AAA Editor Notes
Pioneer Square Historic District covers a 30-block area from Columbia St. s. to S. King St. and from Alaskan Way e. to 4th Ave. S. This area was Seattle's first downtown, until a disastrous fire in 1889 destroyed most of the original wooden buildings. After the fire, city ordinances required buildings to be constructed of brick and stone. Today, visitors will notice the harmonious architecture that characterizes the neighborhood; a preservation movement beginning in the 1970s has helped to retain much of the original character.
The heart of the district is Pioneer Square Park (100 Yesler Way), a triangular, tree-shaded park with benches, a replica of a totem pole carved by Tlingit Indians and a bust of Suquamish and Duwamish tribal leader Chief Seattle, for whom the city is named. Street musicians provide entertainment to park visitors and passersby.
The Pioneer Building, on 1st Avenue facing the park, is representative of the decorative Romanesque-style buildings that line the streets. The iron pergola is a replica; the 1909 original was destroyed when an 18-wheeler crashed into it in 2001.
Extending between S. Washington and S. Jackson streets is Occidental Square Park, a brick-paved pedestrian mall. Life-size bronze sculptures comprise the Fallen Firefighter's Memorial, a tribute to four Seattle firefighters who lost their lives battling a downtown warehouse fire in 1995, and to the 31 others who have died in the line of duty since 1889.
There are shops and galleries to explore at the Grand Central Arcade, a vaulted, ivy-covered brick arcade opening onto Occidental Square Park. Dozens of area art galleries stay open after hours during the monthly First Thursday Art Walk, 6-8 p.m. On Seattle Sounders game days, thousands of cheering soccer fans congregate in the park for March to the Match before making the trek to CenturyLink Field via Occidental Avenue.
Note: Keep common sense safety precautions in mind and stay alert while walking around Pioneer Square. Avoid wandering alone at night; travel in a group instead.
Pet friendly (call for restrictions/fees.). Food is available.
Station: Pioneer Square