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Pioneer Square

Seattle’s birthplace and oldest neighborhood is set in the National Historic District overlooking Elliot Bay. 

More a district than an actual square, Pioneer Square is where Seattle began. This historic district has been rejuvenated with green spaces, benches and fresh facades on some of the buildings, but still retains some old-world charm. It’s a sharp contrast to the nearby ultra-modern sports stadiums of Qwest Field and Safeco Field.

Early settlers in Seattle opened businesses along the Elliott Bay waterfront. The area boomed due to the many miners who passed through in the late 1800s, seeking their fortune further north during the Yukon Gold Rush. Pioneer Square earned the title “Skid Row” because lumberjacks skidded logs down Yesler Street to the wharf at the bottom of the hill.

Pioneer Square has transformed over time from a seedy red-light district to a respectable arts community and visitor attraction. Jump on a horse-drawn carriage and tour the cobblestone streets with a local guide at the reins. The ivy-covered brick buildings and mid-19th-century Romanesque architecture lend character and charm to the cafés, sports bars, bookstores and nightclubs.

There’s plenty to do here, rain or shine. Check out the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park to learn more about Seattle’s colorful history. And don't miss Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour of the old sidewalks, saloons, brothels and passageways of the original city. If the sun’s out, take your camera to the top of Smith Tower, riding up on the only manually-operated elevator on the West Coast. Completed in 1914, Smith Tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi and it still offers great views of the waterfront and distant Mount Rainier.  

After dark enjoy live music, bars, dancing and spicy food. The party atmosphere continues until the early hours. This area has some of the oldest drinking establishments in the city, as well as a few clubs that were mainstays of Seattle’s grunge era in the early ‘90s. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains all got their start here. 

Pioneer Square is located on the south end of downtown Seattle, easily accessible by car, bus or taxi. Free parking is tough to come by, but there are plenty of parking lots and street parking for a fee.


Guide to Exploring around Pioneer Square


Best Lodging Options Near Pioneer Square

See all 2,751 Properties near Pioneer Square
Hotel Theodore CA $134
Hotel Theodore

Hotel Theodore

1531 7th Ave, Seattle, WA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Seattle, this hotel is steps away from Game Works, Washington State Convention Center and Seattle Central Business District. Seattle Paramount Theatre and Nordstrom are also within 5 minutes. Westlake Station is only a 4-minute walk and Westlake Ave Hub Station is 5 minutes.

    Crowne Plaza Seattle - Downtown CA $120
    Crowne Plaza Seattle - Downtown

    Crowne Plaza Seattle - Downtown

    1113 6th Ave, Seattle, WA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Seattle, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Seattle Central Business District and 5th Avenue Theater. Washington State Convention Center and Seattle Waterfront are also within 10 minutes. University Street Station is 6 minutes by foot and Westlake Station is 8 minutes.

      Hilton Seattle CA $115
      Hilton Seattle

      Hilton Seattle

      1301 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Seattle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Washington State Convention Center, Seattle Waterfront and Pike Place Market. Space Needle and CenturyLink Field are also within 1 mi (2 km). University Street Station is only a 4-minute walk and Westlake Station is 6 minutes.

        Warwick Seattle CA $113
        Warwick Seattle

        Warwick Seattle

        401 Lenora St, Seattle, WA
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Belltown, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Moore Theater and Seattle Central Business District. Seattle Waterfront and Pike Place Market are also within 10 minutes. Westlake 7th St Station and Westlake Ave Hub Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle CA $279
          Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle

          Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle

          1000 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Seattle, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Seattle Waterfront, Pioneer Square, and Seattle Central Business District. Seattle Great Wheel and Pike Place Market are also within 10 minutes. University Street Station is 5 minutes by foot and Pioneer Square Station is 8 minutes.

            The Paramount Hotel CA $109
            The Paramount Hotel

            The Paramount Hotel

            724 Pine St, Seattle, WA
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Seattle, this hotel is steps away from Pacific Place, Seattle Paramount Theatre and Seattle Central Business District. Washington State Convention Center and Nordstrom are also within 5 minutes. Westlake Station and Westlake Ave Hub Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              Hyatt Regency Seattle CA $155
              Hyatt Regency Seattle

              Hyatt Regency Seattle

              808 Howell St, Seattle, WA
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Belltown, this hotel is steps away from Seattle Paramount Theatre and Seattle Central Business District. Washington State Convention Center and Nordstrom are also within 10 minutes. Westlake Ave Hub Station is only a 4-minute walk and Westlake 7th St Station is 5 minutes.

                Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square CA $165
                Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square

                Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square

                255 South King Street, Seattle, WA
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Pioneer Square, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park. Pike Place Market and Washington State Convention Center are also within 1 mi (2 km). King Street Station is only a 2-minute walk and International District/Chinatown Station is 4 minutes.