Economic Recovery

Tracking the downtown recovery

Since the onset of COVID-19, DSA has been tracking the impact on our local economy. In the midst of a changing environment, we’ve been following dozens of metrics to trace the path to economic recovery. A few of these metrics are in the economic recovery trends charts below.

Downtown Recovery Dashboard

September 2023 (August data)

Downtown Seattle was the first American urban center to experience the impacts of COVID-19, enduring a sudden economic downturn. As downtown continues to recover, DSA will publish a monthly Recovery Dashboard examining key recovery metrics. The data sets provide a comparison point to the same time period in 2019. Additionally, the dashboard will feature notable stories that provide context regarding downtown’s recovery, renewal and reemergence.

Please credit the Downtown Seattle Association Recovery Dashboard for use of charts, data and images on this page.

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Total monthly visitors since 2019

Nearly three million visitors came downtown in August 2023 — a slight decline from the post-pandemic record set in July, but a strong month nonetheless. This represented about 91% of the visitors seen in August 2019.

Return to Office
Monthly worker foot traffic compared to 2019

August 2023 saw the second-highest level of weekday worker foot traffic since the start of the pandemic, with an average of more than 88,000 workers coming downtown daily. This represents 56% of August 2019’s worker foot-traffic level and marked the fourth straight month where worker foot-traffic levels have surpassed 50% compared to the same period in 2019.

Hotel Room Demand
Monthly hotel rooms sold compared to 2019

August 2023 saw the highest number of hotel rooms sold downtown (399k) since August 2019. This represented 99% of the rooms sold in August 2019.

Sources: Visit Seattle, STR
Occupied Apartment Units

The number of occupied apartment units maintained a post-pandemic high in August, surpassing 57,000 occupied units for the first-time ever.

Source: CoStar

Of Note in Downtown


Gallons of trash collected by MID ambassadors downtown in August 2023 compared to August 2022. This is primarily attributable to the 66% increase in Clean Team ambassador hours worked, new, more efficient cleaning equipment, and the increase in total foot traffic compared to August 2022.

apartment building - white outline icon


Downtown’s residential numbers continue to climb. With more than 106,000 people now living here, our center city population has increased 61% since 2013.

guitar white line icon


DSA’s Downtown Summer Sounds concert series brought more than 17,100 attendees to 10 different downtown outdoor venues for 37 free shows across 9 weeks. That’s a 50% increase over last season’s series.

Coming Up in Downtown

Smartsheet conference
Courtesy of Smartsheet

Smartsheet is bringing its ENGAGE 2023 User Conference to the Seattle Convention Center’s Summit building next week. Visit Seattle reports an estimated 3,500 attendees are expected to generate approximately $10.5 million in economic impact.

Kraken Hockey players gathered around each other on the ice. Dark navy, teal and red uniforms. Celebrating.
Courtesy of NHL

The Seattle Kraken drop the puck on the pre-season on Monday, Sept. 25 in the first of three straight matches on the home ice at Climate Pledge Arena.

Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in The Nutcracker. Credit: © Angela Sterling
Credit: Angela Sterling

September marks the unofficial start of the performance season in downtown Seattle, the region’s arts and cultural center. The curtain raises at The Fifth Avenue Theatre, ACT Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Symphony and more. Including live music, downtown venues hosted more than 1,400 performances in 2022.

COVID-19 Downtown Recovery Weekly Snapshot

These charts show weekly statistics from March 2020 through the most recent week available. To indicate the level of recovery, data is displayed as a percent of the same metric for the comparable week of 2019.

Notes on Sources

Downtown foot traffic data are provided by and are based on cell phone location data. Each person is counted once per day. International visitors are not included. Subsets of this data in the charts are as follows:

  • Office worker presence is estimated based on visits by workers who were present between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays in the downtown neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of office space.*
  • Total visitors includes those who do not live or work downtown. It does not include international visitors.
  • Hotel data are based on monthly reports from STR, provided by Visit Seattle.
  • Apartment occupancy data are from CoStar. This is reported quarterly but the current quarter data are updated in real-time as new information is added to the database.
  • Domestic visitors counts those who do not live or work downtown.
  • Total foot traffic includes all visits to downtown by domestic visitors, residents and workers.
  • Pike Place Market visitors includes domestic visitors who do not live or work at the Pike Place Market.

*Note that workers who have not visited their work site in the past 90 days are classified as “visitors” until they are regularly visiting their work site at least three times in a one-week period.