Pioneer Square: A Renter’s and Homebuyer’s Guide

The Joseph Group Nov 2020

Ian Joseph

“Clients first!” – is a huge part of the DNA that Ian Joseph and his Team have established at The Joseph Group. This motto helps them focus on striving for the highest level of customer experience, for their clients (landlords) and customers (tenants). In fact, Ian strongly believes that in life, family and business, you must strive to give more than you receive. “You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

pioneer square seattle
Buying or renting a home in Pioneer Square is a unique opportunity: you are simultaneously immersed in some of Seattle’s most fascinating history while actively partaking in the city’s current identity. As   Seattle’s government website  put it so eloquently, “In contrast to the high-rise buildings and streets in   other downtown districts, Pioneer Square is characterized by lower brick and stone buildings, tree-lined streets and avenues, cobblestone parks, and diverse street-level retail establishments and restaurants, all contributing to the neighborhood’s warm and intimate feel.”

What to Expect from Pioneer Square’s Housing Market


Pioneer Square is a mostly-renting neighborhood with your choice of apartments, lofts, and multi-family options. Homes for sale do not stay on the market for long. Many properties are renovated from late 19th century structures, which were built shortly after a fire that wiped out the entire neighborhood of wood buildings in the 1800s. As a result, residents can enjoy Pioneer Square’s long-lasting Romanesque architecture as opposed to other neighborhoods’ more temporary tastes. In addition, you can partake in some of our favorite Pioneer Square treats including its rich history, prime location, and exciting events.

Location, Location, Location


When it comes to day-to-day commutes, you can’t beat Pioneer Square for convenience. It is close to downtown without making you feel like you’re surrounded by skyscrapers. In addition, Pioneer Square has its own Light Rail station, instantly connecting you to much of the city’s key neighborhoods, the Sea-Tac airport, and more. Lastly, it is close to the ferry dock, giving residents easy access to Bainbridge and Bremerton.


Full of History


As one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, Pioneer Square is home to some of our city’s more unusual history, including:

  • The underground city: While walking around Pioneer Square, you may see opaque white or purple glass inlays in the sidewalks. Under this glass lies a subterranean maze of old Seattle, which was regraded in 1889 one to two stories above the original streets. As of the publication of this post, tours of the Seattle underground are closed (we recommend going to buy tickets in person as the Underground Tours website sells tickets regardless of their current status). Whether you partake in the tours or not, you are literally walking over centuries of the city’s history every day.
  • The Tlingit Totem Pole: This controversial part of Seattle’s history is nonetheless instantly recognizable in the heart of Pioneer Square. The giant totem pole was stolen from the Alaskan Tlingit tribe in the 1800s, but after an arsonist damaged the original pole, the city commissioned a re-creation from the tribe in 1938. It remains a symbol of our country’s complicated past with Native Americans, as well as a beautiful piece of Native art. 
  • Yesler Way: Newcomers to Seattle are often confused by the city’s streets, but the secret to the chaos lies in Yesler Way, which runs through Pioneer Square. This street marks where two city planners butted heads around how Seattle streets would run (in a grid vs. around the city’s largest hills), as well as Seattle’s history with logging and the gold rush.

These examples of Pioneer Square’s rich history are only the tip of the iceberg. The longer you live here, the more you’ll discover!

Sports Venues

Seattle is home to many loyal and fervent sports fans, and those lucky enough to live in Pioneer Square will find themselves within walking distance of football, soccer, and baseball home games at:


Art Galleries


Pioneer Square prides itself in being the artistic heart of Seattle. While downtown Seattle is home to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Queen Anne is home to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Pioneer Square is home to dozens of private art galleries featuring the best contemporary art Seattle has to offer. Don’t want to pay to see these private galleries? Pioneer Square hosts a monthly Art Walk on the first Thursday of every month. This one-square-mile tour of Pioneer Square’s best galleries is a great way to participate in the neighborhood’s culture, find a new piece for your private collection, network with local creatives, spend time with family and friends, or even try a fun date idea. 

Restaurants & Nightlife

Pioneer Square has some of the best locally-owned restaurants in Seattle. There are so many great restaurants that we haven’t been able to try them all. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:

In addition to eating out, Pioneer Square is also known for its fantastic nightlife with plenty of clubs, bars, and music venues to choose from. Get started by trying these local favorites:


Other Things to Do in Pioneer Square

 Go shopping, have coffee, or play a game of ping-pong in Occidental Square

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