The tree-lined streets of historic First Hill are great for a pleasant walk, though the steepness of the hill can make walking here a little more difficult for some.
View First Hill Walk in a larger map
Start at Boylston Ave and Madison St near Swedish Medical Center. You can find street parking on the weekend or get there by the #2 bus.
Proceed downhill on Madison. Feel free to grab a smoothie from Jamba Juice to have on your walk. Continue past Boren Ave and be sure that you’re on the south side of Madison Ave. At Terry Ave and Madison St you’ll see the historic Sorrento Hotel, which opened in 1909. Turn left on Terry Ave.
Continue a few blocks. You’ll pass O’Dea High School and Frye Art Museum on your left. The Frye was established in 1952 and is a free-admission museum featuring painting and sculpture from the 19th century to present.
Turn right once you get to James St and continue on James for a block before turning right on 9th Ave.
After a few blocks, you’ll see St James Cathedral on your right. The cathedral was dedicated in 1907 with a domed roof, but in 1916 heavy snowfall caused the dome to collapse and it was not rebuilt.
Turn left on Marion St and head downhill for a block. Turn right at 8th Ave and walk past the M street grocery.
Cross Madison St and walk along shaded streets past a couple old apartment buildings. After crossing Spring St, you’ll see Town Hall Seattle, a community culture center, in the former Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist.
Turn right on Seneca St and walk a block uphill and turn left at 9th Ave. These buildings are part of the Virginia Mason Medical Center.
At the end of 9th Ave is an entrance to Freeway Park, which spans I-5. Feel free to stroll through the park or to continue along University Ave.
Cross Boren St and cross Minor Ave. Feel free to stop and rest at First Hill Park before going SE on Minor Ave. On your left is the Stimson-Green Mansion. This part of First Hill is pretty quiet and residential. Cross Spring St and continue on to Madison St. Turn left on Madison St and return to where we started.
highlights: shade, architecture, old buildings, history
lowlights: not a particularly engaging streetscape, some hospitals break up the streets and the feel of the neighborhood, can be steep in some parts