Area Guide

General Online Resources

The official Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau website has a lot for Seattle visitors, including free maps to print, directions to an official visitor center nearby, and transportation info.

Seattle’s two main weekly papers have a wealth of local event information, city guides, restaurant reviews, and other local flavor: pick up a copy or check out the websites of the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger.

Orienting Yourself and Getting Around

If you are trying to figure out North, South, East, or West in Seattle, most Seattleites will tell you that the water is West, so you can go from there. That’s true. Puget Sound is West. We also have water on the East, that’s Lake Washington and some more even further East; even some to the North in Lake Union. Okay then, they might tell you that the mountains are to the East. That’s true, the Cascade Mountain range is to the East. We also have the Olympics to the West, just past the water. And a little mountain to the South-ish that we call Rainier (“ray – near”). Whew.

Don’t worry! We have help and sensible directions for you to navigate your way around The Conference Center and beyond during your GeekGirlCon visit to Seattle, whether you are in Seattle every day or this is your first time in our favorite city.

Neighborhoods Near The Conference Center

The Seattle Conference Center is located in downtown Seattle. If you walk out the front door of The Conference Center, turn left, and walk up the hill over the freeway (Interstate 5) you will reach the Capitol Hill Neighborhood. Capitol Hill is Seattle’s densest neighborhood and host to a slew of restaurants, bars, dance clubs, and theaters.

If you walk out the front of Seattle Conference Center and turn right and then another right on 5th Avenue, you will find yourself at the monorail, which whisks you over to the EMP (GeekGirlCon ’11 was around here), or at the South Lake Union Streetcar, which will take you to the fast-growing South Lake Union area, home to Amazon.com headquarters, the Gates Foundation, and the shores of Lake Union. If you turn right and keep walking down Pike Street, you will end up at the world famous Pike Place Market. Take a right on First Avenue, just before you get to the market, and walk a few blocks (roughly North), and you will reach Belltown. Belltown is another dense neighborhood of restaurants and bars.

If you take the bus tunnel to the International District station or head left/South on Second Avenue, you will reach the historic Pioneer Square and the International District area.

Eating & Drinking

Yeah, We Totally Has Coffee Here

Seattle is known as a coffee town. From the ubiquitous reminder of Kara Thrace (that’s totally the origin of the name, right?), to hang-out / write-your-novel coffee shops, to coffee tastings and meticulous roasters, Seattle has a lot of options for the coffee-lover (or coffee-lover adjacent).

Starbucks, Tully’s Some love ’em, some hate ’em, but they are everywhere (cue scene from Best in Show). They have decent breakfast options, sandwiches, snack packs, and lots of pastries/treats. If you are familiar with the chains, they are pretty much like they are everywhere else. You can visit the original SBUX in Pike Place Market for a bit of history and a crowd.

  • Good For: consistent quality; free wi-fi; decent non-coffee options; frozen or shake drinks
  • Not Good For: People that still hold a grudge that the Sonics left Seattle; a jaded image; supporting small, independent coffee shops
  • Locations: right around the corner from The Conference Center, Pike Place Market, lots of places

Coffee Carts There are lots of coffee carts, smaller chains, and small places to get your basic latte or drip coffee around. As you might imagine

  • Good For: fast caffeine fix; those that like sugar in their coffee; usually easier on the wallet
  • Not Good For: ristretto shots; hanging out; coffee snobs
  • Locations: multiple

Closest Non-Starbucks Coffee Shops to The Conference Center

For another nice dive into great coffee, you can also check out @jcolman‘s guide to coffee in Seattle (for another, unrelated con).

Restaurants, Bars, and Shops Recommended by GeekGirlCon Staff

  • For food reviews, you can try the above, go with yelp, or try out zomato.com, a locally grown start-up (acquired in 2009 by IAC) that provides restaurant information, user ratings, links to reviews, and reservations via an app or their website.
  • For even more specific food information, you can check out MSG 150, a detailed, slightly irreverent, obsessive cataloging of every lunch place in Seattle’s International District. A few places have come & gone, but still a great resource pho digging up some (dim sum, you might say) hand-shaven noodles or khao mun gai.
Name Neighborhood Location Notes
Black Bottle Belltown 2600 1st Ave. Bar; Happy Hour
Blue C Sushi Downtown 1510 7th Ave. Restaurant; Kaiten Sushi; Close to Conference Center
Cheesecake Factory Downtown 700 Pike St. Restaurant; National Chain; Kid-Friendly; Close to Conference Center
Cupcake Royale Capitol Hill 108 Pike St Cupcakes; Ice Cream; Coffee; Kid-Friendly; Multiple Locations
Daily Grill Downtown 629 Pike Street Bar; Close to Conference Center
DeLaurenti Deli Pike Place Market 1435 1st Ave. Deli; Lunch; Gourmet Groceries; Cheese
Dragonfish Downtown 722 Pine St. Restaurant; Happy Hour; Sushi
Gameworks Downtown 1511 7th Ave. Bar; Arcade; Close to Conference Center
Melrose Market Capitol Hill 1501-1535 Melrose Ave. Restaurants; Gourmet Food Shops
Michou Deli Pike Place Market 1904 Pike Place Market Deli
Molly Moon’s Ice Cream Capitol Hill 917 E Pike St. ICE CREAM!; Kid-Friendly
Nordstrom Café Downtown 3rd floor at Nordstrom’s at 5th andPine or access by the skybridge from Pacific Place Café; Kid-Friendly
Oddfellows Café and Bar Capitol Hill 1525 10th Ave. Restaurant; Bar
Oliver’s Bar and Lounge Capitol Hill 405 Olive Way Restaurant
Palomino Downtown 1420 5th Ave. Restaurant
Poquitos Capitol Hill 1000 E Pike St. Restaurant
Six Arms Capitol Hill 300 E Pike St. Restaurant
Sub Sand International District 419 6th Ave S Lunch (Saturday Only)
Tap House Grill Downtown 1506 6th Ave. Bar; Close to Conference Center
Thai Curry Simple International District 406 5th Avenue South Lunch (Saturday Only)
The Crumpet Shop Pike Place Market 1503 1st Ave. Café
The Pink Door Pike Place Market 1919 Post Alley Restaurant; Italian; Seattle Classic
Top Pot Doughnuts Belltown 2124 5th Ave. DOUGHNUTS!; Kid-Friendly; Wifi


There are a lot of shopping options in Seattle. You’ll certainly find a number of well-known brands right in the downtown core. You’ll also find some unique Seattle or Northwest stores and products.

Pacific Place Downtown 600 Pine St. Restaurants; Movies; Top Ten Toys;
Williams-Sonoma; Brookstone;
Tiffany & Co
Pike Place Market Downtown 1st & Pike Restaurants; Bars; Speciality Foods; Shops
Target (City Target) Downtown 2nd Avenue, between Pike and Union Clothing; Shoes; Grocery; Bedding; Cosmetics; etc.
Uwajimaya International District 600 5th Avenue South Groceries; Kinokuniya Bookstore; Food Court (Beard Papa!)
Westlake Center Downtown 400 Pine St. Food Court; Daiso Japan; Fireworks Gallery; Made in Washington; Washington State Connections (Cougar Gold Cheese)

Close to The Conference Center

Need a quick shoe fix or some Seattle Sounders gear? Here are a few places close to the
Conference Center to get yourself decked out (and smelling nice). Treat yo self!

Fluevog Shoes Downtown 205 Pine St. Shoes
Lush Downtown Westlake Center: 4th and Pine Bath & Body; Cosmetics
Nordstrom Rack Downtown Westlake Center: 4th and Pine Clothing, Shoes
Sounders & Seahawks Pro Shop Downtown 4th and Pine Sports Clothing, Memorabilia

Books and Geeky Things

We suspect that GeekGirlCon attendees might have a geeky or nerdy bent and might even like to pick up some relevant reading materials between panels, game sessions, and singing along with Buffy and geeky musicians.

Ada’s Technical Books Capitol Hill 713 Broadway East Geeky & Technical Books (and more)
Barnes & Noble Downtown Pacific Place Shopping Centre: 7th and Pine Book store and cafe
Elliot Bay Books Capitol Hill 1521 10th Avenue Lots of Books
Gamma Ray Games Capitol Hill 411 E. Pine Street Game shop
Golden Age Collectibles Pike Place Market 1501 Pike Place Market Collectibles Shop
Seattle Mystery Bookshop Downtown 117 Cherry St. Mystery Books
Xanadu Comics Downtown 1923 3rd Ave Comic book shop

Groceries / Essentials

Sometimes even we need some of the essentials. Get your Sriracha, apples, snacks, cough drops, and whatever else you need at some of these handy stores.

Bartell’s Drugstore Downtown 1628 5th Ave Drugstore
Kress (IGA) Grocery Store Downtown Third & Pike GroceryStore
RiteAid Downtown 319 Pike St Drugstore
Target (City Target) Downtown 2nd Avenue, between Pike and Union Groceries; Beer & Wine; General Merchandise; Towels (if you don’t know where yours is)
Whole Foods South Lake Union 2210 Westlake Ave Grocery Store (organic foods, bulk section, large salad bar)

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