Downtown’s West Edge, a four-block wide, pulsating neighborhood, rises above the Waterfront and runs into the Retail Core to its east. This is of course the principal area of interest in Seattle’s Downtown, where the star attraction is Pike Place Market, an institution unto itself. Pike Place is a one-of-a-kind high-energy bazaar, housed in a funky, old, muti-tiered building, with scores of vendors packed into its nooks and crannies, hawking a wildly diverse and unlikely collection of wares, from live crabs, fresh produce and flowers, to local art, left-handed paraphernalia, unique items for uppity women, hard-to-find second-hand videos, wine and cheese, Seattle coffee, an array of crafts, and T-shirts and souvenirs of every description. This is Third World meets American Northwest, with all the sound and imagery, full of flavor and atmosphere. There’s really nothing else quite like it on the West Coast.
Besides the market, there are several other shops, boutiques, eateries and coffee shops in the area. There are also a couple of other attractions: the Benaroya Hall, where the Seattle Symphony Orchestra performs, and the Seattle Art Museum, which houses a permanent collection of more than 21,000 pieces of Asian, African and Native American art, plus contemporary works of local artists.
In sharp contrast to adjacent West Edge, the Retail Core is an upscale, central part of Downtown, and Seattle’s premier shopping district. Here you’ll find flagship stores of homegrown retailers Nordstrom and REI, together with chic national and international department and specialty stores. The district is four to five blocks wide, and runs parallel to West Edge.
Wedged between the Retail Core area of Downtown and the Broadway shopping district to the northeast of there, the Pike/Pine Corridor is a surprising little strip of activity, at once funky and lively, with galleries, second-hand shops, restaurants, clubs, lounges and gay bars.
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