On the cusp of Seattle’s downtown core—located between anchoring sights like Pike Place Market and that iconic Needle—Belltown has a distinctive personality and hip vibe of its very own. With an impressive walk score (one of the best in the city), this neighborhood is all urban buzz but still within proximity to Mother Nature.
Belltown by Day
Get a simultaneous dose of culture and nature at the Olympic Sculpture Park, a nine-acre, waterside wonder that’s free and open to the public 365 days a year. Meander among permanent, large-scale sculptures that range from Alexander Calder’s abstract Eagle to Louise Bourgeois’s fountain-engulfed Father and Son. Throughout the year, visitors can take 60-minute tours of the sprawling urban park that boasts stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains as well as access to the Elliott Bay Trail (a favorite among bikers and joggers). Free summertime events take over on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings; think food trucks, lawn concerts plus yoga and Zumba classes served with a view.
Belltown’s main “strip” on 1st Ave runs parallel to the waterfront and straight into downtown. Art galleries, boutiques, home furnishing shops and salons line the street, as well as a bounty of outposts in which to eat and drink. Get your morning dose of caffeine at Cherry Street Coffee House; at lunchtime, pop into pizza haven Serious Pie, part of Tom Douglas’s Seattle empire, or experience regional goodness at Local 360, where most ingredients have been sourced within a 360-mile radius of Seattle. Shaker + Spear draws loyal fans with dishes like Rainier beer-steamed clams (with bacon and corn) and an artful whole snapper with basil, garlic and lime.
Belltown by Night
Clever cocktails and lively happy hours reign in Pennyroyal’s social salon (check out familiar standbys re-imagined with sherry), on the “secret” back patio of The Innkeeper (hello, Moscow mules), and at List (we’re talking handmade gnocchi with truffle cream), where deals can be enjoyed all day long on Sundays and Mondays.
Dinnertime brings countless options, from delectable small plates at sleek gastropub Black Bottle (try the lamb meatball and wilted kale dishes) to an abundance of unique Spanish tapas made with regional seafood treasures offered at the festive Pintxo.
Sports aficionados can catch televised games at Buckley’s in Belltown, while movie buffs sink into seats at nearby Cinerama, a landmark theater opened in 1963, and at Big Picture, a 21-and-over venue that complements hand-crafted cocktails with raved-about white cheddar popcorn. Music-lovers gather at the historic Moore Theatre and the city’s beloved Crocodile, where the stage has welcomed such legends at Nirvana, Pearl Jam and R.E.M, to name a few.
Cap off the night at speakeasy-style venue Bathtub Gin & Co. or Rob Roy, lauded for its creative cocktails with names like “Gunpower Punch” and “ Wasp Sting” (Reposado tequila, lemon, honey, Hellfire Shrub, cilantro aroma).
After all this exploring, settle back into the Kimpton Palladian Hotel, your boutique Belltown oasis in the heart of it all.