Heading to Washington State for a vacation? Be sure to explore the Seattle Chinatown-International District for some fascinating culture and history. Home to Seattle’s Asian-American communities, this bustling neighborhood has an electric, energetic vibe and loads to see & do.
Myriad aromas float in the air from the many restaurants and cafés selling all types of Asian fare. Sushi spots, noodle houses, and dim-sum bars mingle with quirky gift shops and vibrant markets.
Explore eclectic art galleries and exciting museums, browse tiny bookstores, and discover some unusual toy shops. The Seattle Chinatown-International District has everything from trendy fashion stores to charming neighborhood grocery markets.
Shop until you drop, museum and gallery hop, catch a game at Lumen Fiel, and eat your way through Asia as you explore what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay in Seattle Chinatown-International District with this complete guide!
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What to see & do in Seattle Chinatown-International District
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian-Pacific American Experience
Make the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian-Pacific American Experience your first stop to learn more about the art, culture, and history of Asian-Pacific Americans. Explore the role Asian cultures played in shaping and developing the Pacific Northwest through fascinating exhibits.
Meander through Wing Luke Museum’s collections of over 18,000 artifacts, documents, books, and photographs. You can also enjoy listening to historical accounts at the oral history lab.
Explore the hotel where countless Asian Pacific immigrants first found refuge and hear stories of survival, struggle, and success. Browse the museum gift shop, where you’ll find interesting books, art, accessories, and apparel.
Seattle Pinball Museum
Are you a pinball whizz? Get your game on at the Seattle Pinball Museum, one of Seattle’s coolest museums. You’ll find more than 50 antique pinball machines from 1960 to the present day at this amazing museum on Maynard Avenue.
Wander through the decades of American pop culture and check out vintage pinball machines dating back to the sixties. Enjoy some live action with ringing bells and flashing lights as you try your hand at a few machines. Worked up a thirst? Grab a vintage soda or a local craft brew to refresh.
Take a stroll along Maynard Avenue after your visit and have a picnic lunch in the family-friendly Hing Hay Park.
Time to eat? There’s no better place to get mouthwatering Asian specialties than at the legendary Uwajimaya Seattle. From fish-shaped waffles to Dochi–crafted mochi donuts, this incredible food emporium has it all!
Established in 1928, Uwajimaya Seattle has been the go-to spot for all types of Asian sweets, treats, and handmade delights. Grab a trolley and stroll around the 35,000-square-foot store and marvel at the offerings. Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies; grab some regional delicacies for a picnic or get a hot snack to go.
If you feel like being adventurous, head to the food hall, where several vendors tour their delicious wares. Tuck into Roi Choi’s Kogi Korean BBQ Beef, hit the sushi counter for fresh sashimi, or sip Jardin Tea. Top tip: Arrive hungry!
Enjoy a quiet moment at Kobe Terrace, where you can stroll through groves of Mt. Fuji cherry trees and ground vines. Set on the northeast edge of the International District, the park covers a terraced hillside and offers lovely views of Seattle.
Wander along winding pathways and take in the views. Admire the 200-year-old Yukimidoro stone lantern, gifted to the city by Seattle’s sister city, Kobe, Japan. Meaning “view of the snow,” the stone stands before the snow-capped peak of Mount Rainier in the south.
Kobe Terrace is also home to the Danny Woo International District Community Garden, where community residents lovingly tend small plots of herbs, flowers, and veggies.
Hing Hay Park
Test your martial art skills or enjoy some gentle meditation at Hing Hay Park. Tucked between 6th Avenue and Maynard Avenue, the small park is a haven for the community. Residents gather to practice Tai Chi or other martial arts. Flowering trees offer shady spots for quiet reflection and meditation, and local musicians serenade passersby during lunch.
Meander around Hing Hay Park’s plaza dotted with café tables and benches, decorative staircases, and lighted Asian iconic figures. Check out the artistic lantern designed and created by George Lee. The beautiful lantern projects the words ‘celebrate happiness’ in different languages.
An ornate Grand Pavilion constructed in Taipei stands on the east side of Hing Hay Park. Pack a picnic lunch and spend a few hours relaxing in the park.
Also, watch out for local festivals celebrated in the park, like the annual Lunar New Year and Summer Dragonfest celebrations.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Gold! The words that changed the nation in the late 1800s are echoed in the exhibits of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The park comprises four units, including a National Park Service Visitor Center in the nearby Pioneer Square neighborhood. Head there to begin your exploration of the area’s rich gold rush heritage.
Based in a beautifully restored 1898 Railroad Depot, the visitor center has several fascinating permanent and seasonal exhibits. Learn the story of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, as well as the cultural and natural resources of the area. Find out more about the Chilkoot Trail, the 33-mile route from Alaska to the Yukon goldfields in Canada.
Enjoy free activities at the center, such as presentations by rangers on diverse topics, lectures and symposiums, and regular showings of historic films.
Where to eat & drink
Seattle Chinatown-International District is packed with fantastic places to eat and drink. From dumplings and dim-sum to noodles and nigiri, you’ll find all sorts of delicious Asian fare and more.
Begin your exploration of the neighborhood with a strong Vietnamese coffee and a Banh Mi sandwich. Hello Em Việt Coffee & Roastery in the Little Saigon neighborhood is a window into the rich Vietnamese culture and history in Seattle. If you want something extra sweet at this popular Seattle cafe, try the latte flavored with crème brulée.
For out-of-this-world dumplings, head to the Dough Zone Dumpling House. This little spot serves the regular bun, dumplings, and noodles favorites with various fillings. Try the juicy xiao long bao soup dumplings or the fried version called Q-bao.
Hailed as having the best dim sum in Seattle, Harbor City Restaurant gets rave reviews. This casual family-owned Chinese restaurant serves a range of mouthwatering dim sum dishes, as well as classic Peking duck, congee, and other favorites. Ask for the specials that aren’t always on the carts.
For a taste of Hong Kong, head to A+ Hong Kong Kitchen, one of the best spots in Seattle to get Hong Kong café eats. For a unique taste of the island nation, try the baked pork chop with spaghetti and a pineapple bun stuffed with chilled butter.
Take a culinary journey to Japan with a visit to Maneki Restaurant. This mainstay is over a century old and serves Japanese classics from hand-rolled sushi to agedashi tofu. Be sure to try the signature dishes like the black cod collar miso while sipping sake.
Another great spot for sake and shochu cocktails is the family-run gastropub Itsumono where you can also order traditional Japanese plates.
One of Seattle’s hidden gems, Gan Bei is a favorite among Seattle’s restaurant industry folks. Those-in-the-know flock to the cozy eatery for comforting rice clay pots and fried chicken. Grab a drink at the intimate bar and catch some local industry gossip.
For something simple, the aptly named Boiling Point serves steaming bowls of soup with some interesting options such as Korean Bean Paste and Spicy Fermented Tofu.
Where to stay
Ideally located on Pioneer Square, citizenM Seattle Pioneer Square is a comfortable hotel with standard air-conditioned rooms and private bathrooms. Tuck into a delicious buffet or vegetarian breakfast before heading out for the day. A charming bar offers a quiet spot for a drink in the evening.
The Courtyard Seattle Downtown / Pioneer Square offers an upscale retreat in the heart of Seattle’s historic downtown area. Unwind in your stylishly decorated guest room with splendid views of the city. A beautiful indoor pool and gym are perfect for working out. Relax over drinks and snacks at the hotel’s full-service bar. Pioneer Square Station is just one block away.
Set in the trendy, historic Pioneer Square district, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square is a sophisticated hotel a short walk from King Street Station. Elegantly appointed guest rooms have deluxe décor and high-end amenities. You can enjoy top-notch facilities like an indoor swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and a casual bar and restaurant.