Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Urban water walk

It is perhaps not news that it rains in Seattle therefore when the forecast looked like rain we planned a rainy day city hike.  The household downsizing-cleaning project has complicated the hiking schedule so a destination in the downtown business section of the city instead of driving an hour or two to the mountains or beaches seemed like a good choice.  The adventure began with the Freeway Park.  I have driven under the park many times but had never visited it.  We parked the car in the Convention Center garage and headed out to find as many water sculptures as we had energy and time to do.  This meant going up and down some very steep inclines and walking about 3 miles round trip.   It also involved a stop for lunch and a browse through the Mystery Book Store where all the books for sale are mysteries.

Here is a sampling of what we saw . . .

This walkway greets the visitor as he or she exits the Convention Center.

Then the park opens up and it is amazing to see plants and trees growing on top of the freeway.

One section is called “The Canyon” and has several waterfalls.  A sign explains that water is employed in the park to deaden the sound of traffic and it is very effective.  The soothing sound of the water is more pleasant than the bustle and noise of cars and buses.

There were still a number of beautiful flowers in bloom.

Across the street from Freeway Park is a George Tsutakawa water sculpture.  Tsutakawa was a well-known painter and sculptor in Seattle.  In the 1970s he built approximately 75 fountains of which several are found in the Seattle area and others can be found throughout the world but not all of them still have flowing water.

Naramore Fountain by George Tsutakawa, 1967 made of bronze and concrete it is located at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Seneca Street.
 Another Tsutakawa fountain, shown below, is placed in front of the main branch of the public library.  Unfortunately the day we visited it the water was not flowing through the sculpture so we did not get the full effect.  We later learned that the water in some fountains is turned off during the fall and winter months.

One fountain was a simple configuration of nozzles or spouts in the sidewalk.  The water rushed up and then ran off the side to a running channel, was recycled and shot up again and again.  We saw something very similar to this in Salzburg, Austria.  There on a hot summer day little children played with the water as it spouted up out of the sidewalk.

The Waterfall Park is found near Pioneer Square and is a lovely courtyard of trees, flowers, and water.  The park was donated to the city by the Annie B. Casey foundation in 1977 to honor United Parcel employees.  A small welcome plaque states that this site is the birthplace of United Parcel.  

Across from the Seattle Art Museum is the long stairway, the top two sections have small falls. 

Two Union Square has a secluded courtyard with a beautiful waterfall, tables and chairs and two balconies that afford views looking down onto the falls.

The Mystery Bookshop was a fun side stop and a good place to pick up a couple of books.

We stopped at the Juicy Café in the Convention center for a “bowl” lunch that was served in a paper box—Ginger Peanut Chicken Salad in one bowl and Italian Chicken Pesto Salad in the other.

Yum, yum
Looking down from the café level we noticed yet another fountain inside the Convention Center


  1. Thanks for sharing! Seattle is such a beautiful city!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I agree, Seattle is a beautiful city. There are so many different things to find throughout the city.