Archive for the 'walking route' Category

Access to Nature through Sidewalks and Trails

This is a guest post from Thanakorn W., a student at the University of Washington majoring in landscape architecture.

One way to tell if a city is successful in providing people’s good quality of life is to look at the city’s walkability and the connection with nature. As a college student studying in the fields of built environments (landscape architecture) and sustainable urban developments, Seattle has been doing a great job providing both components. Over the period of two years since I’ve moved to the city, I learn that Seattle is progressive in encouraging the establishment of attractive, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and trails.

I usually get around places on foot and sometimes use public transit. Walking is a fascinating means of transportation as it is the most convenient for me and costs nothing. One of the benefits is that I have become more observant of the surroundings. I begin looking at things more carefully and appreciate the fact that Seattle has a lot to offer. From the eye level, walking is a great way to explore the city in depth because it creates new experience in a journey; it offers more than just getting from one point to another. The journey itself can be as impressive as the destination.

Based on my interest in landscape and plants, I’d like to share my impressions on a few routes I took to and in the parks. I believe that to be able to experience nature, walking into it is the best way, and of course, walking doesn’t leave out those in wheelchairs so long as we can get close to nature and experience it through our senses.

Ravenna Park
Strolling to Ravenna Park is one of my favorite activities. I love to walk to the park through the neighborhoods after busy school days, especially when the sun is still up in the summer. Because of its tranquility, Ravenna Park is perfect for people who look for a place of refuge. It is a quiet neighborhood park with a trail that runs along a shallow stream and is flanked by a variety of vegetation. Every once in a while, I see joggers and people walking their dogs.

Magnuson Park
Magnuson Park was once a Seattle’s Navy airfield and has transformed into an urban park that serves both social and ecological functions. It is a place for leisure where various activities take place and is a restorative marshland. In one late afternoon on a nice day in the winter, my friend and I started our trip from UW. We arrived in the park and walked past a few sport fields.

We continued venturing on and off the trails into the ecological wetland until we reached the Lake Shore Promenade that overlooks the spectacular views of Lake Washington. Just before sunset, the sky was cloudless so we could see Mt. Rainier in the background while the orange and blue colors of the sky were changing gradients at the mountain ridges. It sure is a great place to relax and enjoy the sunset.

Washington Park Arboretum and Foster Island, Union Bay
Because spring is coming once again—a season we look forward to, it is a good opportunity to mention the Washington Park Arboretum. The arboretum is home to a variety of plant species and absolutely a pride of Seattle. It is accessible to the public year round and particularly a remarkable place when the flowers are blooming and the leaves growing. It was where I learned about plants and visited quite a number of times. One can also walk to the arboretum through Foster Island on the wooden Arboretum Waterfront Trail on Union Bay. Being on the trail gives you such a feeling as if you could walk on the water.

I would encourage those who can spare some of their valuable time to have a stroll in public parks and walk more as an alternative to driving. To give back to the city, we can continue to improve and maintain its walkability by making sure that our sidewalks and trails are safe and clean because they are the interdependent infrastructure that serves us as a social and environmental network. They actually reflect our quality of life.


A walker wonders: Best route from ferry terminal to Westlake?

A walker wonders:

Do your readers have the best route (least steep) from the ferry terminal to Westlake? What are the suggestions?

This is a route familiar to many tourists, or locals who have visitors. The vertical gain is over 120 feet between the waterfront, which is basically at sea level, and Westlake Center in the retail core. If you walk along the waterfront and then try to cut over at Pike, Union, or University, you’re faced with over 100 steps to climb. So, what’s a walker to do?

For those in the know, there are some elevators for parking garages near Pike Place Market that bring you from the waterfront up to Western Avenue. There’s still a hill there, or steps to climb, but the elevator cuts out half of the elevation gain.

However, my preference would be to make the uphill climb on foot. The ferry terminal exits to a walkway on Marion St, that will take you over Alaskan Way and Western Ave and straight to First Ave. First Avenue is one of the the best streets to walk along downtown in my opinion, based on the historical buildings, retail options, and its role in connecting Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square. The incline is very gradual on First and if you continue it eventually will take you to Pike or Pine from where the walk to Westlake will be relatively flat.


Five Footpaths Blending Nature with City Living

A Visitor’s Impressions on Strolling Seattle’s Walking Trails

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tim Eyre]

Walking may be a last-resort mode of transportation for many car and bicycle owners, but in my life (traveling around the country on a weekly basis for work) it’s how I stay fit and sane. Urban dwellers, pressed for time, often hop into their cars or rely on public transportation to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to venture outdoors on foot.

Seattle, already regarded as one of the most traversable cities in the U.S., is opening up troves of scenic foot paths, setting the stage for cities from coast to coast to design more walking-friendly layouts. It’s put the city at the top of my list on my regular work circuit, thanks to the chance to stroll right out of urban life and into nature.

Whether setting out with a destination in mind, or in the mood to meander along a scenic pathway, Seattle features a handful of noteworthy walking trails that beckon you to ditch your car or skip the next bus heading to town.

Over three weeks since my first work visit to Seattle last fall, I’ve made it a point to explore on foot. The area, I discovered quickly, features a nexus of scenic walking routes that lead to and from Downtown.

Burke-Gilman-Sammamish River Trail

(Photo by Joe Mabel)

A major corridor for urban dwellers, the bustling Burke-Gilman trail stretches roughly 27 miles one way, passing through a variety of neighborhoods and parks with multiple access points that connect schools and businesses throughout the area. A day after arriving in Seattle, I found myself on the trail, which follows the once heavily traveled railroad line of the Burlington Northern Railroad, running from Downtown to Bothell, then switching over to the Sammamish River Trail that runs to Redmond.

Speckled with farms, wineries and luxurious lakeshore homes — not to mention remarkable vistas of the Downtown skyline — I realized in no time why natives recommended I check out the trail, deemed by many as the most well-known trail among the area’s urban routes.

Chief Sealth Trail

Connecting Beacon Hill with Rainier Valley, the Chief Sealth Trail winds around more than three-and-a-half miles of hills undulating throughout the city’s Southeastern corner ( The trail was built with recycled materials, including repurposed soil and concrete, cutting through a variety of affluent and middle-class neighborhoods.

Commuters heading to work come and go, as various access points connect walkers to the Sound Transit Link Light Rail stations. Plans are in the works to open up more access to Downtown, I hear. But for now, the brisk one-hour walk — stretching from the South Beacon Avenue-South Dawson Street intersection to the South 56th Avenue-South Gazelle Street intersection — serves as a window into Seattle’s suburban life.

Interurban Trail

About two miles into the 14-mile trail, I learned from a passerby that I was following a route traveled until 1939 by Seattle’s Interurban Trolley.

The trail, now frequently used by commuters traveling between South King County and Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Renton and Downtown, sets out near Fort Dent Park, crossing over the Green River and dipping beneath Interstate 405.

Views of landscapes and historic industrial towns filled my peripheral before I crossed into the breathtaking Green River Valley, causing me to draw a deep breath and soak up the serene setting before taking the next step.

Weaving in and out of remote stretches and crowded junctures, the Interurban Trail epitomizes Seattle’s pursuit to fuse nature with city-living.

Alki Trail

alki beach
(Photo by Joe Mabel)

Accompanied by walkers, joggers and bicyclists on a fair-weathered spring afternoon, I set out from the northeastern shorelines of Alki Beach along this five-mile trail ( Flocks of geese glided periodically over Puget Sound, with the Olympic Mountains presiding in the distance.

Along the breezy walkway, running past Harbor Island to West Seattle over the swing bridge on Southwest Spokane Street, and eventually winding north on Southwest Harbor Avenue along the Elliot Bay shoreline, numerous sail and steamboats cruised the waters. I’d recommend this route highly to visitors and locals alike.

Ship Canal Trail

Rustic maritime industrial neighborhoods speckle this peaceful trail, which runs along a canal from the Fremont Bridge, passing alongside Seattle Pacific University and Lake Union. I encountered numerous dog walkers and joggers along the trail, though other stretches proved remote and less busy.

A three-quarter-mile extension of the water-lined trail, I learned, was completed in November, opening up access to Downtown. The trail also links the Burke-Gilman Trail with the Emerson Street bike path — one of many junctures threading together Seattle’s trail system.

Tim Eyre works in the self storage industry, regularly traveling to see locations that have
self storage units in Seattle. In locations near the Vancouver self storage facility, Tim helps folks in the Pacific Northwest store seasonal equipment when it’s not being used for outdoor activities.


Seattle Stairs features 30 stairway walks

Looking for somewhere to walk? Susan Ott Ralph’s Seattle Stairs website has created a guide to 30 stairway walks throughout the city. Each walk features its own downloadable map and guide altogether they add up to 100 miles of walking across 428 stairways with 27,394 steps. The site features photos and step-counts on 650 stairways total in the city.


Golden Gardens stairway walk

Seattle Stairway Walks has posted another stairway walking route, this time at Golden Gardens:

If you’re looking for a short stairway walk, Golden Gardens is a great choice. Like the shorter version of the Solstice Park walk in West Seattle (Stairway Walk #1), this route is scenic and full of interest, yet it can be covered in less than an hour. From the edge of the Loyal Heights neighborhood, it descends 258 steps to Puget Sound and Golden Gardens beach, with glorious views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

As always, the walking route that Jake and Cathy have shared is full of vivid details, beautiful photos, and careful directions.  Have you used this staircase?


What’s your favorite walking route?

We’ve featured several walking routes throughout Seattle, including urban areas like the downtown retail core and Pioneer Square, natural areas like Discovery Park Beaches, Schmitz Preserve Park, and Union Bay Natural Area, and neighborhoods like South Lake Union, Fremont, and Ravenna/Wedgwood.

What’s your favorite walking route in the city?  Share your suggestion in the comments and we may feature it here. Or contribute by clicking the “write” tab.


Walking Wallingford

Stroll by the eclectic retail and historic buildings in one of Seattle’s most walkable family-friendly neighborhoods.

View Walking Wallingford in a larger map

Start at Wallingford Ave N & NE 45th St, accessible by the 16 and 44 buses. The 26 also connects you with our route.

What is now Wallingford Center at this intersection was built in 1904 as the Interlake School. In the 1970s the school was closed and became vacant until it was renovated into Wallingford Center. The top floor has studio apartments and the other floors have retail and restaurants. The sculpture pole near the intersection, Wallingford Animal Storm, was commissioned in 1985 and depicts wildlife in the area.

Wallingford Center

Wallingford Center

Head east along the south side of N 45th St, passing various shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll also pass the Guild 45th Theatre, which was built in 1919 as a live stage venue named the Paramount Theatre. The name was changed when the Paramount opened downtown in 1928, and The Guild added a second screen in 1983. The Guild Theatre has been chosen by Francis Ford Coppola for test audience screenings.

Looking east along N 45th St

Looking east along N 45th St

Continue on this side of 45th St for several more blocks. At the intersection with Thackeray Ave N, cross to the north side of 45th St and go west.

At Sunnyside Ave N, turn right. After just a couple blocks, you’ll come to the Home of the Good Shepard, built in 1906 to be a Catholic Girls School. In the 70s, the land was proposed as the site of a shopping center, but that was rejected by local residents and the building was transferred to Historic Seattle. The building is currently used by schools and other non-profit organizations.

Home of the Good Shepherd

Home of the Good Shepherd

Walk around the left side of the building. Look for a path that will take you to through the Good Shepherd P-Patch and through the Meridian Playground. Turn left and go south along Meridian Ave N.

You’ll pass by a few more nice, historic homes in the neighborhood before turning right on N 45th St. Continue back through the heart of Wallingford. Toward the edge of the neighborhood near Stone Way is Archie McPhee. Archie McPhee was in Ballard from 1983-2009 and is a popular place for bacon-flavored toothpicks, Mr. T voice-boxes, and other novelties.

Cross 45th St and go south along the east side of Stone Way. After two blocks, turn left on N 44th St to walk towards Seattle’s old Lincoln High School, which was closed as a high school in 1981 and is now a temporary home to other Seattle schools while their own buildings are being restored.

Turn right on Interlake Ave N and then turn left on N 43rd St. You’ll pass the Wallingford Playfield on your right.

Turn left on Wallingford Ave N to head back toward N 45th St. You’ll soon see Wallingford Center on your right and pass by some more retail on your left. At 45th St, you’ll see the large WALLINGFORD sign of the QFC. When QFC took over this supermarket from Food Giant in the late 90s, the neighborhood protested the grocer’s plan to ditch the “FOOD GIANT” sign and so QFC re-used many of the letters to identify the neighborhood. This brings you back to our starting point and the end of the walk.

Wallingford QFC

Wallingford QFC

highlights: retail and restaurants, parks, historic schools, nice homes with greenery, many benches available
lowlights: heavy motor vehicle traffic on 45th can be loud, some interactions with motor vehicles entering surface parking lots or driving on cross-streets.


Walking South Lake Union

This part of Seattle has been transformed over the last several years and this nice long walk takes you on a tour to see the history, the public spaces, and the recent development that this area has to offer.

View Walking South Lake Union in a larger map

Start at Westlake Ave & Denny Way near Whole Foods. You can get here easily by taking the 8 or 17 bus, or Seattle Streetcar. If you’re driving, there is a parking garage off of 9th Ave and there is some street parking in the area.

This development opened in late 2006 and includes the Pan Pacific Hotel, condos, and retail. Originally QFC had signed on to be the grocery tenant, but had to back out because construction did not start soon enough.

The space in front of the store includes the sculpture by UW professor Akio Takamori entitled Three Women.

Take the escalator up. On your left are a couple restaurants and the Pan Pacific Hotel. Continue forward, walking by the storefronts to the right, which include several upscale shops. Turn left at the end of the row of shops to continue.

When you reach the sidewalk along Terry Ave, turn right. On your left is the Main Campus Center of the Cornish College of the Arts, established in 1914 and the oldest music conservatory on the West Coast, and considered one of the top art schools in the country.

Ahead is the Terry Avenue green street, with a single lane for vehicle traffic. Cross Lenora St and then turn left to head uphill. Watch for traffic coming from Denny Way as you cross Boren Ave.

Cross both Fairview Ave and Denny Way to end up in front of Mirabella, a large retirement community. There is some art at the corner and near the courtyard you’ll pass. Walk north on Fairview, past the driveway and courtyard of Mirabella.

Continue across John St and turn right on Thomas St. Note the large musically-themed mural on your left, painted for The WoodShed Studios, home to Noc on Wood Records.

Continue to Pontius St where you’ll turn right by the Southlake Grill. As you walk down the street, notice the building on your left, which was once a laundry building and is now an apartment building. Turn left mid-block to pass through the green alley. When you first turn left, there is an old photo and some information on the history of this building. Pass by the waterfall and meet up with Yale Ave. There are a few shops to your right and immediately across the street is REI’s flagship store.

Turn left to walk north along Yale Ave – be sure to watch for cross traffic at intersections. The Cascade neighborhood used to be home to many immigrants from Eastern Europe, and at Harrison Street, you will see Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral, constructed in the late 1930s in traditional Russian church style.

The old red brick buildings along Yale Avenue give a good feel for the area’s history of industry. A large office development, called Yale Campus, has been planned for the area a couple blocks ahead near Mercer, however that development is on hold.

Turn right on Mercer St and then turn right on Eastlake Ave. Before the construction of I-5, there would have been buildings to your left, and at Republican Street was the Republican Hill Climb, built in 1910 to connect Cascade with Capitol Hill.

At Thomas Street, turn right and head downhill. Soon you’ll pass by the Cascade People’s Center and the Cascade P-Patch. At the corner of Thomas and Minor, turn into the garden and wander through the paths before heading back to Minor Ave. Walk north on Minor Ave. There are a couple benches along a gravel path to your right and picnic tables – behind that is the Cascade Playground.

Turn left on Harrison St, passing the Seattle Streetcar garage on your left and cross Fairview Ave. There are a couple cafes you’ll pass by as well. You’ll need to walk along the north side of Harrison St due to construction of’s buildings on the other side of the street that is blocking the sidewalk.

Turn right on Terry Ave, you’ll pass by a courtyard for’s new headquarters in the area. You may have to cross to the left side of the street to continue north past Republican Street. After crossing Mercer, the sidewalk disappears, but there is still room to walk. This area will be under construction for the next couple years as part of the Mercer Corridor Project, which will make the whole area more pedestrian friendly.

Continue past Valley St and into newly-opened Lake Union Park. As you walk into the park, you’ll pass by the interactive fountains (which you may not notice if they’re not running). On your right is the Naval Reserve building, commonly known as the Armory, which will soon be the home to the Museum of History and Industry. On your left is a model boat pond. Continue forward to the water and step out onto Blanche – you’ll recognize it by what looks like a chrome upside-down boat in the air – the sculpture evokes the feeling of being out on the lake in a small boat. There are boats stationed nearby, many of which are part of the Center for Wooden Boats, which offers various programs and whose collection of over 100 boats is open to the public.

Head toward the bridge over the water and cross it. The bridge has some signs posted on it with highlights from the area’s history. On your left is a cove, which includes a restored salmon habitat. Once you’re done at the park, go back towards Valley St and cross south along Westlake Ave (you could also take the Streetcar back downtown if you’re done walking). Continue south for a few blocks, passing a few retail establishments and a couple new eateries.

You may wish to cross the street at the light at Harrison or Republican to be on the west (right) side of Fairview. Turn right at John St and walk across 9th Ave to find yourself at Denny Park. The oldest park in the city seems to be home to some people who don’t have another one, but it also has a new play area with a zip-line and good shade for a picnic. Walk along the perimeter of the park on John St and turn left into the park where 8th Ave ends. There are a couple benches around here, but you can keep walking to the center of the park, and then Take the diagonal path SE toward Denny Way & 9th Ave.

At Denny Way, continue back toward Westlake. There is a small triangle of open space on the SW corner of Westlake and Denny, but it seems too exposed and irrelevant to be very popular, at least compared to the area in front of Whole Foods where our walking trip ends.

highlights: Lake Union, Cascade P-Patch, some areas with retail, history, active public space at Fairview and Denny
lowlights: some parts of the neighborhood are not very active, no sidewalks along Terry when crossing Mercer, heavy motor vehicle traffic along Mercer and Valley


Walking Union Bay Natural Area

This trail through grassland takes you near wetlands that are popular with bird-watchers.

View Union Bay Natural Area Loop in a larger map

Start near where Union Bay Pl NE changes to NE 41st St. There is street parking in the area, or a parking lot nearby if you will also be attending the UW Botanic Gardens. The 25, 65, and 75 buses stop about 1/4 mile away from the beginning of the path on NE 45th. The land is owned by the State of Washington and under the care of the University. It’s important to stay on the trail to protect local habitat. Union Bay Natural Area is mostly managed by volunteers who continually work to remove invasive species.

Where the street (Union Bay Pl NE) curves, there is a trail perpendicular to the sidewalk. Take this trail away from the street, passing by a small landscaped area with flowers and bushes.

Shortly after passing the building, you’ll pass a informative kiosk on your right, with information on the restoration in the area. Shortly after you reach the grassland and descend down a small incline, you will turn left when you reach the next path.

Union Bay Natural Area trail

Grassland of Union Bay Natural Area

This loop passes the water of Union Bay, with lily pads and different varieties of birds who make their homes near the wetlands. There’s also a view of the Rossellini (520) bridge and Bellevue.

View from Union Bay Natural Area

Bellevue and the Rossellini Bridge past Lake Washington

Continuing on, Husky Stadium will loom large in the distance. At a couple spots, the trail splits briefly into two trails just a few feet part. One of the paths seems newer, so volunteers working to restore the land may be planning to decommission the trail that is closer to threatened area. In any case, it doesn’t matter much, take whichever path you’d like.

You will soon return to the main trail turn right at the trail and head back to the entrance.

You’ll pass a trail leading to the left, which you might think would take you somewhere interesting, but it doesn’t really go anywhere worth going in a way worth getting there. So, continue back to the starting point at Union Bay Pl NE.

highlights: diverse natural habitats, view to east, gravel trail in good condition, birds in the area
lowlights: little shade, not much of an escape from the city as UW is visible at all times


Walking Pioneer Square

This exploration of Pioneer Square takes you through one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city, full of character and history.

View Walking Pioneer Square in a larger map

Pioneer Square is ranked by WalkScore as the most walkable neighborhood in Seattle. This route meanders a bit to get around to the most interesting parts of the area. Street parking may be difficult, but the area is well served by buses and light rail.

Pioneer Square can get rowdy at night and is also a hub for social services, so this route will probably be most enjoyable to walk during daylight hours. The narrow vehicle lanes and rows of trees make Pioneer Square good for walking. You’ll pass by a few bars and some interesting shops in these historic buildings.

Start at 1st and James, near the historic pergola at Pioneer Place Park. The pergola was destroyed by a delivery truck in 2001. This was actually potentially a good thing, as the trucker’s insurance covered the repair, and the Nisqually Earthquake, which hit shortly afterward and would’ve surely destroyed the uninsured pergola.

Go south across Yesler Way along 1st Ave as it changes names to 1st Ave S. The traffic signals in Pioneer Square are interesting as there are no separate pedestrian signals. I’m not sure if the lack of pedestrian signals is a good thing because it treats people and traffic equally, or if it endangers pedestrians because the traffic lights change more quickly than pedestrian signals, leaving people in the intersection on a red light.

This section of 1st Ave S has old buildings like other parts of Pioneer Square, but the few tourist-oriented chain stores and fast food places give this section of Pioneer Square a different feel. As you walk along, note the old signs, including the neon “Rooms 75¢” sign – an interesting leftover from the past.

At Main St, you’ll pass the former location of the Elliot Bay Bookstore, which had been a great anchor for the neighborhood. After passing Jackson Street, the area seems a little quieter. Turn left at King St and pass by the largest surface parking lot downtown on you right – covering four full blocks – as well as a couple bars on your left.

Turn left on 2nd Street, passing the Kingdome Deli, named after the Kingdome, which would have stood in this area until 2000. Now turn around and have a good look at Qwest field, which was made from a lot of recycled concrete from the Kingdome.

After crossing back over Jackson Street, the streetscape picks up again with more mixed-use space and retail. Just after crossing the intersection, you’ll pass by the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, a no-entrance-fee National Historical Park dedicated to the gold rush that was one of the major milestones in Seattle’s growth as a city.

Continue across S Main St and turn left. On your right is the Waterfall Garden on the site of the United Parcel Service’s first office. The garden is well shaded and has several chairs for relaxing in this urban oasis, but it’s only open during limited hours during the middle of the day.

Continuing along Main St and look to your right to take note of the old advertisement for the Washington State Ferries to “Have Lunch Over Seas”. From here you can also see two buildings in Seattle that were once the tallest buildings on the west coast – Smith Tower, which at a height ranging from 462 feet to 522 feet (depending on where you look on the internet) and built in 1914 was the tallest until the Space Needle was built in 1962, and the Columbia Center, built to 943 feet, which was the tallest until 1989.

Turn right into Occidental Square, one of the best open spaces downtown. You’ll pass by the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, dedicated in 1998. On your left is the Squire Latimer Building, built in 1890 and beautifully covered with green vines.

Turn left at S Washington St and cross 1st Ave S and Washington St to continue westward along the north side of Washington St. This block of Pioneer Square is a little quieter, but still has the old architecture and tree-lined sidewalks that help define the area.

Turn right at the end of the block. You will have to walk for a block through a parking lot near the dated Alaskan Way Viaduct. Turn right again at the next street (Yesler Way). You’ll pass by some bars and restaurants, as well as some more plant-covered buildings down Western Ave and Post Ave to your left. Also, take note of the mural on Post Ave called Friends of Post Alley.

At 1st Ave, turn right to walk back down Pioneer Square’s main street. Based on the number of bars you’ll see, it’s understandable how it can get a little rambunctious in the evenings.

Turn left at S Jackson St and then turn left again at Occidental. The Occidental Mall here has several art galleries and cafes and leads back to Occidental Park. Continue north back to Yesler Way and turn left on Yesler. You’ll pass by Mercants Cafe on your left, which is the oldest continually operating restaurant in Seattle, established when the building was constructed in 1890.

Look back to your right at the Sinking Ship parking garage, which was built after the destruction of a grand hotel and helped to galvanize support for historic preservation in the city.

At 1st Ave, turn right to cross back to our starting point.

If you’d like a more entertaining historical narration of your time in Pioneer Square, take Bill Spiedel’s Underground Tour to see what’s below the streets.

Also, Seattle Architecture: A Walking Guide to Downtown by Maureen R. Elenga has a lot more information on the architectural history of this area.

highlights: history, architecture, tree covering, many bars and art galleries, art, public space
lowlights: other folks around may not be the kind of people you like to hang out with