Seattle is a gorgeous city if you can see past the seemingly perpetual gray. It boasts the breathtaking beauty of the nearby mountains, the sparkling if somewhat polluted waters of Puget Sound, no shortage of greenery, and a character-rich skyline. When I first moved to the Seattle area a couple of years ago, I lived in Seatac. Every time I hopped in my car and made my way to the big scary city, I couldn't help but smile when downtown came into view. Because it is just that good-looking (from a distance, that is. Up close, downtown is a tad on the terrifying side but still fun). What are some of the best places to soak up a city view?
There isn't a lot to Kerry Park. It's a small neighborhood park in Queen Anne that has a bland statue, some kids' play equipment, and a few other nonremarkable amenities. What really sets Kerry Park apart is the view. I've only been there in the fog, as evidenced by the photograph below, but I was still impressed by the view. The other photograph is from Flickr. Kerry Park address: 211 W Highland Drive Seattle, WA 98119.
image via Flickr by tiffany98101
The Alaskan Way Viaduct
While I recognize that I should keep my eyes on the road and not goggle at the city while I'm driving, sometimes it's hard to resist. If you're heading north, this stretch of Highway 99 gives you a great look at the Great Wheel, Eliot Bay, and the mountains on the left while downtown's architecture towers above you on the right.
I'm a little sad that the Alaskan Way Viaduct is in its waning days, soon to be replaced by a dreary and depressing tunnel. That is, if they ever finish building the tunnel. We'll see.
Ursula Judkins Viewpoint
I drive by this one almost every day (another reason to get distracted--yikes!). The view takes in the water as well as downtown. While it isn't the best-beyond-best view of the city, it still has a touch of that essential breathtaking quality. I want to get a picture from here, but by the time I remember, I'm usually way beyond my opportunity to pull over. It's on W Galer Street just off the Magnolia Bridge.
West Seattle has a quirky vibe all its own, but one of its best traits is the scenery. Whether you stop at Admiral Viewpoint, Hamilton Viewpoint Park, or Jack Block Park, you're in for a treat. Alki Beach also gives an unforgettable perspective on the Seattle skyline.
Sky View Observatory
The observation deck of the Columbia Center in downtown is the highest public observation deck west of the Mississippi River. Personally, this does not appeal to me as much as admiring Seattle architecture from afar, but I think it's worth a go (of course, when I wanted to go, it was foggy out so I didn't bother to spend the money. But someday...)