Downtown Seattle is the home to our region’s renowned arts and culture scene, boasting dozens of museums, theaters and live music venues, hosting everything from orchestra and opera to jazz and rock.

In 2022, downtown venues produced and hosted more than 1,100 shows. And downtown has the bases covered with sports, as well. Six major professional sports teams play downtown, drawing visitors from across the region and out of state. In July 2023, downtown’s T-Mobile Park and the Seattle Mariners will host MLB All-Star Week, expected to draw tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars in revenue into the center city.

When the calendar flips on Jan. 1, 2024, T-Mobile Park will host the NHL’s annual Winter Classic, also attracting thousands of fans and significant revenue and exposure. And despite some closures during the pandemic, downtown has seen more than 50 new restaurants and bars open in the past year, adding to the existing culinary mix and furthering our foodie reputation.

Key Takeaways

  • Signs of Renewal: Across the center city, more than 130 new street-level businesses opened in 2022; more than a third of them are in the retail core.
  • Retail Challenges: Like many peer downtowns, downtown Seattle’s retail foot traffic has struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels, averaging 54% compared to 2019.
  • Storm Rising: In 2022, in All-Star Sue Bird’s final season, the Seattle Storm led the WNBA in total and average attendance.
  • The Regional Center for Arts and Culture: In 2022, there were nearly 1,400 arts and cultural performances downtown, with more than half a million attendees.

2022 Sports Attendance Figures

571318Sounders FC
75269OL Reign
*2022–2023 season to date

Grabbing a Bite

Of the new businesses that opened or are coming soon, nearly 40% are dining establishments.

New (and Coming Soon) Businesses Downtown
Since October 2021

Source: MID Street Level Business survey
Note: Only downtown neighborhoods within the MID boundary were surveyed.

Peer Downtown Retail Foot Traffic Recovery
Monthly average in 2022 compared to 2019

Note: Data captured foot traffic in retail chain stores in the most central peer downtown ZIP code and compared to foot traffic in 2019 (January and February were compared to the same month in 2020).

Urban Parks

In 2022, parks in more residential areas of downtown, including Bell Street Park and Hing Hay Park, saw a return of visitors closer to 2019 levels. Westlake Park, Occidental Square and Waterfront Park continued to be three of the most-visited downtown parks in 2022. However, being more dependent on worker and tourist foot traffic, they have not returned to 2019 park visitor levels as quickly.

Downtown Park Visitors
Unique visitors annually