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Downtown Seattle retailers relying on strong holiday season

For the holidays West Lake Park is decorated with 130,000 lights. Overlooking the park is the 'Macy's Star.'

SEATTLE — A few thousand people turned out for Friday's official tree-lighting celebration in downtown Seattle. The tree lighting kicks off the holidays downtown and the Downtown Seattle Association said businesses are relying on a strong holiday season. 

"Look around, everyone's happy," said Mikayla Borja. Borja visits Seattle every year from Bend, Oregon. "My favorite part of downtown is how busy it is. There's always something going on." 

Numbers from the Downtown Seattle Association show the number of visitors downtown is still below pre-pandemic levels, but they're improving. The association reports in October 2022 there were 2.41 million visitors, compared to 2.53 million in October 2019. 

"When people come down here, if they have not been for awhile we think they'll see a downtown that is clean, vibrant and welcoming," said Downtown Seattle Association's Director of Media Relations James Sido. 

For the holidays Westlake Park is decorated with 130,000 lights. Overlooking the park is the 'Macy's Star.'

Downtown is welcoming new stores. Clothing retailer, Uniqlo opened inside the former Macy's building just a week before the holiday season began. Sido said there are plans in the works to open four additional stores in the building. 

Sido acknowledged while the downtown corridor is making a comeback, the holidays will be crucial for retailers. 

"I think there are downtowns all over the country that are really relying on a strong holiday season for retail and downtown Seattle is no different. These retailers need foot traffic and they need a strong holiday season and we hope they get it," said Sido. 


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