International District

International District


The International District, or the I.D., as locals call it, is Seattle’s answer to the issue of what was originally Chinatown becoming a much more diverse area of town. The area known as the I.D. has a mix of stores, services and restaurants run by immigrants of various descents including Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and even occasionally Thai. The I.D. is located where it is, just east of Pioneer Square, because white settlers forced the early Chinese immigrants, workers at the sawmills in what is now Pioneer Square, out of the area. They moved to what is now the I.D., stretching from Boren and Rainier in the east to 4th Avenue in the west, from Dearborn on the south, north to Yesler.

There are various enclaves within the district, including the section in the northeast, which was originally called ‘Japantown.’ It remains highly concentrated with Japanese businesses. On the eastern edge, past Interstate 5, is Little Saigon, a heavily Vietnamese part of the I.D.

Notable businesses and attractions in the I.D. include Uwajimaya, the Wing Luke Museum and Hing Hay Park. Uwajimaya started as a local grocery store catering to Japanese immigrants and has grown to be an Asian supermarket. Famous for its great variety of products from all over Asia, it is an attraction to cooks of all cultures. It has expanded many times since the original version, including expansion to Bellevue and Oregon. The Wing Luke Museum is the appropriately located museum of Asian heritage and history in the Northwest. Its new building is located across the street from Hing Hay Park, the center of the I.D. and home to many of its festivals, as well as to daily activities of local residents, such as tai chi and tea ceremonies. Festivals in the area include the Bon Odori, a Japanese parade in July, and the all culture Night Market in August.




°