Tag Archive for 'mountains'

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

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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

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