Belltown used to be an industrial sort of neighborhood that was anything but the place to be. These days, it’s just about the direct opposite. It’s walkable. It’s got shops and restaurants and nightlife galore. It’s a pretty cool place to spend an evening, and don’t expect that the grittiness is completely gone. It’s not. Like many trendy neighborhoods these days, the grittiness melds with the modern and becomes something unique.
Belltown is also right in the center of the action, close to the Seattle center, so it’s a neighborhood you might find yourself passing through on foot if you walk around town. The Monorail also runs above the streets of Belltown. But there’s more to the neighborhood than simply cutting through.
Explore the Nightlife
Belltown has become known as a nightlife neighborhood with a number of restaurants, lounges, bars, and nightclubs within its bounds. If nightclubs are what you seek, look to Ora Nightclub and Amber. If you like something a little more laid back, any number of restaurants or bars could do the trick, but Shorty’s should be at the top of the list. Part dive bar, part arcade and all fun, Shorty’s mixes old arcade games and pinball with a menu featuring hot dogs done with style and drinks. Bathtub Gin & Co is also an ideal destination if you like a speakeasy atmosphere.
Try the Food
If you like to go out at night, but aren’t much for nightlife, per se, then Belltown also has you covered with places to eat—from casual all the way up to some of Seattle’s top restaurants. On the casual and quick end of the spectrum, don’t miss Dahlia Bakery or Top Pot Doughnuts. Dahlia Bakery is a Tom Douglas establishment featuring baked delights aplenty. While it doesn’t have any real seating to speak of, it’s worth a stop. Top Pot Doughnuts is another place to flex your sweet tooth and has some of the tastiest sweet treats in town. Other Tom Douglas restaurants are also located in Belltown and are worth a meal or two. Serious Pie (creative pizza) and Lola (delicious Greek-inspired fare) aren’t far away from Dahlia Bakery. There are literally dozens of restaurants to choose from in Belltown, though, so go exploring and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Visit Olympic Sculpture Park
On the edge of Belltown and along the water is the Olympic Sculpture Park, one of Seattle’s coolest artsy spots, and it’s completely free to enjoy. Snap some photos of the outdoor sculptures, admire the artwork, or kick back and enjoy the water views on a nice day.
Find Plenty of Entertainment
Hand-in-hand with the nightlife scene in Belltown are several event venues where you can enjoy some live music and performances. Have a meal and listen to some jazz at Tula’s Restaurant and Jazz Club, which has jazz artists on stage seven days a week. The Rendezvous and Jewelbox Theater serves up a variety of shows, from comedy to burlesque in a historic theater. The Crocodile is yet another historic stage in Belltown and brings in all kinds of musical acts. Past performers have included everyone from The Beastie Boys to Nirvana.
Visit the Seattle Glassblowing Studio
Seattle and the Northwest overall are a hub in the world of glassmaking, due to the fact that world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly lives in Seattle and is from Tacoma. Plus, the Pilchuck Glass School is also in the area. Glassmaking is an expensive and seemingly inaccessibly artform in that you can’t just stop by a craft store and pick up what you need to give it a try, but thanks to places like Seattle Glassblowing Studio, you can get up close and personal with it. Take a studio tour, hold your birthday party in the hotshop, or even take a glassblowing class.
See a Movie at Cinerama
Yet another entertainment venue located in Belltown, Cinerama is a classic and filled with greatness. It’s one of only a tiny handful of theaters in the world that can still show three-panel Cinerama films. But even better, it’s a unique movie theater to catch a movie with a side of beer, wine, and delicious, locally made snacks.