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2013 Convention News
Seattle, February 12–15

Tips for Staying Safe in Seattle

By Shauna Guinn

Seattle is generally regarded as a safe city and I rarely feel unsafe in most places there. Seattle police are routinely on foot, bicycle, car, and even horseback around town and in the downtown area day and night. However, like any other unfamiliar city, there are some commonsense precautions you can keep in mind when visiting. There are also areas of the city that I do avoid after dark. Here are some tips that will keep you safe:

  • When possible, it is a good idea to travel with another person when sightseeing or shopping, particularly at night. Stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
  • Keep check of your belongings; make sure valuables like your wallet are not too easy to access.
  • Avoid cutting through dark alleys in general and at night, but particularly in the area surrounding Pike and Pine streets. Also, 3rd Avenue can be an intimidating walk at night, so avoid that area if possible.
  • Seattle has its fair share of panhandlers. While aggressive panhandling is illegal in Seattle, some panhandlers can be more aggressive than you might be used to. You may ignore them or refuse to give them money.
  • Freeway Park, bridging over I-5 between 6th and 9th Avenues, is a great place to enjoy some down time in the heart of the city during the day. However, it is best to steer clear of this park altogether after the sun goes down.

Visitor Information

The Seattle Visitor Center (M–F, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.) is located in the Upper Pike Street lobby of the Convention Center. There is also an information center located at Pike Place Market (open daily, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) at the southwest corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street. Visitor Information Centers are complimentary, full-service concierge and visitor information facilities offering bookings and reservations, tours and transportation, along with detailed information on local events, personal services, and more. Seattle Visitor Centers: (866) 732-2695 or (206) 461-5840.

Public Safety Resources

In the case that you do have an emergency, of course, dial 9-1-1.

For nonemergencies (there is no direct danger to you or another person), call the police nonemergency line at (206) 625-5011.


Shauna Guinn is a graduate student at Seattle University and local student convention committee coordinator.