, one another and their neighbors; St. James Cathedral (http://stjames-cathedral.org) - An inner-city parish with an outreach to many on the edge of poverty and loneliness; and Trinity Parish Church (http://trinityseattle.org) - Known for its historic stone architecture and ornate stained glass windows.

Transportation Access and Tips

Public transportation takes on a unique role with the urban density, featuring a bus and light rail tunnel (http://bitly.com/fLNeCf) far below street level. In fact, the new light rail (http://soundtransit.com - completed in 2009) now runs all the way to Sea Tac International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac). Hybrid and electric buses also utilize the tunnels, but also run on the surface streets. The King County Metro Transit (http://metro.kingcounty.gov), as it is called, is free within the downtown area.

Car traffic, though increasingly discouraged by Seattle’s administration, provides convenient transport. The challenge, however, lies in the parking availability. If staying downtown for under two hours, then the best bet is finding a spot on the street where you can pay with the ease of a credit card. Watch out, though, as a few places still use the coin-operated meters. If willing to walk a few blocks (possibly uphill), then park under the Alaskan Way Viaduct (http://bitly.com/ftOMSK), keeping in mind that parking here is also limited to two hours. For those who may want to transport their bike or hop on a local bus to complete the journey, then consider parking in the surface lot just north of the Experience Music Project (http://empsfm.org/) in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood (http://bitly.com/e5Lnjf). If you arrive by 10am, you can park all day for $6.00! Access to the Interstate is a breeze from anywhere in the CBD, including a choice of I-5 or I-90 (to head East). Highway 99 is an efficient way to head to West Seattle and the airport when the Freeway is backed up. Beware drivers of manual transmission cars, as downtown hills are steeply graded!

Summary

Thousands of tourists and business travelers explore the CBD each year, enamored by Seattle's unique natural setting, the unusual culture, and steep-graded streets. It is no wonder that this city continues to remain prominent in the global community.
Pros
  • Interesting historic sites
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Lack of single family homes
  • Loud environment
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Little Manhattan"

With the population downtown growing, Seattle’s getting its share of high-rise condo towers in development, with most of the properties priced at the high end of the housing market. It’s not a bad thing if you’re alright with sharing your space with a lot of people, but downtown might not be a place to live or play if a developing New York City attitude is bothersome.

All that said, downtown is, as the name suggests, the hub for everything. The only thing complicated about transportation is making a decision. Water taxi, regular taxi, ferries, and bus systems will take you in, out, and all around the area. While you’re at the waterfront, you and your group can take any number of sightseeing and nature tours. Awe at the creatures in the aquarium and check out the waterfront arcade. And then shop—shop at a mind-bendingly diverse array of shops and stores, from African Treasures to Zebra Club, everything is available from the fashionable to the luxurious. Once you’ve satiated one appetite, indulge another at one of the many trendy and classy restaurants in and around downtown. Seattle is definitely known for its seafood, and you would regret not getting a quality dish at one of the specialty restaurants like the Oceanaire Seafood Room. But for those who like their main course to be a little more terrestrial, Ipanema Brazilian Grill is sure to leave a colorful, filling, and delicious impression.

It doesn’t do Seattle’s downtown justice to simply read a description. While it’s definitely not a terribly affordable area, the most fulfilling thing about the downtown area is exploring for yourself.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
2yrs+

"A Big City With Everything Imaginable!"

Downtown Seattle, officially known as the Central Business District, is where it all happens. If you want to take in as much as the city as possible, here is the place to do it. With the typical big-city feel of skyscrapers and traffic, you'll find everything you need here in Seattle. There's so much to do downtown that you could easily spend a month exploring and never see it all. Even native Seattleites find that there is plenty to do downtown. The Central Business District is officially defined as the area from Olive to Cherry Street, West of I5, although many residents also include Pike Place Market and Belltown when talking about downtown.

Shoppers will find every kind of store imaginable, from Macy's and Nordstrom to the Westlake Center shopping mall to the world-famous Pike Place Market at the northwestern edge of the central business core. In fact, the entire Seattle front is well-visited by both tourists and locals alike. Other must-see tourist spots in downtown Seattle include Benaroya Hall (with concerts by the Seattle Symphony), and the Seattle Art Museum, not to mention the typical activities you'd find in any major city. There are also some great restaurants, no matter what type of cuisine you're in the mood for, as well as a very active nightlife.

Like the downtown area of most any major city, housing is expensive here, so I recommend living elsewhere in Seattle. Although you might find that downtown living suits you, there are plenty of people who commute to the Central Business District for work or for shopping, dining, or sightseeing. Thankfully, the Central Business District is on dozens of bus lines, plus the Link Light Rail and the Seattle Central Monorail, which links downtown with tourist destinations such as the Space Needle. Of course, like many areas of the city, the Central Business District is easily reached by the I5 freeway.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
2yrs+

"One of the most beautiful cities in America"

Downtown Seattle, like many cities, offers some of the area's best shopping, dining and entertainment. Sections of the city are clearly outlined, such as the shopping district, financial district, old-town Seattle and the after-hours hotspots. There is so much do do and see in downtown Seattle, you can easily spend a week and only scratch the surface. For most Seattlites, there are terrific new and old attractions that they may never see, though the downtown area is full of hidden gems.

Shoppers can experience some huge shopping and department stores, such as Nordstrom, Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Westlake Center, Pacific Place and, of course, Pike Place Market. There are also hundreds of specialty shops lining every street in the shopping district and on every street corner.

For dining, there are some great lunch and dinnertime restaurants, like Elephant & Castle, Wild Ginger, Purple, Ruth's Chris, The Met and The Brooklyn. Whatever you're in the mood for, Thai, Mexican, French, Italian, American, Indian or Chinese, you'll find some absolutely mouthwatering cuisine in downtown Seattle.

As for attractions, downtown Seattle's loaded with them. Besides the aforementioned Pike Place Market, a must-see for any tourist and Seattlite alike, you have Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, The Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Convention Center and a plethora of fun activities and sights - the Underground Tour, Pioneer Square and some of the most fantastic architecture around. There are also some old, and absolutely beautiful theatres, including the 5th Avenue Theatre, The Moore Theatre and the Paramount Theatre.

Nightlife is teeming in the city, with hundreds of clubs, bars, lounges and after-hours hotspots. If clubbing isn't your thing, the Art Gallery Walk in Pioneer Square is phenomenal.

Like any city, though, Seattle has its drawbacks. Housing is expensive, traffic is horrible, the noise is constant and crime occurs daily during the day or night. Downtown is most commonly visited for it's shopping, dining and attractions as well as the people who work in the city, though there are some brave, rich souls who find downtown living suits them just fine.
3/5
2yrs+

"A lot to do, but wouldn't want to live here"

Seattle's downtown, including the neighborhoods of Belltown and the Denny Regrade, features a smorgasbord of activities for locals and tourists alike, from visiting parks to dining at the area's superb restaurants.

The waterfront activities have always been popular with both locals and visitors alike. Pike Place Market is known around the world for its colorful produce and flying fish, fresh from the day's catch and tossed for packaging. The Piers and the Washington State Ferries both provide afternoons of enjoyment, from shops and restaurants, to the lazy ferry runs across Puget Sound to the nearby islands.

In the Denny Regrade neighborhood you'll find the Seattle Center, where over 9 million people come each year to ride the elevator up the famous Space Needle, or to watch concerts, plays and sporting events at any one of the venues, including the Key Arena, the Mercer Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Opera House. If walking around the Seattle Center isn't enough exercise for you, nearby Myrtle Edwards Park is a great place to walk or jog.

If it's food you're after, you will find excellent restaurants in nearby Belltown, right downtown. El Gaucho, Axis, Brasa, and the Flying Fish are just a few for starters. For hamburgers and beer, try the Two Bells Tavern; for coffee and light fare, look up La Vita e Bella.
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Best Streets in Downtown (Central Business District)

1

Summit Ave

3.5/5
"Quiet and somewhat removed from Capitol Hill, a great place to live."
47.6116591724709 -122.324192542193
2

Western Ave

3.5/5
"As cool as Pike Street at some points."
47.6052388092239 -122.338274954846
3

Union St

3.5/5
"Union street unites Seattle!!!"
47.6094529731362 -122.335221015155
4

3rd Ave

3.5/5
"A Little Bit of Everything"
47.6080615867913 -122.336254416405
5

5th Ave

3.5/5
"Great Restaurants..Fun Atmosphere!"
47.6091688195794 -122.334194365458
6

Madison St

3.5/5
"Up Hill Both Ways!"
47.606856233835 -122.331069873925
7

4th Ave

3.5/5
"Shop 'til You Drop!"
47.6090323049938 -122.335607658774
8

6th Ave

3/5
"Great City Life!"
47.6094691937204 -122.332931497407
9

Marion St

3/5
"The religious capital of Seattle?"
47.6061466435902 -122.330409442845
10

University St

3/5
"University Street in Seattle, Washington"
47.6089488981221 -122.333144677873

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