Welcome to the Center of Seattle: A Look Inside The Armory
It’s “the center of ‘The Center’” which makes The Armory Building a must-see destination in Seattle. This historic hotspot boasts a plethora of fresh, local dining experiences that are sure to satisfy any craving – whether you’re new to the area or a native. It’s also home to a multitude of free festivals and cultural celebrations that take place throughout the year.
The Armory is a rich part of Seattle’s history. Originally built in 1939 as the Old Armory Building, it was intended to house the 146th Field Artillery and its half-ton tanks. The basement of The Center House still bears the markings of an old firing rage, and is home to an unfinished swimming pool that was built for the recruits.
When the 1962 World’s Fair came around, the space was completely reconfigured. Food vendors moved in, it was renamed Food Circus, and it became the country’s first vertical shopping mall. Shortly thereafter, in the early 1970s, the space was once again renovated and renamed The Center House. After serving as a gathering place for generations of visitors, the Children’s Museum moved into the first floor in 1985 and expanded further with the addition of a giant toy mountain (part of the Kenneth and Maureen Alhadeff Exhibit Center) ten years later.
In the late 1990s the purpose of The Armory was reworked to put an emphasis on public programming that is accessible to the entire community. This new commitment took the form of free family events, cultural festivals and lead to its designation in 2000 as an Imagination Celebration National Site.
Today The Armory hosts over 3,000 free public performances per year – including Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour (21+), Seattle Center Whirligig, Festival of Lights and many, many more! You can get a complete list of upcoming events HERE.
Along with entertainment, The Armory has become a destination for fresh, local fare- with vendors offering everything from burgers to biscuits. Some of our favorites include: Skillet Street Food, Premier Meat Pies, MOD and Plum Pantry.
Those with a sweet tooth can delight in hand-pulled taffy or kettle boiled fudge treats at Seattle Fudge, or one of 12 unique flavors of cheesecake at The Confectional. And of course no Seattle trip would be complete without an espresso drink at Starbucks – and you can enjoy a warm beverage with a view of Seattle Center on The Armory’s brand new 60-foot outdoor deck. Get a complete listing of all of the offerings HERE.
THE ARMORY | 305 Harrison Street | Seattle