Home of retail giants such as, Nordstrom, Costco, and Starbucks, Seattle is one of the hottest retail cities in the U.S. and offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options to locals and tourists alike. Pike Place Market is the most heavily trafficked tourist attraction in the city, with over 10 million annual visitors. This farmer’s market, internationally known for its “flying fish,” has been attracting tourists and serving locals since 1907.

Seattle’s retail core, bound by Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue and University Street to Pine Street, is home to such retailers as Barneys New York, Nordstrom’s flagship store, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Niketown, AllSaints, Banana Republic, H & M, and Zara. Located on the Puget Sound, Seattle is an ideal location for trans-Pacific and European trade, and has the fourth biggest container port in the United States.

With a low unemployment rate and job growth exceeding the U.S. average, Seattle is one of the healthiest markets in the nation. Steady job growth has boosted consumer spending levels, which are expected to maintain their upward momentum. Retail sales have increased 23% since 2009 and restaurant tabs are up 29%, according to the Downtown Seattle Association.

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DOWNTOWN SEATTLE: 47.610039, -122.337796
SOUTH LAKE UNION: 47.625570, -122.334388
FREMONT/BALLARD: 47.659720, -122.355830
PIKE PLACE MARKET : 47.610136, -122.342057
PIONEER SQUARE: 47.601518, -122.334297
UNIVERSITY DISTRICT: 47.662777, -122.313877
University Village: 47.662636, -122.297206
Pacific Place : 47.612843, -122.335242
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Downtown Seattle is home to Westlake Center and Pacific Place, both large shopping centers with a variety of shops and places for dining and entertainment. Encompassing several blocks, this area includes department stores such as Nordstrom's flagship store and Macy's, specialty and luxury retailers, value retailers, residential and commercial buildings, hotels, and Washington State's Convention Center (which will be expanding to add approximately 250,000 sf of exhibit space, 125,000 sf of meeting/breakout space, and a 60,000-sf ballroom, due to begin construction in early 2017).
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Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continually operated public farmer's markets in the nation, where shoppers can watch fish merchants cut and toss fish to entertain shoppers. Fresh seafood, local restaurants, specialty craft booths, and a prime location overlooking Elliott Bay, make this a great attraction to visitors and locals alike.
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Fremont and Ballard, in the northwestern part of Seattle, are neighborhood shopping areas that attract locals interested in fashion and upscale dining but prefer nearby neighborhood boutiques and restaurants to downtown Seattle's offerings. These affluent neighborhoods are made up of local, upscale boutiques, home furnishings, local restaurants, bars, and specialty crafts stores.
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Pioneer Square, located at the south end of downtown Seattle, is a historic district that is home to art galleries, internet companies, sports bars, nightclubs, bookstores, and tourist shops. The area caters primarily to tourists and sports fans, serving as the gateway to the city's two major sports venues, Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, which are immediately to the south. The impending removal of the Alaskan Way viaduct and construction of the replacement tunnel have had an impact on the area, which has experienced a decline in retail leasing activity as of late.
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As its name would imply, the University District is located adjacent to the University of Washington's 703-acre campus and its nearly 45,000 students. It caters to a youthful crowd and offers affordable eats and shops in a more laid-back atmosphere. The University Village shopping center includes a variety of upscale shops, independent boutiques, national retailers, and local restaurants that attract students, tourists, and the neighboring residential population.
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South Lake Union, immediately north of downtown Seattle, has emerged as one of Seattle's fastest growing neighborhoods in the wake of's relocation to its new corporate campus headquarters. Rapid gentrification has transformed this former industrial area into a hub for technology and life sciences organizations and an abundance of new restaurants and bars, home furnishings, and residential buildings. Though still growing, retailers in this area cater to the daytime population that has expanded here in the past few years, as well as the growing number of residents who have moved into recently constructed apartment and condo projects.
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Pacific Place is an upscale shopping center located in the middle of downtown Seattle that opened in October 1998. The shopping center includes high-end retailers such as Barneys New York, Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, and Tiffany & Co. The shopping center includes a skybridge that connects directly to the flagship Nordstrom store and the new Nordstrom Café. Pacific Place sold for $271 million in July 2014 to Washington, D.C.-based Madison Marquette.
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University Village is located in the Ravenna neighborhood northeast of downtown Seattle, near the University of Washington campus. University Village is the premier upscale, open-air mall in the Seattle area. It features exterior storefronts, covered sidewalks, and an abundance of free parking - making it more convenient than shopping downtown. Tenants include national retailers such as Crate & Barrel, The Gap, H&M, and American Eagle. The shopping center also includes restaurants and locally-owned boutiques, as well as Apple and Microsoft stores. opened its first physical storefront at U-Village in November 2015.

Downtown SeattleUpscale, Tourists, Mass Market, CBD EmployeesNordstrom flagship, Urban Outfitters, Barneys, Macy’s, The Gap, H&M, Banana Republic, NiketownArc’teryx, Madewell, Coterie$40-$75 psfAll sizes
South Lake UnionUrban, Young AdultREI flagship, Whole Foods, urban furniture storesTotal Wine$30-$45 psfAll sizes
Fremont/BallardCasual, Hipsters, Local, Young FamiliesIndependent boutique shopsNone$22-$42 psf1,000 sf - 5,000 sf
Pike Place MarketTouristFood retailers, eclectic independent boutique shopsNone$36-$40 psf1,000 sf - 5,000 sf
Pioneer SquareUrban Casual, ArtistsIndependent boutique shopsNone$25 - $45 psfAll sizes
University DistrictStudents, Upscale, FamiliesPottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, The Gap, H&M, multiple boutique shopsAmazon$28-$50 psfAll sizes

Data as of May 2016

Seattle serves as a mecca for local and international foodies alike. Its location on Puget Sound offers easy access to fresh produce and seafood, and provides a variety of dining attractions. Between 2014 and 2015, sixty-seven dining establishments opened in downtown Seattle, approximately 52% of all downtown new service business openings during that time, according to the Downtown Seattle Association.

Seattle is home to restauranteurs and chefs who have garnered national and international attention. Tom Douglas (2012 James Beard winner for Outstanding Restaurateur) has eighteen Seattle-area restaurants, with several others in the works. Michael Mina opened popular, upscale RN74 in the heart of the retail and financial core in 2011. Matt Dillon, the 2012 James Beard recipient for Best Chef: Northwest, is owner/chef of Corson Building, Sitka & Spruce, and Bar Sajor. Maria Hines has won several James Beard awards for her certified organic Tilth Restaurant in the University District, deemed one of the best new restaurants in the country.

Not only does Seattle offer a variety of upscale local and national restaurants, but many urban neighborhoods outside of the city’s core have opened up dozens of casual cafes and bistros that offer dishes featuring fresh, local ingredients. In addition, the city’s rich diverse population offers an assortment of ethnic food options including Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, Southeast Asian, Scandinavian, and European.

Although Seattle is home to Starbucks, the city offers a diverse array of artisanal coffee shops such as Caffe Vita, Uptown Espresso, Caffe Ladro, Victrola Coffee Roasters, and Espresso Vivace. New-to-market brands and concepts in the fast casual/quick service category include Melt, Evergreens, Veggie Grill, Mio Sushi, Wingstop, Einstein Bros Bagels, among others.

Downtown SeattleUpscale, Tourists, ProfessionalsEtta’s, Metropolitan Grill, Elliott’s Oyster House, Shiro’s, Dahlia Lounge, Purple Café, RN74, Sullivan’s Steak House, The Capital Grille, Palomino, Hard Rock Café, Gordon Biersch, Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse$32-$60 psf
South Lake UnionUrban, Trendy, Young Professionals, FoodiesCanlis, Brave Horse Tavern, Daniel’s Broiler, Cuoco, Lunchbox Laboratory, Flying Fish, Top Pot Doughnuts, Veggie Grill$32-$45 psf
Fremont/BallardCasual, Trendy, Young Professionals, FoodiesPaseo, Red Door, El Camino, Matador, Volterra, Staple & Fancy, Delancey, The Walrus and the Carpenter$25-$40 psf
Pike Place MarketUrban, Tourists, ProfessionalsMatt’s in the Market, Maximilien, IL Bistro, Pike Brewing Company, Athenian Seafood, Lowell’s, Pike Place Chowder, Piroshky Piroshky$25-$65 psf
Pioneer SquareUrban, Sports FansMerchants Café & Saloon, F.X. McRory’s, Bar Sajor, Al Boccalino, Salumi$30-$40 psf
University DistrictAffluent, Families, StudentsTilth Restaurant, Agua Verde, Jak’s Grill, Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Evolution Fresh, Caliburger$28-$45 psf

Data as of May 2016