Interesting short walks in downtown Seattle
March 24, 2017 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I've gotten better at bringing my lunch to work - hooray! Unfortunately this means I no longer have a reason to leave the building around lunch time, and I hate just walking with no destination in mind. I need interesting things to go look at!

I'm looking for interesting publicly accessible things to look at that are within about a half hour walk from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. (That is, half an hour total to get there and get back to work.) I tend to wind up just walking to the drugstore and buying chocolate I don't need or makeup I rarely wear, so I need better destinations!

Basically I'm looking for anything moderately interesting that I can go see, snap a picture or two, and wander back to work. (I'm trying to get better at taking pictures - it's just with my iPhone, but trying to work on composition and different angles.) So: fountains, pieces of public art, cool building lobbies, interesting architectural details, amazing views. Even just stuff like "if you go to such-and-such intersection and look north, the buildings align in a really cool way".

Help me get out of the office to see cool stuff! Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Work & Money (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How do you feel about Pokemon Go? When I started playing it around my office I found an entire world of murals, majestic buildings, and public art I had no idea was within a few blocks of my daily routine. The game shows them on a street grid so it's easy to walk to whatever looks interesting, or just notice which areas have several and head in that direction to be pleasantly surprised. These points of interest are tagged in the game as pokestops, they are are represented as markers that pop up as circles with a photo and caption when you tap them.

All you would need to see them is to download the game (free) and create an account (also free). Only caveat is it's a huge battery drain, I keep a charging cable at work now because of that.
posted by lepus at 10:59 AM on March 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I haven't lived there for over 15 years, but some quick thoughts:

-Visit the little overlook park across from the original Starbucks location (Pike Place market)
-Wander through Freeway Park and climb on the man made canyon.
-The Central Library is an amazing place to explore with a camera.
-If it's still around, get a sausage sandwich at the Two Bells.
posted by baseballpajamas at 11:01 AM on March 24, 2017

I've traversed various parts of downtown Seattle for many years. Here are some of my Faves:
The Exchange Building is an Art Deco wonder - it spans the hill between 1st and 2nd at Marion - you can go in the 2nd avenue entrance walk through the lobby and take the elevator to the 1st avenue side. If you enter from Second, as you walk through the entry, turn around - there are beautiful stained glass windows above the entry.
Likewise, between 2nd and 3rd (and a bit south) is the Dexter Horton Building is a visual delight - especially inside. The 3 ave entrance is a little tricky to find - look for Pegasus coffee, and enter in the doorway just north of there. The 2nd ave entrance has an amazing barrel-vaulted entry that I adore!
The Harbor Steps are a great place to walk to - especially in the summer, the fountains make a nice sound and a bit of the city noise seems to disappear. They are between University and Seneca, and span the hill westward between 1st and Western.
A little outside your range, but do-able if you take a bus is Waterfall Park in Pioneer Square. It is also tucked away, and loud enough to blot out the city - it's a lovely, shaded respite on a warm day (if we EVER get one again!).
I could go on, but I'm at work!
posted by dbmcd at 11:13 AM on March 24, 2017

This deck of cards has good tours for the whole city and I am sure some of them will be close to your area.

Other walking tours that you may need to pare down or break up into a few different days:
Nat Geo
Seattle mag
posted by soelo at 12:11 PM on March 24, 2017

If you took a bus along third to speed stuff up, I think you could get to the Olympic Sculpture Park
posted by foxfirefey at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2017

This is a little different than what you're asking for, but you could start writing a postcard every day and then walking to a mailbox to send it. This is a page that lists every public mailbox so you could pick a specific one depending on how far you had that day.
posted by kate blank at 12:39 PM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

There is a fascinating construction site at (or near) Denny and Minor. I have no idea what they are building (nor have I tried to find out), but what they've put up so far is baffling and totally photogenic. Google Maps says it's a 15 min walk from Westlake.
posted by Gorgik at 12:48 PM on March 24, 2017

Geocaching is your answer.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:09 PM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Gorgik, are you thinking of the Denny Substation Project? Also fascinating is the nearby Amazon sphere construction.

I'd like to second the suggestion for Geocaching, and if you're into that sort of thing, Pokemon Go and its predecessor Ingress. There's a nice park at South Lake Union, and you can sometimes see a heron there.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2017

The previous suggestions are great; if you want some quick locations, Pike and Minor has Plymouth Pillars Park, and if you go up Pike slightly, there's the Big Starbucks -- i.e. the one designed to siphon tourists away from the "first" Starbucks in Pike Place.

You could walk to the Whole Foods at Westlake and Denny, or walk to Lake Union and take the SLU streetcar back.

Occidental Square is really beautiful, and you can take LINK back.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2017

You can take the streetcar from Westlake station up to Lake Union and look around. You can see Gas Works Park in the distance, MOHAI is pretty nice to look at, and if it's a nice day, there might be sailboats on the lake. Also, the Center for Wooden Boats is there and might have interesting stuff.
posted by mhum at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2017

TochterAusElysium, yeah, that's the site.

Not nearly as interesting a final form as I'd hoped, but the site still looks pretty interesting right now.
posted by Gorgik at 5:00 PM on March 24, 2017

I don't know Seattle at all, but after I bought a Fitbit I was pretty motivated to get steps in. My work was very near the Museum of Science, so I bought a membership and I'd walk there a couple of times per week, walk around inside, spend a few minutes in a different section each time, and walk back to work. Eventually I stopped going to the museum and just walked for the sake of walking, but it was a good way to get started and I got a lot more out of the museum than I would have otherwise.
posted by clone boulevard at 5:32 PM on March 24, 2017

Metro may be your friend; taking bus or light rail in the tunnel can get you down to the Pioneer Square/International District area pretty easily. Have a look at Waterfall Garden Park or even the Klondike Goldrush National Historical Park (Seattle Unit). There's a ton of great architecture in the area as well.
posted by lhauser at 6:41 PM on March 25, 2017

Thirding geocaching, because Seattle is the heart of geocaching and there's so much to do.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 PM on March 25, 2017

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