Tag Archive for '2-3 miles'

Walking Wallingford

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

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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 Lower Queen Anne

Packed with restaurants, bars, and retail, Lower Queen Anne is a fun urban area for a walk.

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Start at Roy St & 5th Ave. There is plenty of parking around Seattle Center as well as several bus routes that will take you close to our starting point, including the 3, 4, 16, and 30. Several other buses will take you to other points along our walking route: the 1, 2, 8, 13, 15, and 18.

Many of the streets we’ll be walking along are fairly busy with vehicle traffic, but are comfortable to walk along thanks to wide sidewalks that are insulated from traffic by trees and street parking.

On the northwest corner of this intersection is Silver Platters records, one of the music stores in the area. Walk westward along the north side or Roy St. The left side of the street is well shaded, but passes alongside a large parking garage and a parking lot. On the north side of the street are several restaurants, including a few Asian eateries.

Continue past 1st Ave N and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, built in 1940. On your right is Counterbalance Park, which has several places to sit. At night, the park’s walls are colorfully lit.

Counterbalance Park

Counterbalance Park, opened in 2008

Turn left across Roy St along Queen Anne Ave N. You’ll pass the MarQueen Hotel, built in 1918. On the opposite side of the street is Monkey Love Rubber Stamps, a local business with paper, envelopes, and, of course, stamps.

Continue south along Queen Anne Ave N for 5 blocks. You’ll pass local music store Underdawg Records on your left along with a few eateries and bars. After passing Republican St, storefronts and restaurants are replaced with offices and apartment windows in a variety of building types.

Uptown Theater

Uptown Theater

Turn left on Thomas St. Walk for a block along Thomas St and turn left on 1st Ave N. Continue walking north along 1st Ave N, passing KeyArena and Seattle Center on your right. The former home to the Seattle Supersonics, KeyArena is still the home to the Seattle Storm WNBA team.

Continue north for a few blocks and cross Mercer St and turn left along Mercer. You’ll pass Easy Street Records, which has a good collection of vinyl records.

Continue west along Mercer St, past several more eateries and bars, and turn left at 2nd Ave W (not to be confused with 2nd Ave N, five blocks east). The KFC/Taco Bell on this corner is perhaps the only national chain restaurant in this neighborhood (other than Taco Del Mar, which is based in Seattle).

Continue south for a block and turn left at W Republican St. This area is much quieter than the retail-intensive streets we’ve been on. You’ll pass Safeway at the next block, one of several large supermarkets in the neighborhood.

At the next block, Queen Anne Ave N, turn left and pass by the AMC Loews Uptown 3 theater. Turn right at Mercer St and continue for several blocks. After crossing 1st Ave N, the streetscape will quiet down and vehicle traffic will speed up. Soon you’ll be walking by Seattle Center, including McCaw Hall and SIFF Cinema. Mercer St sees a lot of traffic, but the sidewalk here is wide and comfortable, though the streetscape of building in Seattle Center is somewhat lacking. On the left side of the street is Teatro Zinzanni, which has been described as “the Moulin Rouge meets Cirque du Soleil,” with food cooked by local celebrity chef Tom Douglas. Turn left and cross Mercer at 5th Ave N to return to our starting point at 5th Ave N and Roy St.

highlights: restaurants, bars, retail, diversity of building types and ages
lowlights: heavy vehicle traffic, not much green space, can be crowded especially if there is an event at Seattle Center


Walking NW Market St in Ballard

NW Market St passes through the heart of Ballard and is an enjoyable street for a stroll on your way to the popular Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

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Start at 17th Ave NW and NW Market St. There are several buses that serve Ballard, and the 44 and 46 take you right to our starting point. There is street parking in the area, and you can click here for driving directions.

Head west along NW Market St along the north side of the street. You’ll pass by several retail storefronts, including the Ballard Sip & Ship, which sells coffee and provides mail services.

Soon you’ll pass by the Ballard Carnegie Library, which opened in 1904 and operated as a library until 1963.

You’ll then pass by the Majestic Bay theatre which first opened in 1915 showing vaudeville stage shows and silent films and was converted to a three-screen theater in 2000.

After crossing 22nd Ave NW, you’ll walk by the old Ballard Building in the heart of Ballard.

At 24nd Ave NW, cross NW Market St and continue west.

After another couple blocks, the sidewalk will veer left along 54th St toward the locks. Pass the Lockspot Cafe and the red telephone booth and turn left toward the fence and entrance for the Hiram M Chittenden Locks.

As you walk along the main path toward the locks, there will be a garden on your right and a rather interesting museum & gift shop on your left. Keep going toward the locks and spend some time enjoying the grounds before heading back.

The return trip through Ballard will be the same, except for variation I’d suggest staying on the south side of Market St until you get to 22nd Ave NW, at which time I’d cross back over to the north side of Market St.

Ballard Building

Ballard Building on Market St

Our walk ends where it started, at 17th Ave NW and NW Market St.

highlights: historic buildings, street-level retail and dining, Locks, garden and museum on locks grounds, wide sidwalks through heart of Ballard, longer blocks allow for less interruption from cross traffic

lowlights: intersection of Market St, 22nd Ave, and Leary Way can take some time to cross; opposite side of Market St not as enjoyable to walk along in some places, narrow sidewalk in some areas


Walking Seward Park

Seward Park is a large park on a peninsula extending into Lake Washington in the southeast part of the city. The trail around the perimeter of the park is a great place for a lake-side stroll.

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You can get here by vehicle or by taking the 39 bus.

We’ll start at the park entrance at Lake Washington Blvd S and S Juneau St. Between the entry and exit lanes at the entrance is a small wooded area, which has a stone lantern from the city of Yokohama.

From here, veer right so as to go counter clockwise around the peninsula. There is a sidewalk that parallels the parking lot. You can take this sidewalk or walk through the parking lot to be closer to the water. On a clear day, you’ll soon see Mount Rainier to the right, which looks beautiful behind the water of Lake Washington and the forested hill of Mercer Island.

Mount Rainier from Seward Park

Mount Rainier on a clear summer day from the south shore of Seward Park

As you continue walking, the path will curve left along the shore and head north. The path widens in this area as well, which is good since Seward Park is a popular place for families, joggers, and walkers. This area of the park is well shaded in the afternoon. Across the water to the right you’ll see the boat docks and extravagant homes on Mercer Island.

The path stays fairly straight for a while, until it reaches the northern tip of the park, where the shore bends to the left. From here you can see the I-90 bridge across the water to the north and depending on the time of day and time of year, you might have some sun in your eyes, especially on a summer afternoon. There is a beach on your right, which is popular with children. You can also see the tops of some buildings in Seattle’s skyline.

You’ll walk westward for less than 1,000 feet before turning left to go southward along the west side of the peninsula. You may see several boats parked in this part of the water. There are also some calm parts along the shore that are covered with plant life.

As you get closer to the entrance, you’ll pass the bathhouse and art studio. There is another beach in this area. You can circumnavigate the small parking lot here by staying along the sidewalk, or continue straight. Soon you’ll be back at where we started, and our walk finishes there at the Seward Park entrance.

Highlights: wide path, forest, beautiful view of Mount Rainier, surrounded by Lake Washington, beach, quiet, picnic tables

Lowlights: parking lots sometimes get in the way of sidewalks, can be busy, parking can be difficult to find within the park, not conveniently located


Walking Alki

Alki in West Seattle is a popular place to go on any sunny day. This walk takes you alongside the water for a great view of the city and the skyline, then a view across the water towards the Olympic Mountains. There’s also a beach and several places to stop and eat or have a drink.

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You can get there by taking the Water Taxi, the 37 bus on weekdays, or by taking the Harbor Ave exit from the West Seattle bridge.

We’ll start our walk along Harbor Ave SW near Fairmount Ave SW, close to Salty’s on Alki and just south of the Water Taxi dock.

The main sidewalk parallels the road, but there are also paved paths that take you closer to the water for better views of the city.

Seattle skyline from Alki

You’ll pass a couple parking lots as you approach Duwamish Head, the northernmost point in West Seattle. After curving past Duwamish Head, there is a pier that you can walk out onto for a good panoramic view and to get a good final look at the skyline before continuing on the west side of Alki.

Now that we’re on the west side of Alki, this part of the path is often very busy on sunny days with bikers, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and other walkers.

You’ll walk this way for about a mile before reaching Alki Beach, but that mile will pass by quickly as you enjoy the view and people watching.

At Alki Beach Park you’ll start to see several places to stop to eat or grab a drink. You can also sit in the sand, play beach volleyball, or go swim in the (cold) water, or watch others doing any of those things.

Olympic Mountains from Alki Beach

Our walk ends at the Alki Beach bathhouse, but you could continue toward Alki Point and the lighthouse, or stay and enjoy the beach.

Highlights: great view of the city and mountains, wide sidewalk, people-watching, places to stop and eat or drink

Lowlights: sidewalk can get crowded, can be windy and colder than elsewhere in the city


Walking Discovery Park Loop Trail

Discovery Park is a popular place to go for a walk on a nice sunny day. While there are numerous trails, the Loop Trail provides an enjoyable and relatively easy 2.8 mile journey through the park.

Discovery Park has three main parking areas, a North Parking Lot, an East Parking Lot, and a South Parking Lot. You can also get there by taking the 19, 24, or 33 buses from downtown.

The park has directional signs at most intersections so it’s pretty easy to find the Loop Trail from wherever you enter the park. And, being a loop, you can go clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on your preference.

Our route will Start heading counter-clockwise at the East Parking Lot. Unfortunately, the walking route from the parking lot isn’t especially clear, but head toward the main road and you’ll soon see a sign for the Loop Trail.

Along the way, you’ll cross other trails that can take you on side trips, such as down to the water. However, the Loop Trail itself offers some good views. Most of the trail is forested with moderate changes in elevation. There are many trees and logs and in the winter months you’ll see plenty of moss.

Moss-covered rock

The moist winters can leave natural elements covered with a thick layer of moss

Aside from crossing a couple roads, some of which are no longer used by vehicles, there’s not much to interrupt the beautiful northwest forest. If you’re walking counter-clockwise, you’ll eventually cross a street and pass by a military housing development that is part of Fort Lawton. After ascending a hill, you’ll see a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound

People stop to rest and observe the view

After you’ve taken in the view, you can continue on. This section of the trail is very different, as there are no trees, possibly due to building Fort Lawton. You can read a little more of the history of the Park at HistoryLink.org. You’ll also see a large radar across the field.

Radar across a field at Discovery Park

Radar across a field at Discovery Park

Continuing on, you’ll pass by some public restrooms and will re-enter some more forested area and pass by the South Parking Lot. As you look to the distance on your right, you’ll see the Fort Lawton Cemetery. Though the trail splits off somewhat around this section, just continue walking and you’ll soon return to the Discovery Park Visitors Center and East Parking Lot

Highlights: beautiful natural area, trees, trail normally in good condition, forest, well-labeled, alternative trails, view, public restrooms

Lowlights: can be busy with children, dogs, and joggers, trail can be hard to find around parking lots