In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re shining a light on one of our favorite Seattle neighborhoods: the historic International District (ID). Located two miles away from Stanley headquarters, the ID includes Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon, representative of the immigrant communities who formed the neighborhood in the early 1900s. It is a melting pot of cultures and history, with architecture that blends both Asian and American traditions. This diverse, culturally rich area is full of an array of shops, restaurants, green spaces, museums, historic landmarks, and other must-see attractions when visiting Seattle.
Artist and Seattleite Vivian Mak recently shared some of her favorite spots in the ID along with her community mural in the entryway of Uwajimaya Village. The mural was created in partnership with Urban Artworks, a non-profit engaging youth and communities in the creation of public art that inspires connections and honors their voices.
"I wanted this mural to embody a sense of togetherness. I hope that those who pass by feel something from it. They might not know the symbolism behind it but I believe they will feel the energy from it,” Vivian says about the mural, pictured below.
The Uwajimaya Village is an apartment community and mixed-used building connected to ID staple, the Uwajimaya supermarket. Uwajimaya was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Fujimatsu Moriguchi in 1928 as a small business in Tacoma, WA. Following World War II, Mr. Moriguchi anchored the family business in Seattle’s International District. After growing to four locations, Uwajimaya is now the largest Japanese supermarket in the Pacific Northwest and a great stop for food, books, gifts, and weekly grocery runs.
Other can’t-miss spots in the ID from our tour with Vivian:
- Fuji Bakery – This Japanese French artisan bakery is known for its beautiful pastries and other freshly baked goods.
- New Century Tea Gallery – A delightful tea shop that offers high-quality teas and gracious service. (Tip: Brew your tea at Hing Hay Park with a Stanley insulated bottle filled with hot water, a Camp Mug, and a tea strainer.)
- Jade Garden Restaurant – This ID icon is the place to go for dim sum—morning, noon, or night.
- Hing Hay Park – An expansive, award-winning park with spaces for quiet contemplation, outdoor fitness, performances, and festivals.
Adding to Vivian’s favorite finds, we also recommend:
- Tai Tung Restaurant – This popular spot is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seattle, open since 1935, and rumored to be infamous martial-arts star Bruce Lee’s favorite.
- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience – If you can’t visit this treasure in person, you can still enjoy an online virtual tour or join a virtual book talk.
This month and every month, we encourage you to seek out and support your local AAPI-owned businesses and share your discoveries with friends and family.