Economic Recovery

Tracking the downtown recovery

Since the onset of COVID-19, DSA has been tracking the impact on our local economy. In the midst of a changing environment, we’ve been following dozens of metrics to trace the path to economic recovery. A few of these metrics are in the economic recovery trends charts below.

Downtown Recovery Dashboard

March 2023 (February data)

Downtown Seattle was the first American urban center to experience the impacts of COVID-19, enduring a sudden economic downturn. As downtown continues to recover, DSA will publish a monthly Recovery Dashboard examining key recovery metrics. The data sets provide a comparison point to the same time period in 2019. Additionally, the dashboard will feature notable stories that provide context regarding downtown’s recovery, renewal and reemergence.

Please credit the Downtown Seattle Association Recovery Dashboard for use of charts, data and images on this page.

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Total monthly visitors since 2019

Nearly 1.9 million visitors came downtown in February — an increase of more than 7% compared to February 2022, and 86% of February 2020’s visitor total.

Return to Office
Monthly worker foot traffic compared to 2019

Worker traffic continues to climb as February 2023 saw the highest level of daily worker foot traffic since the start of the pandemic. Foot traffic was at 47% compared to February 2020.

Hotel Room Demand
Monthly hotel rooms sold compared to 2019

Demand for hotel rooms improved in February with room stays at 77% of 2019 levels. This represents a nearly 30% increase from February 2022.

Sources: Visit Seattle, STR
Occupied Apartment Units

Residential units continued their post-pandemic climb in February. Downtown currently has record levels of inventory and number of occupied units (nearly 56,000).

Source: CoStar

Of Note in Downtown

Icon police badge - white outline

65%decrease in incidents of crime

The first two months of 2023 saw a nearly 65% decline in total crime incidents in the core of downtown compared to the first two months of 2022. Data is for Seattle Police beats M1, M2 and M3.

Money sign and arrows

3rdlargest metro economy

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Seattle area ranks as the U.S. metro with the third-largest economy, trailing just San Francisco and San Jose. The rankings are based on gross domestic product per capita.

Comic book shape with exclamation point

75000event attendees

An estimated 75,000 people attended Emerald City Comic Con from March 2–5 at the Seattle Convention Center Summit building. Overall foot traffic in the Retail Core neighborhood during that period was 171,900 visitors.

Coming Up in Downtown

Basketball players
Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

The madness of March takes over Climate Pledge Arena. The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Regional tips off at CPA on Saturday, March 25, with three straight days of hoops producing two of this year’s Final Four participants. It’s the first time the NCAA has used a two-site format for the NCAA Regionals and fans from across the country will descend upon Seattle.

Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The crack of the bat at T-Mobile Park is just days away. Fresh off their first postseason appearance in more than 20 years, the Seattle Mariners open up the 2023 schedule against the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday, March 30. The seven-game homestand wraps up against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, April 5.

Sakura-Con attendees in costume
Courtesy of Sakura-Con

Early April will bring thousands of anime enthusiasts to downtown Seattle. More than 30,000 fans are expected to attend Sakura-Con 2023 at the Seattle Convention Center, with events at both the Arch and Summit buildings April 7–9.

COVID-19 Downtown Recovery Weekly Snapshot

These charts show weekly statistics from March 2020 through the most recent week available. To indicate the level of recovery, data is displayed as a percent of the same metric for the comparable week of 2019.

Notes on Sources

Downtown foot traffic data are provided by and are based on cell phone location data. Each person is counted once per day. International visitors are not included. Subsets of this data in the charts are as follows:

  • Office worker presence is estimated based on visits by workers who were present between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays in the downtown neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of office space.*
  • Total visitors includes those who do not live or work downtown. It does not include international visitors.
  • Hotel data are based on monthly reports from STR, provided by Visit Seattle.
  • Apartment occupancy data are from CoStar. This is reported quarterly but the current quarter data are updated in real-time as new information is added to the database.
  • Domestic visitors counts those who do not live or work downtown.
  • Total foot traffic includes all visits to downtown by domestic visitors, residents and workers.
  • Pike Place Market visitors includes domestic visitors who do not live or work at the Pike Place Market.

*Note that workers who have not visited their work site in the past 90 days are classified as “visitors” until they are regularly visiting their work site at least three times in a one-week period.