Located in the International District of Seattle, Washington, the Chinatown-International District is where you can find Seattle's Asian community. With organizations like The Wing Luke Museum focused on preserving the culture of this diverse group, it is not surprising that it ranks among one of America's great neighborhoods.
There are 3 neighborhoods in the Chinatown International District that were named by ethnicities. You can find businesses owned by people of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese descent, respectively.
The area also includes Seattle's Manilatown now. The name "Chinatown/International District" was set in 1999 by an ordinance to unite the three neighborhoods.
In a lot of ways, the neighborhood--like Seattle in general--is diverse. But of course, most of its residents are of Chinese descent. It's one of the 8 historic neighborhoods officially recognized by the City.
CID is a melting pot of residences and businesses and is a tourist attraction for its Asian shopping and food.
CID is bounded by 4th Ave. S. to the west, Rainier Ave. to the east, Yesler Way to the north and Charles/Dearborn Sts. to the south.
The CID is bordered by Pioneer Square and SoDo to the west of 4th Ave S; Rainier Valley on the east side of Rainier; Beacon Hill and the Industrial District to the south of Charles/Dearborn; and Downtown and First Hill to the north.
The CID is made up of three distinct neighborhoods: Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon. The Seattle Chinatown Historic District, recognized by the US National Register of Historic Places in 1986 to be historically significant, is roughly south of Jackson street and west of I-5.
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Today, Japantown is centered on 6th Avenue and Main Street, while Little Saigon's main nexus is 12th Avenue South and South Jackson.
The CID is served by the International District/Chinatown station on the Central Link light rail system, located near 4th Ave S. You can also reach it via three stops along Jackson on the First Hill Streetcar: at 5th Ave S (connecting to Centre Market), 8th Ave & Broadway, and Marion St.
Chinese immigrants to Washington first came in the 1850s, and by the 1860s, some had settled in Seattle. Many of these early arrivals were from Guangdong province, especially Taishan. The first Chinese quarters were non-residential areas where immigrants could get together, eat meals together, and speak Chinese.
According to Chinese oral history, Chinatown was the first one. It was around the docks, where workers lived and it's believed that all this started with a simple economic migration. But later down the road, in 1882 when the Chinese exclusion act became law and slowed down immigration.
In 1886, white Americans drove most of Seattle's Chinese population out. Not all were able to find shelter with the Native American tribes though. Some obtained protection from their white bosses along with one judge.
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