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Seattle Travel Guide

International District

Bright welcome banners, 12-foot fiberglass dragons clinging to lampposts, and a traditional Chinese gate confirm you're in the International District. The I.D., as it's locally known, is synonymous with delectable dining—it has many inexpensive Chinese restaurants (this is the neighborhood for barbecued duck and all manner of dumplings), but the best eateries reflect its Pan-Asian spirit:

Vietnamese, Japanese, Malay, Filipino, Cambodian. With the endlessly fun Uwajimaya shopping center, the gorgeously redesigned Wing Luke Museum, and several walking tours to choose from, you now have something to do in between bites.

The I.D. used to be called Chinatown; it began as a haven for Chinese workers who came to the United States to work on the transcontinental railroad. It was later a hub for Seattle's growing Japanese population, and now one of the biggest presences is Vietnamese, both in the center of the I.D. and in "Little Saigon," directly east of the neighborhood. Though the neighborhood has weathered the anti-Chinese riots and the forced eviction of Chinese residents during the 1880s and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, it's become increasingly less vital to its communities. Many of the people who actually live in the neighborhood are older—the northern and southern suburbs of the city are where the newer generations are being raised (though young people still often make the I.D. an obligatory snack stop before heading home after a night out in Seattle).

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