Seattle Photography walk?
September 11, 2020 9:39 AM   Subscribe

If I was going to go on a walk in the next couple of weeks, in or around Seattle, where should I go to take photos?

I’m staying in Snohomish but have a car. I haven’t spent much time in the city, but I’d like to spend some time taking photos. I only really have free time on weekdays from 9-5. Not particularly interested in tourist sites, but I’d just like to take some nice walks with interesting people and views to take photos of. The smoke is bad but I’m willing to brave it to get outdoors!
posted by baptismal to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It depends on what kind of photography, but assuming you want interesting people, architecture, and streetscapes, I have two suggestions:

1. Capitol Hill, maybe start around Volunteer Park and head south towards the downtown section Capitol Hill? You'll start in a nice, hilltop park with city views and a cool conservatory full of plants. There's a classic shot of the Space Needle through a giant donut sculpture from that park. Then head south through the fancy-pants section of the hill (very nice houses and streets), and end up in an bustling artsy district along the Broadway corridor. It'll have interesting people watching and street art.

2. Waterfrontish. Alternatively if you really want a downtown feel for urban photography, I would walk from Seattle Center to Pioneer Square (~1.5 miles). You start off under the space needle, plus the interesting architecture of MoPOP and the Pacific Science Center. Then head south, via the waterfront trail and Olympic sculpture park, through Belltown, by Pike Place Market, by the SAM, and ending up in Pioneer Square, with brick buildings and cobblestone streets.

Rainier photos won't work with the smoke so I would skip Kerry Park. If you like nature shots, WA State Arboretum is great, especially the Japanese Garden (which has as admission fee fyi).
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning at 10:40 AM on September 11, 2020

Lots of people go to Fishermen's Terminal for photo walks. You can walk up and down the docks and see interesting boats and people. There's a parking lot there.

The Ballard Locks are nearby, another good spot for photography.
posted by umber vowel at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2020

If you have a car, I would encourage you to explore the Georgetown neighborhood as well - there’s some cool industrial stuff and the (now closed) oldest bar in Seattle, Jules Maes.
Alternatively, you could take the water taxi to West Seattle and get great views of downtown Seattle (once the smoke is gone).
posted by dbmcd at 11:28 AM on September 11, 2020

Alki Beach is generally great for people photography and stunning views of the Olympics. I also like Golden Gardens, which is basically the shoreline of the Ballard neighborhood, just north of the Locks.

There's generally plenty of activity along South Lake Union as well. You could basically do a long walkabout from Gas Works Park on the north side of Lake Union, west through Fremont and then across Fremont Bridge and down the West Lake cycletrack to South Lake Union.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 11:35 AM on September 11, 2020

Pretty much anyplace is gonna be beautiful, but some of my personal favorites are Eastlake (where a lot of the houseboat communities are); the Mount Baker neighborhood especially around Cascadia Ave & Mt. Rainier Drive; Seward Park and most of the small parks along Lake Washington Boulevard between the I-90 floating bridge and Madison Park; and anywhere downtown within about a 1-mile radius of Pike Place Market. North Capitol Hill around Volunteer Park is a great choice too, especially on the western slope where you get views of Lake Union and the Olympics.
posted by azuresunday at 11:48 AM on September 11, 2020

Freemont (and the shore/bridge/gasworks park) is good for public art and people. Also good food.
posted by eotvos at 12:51 PM on September 11, 2020

Many of the local farmers markets are weekday events where a wide variety of people show up and they're all held in interesting locations for starting a walking tour.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 1:42 PM on September 11, 2020

I'd recommend the International District especially right now. At least when I was there for takeout a few weeks ago, there were still a lot of windows boarded up with amazing murals on them. That's something that's unique to right now, plus you also get interesting buildings, lots of masked people around, and neat views.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:02 PM on September 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm late to the party in visiting this thread, but I'm planning on visiting Seattle again once Covid is over and I figured I may as well share my homework for anyone else visiting for photography too. I focus mainly on cityscapes and architecture, so my research concentrates mainly on this niche, but other genres are covered too

Atlas Obscura's guide to Seattle is a superb list of unusual places to visit and things to do. While not a photographic guide as such, it is illustrated well and will give you plenty of food for thought about alternative locations.

Curbed lists some of Seattle's best architecture on a map for easy reference.

PhotoHound's guide to Seattle has the usual tourist postcard shots but also some lesser known places of interest and viewpoints.

Seattle Parks a complete A-Z listing of park land in the city. These seem to be mainly suburban recreation areas with rather limited photographic interest, but it did turn up a few locations that have interested me

A good tip if you're looking for new photo locations anywhere, not just Seattle, is to seek out portrait/wedding/engagement photographers and check out their favourite haunts for portraits. Some of these like Alexandra Knight, Karissa Roe and Rebecca Anne helpfully blog about such places.

Finally, some specific photographers I recommend following who either live in Seattle or have a great portfolio of work in/around there

Joe Becker
Tom & Vicky Spring
Enrico Pozzo
Mike Mercer
Mike Reid
posted by mathewbrowne at 4:29 AM on February 6

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