Explore Seattle’s Pioneer Square with SPU student athletes
Join four SPU students as they explore the great coffee, rich culture, and old town charm of Seattle' Pioneer Square neighborhood — just a walk away from the thrill of Seattle's national sports arenas.
Student athletes have a lot on their plate – juggling practices, games, and academics all at once. But when they do have downtime, student athletes at SPU love to make the most of the Seattle advantage. Whether you’re new to the Pacific Northwest or have lived in Seattle your whole life, one of the most enjoyable things to do can be to explore the city.
SPU Voices caught up with gymnasts Miyuki Matsune and Haven Lanzador, along with soccer players Nik Reierson and Samuel Agyei, as they explored Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood last spring.
Pioneer Square is known for art galleries galore and brick buildings covered in climbing ivy. Junior Nik Reierson said the architecture and rich history makes Pioneer Square especially interesting.
“It is a place that takes you back to the roots of Seattle,” he said.
Cost: $3.00 for iced coffee
It’s not hard to find coffee in Seattle, but Elm Coffee Roasters is an experience in itself. This bright and airy café roasts all of its coffee on site, with viewing windows in the back so you can watch the process.
Matsune, a junior, recommends Elm Coffee because of the tasty pastries and calming atmosphere.
“It felt very relaxing, and a great spot to get some schoolwork done,” she said.
While you drink your coffee, you can sit at a table or the marble bar under the vaulted ceilings to study, catch up with friends, and enjoy baked goods.
There are dozens of galleries in Pioneer Square you can walk into and be immediately immersed in art. These galleries are popular with students, especially during Free First Thursday. Free First Thursday is a monthly city-wide event where admission to dozens of museums and galleries in Seattle is free. The Seattle Art Museum is usually incredibly busy on these days, but smaller galleries in Pioneer Square open their doors to everyone. Munch on snacks and wander through the neighborhood as you pop in and out of new exhibits.
“There is always something new to discover when you go to visit Pioneer Square,” Matsune said.
Cost: $12 for a stadium tour, game tickets start at $15
Catch a Mariners’ game at T-Mobile Park (formerly SafeCo Field)! Baseball is America’s favorite pastime for a reason. There is nothing else quite like a cool night watching the Mariners in person, hot dog in one hand and garlic fries in the other. There are often discount days with $15 tickets, making it affordable to cheer on the M’s. If it’s not baseball season, go on a stadium tour to get a more intimate look of T-Mobile Park without the thousands of fans. Down the street is CenturyLink Field, home of the Sounders and Seahawks.
Matsune added that the location of the stadiums is perfect for game days.
“CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park are walking distance from Pioneer Square, which makes [Pioneer Square] a great place to hang out either before or after a Seahawks/Sounders/Mariners game,” she said.
Cost: $15 with student ID
You may have seen Smith Tower driving into Seattle and wondered, “What is that?” A landmark and focal point of Seattle, this skyscraper is the oldest in the city. Ride the elevator up to the 35th floor to take in a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck.
During the Sounders FC season, which typically runs from early March through late October, hundreds of fans gather in Pioneer Square before each home game to get energized. Ninety minutes before kickoff, fans rally at Occidental Park then march to CenturyLink Stadium together.
The Seattle Sounders FC pregame parade is always filled with passionate Seattleites, and you don’t have to go to the game to attend the march.
Within the historic brick Cadillac Hotel building now permanently lives a rich part of Seattle’s history. Two floors of the hotel have been transformed into self-guided exhibits that tell the story of the rush to the Yukon gold fields in the late 1890s. Run by the U.S. National Park Service, the staff at this museum are eager to tell you about the little-known history our city holds.
This secluded pocket park is hidden in the middle of Pioneer Square, and is Reierson’s favorite part of the neighborhood. The Waterfall Garden Park doubles as an urban oasis, looking over a patio with chairs and tables, making it a perfect spot to take your lunch or dive into a new book.
“It was filled with lots of flowers and had seating area for people to just hang out in. The area was also partly indoors so it would be a great place to visit if it was rainy outside,” said Matsune.