Jul 19, 2023 - News

Seattle expects big tourism jolt from Taylor Swift's Eras Tour

Photo Illustration of Taylor Swift with gemstone and letter bead overlays

Photo Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios. Photo: Octavio Jones, Terence Rushin/Getty Images

Seattle businesses are expecting a huge influx of visitors for Taylor Swift concerts this weekend, which could shatter the city's previous records for hotel stays and create a tangle of traffic.

Driving the news: Swift's Eras Tour at Lumen Field — which runs two nights — is expected to bring more than 100,000 people to the area around the stadiums between Saturday and Sunday, said Lisa Howard, executive director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square.

  • On top of that, the Mariners home games against the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to draw another 100,000 or so people to the area over the course of the weekend, Howard told Axios.
  • Between those events and the return of cruise ship travel, "It's likely that Seattle will break another hotel revenue or occupancy record," Michael Woody of Visit Seattle told Axios.

Why it matters: Even if you don't care about Swift, you're likely to feel the concert's reverberations — whether it's your favorite Pioneer Square bar offering themed drink specials or having to navigate packed buses and rerouted traffic.

What they're saying: "Everyone should expect large crowds and traffic in the area around the stadiums, as well as some related street closures and detours for traffic control," the Seattle Department of Transportation wrote in a blog post this week.

By the numbers: Local hotel occupancy rates for the night of Swift's first Seattle concert are more than double what they were the same night last year, STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company, told Axios.

  • Compared to the roughly 100,000 people who descended on Seattle for this month's All-Star Week events, "I am anticipating two and a half times the amount of traffic in half the number of days," Howard said.

Be smart: City and county officials are recommending people take public transit to and from the concerts to avoid the hassle (and expense) of trying to find parking.

  • Sound Transit light rail, King County Metro buses and the water taxi to West Seattle are all offering later-than-usual service the nights of the concerts.
  • A connector shuttle will be running to help people reach downtown hotels and transit stops.

Details: The doors for the concert open at 4:30pm both days, with the first opener expected to take the stage about 6:30pm and Swift expected to begin performing around 7:50pm, KING 5 reported.

  • The concert is expected to end around 11:30pm.

What we're watching: In some cities, Swift fans who were unable to get tickets have shown up outside venues dressed in garb from their favorite Swift era — whether it's the sleek aesthetic of her "1989" album, floral outfits channeling the woodland fairy vibe of "Folklore," or sparkles and cowboy boots from her "Fearless" period.

  • That could mean even more people flooding the area, even if they have no plans to attend the concert.

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