So many people posting on here simply say "stay away from Pioneer Square" or some sort of "it's shady" comment, but nobody really explains why. These sorts of warnings, to me, imply that there is gun violence regularly with rapes and murders going on around the corner. I've lived in Harlem and North Philadelphia and even as a youth didn't feel threatened at either of those places. If the 'problem' is simply that the homeless bug you or drug dealers sell... these really aren't issues in the grand scheme of things. It can get obnoxious, sure, but if you live there or work there and just mind your own business then you will more than likely be left alone most of the time. Act scared and worried, then expect to get bothered. It's really not as bad as everyone is making it out to be.
Of all the club spaces in Seattle, this part of downtown might be the most active, but also the most dangerous. Don't lose your head here - people get really drunk, there's a lot of traffic, and some violence. Whenever I drive through the area it seems that there are quite a few cops, but they can't necessarily save you from at least harassment from inebriated guys. If you're a girl, try to be polite so as not to stir up any extra conflict, but stay strong and don't let your intentions of not going home with someone go unheard. Aside from an oversized ego and a loud bark, many of the guys down there are preppy d-bags who might be harmless but are looking for sex, so if you don't let them know you're not into it, they won't get it. Plenty of girls are there for the same reason, so don't hit up that area if you're trying to completely avoid the hookup scene. And don't be there late at night by yourself, because there's a large homeless population there who is leftover at that time. Remember where your car is, so you don't end up dazed from dancing for six hours at 4:30 am, lost in the fog on a winter night, alone and being followed by several transients. I experienced that, and it was a little scary.
Certain corners of Pioneer Square are better left to the locals, especially at night. Many homeless and drunkards spend the night here. And during party seasons, such as Mardi Gras, the crowds can get wild. I know from personal experience, as I was there during the last Mardi Gras party in the streets (2002) and got caught in a mob, where I was beaten and dragged down the street by my hair (I'm hoping that my graphic description will encourage somebody not to be as stupid). Last Mardi Gras, the police were out enforcing a no-mob zone, so things have cooled down a bit. But I would stick to the bars.
White Center is prolly the worst place for a traveler to go too, but lucky for them its not near anyplace their likely to visit.
In Downtown, at night certain streets tend to attract drug dealer/users and gangs, so its best to act like you know where your headed.
3rd and Pine at the bus stop after 8-9pm can become abit rowdy
3rd and yestler and above, to like 30th street has problems at night.
On big days, mardi gras, new years, Pioneer Square tends to attract huge crowds for clubbing, but also gangs and trouble makers, best to be aware and with a group.
You are in a big city so beware of the nightime. It's one of those common sense things. Don't go to the Central area or Pioneer Square at night if you are by yourself. Not smart.
Capitol hill is a little safer due to the gay population they have a free all-volunteer crew on bicycles wearing bright yellow vests that will walk you or ride you home should you feel unsafe. It's the smartest thing I have ever seen.
Do NOT go to Pioneer Square or environs after dark.
Don't worry about street people and panhandlers too much. There are a lot of them, but like New York and Chicago, I found them pretty mellow (as opposed to Los Angeles).
No, I don't have a picture!
In general, Seattle is a safe place to be. I would not recommend walking around down in Pioneer Square alone late at night. There are a number of homeless people in the area, and it can get seedy on weeknights. However Pioneer Square on the weekends is generally filled with partying youths due to the many bars in the area...so weekends are a little better.