Often simply referred to as the ID, the Chinatown-International District is the multiethnic center of Seattle’s Asian community. The neighborhood is also one of the city’s oldest, its rich history highlighted by museums, festivals, and cultural centers. Many visitors come for the food—dim sum, banh mi, sushi, and more.
History and culture are major draws in the Chinatown-International District. Some highlights include Kobe Terrace, a small terraced park showcasing an urban community garden and Mt. Fuji cherry trees; the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience; and annual cultural festivals such as the Lunar New Year celebration and Bon Odori, a Japanese Buddhist festival.
Plan to get lost here, exploring the streets on foot and taking in the sights and sounds. Maybe you’ll stumble across a dim sum parlor you just have to try, find a boutique worth browsing, or wander the aisles at the Uwajimaya superstore shopping for noodles and tea. The Chinatown-International District is also a popular swing-by on city tours. Chinatown Discovery Tours and the Wing Luke Museum offer tours centered around food and history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- History buffs, foodies, and families enjoy trips to this neighborhood.
- Be prepared for a lot of walking, as the neighborhood’s many charms are best experienced on foot.
- Plan your visit around a festival or summertime night market for an even richer experience.
How to Get There
The Chinatown-International District is east of 4th Avenue South, with the main thoroughfares being South Jackson Street, South King Street, and 12th Avenue South. The area can be reached with a variety of public transportation options, including numerous buses, the Link Light Rail, and the Seattle Streetcar.
When to Get There
There’s no bad time to visit the Chinatown-International District. It’s an active neighborhood of residents and workers, so its almost always bustling and busy, with plenty to see and do. The neighborhood is particularly lively around annual festival times: the Lunar New Year, in January or February, and Bon Odori, which takes place in July.
Chinatown-International District Restaurants
A slew of exciting dining options await visitors who want to experience the district with their taste buds. Fill up on dim sum—including the beloved soup dumplings, or xiao long bao—at local favorite Dough Zone Dumpling House. Or, dine at century-old sushi house Maneki, which reopened after Japanese internment closed many restaurants for good during World War II. Save room for dessert at Bambu, which serves massive mounds of ice cream topped with fruit and sauces.