Pioneer Square

Seattle, Washington

Around 1st Ave @ Yesler Way

Seattle got its start in what is now the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The neighborhood connects downtown Seattle with the stadiums and International District, and is home to shops, restaurants, art galleries, nightlife and a unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

After briefly settling near Alki Point in what is now West Seattle, the city's first settlers located to the area now known as Pioneer Square. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed most of the buildings in the area. Many of the brick buildings in the neighborhood today were built in the 1890s as the city recovered.

The heart of downtown Seattle gradually moved north and the Pioneer Square neighborhood faded. Urban renewal targeted the neighborhood in the 1960s, and the old Seattle Hotel was replaced with a parking garage commonly referred to as the Sinking Ship because of how it looked. That prompted a neighborhood preservation effort that for the most part succeeded, leading to today's Pioneer Square.


Pioneer Square Plaza

Pioneer Square (Z13A0013)
The Pioneer Square neighborhood gets its name from this plaza, which features James Wehn's 1909 Chief Seattle Fountain, a pergula and a totem pole, as well as Seattle's famous Underground Tour.


Merchants Cafe

Merchants Cafe is Seattle's Oldest Restaurant (Z13A0014)


Occidental Park

Occidental Park (Z13A0015)
Built over a parking lot in 1971, Occidental Park features seating, a collection of totem poles and the Seattle Firefighters' Memorial. Back in 1887 the local Salvation Army was established at this site, and agencies continue to serve the poor and homeless at this park.


neighborhood architecture

Neighborhood Architecture (Z13A0016)
Many of the buildings in the area date back to the 1890s, when the neighborhood was rebuilt following the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.

More About Pioneer Square

"Skid Road" originated as a term for a road or path used to slide logs from the woods to the mill. Yesler Way was one such road, and by 1865 the neighborhood around the mill there became known as "Skid Road", arguably the first use of the term to describe an urban neighborhood.

Related Sights

You may also like these Pioneer Square neighborhood sights:

Nearby Sights

While you're in the area, check out these sights:


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