The Chinatown-International District (C-ID) of Seattle, Washington is the heart of Seattle’s Asian American community. It was established in 1999 due to influence from Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon neighborhoods. Although a large percentage of the area’s residents are Chinese, the population is multiethnic and has served as a major tourist center. The area stretches from 4th Avenue South to Rainier Avenue, & from Yesler Way to Charles Street/Dearborn. The three neighborhoods of Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon are in this district. The International District was originally founded by Chinese and Japanese immigrants moving into the area and setting up their businesses.
What to do
There are many things to do in C-ID, and many festivals are held which entertain and inform about each unique culture. For more information about upcoming activities, events, festivals and restaurants worth exploring, check out its official Facebook Page. If you are interested in visiting other Asian attractions, you can stop by Kerry Park, which has the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, along with other museums and attractions.
As one might imagine,the culmination of asian culture in C-ID provides a diverse shopping experiences. There are many things to shop for, ranging from amazing food, snacks, and traditional ingredients; to toys, souvenirs, office items, and clothing. If you prefer more of a one-stop shop, Uwajimaya is your number one store for everything you need. It has a food court that serves delicious meals and a bookshop that specializes in the sales of school and office items. On the lookout for a specific cuisine? Be it Japanese, Chinese, or Vietnamese, they have got it. You can also grocery shop for a variety of items you may want.
There are plenty of festivals to be on the lookout for! The February Lunar New year celebration is among the most popular. Fireworks, dancing, and traditional red letter “lucky money” takes over the streets during this festival. There is the Japanese Bon Odori celebration of their ancestors in July, where you can join in the festive dancing, find a beer garden, enjoy amazing food, and hear traditional Taiko drums. Also in July, don’t miss Dragon Fest where there will be continuous cultural performances, dances, music and food from many different cultures over two days. If you are around for the Autumn Moon festival held in September, be sure to enjoy the moon cakes and paper lanterns. If you wish you could shop longer, September also holds the Night Market so be prepared for even more fun, food, and unique outdoor shopping experiences after the sun goes down.
Go to a museum
If you are also a lover of relics and artifacts, you should visit the Wing Luke Museum filled with relics that showcases Asian culture and history. While there, be sure to enjoy the beautiful overhead art installation, Sweet Hello, by local artist Saya Moriyasu. If you feel like exploring a different side of the C-ID, visit the Seattle pinball museum! Over 50 different pinball games, with the earliest dating as far back as 1934, are available to play and learn about.