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International District Tips (8)

China, Japan, Viet Nam - Take Your Pick

Seattle's Chinatown (or International District as it's called today) highlights the racial and ethnic diversity of Seattle.

For many people, racial diversity is a black and white concept - not so in Seattle. This city has long been home to a very large asian community. Relations have often been and sometimes continue to be contentious.

Locals call it the I.D. The center is at 5th and King. The Bus Transit Tunnel has a station only one block away and it's in the ride free zone.

I come here regularly for the ID' s largest institution: Uwajimaya. This landmark has recently been rebuilt bigger and better than ever. It's part grocery store, food court, and mini indoor mall. EVERTHING, from books, to squid, to lemon grass is gathered under one roof. From Uwajimaya it's a quick walk along King Street to Hing Hay Park. Watch for the dragon sculptures that climb the Chinese Lantern style streetlights. If you go another block, you arrive at the Wing Luke Asian Musuem, just south of Jackson Street. It's only $4 to get in, and I find it an excellent introduction to Seattle's long and difficult relationship with it's Asian citizens. Any of the little mama san and papa san restaurants is good for an authentic and inexpensive lunch or dinner.

Cross under the red pillars of Interstate 5 and you will be in the predominantly Vietnamese and Korean section of the ID at Jackson and 12th. These are Seattle's newest immigrants from East Asia. It's a noisy, dirty, and crowded neighborhood - and perfectly safe too. I used to live here and I walked to work through this neighborhood both in daylight and dark. I never had any problems. Use common sense and you'll be fine. The people are wonderful, welcoming, and industrious - building their version of the American dream for their children.

Johnscarroll's Profile Photo
Jan 17, 2005

International District

On some of the maps I saw in Seattle this area was broken up into China Town, Little Siagon and so on. I guess to be politically correct the city just called it International District.

I ate at the Purple Dot Cafe and enjoyed that.

But they say this is one of the oldest districts in the city. The Chinese have a history in Seattle dating back to the 1800s where they worked in lumber mills and that sort of stuff.

They have a great web site that list all the events, has a map of the area and a brief history can also be found there.

There is also a really neat feature there for locating restaurants in the area. Check that out for sure!

jamiesno's Profile Photo
May 29, 2005

Can you Uwajimaya?

This could also go under Shopping or Restaurants but in our case, it was a Thing to Do.

Fujimatsu Moriguchi, an enterprising gentleman from Japan, started a market business from the back of his truck in 1928 and it's grown to one of the largest Asian groceries in the Northwest. The Seattle flagship of 4 Washington/Oregon stores is in the International District and worth the journey just to get a look at it. From fresh seafood to sake to produce of every type and color, it's a feast for the senses and nicely displayed. And it's not just groceries: they carry Asian dinner and cookware, home decor and fun gift items as well.

Uwajimaya Village is an annex of the market with a large Japanese/Chinese bookshop and a high-energy food court dishing up Hawaiian, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese fare for hungry locals and tourists. We grabbed a Beard Papa creampuff for our the walk back to Belltown - seriously yummy.

International/Chinatown District is on the far southeast side of the downtown area, around 1 and 1/4 miles from Pike Place. One note of warning: if you drive there, the parking lot is NOT free. This is a good reason to buy some creampuffs, bubble teas or other goodies - the market and village vendors will validate your parking ticket for 1 hour with a $7.50 purchase, or two hours with $10.00 purchase. Keep an eye on your watch - overstaying your validation time can be expensive. This area is also a little gritty and probably best visited during the day.

goodfish's Profile Photo
Feb 22, 2010


Seattle's Chinatown, officially the International District, has a number of great restaurants and shops in its compact, roughly five by six block area. It was named the International District due to the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese influences that have shaped this area over the years.

We ate dim sum at the Purple Dot, and we had a great dinner at the Jade Garden. We also stopped by a few small markets and the massive Uwajimaya shopping center.

Special events include the August Night Market and the annual Summer Festival in July.

Seattle's original Chinatown was established on the waterfront around 1860.

Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
Aug 31, 2007
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Chinatown/International District
The 4th largest Chinatown in the US is not just a celebration of Chinese culture, but a collaboration of many Asian influences. It definitely does not feel like you're in Seattle anymore. There are great shops and restaurants and festivals to explore.

acemj's Profile Photo
Sep 12, 2002

The International District

The International District is one of the many places in Seattle that is very interesting and very diversed. Just bear in mind that Seattle is one of the cities in the United States where 59 languages are spoken!

The International District is a place where you can taste different cuisines : Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Malaysian, Cambodian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese. There are so many grocery stores here where you can buy imported goods from Japan, China and Vietnam.

This is a place where you can go for Dim Sum on early Sunday morning, and eat Wonton Soup late at night!

If you are looking for 24 karat gold jewelries, you can also come here and check out the many jewelry stores put up by the Vietnamese community.

Every summer, the Chinese Festival is held here and also the Bon Odori (Japanese) Festival.

joiwatani's Profile Photo
Oct 30, 2011

The international district.

Lots of great food, alot of it cheap, Thai, cambodian, vietnamese, chinese, lao, indian, all within 10 blocks.

This area is in the south part of downtown and is walkable from hotels, about 20-30 minutes or you can hop on a bus in the bus tunnel (for free) and get off at international district station.

archan4698's Profile Photo
Sep 05, 2003

Bon Odori

A celebration to remember those that have gone before. Music and dance in a spirit of happiness and joy.

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Dec 01, 2005
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