International District


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International District

The International District of Seattle, Washington (also known as Chinatown and the I.D.) may be the only place in the continental United States where Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, Thai Americans, Laotian Americans, Cambodian Americans, Burmese Americans, and other Asian Americans live in one neighborhood. The architecture of the International District documents Asian immigrants’ attempts to create a culture that blends both Asian and American traditions. An excellent example of this merging appears in the second and third-floor tile-roofed balconies, typical in south China, that were appended to typically Western two- and three-story brick buildings. Throughout the International District are similar indications of people whose architecture and lives have combined two markedly different traditions to create a vibrantly diverse community. The International District is home to the hugely popular Uwajumaya, the largest Asian grocery and specialty store in the Pacific Northwest offering merchandise ranging from fresh produce to rice cookers and Hello Kitty backpacks. Other attractions in the International District include: Chinatown Gate, Wing Luke Asian Museum, scenic Kobe Terrace, and the lively Hing Hay Park. Kobe Terrace offers excellent panoramic views of South Seattle, and is filled with cherry trees that come into bloom in March. At the very top of the park there is an 8000-lb lantern and tablet hand-carved from Japanese granite. Hing Hay Park is the heart of the district that serves as the center for cultural events, musical performances, community meetings, and entertainment programs. During regular days, it is a gathering place for families, chess players and morning Tai-Chi. The International District offers a variety of multicultural and seasonal festivals, street fairs, night markets, and celebrations that honor the diverse community.