Economic Report

State of Downtown 2024

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Surrounded by spectacular natural beauty, downtown Seattle is the center of the Puget Sound region’s economy and culture. Downtown brings people together and fosters community and connection.

Today, our urban core is home to a record 106,000-plus residents, and we’re seeing a steady return of workers to downtown. Fueled in part by conventions, concerts and sporting events, the number of unique out-of-area visitors coming to downtown during the summer of 2023 jumped 8% from the previous year, growing to nearly 3.5 million.

Looking ahead, we have much to celebrate, including the transformational redevelopment of Seattle’s central waterfront and the restoration and revitalization of public parks along Elliott Bay. These are just two of the many examples of private and public investment in downtown, which will pay huge dividends on our region’s long-term economic health. What’s more, after a decade of increases that peaked in 2021, downtown Seattle has made a major turnaround, with a large decline in the incidents of violent crime.

While many of the metrics we use to track downtown’s health are moving in the right direction, we have work to do on several major fronts, including the interconnected fentanyl and homelessness crises. In downtown, synthetic opioid-involved overdoses rose more than 63% in 2023 from the previous year. Already vulnerable populations are increasingly bearing the brunt of the drug epidemic, with overdose deaths among the unsheltered and those residing in shelters constituting a growing share of overdose deaths in our community.

To ensure our downtown is positioned to tackle these challenges and embrace these opportunities, it’s going to take all of us working together — businesses, nonprofits, residents and the public sector. So whether you’re a longtime DSA member or exploring the benefits of DSA membership, we invite you to join us as we revitalize downtown Seattle together.

Jon Scholes


Jon Scholes
President & CEO
Downtown Seattle Association


Downtown’s success is essential to Seattle’s success, and 2023 was an exciting year for this special neighborhood. From MLB All-Star Week, concerts and cultural festivals like Holi Festival of Colors and Blastfest, to the return of iconic Seattle events like Bumbershoot and the Bite of Seattle, downtown welcomed 11 million visitors and had the highest number of hotel rooms sold since 2019 this past summer.

Building the downtown we all want to see is a major priority of my administration. That’s why we advanced our Downtown Activation Plan – an ambitious roadmap to revitalize and transform downtown now and for the future. Support from DSA, downtown small businesses and residents has been critical for creating this vision and making meaningful progress in realizing it. Together, we passed a slate of legislation – with more to come – supporting more residential development, creating new opportunities for small businesses and workers, and building community with activities for residents and visitors.

After more than two decades of hard work reimagining our waterfront, a new space that is more accessible, green and seamlessly connected is coming to fruition. This adds to the momentum we’re seeing throughout downtown and will be a huge asset as we prepare to welcome the world to Seattle for the 2026 FIFA World Cup!

We continue to strive for effective public safety and sustainable progress on homelessness and housing issues. We’ve made record investments in affordable housing; launched CARE, a third public safety department with behavioral health specialists; and expanded our Park Ranger program supporting welcoming parks.

There’s more work to do for downtown – but let’s also celebrate the progress achieved thus far together. Collaborating across levels of government and with private, nonprofit, and philanthropic partners, we are building a new downtown that embodies our shared One Seattle values and vision.

Mayor Bruce Harrell


In service,
Mayor Bruce Harrell
Working together to build One Seattle.

Downtown Is a Family of Neighborhoods

Downtown Seattle is a collection of 12 neighborhoods that account for approximately half of all the economic activity in Seattle. Downtown is home to some of the densest neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, more than one in 10 Seattleites calls downtown home.


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A Note on Sources

DSA draws on several sources to provide the most up-to-date picture of the downtown economy using the best information available at the time. Occasionally, information from multiple sources is combined to create current-year estimates. Estimation methods can be highly uncertain during a major disruption such as COVID-19, and many previously used methodologies could not account for the effects of the pandemic on our economy. Therefore, several previous methodologies were changed in 2020 and 2021 to derive recent estimates.