With such companies as Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks based there, Seattle has seen considerable economic growth in recent years—and it shows in the city’s infrastructure, which has become increasingly walker-friendly. “Seattle provides a great variety of terrain to walk,” says Barbara Reisinger, a Seattle-based racewalking coach for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s Team Challenge. “Walkers are able to get a distinct feel for each of the unique neighborhoods that make up Seattle while also enjoying some of its most famous landmarks.”
Best Walk: Waterfront Elliott Bay Trail
For a beautiful three-mile stroll along Puget Sound, begin at Pier 57, home to the Seattle Great Wheel. Head northwest along Alaskan Way, with the water to your left. After passing Waterfront Park and the Seattle Aquarium, enter the Olympic Sculpture Park, which provides a great view of the Space Needle to the northeast. Zigzag back to the waterfront path and continue north, with spectacular sightings of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound, as you travel through Myrtle Edwards Park and then Centennial Park. End your hike (or turn around to double the distance) where the Elliott Bay Trail intersects with 16th Avenue, just before the Magnolia Bridge. To access the map, click here.
Alternate Walk: Gas Works Park and Fremont
This 3.2-mile walk showcases the fun and funky neighborhood of Fremont, while offering unique views of the city across the lake. Start at North Pacific and 35th streets, walking south to meet the Burke-Gilman Trail. Pass through Gas Works Park, exiting it to the west, staying on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Head west along the trail until it joins up with North 34th Street at Stone Way North. Follow North 34th Street west to its intersection with Fremont Avenue North. (Snap a photo here of the famous statue “Waiting for the Interurban.”) Cross Fremont Avenue North, with the drawbridge to your left, still heading west along North 34th Street, until you reach Phinney Avenue North. Turn right on Phinney Avenue, then right on North 36th Street. Cross under the Aurora Bridge, where you can climb on the beloved “Fremont Troll” sculpture. Continue along North 36th Street to Stone Way North, and turn right to head south toward the water. Follow the road as it curves left and becomes Northlake Way and then Northlake Place, into Gas Works Park, to its southern tip, and then north past the Gasworks slackline. Rejoin the Burke-Gilman trail and walk north, back to your starting point.
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