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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Waterfront Park

 
Address: 1301 Alaskan Way, 98101 (Map It)
Seattle Parks and Recreation Information:
(206) 684-4075 | Contact Us TTY Phone: (206) 233-1509

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Summer in the City!


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PARK FEATURES
  • Fishing
  • View
  • Waterfront

HOURS

6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

ABOUT THE PARK

Comprising the area from Pier 57 to Pier 59, this park is lined with lamps, benches, and high, curving railings. From either of two pink metal viewing platforms, reached both by stairs and a wheelchair-accessible ramp, you can enjoy excellent views of the city skyline, the waterfront, the ships in drydock, container cranes, the West Seattle Bridge, Magnolia Bluff, Blake Island, Bainbridge, and, on a clear day, the Olympic Mountains. Occasionally you may even see a seal. Four coin-operated telescopes on the sidewalk offer view assistance.

At the north end of the park, nearest the Seattle Aquarium, are benches, picnic tables, and some trees in planters. Waterfront Fountain and its surrounding stairs and walls break up the space into interesting places to linger and enjoy your lunch.

Waterfront Fountain is made of cast and welded bronze shaped in cubical structures. The sculpture was begin by James FitzGerald and, in collaboration with the sculptor's widow, Margaret Tompkins, was completed by Terry Copple. (Other public fountains by sculptor James FitzGerald are located at the IBM Building [5th Ave. & University St.], Plymouth Congregational Church [6th Ave. & Seneca St.], Intiman Playhouse [Seattle Center], and Jefferson Terrace Retirement Home [800 Jefferson St.]; all are bronze.) At the south end of the park, a somewhat larger than life bronze abstract statue of Christopher Columbus gazes out at the water.

Acreage: 4.8

HISTORY

From 1885 on, this area was a bustling working waterfront. Waterfront Park is the site of the pier known as Schwabacher Dock, where the so-called "ton of gold" (actually, it was two tons) that started the Alaska Gold Rush was unloaded in 1897, brought to Seattle on the S.S. Portland.This area of the waterfront began to be cleaned up in 1929 when the railroad tracks were moved to the east side of the street (Railroad Avenue, as it was called before being renamed Alaskan Way) and prefabricated seawall sections put in place to stabilize the shoreline. The waterfront was taken over by the military during the 1940s. By 1960, the central waterfront was beginning to take on its current recreational character.

Money to acquire the land for Waterfront Park, approved by King County voters in 1968, was matched by federal money and augmented by bond investments, Model Cities programs, businesses, and individuals.

The present Seattle Aquarium opened at Pier 59 in 1977.

To learn more about Seattle Parks and Recreation, including historic landmarks, military base reuse, and the Sherwood History Files, view our Park History.

VOLUNTEER

In our large parks and recreation system, we could not do what we do without you.
» volunteer in a park!

PROJECTS & PLANNING

Thinking about serving a meal in a Downtown Park?
- Feeding the hungry in Downtown Parks


Photo by Beth Somerfield


Photo by Beth Somerfield


Photo by Beth Somerfield


Photo by Beth Somerfield

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