Colloquially known as the ID, this neighborhood has three subsections—Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon—where you can feast your senses at culinary gems new and old. Perpetual favorites include Tai Tung (Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant, open since 1935; 655 S King St) and Maneki (the city’s oldest Japanese restaurant, established in 1904; 304 Sixth Ave S). Taste the next generation at casual-chic Dough Zone Dumpling House (504 Fifth Ave S, Ste 109), serving otherworldly Chinese soup dumplings and pan-fried pork bao; at Fuji Bakery (526 S King St), where France meets Japan with treats like beef curry buns and crunchy, creamy doughnuts; and at Pho Bac Sup Shop (1240 S Jackson St), a breezy Vietnamese blast from the children of the family that introduced Seattle to pho—try the short rib pho or just take a shot of whiskey chased with pho broth.
Wander an eclectic array of herb and tea shops tucked into the area’s urban grid and narrow alleyways. New Century Tea Gallery sells loose-leaf tea, steeping samples of house-roasted oolong for visitors to try before buying. You can also simply lose yourself among the colorful aisles of a neighborhood staple for groceries and gifts: Uwajimaya* (600 Fifth Ave S) has overflowed since 1928 with imported and locally made Asian goods. The 66,000-square-foot emporium also includes a Kinokuniya Bookstore and a happening food court. KOBO at Higo (602 S Jackson St) showcases beautiful works by mostly Japanese artists and designers, while Momo (600 S Jackson St) shows off Asian and European influences in its chic clothing and accessories, eclectic home accents, and omiyage (in oversimplified terms, a kind of obligatory Japanese souvenir).
Visit the Wing Luke Museum* (719 S King St), where the Historic Hotel Tour (included with admission) dives into the history of Seattle’s immigrant experience—including the story of eponymous politician Wing Luke, the first Asian American elected to office in Washington state. Check the calendar for neighborhood night markets as well as the museum’s seasonal food tours (like dumpling crawls). Continue your history lesson at Panama Hotel (605 S Main St), the only designated National Treasure in Seattle and an important time capsule of Japanese internment during World War II. You can book a bathhouse tour or take in the experience quietly in the comfy tea and coffee house. For a change of pace, hit the Seattle Pinball Museum *(508 Maynard Ave S), where the playable games date back to 1934.
*Visit Seattle Partner
International District Partners
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