Locals and Visitors Return

Downtown Seattle is a place for experiences you can’t get anywhere else. It is the vibrant center of our area’s arts and culture scene and the regional hub for conventions, cruises and hospitality. Downtown is home to the area’s major professional sports teams, entertainment venues and world-renowned destinations. These attractions and organizations were hit hard by pandemic travel restrictions and social-distancing protocols.

Thanks to the perseverance of local businesses and nonprofits, and downtown’s unparalleled natural beauty, we are welcoming the return of locals and visitors to our urban core. In 2021, downtown had 8.3 million unique visitors — a strong improvement over 2020 and approaching three-quarters of 2019’s visitor total.

Credit: Seattle Kraken

Return of in-person Events

Downtown is unique compared to our peers, boasting three major sports venues: T-Mobile Park, Lumen Field and the new Climate Pledge Arena, home to the Seattle Kraken and the Seattle Storm. In 2021, it was announced that downtown Seattle will host the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park. Based on data from the past decade, the All-Star game is expected to bring an economic impact of more than $80 million to Seattle.

2021 Sporting Event Attendance

547264Seattle Seahawks
41712*Seattle Storm
427121Seattle Sounders
541970Seattle Kraken
1.2M+Mariners fans attended in-person games
*Due to the remodel of Climate Pledge Arena, the Seattle Storm played at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, which had much-reduced capacity.
Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in The Nutcracker. Credit: © Angela Sterling

In addition to sports and entertainment, downtown’s vibrant arts and culture scene returned to center stage in 2021. The Seattle Symphony performed at Benaroya Hall, and McCaw Hall hosted 37 in-person performances of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker. As 2022 begins, downtown is set for even more excitement as The 5th Avenue Theatre, ACT Theatre and other arts organizations kick off new seasons.

DSA research conducted in fall 2021 indicates that a growing number of regional visitors are looking for arts and cultural activities and special events to draw them back downtown. As more venues reopen, visitors have a growing number of reasons to return to the center city.

Things You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Downtown is home to one-third of the city’s cultural spaces, including:

71%
stage and theater
54%
art galleries and visual arts spaces
35%
performing arts spaces
26%
music-related spaces
  • Downtown
  • Seattle Outside Downtown
Source: City of Seattle Cultural Space Inventory
2021 Visitor Profile
Distance traveled to visit downtown

Unique Domestic Visitors
Downtown Seattle

Downtown Domestic Visitor Foot Traffic in 2021
Percent recovered compared to 2019

Source: Placer.ai. Visitor foot traffic includes those who do not live or work downtown. It does not include international visitors.

Arts and Entertainment Recovery Milestones

2021

82cruise sailings to Alaska, carrying 176,000 passengers in summer 2021

47600participants at the Washington State Convention Center’s first large convention since the start of the pandemic

5.2Mvisitors came to the Pike Place Market

17151fans attended the inaugural Seattle Kraken home game at Climate Pledge Arena

2.3Mhotel room nights were booked

20000visitors stopped by a DSA Welcome Back Booth in July and September

100+Downtown Summer Sounds concerts

2022

296cruises to Alaska expected, carrying 1.26 million passengers

25conventions booked for 2022*

997in-person arts and culture performances scheduled for 2022*

*Estimated as of February 2022.

**Currently scheduled performances as of February 2022 for ACT Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Paramount, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Rep and The 5th Avenue Theatre.