How do fun food pairings (with the occasional drag show at brunch), shopping while wine tasting, and an incredible variety of wines served with a side of snacks sound? All of these things and more make for a fun way to spend a day in Pioneer Square.
Touted as Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, it was devastated by fire in 1889. Emerging from the ashes, charming brick and stone buildings were raised above the original street level. Now, an underground tour of Pioneer Square’s buried city is one of the notable attractions that entices visitors.
Additionally, the historic district is home to Smith Tower. Completed in 1914, it was not only Seattle’s first skyscraper but also the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Today, the iconic structure offers visitors an observatory and speakeasy inspired bar inspired by its intriguing past.
For art lovers, the First Thursday Art Walk is a long running tradition and was the first of its kind in the U.S.
Not only rich with history, the neighborhood is part of Seattle’s current urban wine scene with three quaint tasting rooms all within a walkable half mile of each other. Plus, those wine tasting venues are surrounded by other businesses perfect for foodies and art lovers. Read on to discover where the locals go when spending a day in Pioneer Square.
Partners in wine and life, Ton Yazici and Rich Burton are the dynamic duo behind the Occidental Square Locus Wines tasting room. Rich makes the wine and Ton leads the culinary side of the business.
The emphasis on wine and food pairing here truly sets the tasting experience apart. More wine dinners and weekend brunches are offered at Locus Wines than any other Seattle winery. They’ve even been recognized by OpenTable with a Diner’s Choice Award. Settle into a bistro table in the brick exposed tasting room or cozy up to an outdoor firepit as weather allows. The easy drinking wines distinguish themselves as amiable dinner guests that enable the food to shine.
Located at 307 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104.
Foundry Vineyards is a second-generation winery based in Walla Walla led by brother and sister team Jay and Lisa Anderson. The quaint Seattle outpost shares space with FruitSuper, creators of elevated everyday objects. For those who love enhancing wine tasting with shopping, this is the place to go!
Foundry Vineyards sets itself apart from other Washington wineries by marrying art with wine and by leaning into the natural wine movement. The winery has even met demanding criteria for inclusion in the Slow Wine Guide USA. Starting with the 2019 vintage, all bottlings are crafted with organic fruit. With the realization that most wines are made according to formula in order create a proscribed taste profile, Jay took over winemaking a few years back and adopted low intervention and sustainable practices. Inventive sparkling wines made in the ancestral method from sister winery Pet Project are also available at this locale.
Located at 524 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104.
Browne Family Vineyards
The nostalgic nod to family history highlighted at the Browne Family Vineyards tasting room ties in well to the aesthetic of its location in the 1906 Seller Building. Enjoy sidewalk seating when weather permits at this bustling spot.
A vast selection of wines are available here from bubbles to aged wines and big reds. Order wine by the glass or pick one of several different wine flights – mind you these aren’t tasting flights, these are serious pours! Additionally, a line of spirits was recently rolled out. You can even add some snacks to the mix such as truffle popcorn.
Located at 413 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104.
Things to Know Spending a Day in Pioneer Square
Tasting rooms typically offer wine by the glass or by flight which provides tastes of several different wines on offer. Locus Wines and Browne Family Vineyards are often open seven days a week. That’s great news for locals and tourists alike! Note, however, that hours may change seasonally so check schedules prior to a visit.
With its proximity to the stadiums in SODO, Pioneer Square makes a great destination to pre-function before Seahawks, Sounders, or Mariners games. Just be sure to check the teams’ schedules ahead of time and book reservations at your venue of choice. Be aware that Occidental Park is where the renowned Sounders FC March to the Match begins 90 minutes before kickoff.
Pro Tip: during the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square, parking can be found for free! Check with the business you’re visiting to see if they participate and offer parking vouchers.
Where the Locals Go in Pioneer Square
For those who want to experience Pioneer Square like a local, Ton of Locus Wines revealed some of his insider favorites.
- Coffee from Elm Roasters is what we use at home.
- Intrigue Chocolate Co.on Jackson is a delight.
- A slice of pizza (fennel/sausage) at Trophy Pizza is to die for.
- We really like Dead Line for its selection of cocktails and South American cuisine.
- Nirmal’s on Occidental has the best Indian food in Seattle.
- The neighborhood has a vibrant art scene. Personally, I like Frederick Holmes and Company gallery, our next-door neighbor. For a while, sketches from Dali were on display. Very cool. As is the J. Rinehart Gallery for her choices of very unique artists.
- Arundel Books is also precious.
Spending a day in Pioneer Square offers a peek into Seattle’s past as well as a treasure trove of delicious discoveries. May you savor every moment.
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