Crowds return to Seattle in levels not seen since the pandemic

The crowds are returning downtown in levels not seen since the pandemic.  A count of foot traffic and visits from late May shows that hundreds of thousands made their way to the downtown Seattle area daily. 

"There seems to be a lot of people out and about," said Chad Bloxham. "It’s nice to have corners where you are standing, and you are having basically a traffic jam on the corner trying to cross rather than being a ghost town."

The Bloxham's were visiting the waterfront Sunday.  They had come to Seattle for the Luke Combs concert at Lumen Field this weekend.   

"It was sold out, a sold out concert. It poured, but it was beautiful," said Jen Bloxham. 

"It was the craziest thing I’ve seen so far as of how much it was pouring and how much fun people were having," said Chad. 

Kristy Faulkner and Carrie Grummons flew in from California and Connecticut for the New Kids on the Block Concert. 

"I felt like I was fourteen again, screaming," said Kristy.  

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"It was really nice," said Carrie. 

The two were planning to go to the Oyster House before flying out later Sunday night.   

We also caught up with a Texas family, enjoying the rain and waterfront before their cruise to Alaska. 

"Its very cool here, and back home, it’s like extremely hot. I really like the cool weather," said Misty Dvorak.  

"The weather is great, Texas is hot," said Danny Dvorak. 

"We are liking it. We are liking the shops and the food," said Diana Dvorak. 

James Sido, with the Downtown Seattle Association, says foot traffic and visits to the city are increasing. 

"We had in terms of total visitors, the highest numbers that we’ve seen since before the pandemic," said Sido 

Starting at around May 23, the DSA said a 7-day count showed that total visits, including workers, residents and visitors combined, averaged more than 380,000 per day.   That's more than 2.6 million total over the 7-day period.  The daily average is the highest counted since the start of the pandemic. 

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"We are not even to summer yet.  We are not near the peak tourism season. To have those kinds of numbers before that period hits is really encouraging," said Sido.  "It is a combination of workers, residents, domestic visitors.  All of those groups taken into consideration, having those numbers so high, speaks to a confidence downtown and people enjoying being in the city," said Sido.

"We are thrilled to have tourists back in Seattle," said Karen Locke, an Employee of Argosy Cruises. "We are really glad to still be here.  We’ve been here 70 years, and we hope for 70 more."

Locke says the increasing number of visitors is welcome news following the pandemic. 

 "Business is so much better than last year because we finally have the people back.  We finally have Seattle re-opening. We finally have people wanting to be here. It’s really made us feel a lot better about our company and the area," said Locke.