The Pike Place Market (www.pikeplacemarket.org)
is Seattle’s top tourist attraction with some 10 million visitors annually. The Columbia Center, 701 Fifth Ave, at 932 feet, is the tallest building in the state. Despite the thicket of steel and glass towers, the Smith Tower, 506 Second Ave, #1021, (www.smithtower.com),remains one of downtown’s finest buildings. When construction was finished in 1914 it was Seattle’s first skyscraper and the tallest building west of Chicago for nearly 50 years, until the Space Needle, at 605 feet, eclipsed it in 1962. Otherwise, downtown — the zone between Pioneer Square and Belltown, the waterfront and I-5, is about business, banking and shopping — with some notable exceptions: Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, 200 University St., and Fifth Avenue Theater, 1308 Fifth Ave., among them. There are numerous, historic buildings still standing in downtown, primarily toward Pioneer Square. The waterfront is a combination of tourist kitsch and mossy, neglected nooks and crannies. During the summer months tourists jam the iconic Ivar’s Acres of Clams, 1001 Alaskan Way, which gets little respect from the locals. Too bad. In the off-season it’s quiet, you’re on the water, the fare is better than expected and you won’t run into anyone you know. The Downtown Seattle Association is at: www.downtownseattle.com
Major Downtown Events:
• Seafair Torchlight Parade: July 28. The Northwest’s biggest lighted parade starts at the Seattle Center and proceeds down Fourth Avenue to Second Avenue and King Street. More than 300,000 people line the parade route. Of course the Seafair Pirates and Clowns will be there. www.seafair.com
• Macy’s Holiday Parade & Star Lighting: Nov. 23. Parade starts at 9 a. m. on Seventh Avenue and heads down Pine Street. Tree lighting at Westlake Center at 5 p. m. www.seattle-downtown.com/events
• Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2013: Feb. 20-24 at the Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place. www.seattle-downtown.com/events
Zip: 98122. Borders: North: Denny Way (includes Belltown by some definitions), East: I-5; South: Yesler Way; West: Elliott Bay.