Tag Archive for '1-2 miles'

Walking Union Bay Natural Area

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

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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.

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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


Walking Downtown Fremont

Enjoy the quirky local landmarks along this stimulating urban walk.

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Start at N 34th St and Fremont Ave just on the north side of the Fremont Bridge. The area is well served by several bus routes, including the 26, 28, 30, 31, 17, and 46 (weekdays only). If you’re driving, there is some garage and street parking in the area – click for driving directions.

We start by Waiting for the Interurban, a piece of public art that’s always changing based on the clothes that residents put on it. This aluminum sculpture was created in 1979 and is named after the Seattle-Everett Interurban railway that ran along Fremont Ave. The sculpture is on a large concrete median that separates the eastbound bicycle lane and westbound car traffic from eastbound car traffic coming from Fremont Ave N.

Walk south along Fremont Ave N toward the Fremont Bridge. The Fremont Bridge opened in 1917, the same year as the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The bridge does not open for boat traffic during rush hour, but otherwise is raised 35 times per day on average. The blue and orange colors for the bridge were chosen as a result of a poll taken in 1985. Continue across the bridge and enjoy the view to the left toward Lake Union and the George Washington bridge.

Once you reach the intersection, notice the 1930s transit stop at the SE corner of the intersection at Westlake Ave and Dexter. Cross Fremont Ave N (you’ll have to cross two separate roadways).

Head back north along the west side of Fremont Ave N. From this side of the bridge, you can look west along the tree-lined ship canal. There are trails for walking and biking on both sides. After crossing the canal, look for the stairs on your left that will take you down to the popular Burke-Gilman Trail.

Burke-Gilman Trail

Head west along the trail and be careful to keep to the right so that bikers can pass. While you could take this trail all the way to the Ballard Locks, stay on it for only two blocks before turning right on Phinney Ave N. The cross streets aren’t easy to identify from the trail, so just pay attention to the parking lot that the trail goes beside – the parking lot will curve toward Phinney Ave, which is where you want to turn.

At the intersection with N 35th St is the Theo Chocolate factory, which is the “only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States.” The factory offers public tours 7 days a week.

On the opposite side of Phinney Ave is a large wall painted with the likeness of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, stars of the classic film Casablanca.
This is the Fremont Outdoor Cinema, which shows outdoor film screenings in summer.

Continue for another block and turn right at N 36th St. This is a busy arterial street, but has street parking and buildings along the sidewalk that make this a comfortable place to walk. It’s also a long block, so there won’t be any motor vehicles crossing your path for a little while. The houses to your right were built in the early 1900s and have been converted to commercial use. You’ll pass the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, whose office was built in 1901. Many of the more industrial looking buildings were built in the 1920s. Continue walking on this side of the street – you’ll see some coffee shops and places to eat on the opposite side of the street as well.

At the next intersection you’ll see the Statue of Lenin. After the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, this statue was almost melted for its bronze. However, a resident from the Seattle area who was teaching English nearby managed to have it shipped back to the US. The statue is for sale, but has been displayed in Fremont since 1995 and has become a local landmark.

Statue of Lenin

Communist Vladimir Lenin towers over this intersection in Fremont

Continue along the main road, which changes names to Fremont Pl N. There are many places to eat around here. You’ll see the Fremont directional sign to your left as you cross 35th St.

Directional sign


Continue on to 34th St. Turn left and cross Fremont Ave N along 34th St. Then reverse direction and head north along Fremont Ave N.

There are more places to eat and shop as you head up the hill. At N 36th St, turn right. This section of Fremont is mostly residential, though you’ll pass Fremont Baptist Church, which was built in 1924. Troll Ave N is at the next block, and to your left is the famous Fremont Troll, which was built in 1990 to help clean up the area under the bridge, as it had become used for illicit activities.

Turn right and head downhill along Troll Ave N, which runs under the Aurora Bridge. Cross N 35th St when you can and turn right toward the west. On your left will be the Fremont Public Library, which was one of several Carnegie Libraries in Seattle and opened in 1921. Just past the library is A. B. Ernst Park, which opened in 2004. Go through the park and stroll back down to N 34th St.

At 34th St, just across the street is the J.P. Patches statue, dedicated to popular local clown J. P. Patches. Turn right at N 34th St to head back to our starting point at Fremont Ave N. Or, if you’d prefer, from here you can start our Fremont Walk along the Burke Gilman Trail.

highlights: quirky local landmarks; places to stop to eat, drink, and shop; historic architecture; Burke-Gilman Trail; public art; not many interactions with vehicles; vibrant urban environment

lowlights: sidewalk can get crowded; some backtracking; crossing busy street along Troll Ave N


Walking Volunteer Park

Volunteer Park is a diversely landscaped park with open green space and several landmarks including a water tower, conservatory, and Seattle Asian Art Museum.

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Volunteer Park was purchased in 1876 and was designated as a cemetery, before becoming a park, and eventually named after volunteers who served in the Spanish-American war.

There is some parking available inside the park, and the 10 bus goes straight to the park.

Start in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This Art Moderne building was constructed in 1933 as the Seattle Art Museum and offers free admission the first Thursday and Saturday of every month.

In front of the museum is a sculpture called “Black Hole” through which people often enjoy taking photos of the Space Needle and Puget Sound. The reservoir behind the fence supplies some of Seattle’s drinking water.

Head north along the main road towards the Conservatory. You’ll pass a large lawn to the left where on a given day you could see hipsters reading in the sun, medieval role playing, and young people throwing frisbees.

In front of the conservatory is a statue of former US Secretary of State William H. Seward, who is perhaps best known for his role in purchasing Alaska from Russia.

The Conservatory is made of 3,426 glass panes and has five display houses with thousands of plants available to look at.

Turn right before crossing the road separating you from the conservatory and head downhill. In case you need it, there is a public restroom on your left. Behind the fence is Lake View Cemetery, burial place of many of the city’s pioneers. Also on your left is a children’s play area.

Continue along the sidewalk and veer right on the gravel trail. Depending on the time of year, there may be many colorful flowers to your right.

As you continue through this large lawn area, you’ll pass by a very large tree to your right. This area is a fine place for a picnic or to lie down in the sun.

The path will veer back around towards the main road into the park and the Volunteer Park Water Tower. The reservoir was built in 1901. The 106 steps to the top of the tank are available to the public and offer great views in all directions. There is also an exhibit about Seattle’s Olmsted-Brothers-designed park system.

Turn north along the road towards the Asian Art Museum, staying on the left side of the road. Feel free to veer off towards the small pond on the left and enjoy. There is a similar pond on the opposite side of the Black Hole sculpture.

Our walk ends back where it started but feel free to stay and enjoy the museum or more of the park.

Highlights: Beautifully landscaped, views from water tower and in front of the museum, ample lawn space, plants in conservatory, flowering plants

Lowlights: Rumors of illicit activities after dark, would be nice if it were a larger park


Walking Schmitz Preserve Park

Schmitz Preserve Park is the only Seattle park with old-growth forest and is a beautifully forested area that makes you feel like you’re in the foothills of the Cascades rather than in West Seattle.

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Schmitz Preserve Park walking route

Schmitz Preserve Park walking route in green

Start at SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens St, which you can get to by the 56 bus. By car, the directions would have you take the West Seattle bridge to the Admiral Way exit and take Admiral Way across West Seattle and turn left on SW Stevens St, where you can often find street parking near the park entrance.

Enter the park entrance near the SW Admiral Way and SW Stevens St intersection. The road into the park used to be open to vehicle traffic until a landslide in 2002. Though this is a fairly small park, there are several different unsigned trails. If you take a wrong turn, it won’t be too difficult to find your way back. The trail can be somewhat uneven and muddy, but is not too difficult overall.

Walk along the main park road and, at the fork in the trail, veer right downhill. At the next fork, take a left before crossing the creek.

Continue walking and you’ll cross over the stream a couple times. Keep right at the next intersection (turning left will take you back to the entrance) and continue deeper into the park. There are some sections of the park soil that remain damp, though fortunately there are a few boardwalks that keep your feet dry over the worst parts.

You’ll approach an intersection of several different trails. The left-most path will take you into the surrounding neighborhood. Take the trail second from left even farther into the park. The other trails on the right will take you back along the other side of the creek.

This path continues along the stream. Turn right at the next fork to loop back, otherwise you will enter the surrounding neighborhood.

This section of the trail is fairly straight and a little elevated from the creek. Stay straight along this main trail and after passing a side trail to the left, you’ll reach another intersection. Turn right here to cross the creek and the next intersection may seem familiar. Turn left and then left again to return to the main entrance.

Highlights: old growth forest, quiet, not very busy, multiple trails, cool and damp, stream

Lowlights: can be muddy, unsigned trails


Walking The Ave

University Way, known as “The Ave” is a busy pedestrian street with many shops and many more restaurants. It’s a good walk if you want to take in an active streetscape and find somewhere new to eat along the way.

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The Ave was originally called Columbus Avenue and then 14th Avenue, before being changed to University Way in 1919. The street doesn’t have a lot of fast-moving traffic, being only two lanes, and the road is separated from the sidewalk by parking and bike racks, which helps the walking experience. The groups of students and panhandlers can slow you down sometimes, so be patient or go early in the day. The blocks are long but there are several mid-block crosswalks.

Start at University Way NE and NE 41st St. There are many buses that will get you there, or you can click here for directions (finding parking is another matter).

Head north, up the slight incline. We’ll start on the left side of the street and then turn around and walk back on the other side of the street.

The first part of the walk is a little quieter than the rest of the street. You’ll walk past a parking lot before passing the first of many places to eat.

As you approach NE 42nd St, you’ll begin to see more restaurants. You can find many different types of food to eat – including Indian, Mediterranean, and all types of Asian. Feel free to stop to eat anywhere that looks appealing and you’ll likely pay less than $10 for your meal. You’ll also pass coffee shops, bookstores, clothing stores, and various other retail establishments. There are also some establishments along some of the cross streets, like 42nd, 43rd, and especially 45th, so feel free to explore before continuing north on University Way.

Between 43rd and 45th Streets, you’ll pass the Varsity Theatre, which has been operating as a movie theater since 1940 and added two upstairs screens in 1985.

As you walk, look up at the streetlamps. There are ornaments provided for some of the local establishments (for example, a tub of popcorn for the Varsity Theatre).

Looking north along University Way NE

Looking north along University Way NE

Continue on to 50th St. If it’s a Saturday, feel free to continue to the University District Farmers Market. Otherwise, cross University Way and head south. Even though we’re backtracking, you’ll see a lot of new things that you didn’t see on the first leg of the walk.

On the way back, you’ll pass a few neat stores, including Gargoyles Statuary and Shiga’s Imports. We’ll end where we started, at NE 41st St and University Way NE.

highlights: many international and inexpensive places to eat, shopping, sidewalks are insulated from the road

lowlights: can be busy with college students and vagrants, sidewalks too narrow for the amount of pedestrian traffic, no open public spaces


Walking the Central Waterfront

The Central Waterfront is a fun walk on a clear day, though it can become crowded with tourists. It offers good views of the mountains and the city and shops to browse and places to eat.

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Start at the Ferry Terminal at Alaskan Way and Marion St (Pier 52). There is limited parking in the area, but you can get there via the 16, 66, or 99 buses.

Then, walk north along the west side of Alaskan Way. Shortly after you start, you’ll pass Fire Station Number 5, which you can tour (if scheduled in advance).

Continuing, you’ll pass an ice cream shop, Seattle’s beloved Ivar’s Acres of Clams, and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on Pier 54. It can get crowded, so you’ll probably need to keep a leisurely pace.

At Pier 55, you can catch the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to West Seattle in the summer. Or, Argosy Cruises operates cruises around Elliott Bay year-round.

As you continue, you’ll pass more touristy shops and seafood restaurants. You’ll then get to Waterfront Park, which has fountains, and benches, and telescopes for appreciating the view.

Next is the Seattle Aquarium. Soon on your right will be a large crosswalk, which you can take toward Pike Place Market and downtown.

As you keep walking, soon you’ll reach a large wood pier to your left. Though it’s often underused, this is a public park that you can walk out onto to get a view of Mount Rainier (if it’s out), or at least Safeco Field and Qwest Field.

Seattle Skyline from Pier 62/63

Looking toward the city from Pier 62/63

We’ve passed the main tourism area, so rest of the walk along Alaskan Way will be a little quieter. You’ll pass The Edgewater hotel, which hosted the Beatles in 1964 and Led Zeppelin (who were banned from the hotel after their 2nd visit). At Pier 69, which is where you can catch the Victoria Clipper which will take you to Victoria, British Columbia.

From here, it’s not much farther until you reach Olympic Sculpture Park.

After exploring the park, feel free to continue walking along the waterfront through Myrtle Edwards Park, or walk a few blocks back and catch free bus #99 back to where we started.

Highlights: Scenic views, touristy shops, seafood, water, Aquarium, parks (Waterfront and Pier 62/63), Olympic Sculpture Park

Lowlights: can have lots of tourists, can be breezy and cooler than elsewhere in the city, may be too touristy for some people


Walking First Hill

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.

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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.

Sorrento Hotel on Madison St

Looking along Madison St at retail and Sorrento Hotel

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


Walking Georgetown Industrial Area

People don’t normally think of the industrial area in Georgetown as a good place to walk. An area with warehouses and other light industrial uses, it is criss-crossed by a grid of streets that are often traveled by large trucks and sometimes not served with sidewalks. However, if you know where to go, you can stay on the sidewalks and walk along some quiet residential streets and get a feel for this unique part of Seattle. Also, this time of year many cherry trees are blossoming, so let’s go for a nice walk in the industrial (and residential) part of Georgetown.

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You can get here by driving and there should be short-term parking available on many nearby streets, or you can take the 23 or 124 bus from downtown.

Start at 4th Ave S and S Lucile St. At the northeast corner of the intersection you’ll see the Vac Shop – notice the vacuums outside made to look like robots and animals. Walk north along the east (right) side of the road.

Cross S Brandon St and turn right on S Brandon St. At the right time of the year, you’ll see the trees on the right side of the street covered in beautiful pink cherry blossoms. On your left you’ll pass Oasis Water Gardens, a nursery for water gardeners.

The intersection with 5th Ave S is one of those Seattle intersections with no signage, so cross traffic may not stop. At the next intersection, traffic at 6th Ave S has the right of way. Continue walking along S Brandon St. On the right side of the street, you’ll see some of the houses that are scattered throughout Georgetown. At Maynard Ave S, you’ll see Lect’s Soup Stop serving soups out of an old train switching location.

Turn right at Maynard Ave S. Unfortunately, while some of the east-west streets in this area well-served by sidewalks and consistently lined with trees, many of the north-south streets are lacking in amenities. Still, this street has a sidewalk, but rather than grass and trees insulating you from the street, there may be parked cars instead.

When clear, cross S Lucile St and continue heading south and cross S Findlay St where Maynard Ave S curves left and changes into S Homer St. Stay on the right side of the street so that you can remain on the sidewalk. The streets in this area may be lined with parked rigs, which are not uncommon in this area. Continue and cross 7th Ave S and the old railroad tracks along the road. The block on your right is completely residential, including some nicely maintained and colorfully painted houses. As you approach Padilla Pl S, you may see the Georgetown Playground on your left.

Turn right on Padilla Pl S before you get to the New Direction Missionary Church and then turn right on S Orcas St. There is a substantial buffer between the sidewalk and the street, and despite the King County maintenance building on the left side of the street, this area feels like many other quiet residential areas. Here is what the sidewalk on the left (south) side of the street looks like when the cherry blossoms are in season:

Cherry blossoms in season along S Orcas St

Walking westward when the cherry blossoms are in season toward 7th Ave S on S Orcas St

Continue across 7th Ave S. You’ll pass the Georgetown branch of the US Post Office on your right. The street curves left and you’ll cross 6th Ave S. On your right are the headquarters for kitchenware retailer Sur La Table, which opened its first store in 1972 in Pike Place Market. The store in Kirkland regularly offers cooking classes. On your left is the Seattle Design Center, where interior designers (and other interested parties) can tour 65 home decor showrooms.

Cherry blossoms between Seattle Design Ctr and Sur La Table

Cherry blossoms between Seattle Design Ctr and Sur La Table on South Orcas st

You’ll continue on S Orcas St, past the Tiger Lounge on your right, back to 4th Ave S.

Turn right on 4th Ave S and walk two blocks back to our starting point of 4th Ave S and S Lucile St. From here, you can call it quits, or we can continue walking on the other side of 4th Ave S. Cross 4th Ave S and turn left (south). You’ll walk past a pho restaurant, where the sidewalk may be partially occupied by parked cars, and you’ll pass a Subway, and Marco Polo Bar & Grill, which has some of the best fried chicken in town and karaoke on Friday nights.

Turn right on S Orcas St. This side of 4th Ave S is more industrial, with a few scattered houses, but is still a good, quiet place to walk. As we continue, feel free to stop at the Little Deli Mart on the right if you want a bottled drink. Otherwise, turn right on 1st Ave S. You’ll walk by Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack and the Pig Iron Bar-B-Q, either of which would be a fine place to stop and eat.

Continue to S Lucile St and turn right. Walk east towards 4th Ave S. At 3rd Ave S, you might notice the Sherman Supply company, which has 6 butts on the wall:

Butts on wall at Sherman Supply Co

Butts used for advertising on the wall of Sherman Supply Co on S Lucile St

Past that is a lot where you can buy lawn statuary, including an alien holding a football, as well as slightly classier lawn ornaments, though no marble columns for sale.

Anyway, here is where our walk ends, back where we started. Despite perhaps looking like an uninviting and dull industrial area, even this part of Georgetown offers a pleasant walk.

Highlights: Relatively quiet streets, beautiful cherry blossoms at the right time of year, some quirky establishments, a diversity of houses and light industrial, some good places to stop and eat or drink

Lowlights: Care required to cross some streets, not very popular, light industrial creates some dead spots, walking across railroad tracks can be slippery


Walking through Belltown

Belltown is the densest part of the city outside of downtown and makes for a good place to walk. This route goes along the two most active streets in Belltown – 1st and 2nd Aves.

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Start at 1st and Virginia and head Northwest, parallel to Elliott Bay. This part of Belltown has the most shopping and, being close to downtown and Pike Place Market, is an easy starting point. Walking along either side of the street is fine, but the right side has several small parking lots that interrupt the streetscape.

The first parking lot you pass has a wall decorated with one of the larger graffiti-style urban art projects in Seattle (go here for pictures from the Hideous Belltown blog).

As you continue walking, you’ll see lots of historic low-rise buildings and will pass more retail, including an Army/Navy Surplus Store. At Battery St, you’ll pass over highway 99 and will have a view of Elliott Bay. On the other side of the street you’ll see some more old Belltown buildings, including the Austin A Bell bldg from 1890.

Historic buildings in Belltown

Old architecture from 1889-1890

Continue walking a few more blocks and turn right at Vine St. Vine St is a relatively narrow street lined with trees but without much for retail or dining. Vine isn’t a major street, so you won’t have a crosswalk or a traffic light when crossing Belltown’s Avenues, so be careful. Pedestrians can legally cross any intersection, but some drivers may not know that. Unless you’re doing this walk at a busy time of day, you should be able to cross easily during a break in vehicle traffic.

Turn left at 5th Ave and walk a block in parallel with the monorail. You’ll arrive at Tilikum Place, a shaded outdoor plaza with a fountain, surrounded by a few places to stop and eat.

Tilikum Place

The trees offer shade and there are benches to watch the fountain in the summer months

Feel free to stop and rest or continue and walk southwest along Cedar St. At 3rd Ave, you’ll see a large mural on your right on the building of New Horizons Ministries.

Mural at New Horizons Ministries

Colorful mural at 3rd and Cedar

Belltown has a diversity of architecture to enjoy. The buildings on the eastern side, away from the water, tend to be shorter and are less likely to be inhabited by any street-level retail or dining. As you continue towards the water, you’ll see more recent development and high-rise condo buildings. We’ll turn left at 2nd Ave toward downtown.

2nd Ave is a 3 lane street with relatively few traffic lights, so it does have some fast-moving vehicles. However, the parking and trees insulate help to insulate pedestrians from the street, and curb-bulbs at intersections make it feel a little safer to cross the avenue. As you continue southeast, you’ll encounter more bars and restaurants, especially once you get to Battery St.

Feel free to stop at any one of these restaurants or bars for something to eat and drink, or stop for a game of pinball at Shorty’s.

A few blocks more and we’ll end our walk at 2nd Ave & Virginia, just a block away from where we started.

Highlights: continguous urban streetscape, density, restaurants and bars, stop and rest at Tilikum Place, coffee shops, diverse architecture, wide sidewalks

Lowlights: a few parking lots, some dead spots without much to look at, can be rough at night, not much retail outside of 1st Ave, lack of designated crosswalks