Located right in the heart of Seattle between the downtown and Belltown areas, the Seattle Convention Center, formerly known as Washington State Convention Center, is a sprawling exhibition hall that has hosted some of the biggest events in Seattle since the 1980s. Consisting of two buildings, a plethora of meeting rooms, and its own parking garage, the Seattle Convention Center remains a hub in which tourists and locals alike can gather and participate in a community consisting of fun and education simultaneously.
In addition to its wealth of meeting spaces and a regular schedule of events, the Seattle Convention Center is conveniently located between a variety of activities, food, and lodging for guests to partake in. Below is a comprehensive guide to the Seattle Convention Center, how to get there, what to do nearby, where to stay, and much more.
Convention Center Services: Wi-Fi, Cafe Options, Rest Areas, and More
The Seattle Convention Center consists of multiple buildings spread out over a roughly 2-block area just alongside the I-5 freeway. There are 3 main buildings: the Arch at 705 Pike, the Arch at 800 Pike, and the Summit. Each building comes with its own amenities for guests to utilize, including Wi-Fi, food and drink options, restrooms, meeting rooms, ballrooms, indoor and outdoor seating areas, and more.
Seattle is a very technology-centric city and the Seattle Convention Center understands this. Its buildings are outfitted with complimentary public Wi-Fi that can be used for basic browsing needs and communications like texting, emailing, and social media posting. It is also common for any vendors present to use the free Wi-Fi for their transactions, especially any touchless payment methods.
The public Wi-Fi speed at the Seattle Convention Center is 1Mbps per connection. Although free Wi-Fi is helpful, it is important to note it is for basic use. Events in which many guests or vendors are using the network can cause the connection to become spotty or to even go down entirely.
Food And Drink Options Within the Convention Center
The Seattle Convention Center has 8 food and drinks services across all 3 of its buildings. At the Arch at 705 Pike building, guests can find a Taco Del Mar, an Espresso Caffe Dior, and a Gyro Stop on the first floor and easily accessible right off the main escalators or from the main entrance off of Pike St. On the second floor, there is Juicy Cafe where you can grab fresh salads, grains, and vegetable bowls as well as juices and smoothies. This building also has an Ethioblue C-Store on the first floor where you can grab snacks and groceries as well as any last-minute travel needs.
The Arch at 800 Pike has the Audacity Wine Bar located on the first floor and opens from 2 pm to 9 pm and offers wine, cocktails, and beer as well as a few small bites options. Although not in the building itself, Daawat Indian Grill & Bar is directly next to the Seattle Convention Center and is often included as a dining option for guests. This Indian restaurant has ample space to hold larger groups and is open from lunch until 10 pm.
The Summit only has one restaurant: Bombo Italian Kitchen, which is located on the first floor and is a more upscale dinner and drinks option and owned by the award-winning Ethan Stowell Restaurants group. Bombo’s is open for breakfast daily and stays open till 1 am but consider getting reservations, especially if you are going during the dinner rush.
Rest Areas And Restrooms
All of the buildings in the Seattle Convention Center have bathrooms on their entrance levels. These street-level lobbies also have access to rest areas, retail, parking garages, and all event spaces. All 3 buildings also have outdoor rest areas for guests to enjoy. Restrooms and more rest areas are scattered throughout all 3 buildings.
The Arch at 705 Pike
The public restroom is directly accessible from both the Union St. and the Convention Pl. entrances. The entrance public restroom is directly next to the escalators that lead to levels 1 to 4 and the atrium lobby area. Benches are scattered across the floor but there are no designated rest areas in the building. There are 2 fireplaces on the sixth floor with nearby seating as well.
The second floor has restrooms next to all of its escalators. The third floor only has restrooms by the escalators in the 3AB Lobby near Hall 3A and Hall 3B. The fourth floor has the most restrooms in the whole building with 5 total: in the back of Hall 4E, next to Room 400, across from Room 401, in Hall 4B, and in Hall 4A. There is also a gender-neutral restroom on this floor near the escalators.
The fifth floor only has 2 restrooms: one in the office area and one just past room 508. The restroom by room 508 is a gender-neutral restroom. The sixth floor has 3 restrooms: one by the fireplace in the 6E Lobby, one next to room 601, and one by room 604.
The Arch at 800 Pike
The Skagit Lower Level, the Yakima Level 1, and the Chelan Level 2 of this building all have 1 set of restrooms on each floor. On the Skagit Lower Level, the restrooms are next to the Skagit 1 room. On the Yakima Level 1, the restrooms are by the Yakima 1 room. On the Chelan Level 2, the restroom is by the Chelan 2 room. The Tahoma Level 3 of this building has a large set of restrooms near the Tahoma 2 room and the escalators.
This building’s smaller size means it has fewer restrooms and rest areas. Unfortunately, the Arch at 800 Pike does not currently have any gender-neutral restrooms. It has seating areas for rest scattered throughout the building, much like the Arch at 700 Pike. The Chelan Level 2 of this building has a small designated rest area near the Chelan 4 room. There is also a fireplace with seating by the Chelan 2 room.
The entrance level of the Summit building has a set of restrooms next to the retail spaces. The Exhibit Hall level has 4 restrooms: in the back of Exhibit Hall 1, in the back of Exhibit Hall 2, and 2 in the Exhibit Lobby area. The Level 2 Flex Hall has a set of restrooms in the back of Flex A and in the back of Flex C. There are 3 more sets of restrooms in the Flex Lobby area. These floors do not have designated rest areas but still have seating scattered throughout.
Level 3 of this building has restrooms in the Terrace Lobby 3 area and in the Boren Concourse 3 area. There is also a gender-neutral restroom on Boren Concourse 3. This floor also provides access to a large outdoor rest area known as the Garden Terrace. A smaller rest area can be found in the Capitol Hill Lounge or the Garden Lounge.
Level 4 has restrooms in the Terrace Lobby 4 and Boren Concourse 4 areas, similar to the layout of the restrooms on Level 3. This floor has gender-neutral restrooms in the same areas. A rest area can be found near the Terrace Lobby 4 inside the Paramount Lounge area.
Lastly, the restrooms on Level 5 are located directly outside of each ballroom. There is a restroom outside of Ballroom 3, 2 outside of Ballroom 2, another outside of Ballroom 1, and a smaller restroom in the back of Ballroom 1. There is a gender-neutral restroom outside of Ballroom 2. The rest areas on this floor include the overlook area, the Signature Lounge, and the Olympic View Lounge.
Transportation and Parking Options
The Seattle Convention Center is located in an area that makes it easy to access by car, bus, and other forms of transportation. Its proximity to the I-5 freeway makes it easy to drive to while nearby bus stops make the area easily accessible.
However, navigating the city of Seattle can still be quite confusing for convention goers, especially if they are visiting the city for the first time. Thankfully the transportation systems are easy to utilize once the transportation options are made clear to visitors.
Seattle Transportation Systems
The city of Seattle has multiple types of public transportation available. The easiest system to utilize is the public bus system. The Seattle Convention Center has 2 bus stops right outside of the convention center: the Pike St. & Convention Pl. stop and the Pike St. & 7th Ave stop. These 2 bus stops provide easy access to the Seattle Convention Center Arch and the Conference Center at the Washington State Convention Center.
For those trying to access the Seattle Convention Center Summit Building or the Washington State Convention Center North located a couple of blocks away, there is a bus stop around the corner from the building: the Olive Way & Terry Ave bus stop.
Parking At The Convention Center
Convention-goers driving into Seattle have multiple parking options at their disposal. The Seattle Convention Center Arch has its own parking garage right below it known as the Arch Garage. Parking at this garage does not come with an hourly rate but instead a set price for each time period, highlighted below:
- 0 to 0.5 hours: $8
- 0.5 to 1 hour: $10
- 1 to 2 hours: $11
- 2 to 3 hours: $16
- 3 to 4 hours: $20
- 4 to 6 hours: $22
- 6 to 8 hours: $24
- 8 to 10 hours: $26
- 10 to 12 hours: $28
- 12 to 14 hours: $33
- 14 to 18 hours: $34
- 18 to 24 hours: $37
- Evenings (5 PM to 12 AM): $9
- Lost Ticket Fee: $37
Guests visiting the Seattle Convention Center Summit can park at the Summit Garage on the corner of Olive Way and Boren Ave, as this garage is designated specifically for the Seattle Convention Center Summit. Its proximity to the Summit building means convention goers do not need to walk multiple blocks from the Arch Garage. The Summit Garage’s rates are identical to the rates of the Arch Garage.
Another popular parking option is the Freeway Park Garage, which is located just across the I-5 freeway from the Seattle Convention Center Arch underneath the Freeway Park. Conventiongoers will have to walk a little ways north to get to the Seattle Convention Center from this garage but it can help avoid the heavier traffic that typically surrounds the Arch Garage area. Rates for the Freeway Park Garage are highlighted below:
- 0 to 0.5 hours: $7
- 0.5 to 1 hour: $9
- 1 to 2 hours: $10
- 2 to 3 hours: $15
- 3 to 4 hours: $19
- 4 to 6 hours: $21
- 6 to 8 hours: $23
- 8 to 10 hours: $25
- 10 to 12 hours: $27
- 12 to 14 hours: $32
- 14 to 18 hours: $33
- 18 to 24 hours: $36
- Evening (5 PM to 12 AM): No Evening Rate At This Location
- Lost Ticket Fee: $36
These garages are the most commonly used places for parking around the Seattle Convention Center but they are by no means the only available options. Other nearby garages include WAC Garage, the Meridian East Parking Garage, the Terry & University Pay Lot, the Olympic Garage, the SP+ Parking Garage, and many more.
Getting To The Seattle Convention Center From The Airport
Visitors from out of town can take the light rail directly from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to the Seattle Convention Center. The 1-LINE Light Rail will take passengers to the Westlake Station for only $3. The ride takes about 54 minutes. From Westlake Station, it is about a 7-minute walk to the Seattle Convention Center.
Nearby Dining Options
Food options outside of the Seattle Convention Center are plentiful. From small snacks and coffee shops to full-scale fine dining and happy hours, there is truly something for everyone. If you are looking for unique Seattle food, this list of food the city is known for will give you some solid local options. If fine dining is in the cards, where are 12 incredible Michelin-star quality places to dine. Food can be found either in the immediate vicinity or by taking the bus slightly farther out to sample more of what Seattle has to offer.
Coffee And Cafe Options
A convention in Seattle is synonymous with coffee. Convention-goers need caffeine and Seattle is no stranger to coffee. A Starbucks is conveniently located just a block away from the Seattle Convention Center. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is also nearby, just across the I-5 freeway.
Other coffee and cafe options include the Victrola Coffee Roasters or Ghost Note Coffee on the other side of the I-5 freeway, Sugar Bakery & Cafe on Madison St., Voxx Coffee Downtown on 6th Ave, Monorail Espresso on Pike St., Anchorhead Coffee on 7th Ave, and Caffe Umbria on Olie Way.
Lunch Options Around the Seattle Convention Center
Lighter meal options are easy to find near the Seattle Convention Center. Just to the south is Evergreens which serves salads and snacks. Cafe Yumm! On 7th and Pine is a vegetarian-friendly Asian-inspired restaurant featuring rice bowls, wraps, and salads. A little further north is Just Poke on Olive Way.
For an afternoon meal with a cocktail, convention goers can visit Mr. West Cafe Bar for coffee, beer, and wine with delicious eats. There is also a MOD Pizza and a Blue Water Taco Grill on 6th Ave. Across the freeway are Sushi Maki, Li’l Woody’s, and Zaika.
Dinner Options Around the Seattle Convention Center
For larger dinner options like steak, conventiongoers can splurge at Daniel’s Broiler, an upscale and popular Seattle steak joint. Upscale Italian food can be found at Barolo Ristorante, Tulio, or Cortina. On the less expensive side, there is a Dough Zone Dumpling House and a Din Tai Fung nearby serving up delicious dumplings and other Asian eats. I will also add, if dim sum is your thing, both options serve top-notch bites that are hard to find anywhere else.
Convention-goers can find late-night American food at Yard House, which offers a large menu of American fare and an extensive beer selection. Seattle is known for the quality of its vegan restaurants, and one close by is the Veggie Grill, which serves lunch and dinner vegan spins on grain bowls, sandwiches, and burgers. Or a classic teriyaki joint called BB’s Teriyaki Grill where you can snag some delicious rice and protein dishes that are popular thought the region. Those interested in amazing signature cocktails can visit the McMenamins Six Arms for pub eats, Tamari Bar for eclectic Japanese fare, or Mercado Luna for Mexican food.
Convention-goers with a sweet tooth can find drinks and homemade pie at Pie Bar Capitol Hill. Further down E Pike St. is Salt & Straw, which services ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients and has seasonal flavors each month. For drinks only, visitors can find cocktails at Rumba, whiskey flights at Rickhouse Whiskey Bar, and speakeasy vibes at Deep Dive.
Things To Do Near The Seattle Convention Center
The Seattle Convention Center’s location puts it in close proximity to both famous tourist destinations and fun under-the-radar activities. By taking the bus, which conveniently has stops just outside the Seattle Convention Center, visitors can also easily access the waterfront, Uptown, Capitol Hill, and the downtown area.
Activities Within Walking Distance
Just a couple blocks south of the Seattle Convention Center are two performing arts theaters and an art gallery. Guests can visit the Washington Numismatic Gallery or check out local performances at the Kreielsheimer Place or ACT Theatre.
For those interested in concerts, comedy, and Broadway shows can trek several blocks north to the famous Paramount Theatre. Guests interested in entertainment in a more casual setting can see a movie at the nearby Regal Meridian or AMC Pacific Place 11.
Plenty of nearby shopping is available, but the easiest place to go shopping would be the Pacific Place Mall. This mall consists of multiple stories worth of stores with some restaurants sprinkled throughout. Nearby is Ghost Gallery which has monthly shows of handmade jewelry and decor.
For exercise and fresh air, the sprawling Freeway Park is conveniently nearby. Located just under the I-5 freeway as the name of the park implies, parkgoers can enjoy walkways and beautiful trees. The Freeway Park is also home to the Seneca Plaza, which is a popular photo spot for convention guests.
One of the most popular destinations in Seattle is undoubtedly the waterfront area. Convention-goers can take the bus straight to the waterfront and take in the sights of Pike Place Market. The market is also an excellent area to take in the wide array of delicious local produce or to explore charming bookshops and hidden thrift stores.
In immediate proximity to the Pike Place Market is the Gum Wall where tourists can stick pieces of chewed gum to the walls. Directly south of the market is the Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Great Wheel where visitors can learn about marine life or take in the stunning waterfront views.
Convention-goers that just want to meander near the waterfront can walk between Pier 62 and 55 or visit the Waterfront Park. Art lovers can visit the Original Selfie Museum or the Seattle Art Museum. Benaroya Hall is also nearby for those interested in classical music.
City Center/ Lake Union
Another popular tourist hotspot is the Space Needle. Convention-goers can also take public transportation into Uptown to visit the iconic structure. The Space Needle is the center point of a hub of activities including the Museum of Pop Culture, which is commonly known as the MOPOP, and the Pacific Science Center, which hosts interactive learning exhibits including a planetarium, a butterfly house, and a laser dome.
Uptown also has many walking areas like Myrtle Edwards Park and Olympic Sculpture Park. These areas are great for taking in the views of the waterfront while getting some great exercise or to get fresh air after being in the Seattle Convention Center for many hours.
On the other side of the I-5 freeway is Capitol Hill where convention goers can enjoy the Cal Anderson Park or visit the Elliott Bay Book Company. Capitol Hill is also a great place to check out unique hole-in-the-wall stores or go thrifting.
For cat lovers, Capitol Hill is a great place to relax after a long day at the Seattle Convention Center. The popular NEKO Cat Cafe Seattle lets visitors play with adorable cats in a cozy setting complete with drinks and snacks. Twice Sold Tales is a used book store that has 6 live-in cats that guests can pet while browsing for books.
South of the Seattle Convention Center is a fun area for history buffs to explore. Convention-goers can visit the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center, which takes visitors to the 73rd floor to take in the scenic views of the city.
Nearby is the historic Smith Tower, complete with a vintage bar and a scenic view observatory on the 35th floor. Downtown Seattle is also home to the famous underground tour where guests can visit and learn the history of Seattle’s underground and how the city of Seattle came to be.
Places To Stay
The influx of tourists due to the Seattle Convention Center’s popularity has caused many hotels to pop up in the immediate vicinity. Although visitors may have to take the bus to go see some of the tourist destinations, convention goers only need to walk a few blocks in any direction to find a place to stay.
Two blocks south of the Seattle Convention Center is the Sheraton Grand Seattle. This is a popular place for convention goers to stay as the hotel has many amenities, including a gym on the 35th floor with a pool, free Wi-Fi, and multiple restaurants. However, the Sheraton Grand Seattle is a little on the expensive side with rooms averaging at about $550 per night in peak season but prices fluctuate quite a bit.
The other big hotel in the immediate vicinity is the Grand Hyatt Seattle. Amenities include a fitness room, spa, sauna, and three restaurants. Wi-Fi is free here but parking is not. The Grand Hyatt Seattle is less expensive than the Sheraton Grand Seattle with rooms averaging at about $460 per night, again peak season.
Directly on the other side of the I-5 freeway is the Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle. This hotel is smaller than the previous two mentioned but it still has a fitness room and outdoor pool, as well as free Wi-Fi and breakfast for guests. This hotel costs about $400 per night.
If you are willing to walk a little further from the Seattle Convention Center, there are even more lodging options available. A couple of blocks further than the Sheraton Grand Seattle are the Hilton Motif Seattle and the Hilton Seattle. The Hilton Motif Seattle is the more expensive option but the Hilton Seattle averages at about $400 a night.
A couple of blocks further south are a plethora of lodging options including the Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle, W Seattle, Crowne Plaza Seattle, Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle, Executive Hotel Pacific, and the Kimpton Hotel Monaco. It is important to note that even though these are all within a 2-block vicinity of each other, pricing varies at each individual hotel and proximity is not an indication that they are similar in cost.
Lodging options are more scattered towards the north of the Seattle Convention Center. Convention-goers can find lodging at the Hyatt at Olive 8, the Hyatt Regency Seattle, the Residence Inn by Marriott Seattle, Hotel Max, the Westin Seattle, and the Hilton Garden Inn Seattle. The Westin Seattle is a particularly popular option due to its views of the city and the fact that it has two towers worth of buildings, making it easy to find a room there. Other lodging options are on the other side of the I-5 freeway, including Hotel Sorrento and the Baroness. Both of these are located directly in front of the Virginia Mason Medical Center. These hotels are more unique local options. The Hotel Sorrento is set in a 1909 landmark building with individually designed rooms. The Baroness is one of the cheapest options available and functions more as an extended stay hotel with homey studios complete wit