Looking out the window from your desk in one of downtown Seattle’s towers, you catch a precious glimpse of blue sky. Suddenly, it’s over: the rest of the day is going to be a wash, lost to daydreams of frolicking outdoors.
What Makes It Great
We understand. If you’re someone that thrives on being outside, working the nine to five grind can, at times, start to feel insufferable. But if you spend your weekdays in one of the office buildings of the city’s downtown, the paths along the Puget Sound waterfront just might be your godsend. It’s gorgeous, and just a stone’s throw away from the concrete jungle; a convenient way to train before or after the workday, or to squeeze in a couple-mile jog on your lunch break.
To do it, just go down the hill to the Alaskan Way waterfront and then head northwest (turn right). Take heed that this section can get busy, especially on nice summer days; you may have to keep your wits about you as you navigate through the crowds of lollygaggers and tourists (especially upon passing Ivar’s Seafood Bar, the giant Ferris wheel, or the Seattle Aquarium). Pedestrian traffic is also likely to be compounded by the many current construction sites, which are connected to the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.
Shortly after passing the aquarium the flocks of people will likely thin out. About a mile later, Alaskan Way brings you to the Elliott Bay Trail, Seattle’s main waterfront path along Puget Sound. Here you’ll be able to tour through the Olympic Sculpture Park at the southern end of Myrtle Edwards Park. A former industrial site, the park is now operated by the Seattle Art Museum and is one of the only green spaces in downtown Seattle.
If you’ve got more time, just keep on going. Take the Elliott Bay Trail for about another 2.5 miles and you’ll end up at Smith Cove Park, in Magnolia. The park has a 1.3-mile spur trail that leads to worthwhile views of Mt. Rainier, the Olympics, and the Seattle skyline.
Sure, at some point you may have to force yourself to turn around and head back to work. But once you return, having gotten a brief excursion in you just might find yourself feeling more relaxed and present. Maybe, you’ll even decide that working downtown isn’t so bad, after all.
Who is Going to Love It
People who work downtown and sometimes find themselves in need of a little mid-day escape. And anyone who thinks running through a crowded area just means good opportunities for people-watching.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Waterfront is located at 1401 Alaskan Way, and parking downtown can be tricky. There is a metered parking lot near Myrtle Edwards Park, at Alaskan Way and Broad Street. There is also free parking along West Galer Street. Myrtle Edwards
Park is open all day; Smith Cove Park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.