Planning a trip to the Emerald City? If you’re into indie boutiques and hip eateries, head to the trendy neighborhood of Belltown. Once a gritty, semi-industrial arts district, Belltown has transformed into a vibrant neighborhood with swanky restaurants, chic boutiques, and eclectic art galleries. You won’t be hard-pressed to find things to do in Belltown, from enjoying live music at the Crocodile to chilling out in Olympic Sculpture Park.
Located on the waterfront next to Downtown Seattle, Belltown is home to several universities and the hip, youthful crowd that attends them. It’s also one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Seattle, so pack those trainers for exploring.
From bohemian bars to rugged rock clubs, plan the ultimate Belltown adventure with this complete guide for what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay.
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What to see & do in Belltown
Olympic Sculpture Park
One of the coolest parks in Seattle is the Olympic Sculpture Park. Based on Western Avenue in Belltown, the park brings art and the outdoors together to create an unusual retreat. Geometrically sloping paths meander between 20 distinct modern and contemporary sculptures.
At Olympic Sculpture Park, you’ll see odd-shaped benches designed to represent eyes. A colorful glass bridge catches the eye, and a vivarium with fungi and moss growing on a tree trunk will pique your curiosity. The park is a lovely place to escape the bustle of Downtown Seattle and admire some art.
A little beach called Pocket Beach runs parallel to the nine-acre park and boasts beautiful views of the bay. Pack a picnic lunch and spend an hour relaxing on the beach and taking in the vista.
The Rendezvous and Jewelbox Theater
Step back into the 1930s with a show at the vintage Rendezvous and Jewelbox Theater. The cozy little theater seats just 65 guests and presents a variety of shows, from burlesque to comedy. The two separate venues come together to create one of Belltown’s most popular performance spaces.
Grab a drink at the casual Rendezvous Café before watching a risqué burlesque show in the beautiful Art Deco theater. The rich wallpaper and thick red velvet call curtain will take you back in time to when Film Row was the entertainment industry hub.
If burlesque isn’t your thing, the Jewelbox Theater hosts an array of live events, magic shows, comedy nights, and karaoke. Grab that mic and hit the stage!
Seattle Glass Blowing Studio
Admire some stunning glass artworks at the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio. Located on 5th Avenue, the Seattle Glassblowing Studio displays exquisite handmade glass art and jewelry by local glassblowing artists. If you’ve never seen glass being blown, spend some time here and marvel at the ancient art form.
Watch glassblowing students and artists plying their trade in the studio’s Hot Shop. You can even join a workshop and try it for yourself! Learn from professional glassblowers how to create a masterpiece from a single piece of glass. Let your creativity flow and keep your completed piece to take home.
If you’re looking for something special, custom order a piece and watch it being made. Browse the studio’s collection of beautiful vases, plates, garden art, and more for a one-of-a-kind gift.
EDITOR'S RECOMMENDATION: Fascinated by what you’ve seen here? Don’t miss the chance to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass! This gallery showcases the stunning work of world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. Located just north of Belltown in the Seattle Center complex in the Uptown neighborhood, it’s one of our favorite recommendations for first-time visitors to Seattle!
Get your rock on with an evening of live music at The Crocodile. Famous for hosting legendary bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana in the 1990s, the Crocodile is fondly known as being the soundtrack for Belltown. Although the “Croc” has since moved from its original location (pictured below), if you love rock and hard rock music, visiting this reimagined music venue is still a must.
Tucked away on 1st Avenue, the 30,000-square-foot entertainment complex has four venues in one. Thrash around to punk rock and dance shows in the main showroom, Madame Lou’s. Enjoy some comedy and theater in the Here-After room, or head to The Society Café for casual street food and craft cocktails.
Had a long night and need to sleep? Grab a room at the Crocodile Hotel and admire the eclectic décor in the lobby from past concerts and local artists while checking in.
Step back in time and watch a show at Seattle’s oldest surviving theater. Attached to a stately old hotel on 2nd Avenue and Virginia Street, the Moore Theatre is the grand dame of showhouses. Built in 1907, the theater was once the go-to place for Seattle’s Gilded Age elite in the early 20th century.
Today, the Moore Theatre hosts various theatrical productions, lectures, and music and dance shows. Be transported back in time to the Golden Days of theater when you see the beautiful interiors with plush red seating.
Be sure to check the theater calendar for upcoming events during your stay in Belltown and catch a show. Look out for the free theater tours on the second Saturday of each month.
Where to eat & drink
Seattle has a diverse culinary scene, and Belltown is home to some of the city’s most fantastic spots to eat & drink. From Southern-inspired gravy-drenched biscuits to sublime sushi, you’ll find the perfect place to wine and dine here.
If you love a classic dive bar, head to the award-winning 5 Point Café. Tuck into traditional American fare and sip on stiff drinks at this 93-year-old tavern. Pop a few coins into the vintage jukebox to hear your favorite tunes.
Get a taste of the South with thick, gravy-soaked biscuits topped with garlic grits at Biscuit Bitch Belltown. This popular breakfast and brunch spot serves huge portions of classic Southern bites and cheddar-topped hangover cures. Grab a table outside and watch the world go by over hot links and sizzling pork sausage.
For super fresh sushi and mouthwatering sashimi, Shiro’s Sushi takes first prize. The elegant Bauhaus-style eatery has tables for quiet dinners, but the sushi bar is the place to be. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the limited seats, forgo ordering and ask the sushi master to surprise you. You’ll be amazed at the inventive offerings created by the bar’s old masters.
Oozing elegance and style, AQUA by El Gaucho promises an unforgettable fine dining experience. Set on the waters of Eliott Bay, the chic restaurant is the perfect place for a special evening out. Take a table on the expansive deck with gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains inside next to the showstopping lighted wave bar.
If you’re a whizz at pinball and happy among extravagant neon lights, pop into Shorty’s. This whimsical bar boasts quirky circus décor and rows upon rows of vintage and modern pinball machines. Order Chicago-style hot dogs to fill the gap, sip on Rainier tallboys and whiskey sours—and try not to get spooked by the vaguely melted clown masks on the walls.
Looking for some random bar for a spontaneous night out with friends? Head to Some Random Bar (yes, it’s really called Some Random Bar!) for casual grub and classic drinks. If gin is your sin, head to the Bathtub Gin & Co. The Prohibition-style cocktail bar is nestled in the basement of an old brick hotel and serves an excellent selection of gins & tonics, and signature cocktails.
Where to stay
Located a short walk from the Waterfront Park, the Staypineapple, Hotel FIVE, Downtown Seattle is a hip hotel with a friendly vibe. Kick back in comfortable accommodations with en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities. Grab a coffee at the hotel’s espresso bar before jumping on a loaner bike to explore the city.
If you’re traveling on a budget, the Ace Hotel Seattle is a good bet. Set in former maritime workers’ lodging, the hotel has comfortable rooms with minimalist décor and shared bathrooms. Cable TVs and minibars offer creature comfort, and you can connect to the world on free Wi-Fi. Enjoy a complimentary DIY breakfast every morning before heading out.
This chic, Scandinavian-inspired luxury boutique hotel is ideally located for exploring the city. Hotel Ändra has spacious guest rooms with contemporary décor and elegant living areas. Dine on fresh Italian or Mediterranean fare at one of the hotel’s restaurants. A short walk will get you to the iconic Space Needle and Pike Place Market.
Located on Pier 67 at the waterfront, the Edgewater, a Noble House Hotel is an upscale retreat with stylish guest rooms. Relax in front of the fireplace in your room and soak up beautiful views of Puget Sound. Dine on fresh seafood at the waterside restaurant before enjoying a short stroll to the bustling waterfront nearby.
Set within a mile of the iconic Space Needle, the Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, Tapestry Collection offers a comfortable base for exploring the neighborhood. Floor-to-ceiling windows in your room embrace breathtaking views, and a 24-hour fitness center will keep you fit. A hip restaurant serves globally inspired cuisine, and the bar is lined with craft beers and fine wines.