Experience Downtown Seattle’s Chinatown-International District

Less than a mile away from the heart of downtown Seattle, the Chinatown-International District is constructed of three neighborhoods: Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon. Per oral history, the first Chinatown was on the waterfront, but later made its way father inland as the prices of downtown real estate was continually growing. After the 1942 internment of Japanese citizens following the wake of Pearl Harbor, citizens returned to Seattle but relocated to the suburbs. Designated in 1986 by the US National Register of Historic Places, the Chinatown-International District (commonly referred to as the CID) became an official hub for Asian American culture.

Easily accessible from your downtown vacation villa, the CID is a mere five minutes away for a day of intercontinental shopping, dining, sampling in a rich culture steeped in tradition. It has its own transit station which includes a light rail, train, and bus stop, so you can get there quickly and easily without the worry of finding parking.

To find events, simply explore the Chinatown-International District and its cornucopia of options, which include the Dragon Fest, Night Markets, and the spectacular celebration of the Lunar New Year. Dragon Fest, which is the largest annual Asian American festival, brings the streets to life with colorful performances. Featuring the famous $3 Food Walk, take your taste buds on an international tour with bites from all over the globe while Dragon and Lion dancers move to the beat of traditional Korean drummers. This and so much more make the CID the ultimate place to be. Enjoy the Night Markets, another tradition in Seattle, with up to 25,000 people who come to sip and savor the global flavors and handmade trinkets.

To answer the call for an historic and traditional gate in lucky red as a welcome to visitors, the Historic Chinatown Gate was constructed in 2008. The imposing 45-foot archway is colored with shades preferred by the emperors: gold, yellow, green, and blue; and marks the entrance of old Chinatown as was tradition in ancient Chinese cities.

For those that want to educate themselves on global culture, the Wing Luke Museum is the perfect place to start. Currently showing “A Day in the Life of Bruce Lee,” go in depth into the life of this mysterious celebrity whom we all knew from his films but never truly as a person. Offering historic hotel, food, and local Chinatown tours, the museum is a treasure trove of knowledge to celebrate Asian culture and how it molded America as it is today.
Just a six-minute walk from the Wing Luke Museum, the Panama Hotel was built in 1910 by a Japanese architect and used as a home for generations of Japanese immigrants, Alaskan fisherman and international travelers. Home to the only remaining Japanese Bathhouse in the United States, this hotel served generations of the community until its doors closed in 1950. However, the hotel is now open to the public for tours, meals, and afternoon tea.

Of course, a tour of the Chinese-International District would not be complete without authentic Asian cuisine. Regardless of how daring your taste buds are, there are a multitude of gourmet restaurants to choose from. Perfect to round out your day of adventures, experience the thrill of watching expert craftsman roll sushi, or take home a delicious pot of pho to your vacation villa for a restful evening.

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