Queen Anne Off The Beaten Path Tips by glabah
Queen Anne Off The Beaten Path: 8 reviews and 38 photos
Mount Pleasant Cemetery can be Attractive
I came to this hill top cemetery thinking that perhaps there would be some good views of Seattle and surrounding areas from here, as many hilltop cemeteries have such views of their communities. However, the fact is the location is rather flat, and thus it is only those in houses along the edge of the hill top further away from the cemetery that have the spectacular views allowed from the Queen Anne Hill.
That aside, the place is a quiet respite from some of the surrounding busy streets, which can be fairly noisy to walk beside. It is a privately owned cemetery, and dogs are not allowed here though this seems to be ignored by local residents.
There are a few older Seattle family names buried here, yet there are also a fair number of modern stones as well.
The cemetery can still be a fairly attractive place, despite the lack of the expected panoramic view of the surrounding area. The staff does a reasonably good job with the landscaping, and the trees do change colors in the fall.
How to Get Here: North on Queen Anne Avenue up the hill and then west to 6th Avenue West. Bus route #2 (one of the electric trolley buses) goes right to the main entrance at Raye & 7th. There is also an entrance at Barrett on the north end, but this gate is apparently not opened at times.
Tangled Old Tree in Parsons Garden
This tiny park (0.4 acres, or 1,600 sqaure meters) was once the family gaden of the Parsons family, and was donated to the city of Seattle in the 1950s. It is a popular place for weddings, and if you visit at just the right time of spring (which varies depending on if it is a cold year or warm year) the blossoms are quite spectacular. Some of the blossoms last even into September in the right year.
You will find that a number of events, particularly weddings, are held here.
There is a small shelter with a single picnic table, some open grass, and a bench or two. Other than these, it is mostly well planned flower beds.
If you happen to visit the Betty Bowen Viewpoint or Kerry Park in spring, walk several blocks west to find this little park, as it is worth the short walk to get here and also visit the Betty Bowen Viewpoint.
How to Get Here: Follow the instructions on how to get to Kerry Park (see Seattle). The park is located at the intersection of 7th Avenue West and Highland Drive, so just walk a few blocks west on Highland Drive from the Kerry Park view point.
a look along 8th Place West in Queen Anne
Going northwest from the Betty Bowen Viewpoint will put you on what has become a fairly popular sidewalk among local residents. This is because on a clear day it provides an absolutely spectacular view west to the Olympic Mountains.
Any time the view is blocked to the west, however, there isn't too much to see from here, just as is the case at the Betty Bowen Viewpoint.
The location is a very easy walk only a few blocks from the very popular Kerry Park which provides great views looking south into downtown Seattle. Follow the directions to get to Kerry Park, then go west on West Highland Drive to 7th Avenue West. The road heading northwest at an angle is 8th Place West, and is the one you want to take.
Take a look at photos 3 and 4 and 5, and I think you will agree that this little road is worthy of mention as an attraction to the neighborhood.
The location is very close to Kerry Park, but is one of the places that doesn't tend to be found by most tourists.
Counterbalance Park, Queen Anne Ave & Roy Street
Unfortunately, this park is not anywhere as significant as it could be, and therefore I really don't recommend taking the time out to visit this park, unless you are for some reason very close by and really want to come here for a particular reason.
Queen Anne Avenue is a very steep hill, and even today many vehicles struggle to get up the hill. This is not the case with Seattle's trolley buses, which have a considerable power plant pushing them up the hill via the overhead wires.
However, public transit climbing this hill didn't always have it this easy. The hill was simply too steep for the streetcars of early Seattle to provide enough traction to climb this steep a hill on their own.
Therefore, a "counterbalance" was arranged. At the base of the hill, the streetcar was attached to a heavy car running on tracks under the street. This "counterbalance" car would descend the hill while helping to pull the streetcar up the hill, and the process was reversed when the streetcar came back down the hill.
Much of the infrastructure of the counterbalance system remains in place beneath Queen Anne Avenue, and there have been several proposals over the years to try to make this a tourist attraction of some sort. Witness, for example:
Seattle P-I Article on the Counterbalance and its Remains
The Queen Anne Counterbalance from HistoryLink
Therefore, when I saw that there had been some significant effort put into developing a city park called "Counterbalance Park", which opened not that long ago, I had hoped that some effort might have been put into making the Counterbalance a tourist attraction. Maybe even have one of the old counterbalance cars on display?
Unfortunately, Counterbalance Park is today just a large flat city park with a few tables and benches for people to lounge around in. It's a nice park, but other than the name there is little here to commemorate the unique hill climbing mechanism that helped Queen Anne become what it is.
Your best bet is to get on Trolleybus route 2 or 13, and experience an electric vehicle climbing the hill yourself.
Amgen Helix Bridge built to look like DNA
While Elliott Bay Park is a wonderful waterfront park running from downtown Seattle and the Olympic Sculpture Park to Magnolia, the locations where this wonderful waterfront park and trail connect to it from populated areas along the way are few and far between. Elliott Avenue, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway main line, and a row of industrial and commercial buildings that do not allow the public on their land all conspire to create an effective wall between the population center north of downtown Seattle and the park.
One of the few exceptions to that "few and far between" is the Amgen Helix Bridge.
Amgen is reported to be one of the world's largest biotechnical corporations. In other words, one of the many things it works with is DNA.
What could possibly be a better pedestrain bridge than a 420 foot long representation that to some extent resemples a DNA helix? That is exactly what has been done at the Amgen Helix Bridge.
The bridge crosses some 11 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, as well as some access through commercial lands between Elliott Avenue and the railroad. The remaining obstacle of Elliott Avenue is easily crossed at a nearby traffic light, which allows people to walk down the hill through Kinnear Park or along Mercer Place to get to the bridge, to get to the park.
There are elevators at both ends of the bridge to allow people in wheelchairs or with baby strollers to get up to the bridge level.
While walking along the deck of the bridge, the center supports appear as if they are a single tube that goes beneath the walkway and then comes back up, as though you are walking through the center part of a very large double helix.
The walkway to the bridge bridge enters Elliott Bay Park very close to the public fishing pier, after making a ground level diversion around the south side of the Amgen property.
There is a small observation platform on the west end of the bridge for those wishing a view of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound from here. The bridge also features a view of downtown Seattle from the center section, where the walls of the bridge do not form an obstacle.
Assorted web sites talk about this bridge, including:
The Seattle P-I:
The Geek's Guide to Seattle
GKD Metal Fabricators:
The nearest street intersection is Prospect Place and Elliott Avenue. A number of bus routes, including 15, 18, 19, 24, and 33 on the east end of the bridge on Elliott Avenue, serve this location.
Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay from Marshall Park
Located just down the street from Kerry Park, this little viewpoint is much less visited than Kerry Park, and features a wonderful view looking West towards the Olympic Mountains and the edges of Puget Sound and Elliott Bay, though the houses of the Magnolia District sit between this viewpoint and Puget Sound, to a very limited extent (see the zoomed-out panoramic shot to see the extent of the view from here).
(While it is less visited, it is known fairly extensively among Queen Anne locals as it is part of a popular scenic jogging route - and it if is an unusually good day you will probably find at least one photographer here!)
The viewpoint has apparently long been a popular location (earlier known as Phelps Place), but disappeared from the list of places to visit by tours in 1930. In 1960, this location was preserved and named in honor of the Marshall family, which has been involved in Seattle investment banking for quite some time.
The circular observation area features anonymous artwork in honor of Betty Bowen, who was long a matron of the arts (there is an annual Seattle Art Museum award in her honor). There are also several benches and a tree.
From here I suggest taking a walk down 8th Place, which features a wide sidewalk and a stone wall. Walking along here provides a few other pleasant views of the surrounding area.
How to Get Here: Since Kerry Park is a must-see attraction in Seattle, and is located just down the road from that park, I suggest going there first, and if there is time walk five blocks west to 7th Avenue West & Highland Drive. The nearest bus route is the frequent electric bus #1, but it is downhill from the park (go up the stairs that are where Prospect Street would be if it were a through street from Olympic Way West, and continue on West Prospect street at the top of the stairs, then go up 7th Avenue West to the top of the hill, where you will find the park). Bus route 2 (also a frequent electric bus route) is uphill from the park, where the nearest bus stop is at Galer Street and 6th Avenue. It is about 5 blocks away, but it is all downhill to get to the park from there.
view of Puget Sound from Soundview Terrace Park
Crammed into a series of roads that weave up the west side of Queen Anne hill, this little playground does provide a view out to Puget Sound, though most of the view is actually westward towards Magnolia. On a clear day, you should expect a bit of a view of the Olympic Mountains as well.
Crammed into this otherwise unbuldable location is a small collection of playground equipment, park benches, and gravel and paved walkways. The plants and small trees here provide a small amount of natural surroundings, and as the surrounding streets are not major throughfares the park is a very quiet locatioin for enjoying the view.
How to Get Here: The park is located at Wheeler Street and West 11th Avenue. Elliott Avenue to 15th Avenue to Dravus to 11th, and then south to Wheeler works reasonably well, though due to the tangle of streets I would suggest taking bus route #1 (a frequent service electric bus route) and walking two blocks west on Wheeler from 10th & Wheeler.
western view from viewing deck in Kinnear Park
While nearby Kerry Park is one of the most popular photograhy spots in Seattle, for both tourists and locals, Kinnear Park also has some great views, though almost all of them look westward to Elliott Bay. A thorough exploration of the park will yield views that are wonderful, but require covering some out of the way places in the park.
While any visit to Seattle on a clear day should include a trip to Kerry Park to take the obligatory photo of the skyline and Mount Rainier, but Kinnear Park is much more pleasant due to the lesser crowds for extended visits and lingering over the views.
The park is located on a steeply sloping hill, but there are still some efforts to create playground and picnic facilities here.
There is a restroom, and on top of the restroom building there is an observation deck which provides a view above some of the trees looking west.
This park is fairly good sized, and there is a lower portion that is somewhat more thickly forested. There are a few trails that go through the park and connect the various parts.
How to Get Here: Mercer Street to 3rd Avenue West to Olympic Place provides reasonably good access. The only parking for the park is along the street. Bus route #1 (an electric bus route) provides frequent service from downtown and Seattle Center to the top part of the park, while several routes serve Elliott Avenue along the lower edge of the park.
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