Centennial Park on the Seattle Waterfront
Centennial Park is one of the premier waterfront parks in Seattle, and it’s easily one of our favorite spots to stroll on a sunny day in the Emerald City.
Centennial Park is just north of Myrtle Edwards Park on Elliott Bay. The two parks are actually connected, and it’s really hard to tell where one park begins and the other ends. The parks honestly seem like they’re just an extension of themselves. The only real difference between the two parks is Myrtle Edwards Park is run by the city of Seattle, while Centennial Park is operated by the Port of Seattle. Centennial Park was formerly known as Elliott Bay Park, but it was rededicated to commemorate the port’s 100th anniversary in 2011.
Tove and I love Centennial Park because of the Elliott Bay Trail that guides you right along the waterfront (the park boasts 4,100 linear feet of shoreline). The 11-acre park provides great views of Elliott Bay, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and even a sliver of the Seattle skyline. Since the trail is right along the water, we often spot sea life hanging out in Elliott Bay (mostly seals and sea lions).
NOTE: Centennial Park (along with Myrtle Edwards Park) is one of our favorite spots for a sunset. We love watching the sun drop down behind the Olympic Mountains, lighting up the night sky in amazing colors. We’ve watched more sunsets from here than anywhere else in Seattle.
On top of the amazing waterfront trail, Centennial Park is also home to a nice rose garden. It’s not huge, but there are several different types of roses. I especially like the Centennial Park rose garden for taking pictures. It isn’t far off the water, so you can capture some cool pictures of the roses with Elliott Bay (and possibly some boats) in the background. The Space Needle is also visible from the Centennial Park rose garden, so you can get some neat shots of the Seattle icon, too.
Another major attraction at Centennial Park is the Elliott Bay public fishing pier. You can either bring your own gear and fish for free, or you can rent fishing equipment (and get a license) at the park’s tackle shop. If you’re hungry, the tackle shop also serves up food, drinks (non-alcoholic, sorry), and ice cream. Salmon, rockfish, lingcod, squid and Dungeness crab are commonly pulled out of the water here.
Centennial Park is also home to a large grain terminal (if you’ve ever been on the waterfront, you know exactly what I’m talking about), exercise stations (pull-up bars, etc.), a restored totem pole, picnic tables, benches, and restrooms. The Elliott Bay Trail will also eventually lead you by the cruise ship terminal in Smith Cove, if that’s something you’re interested in seeing as well.
Centennial Park is open everyday from 6am-11pm. It’s not the easiest to access (click here for a map). You can either park in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, walk across the pedestrian bridge on 3rd Ave. W., and then walk north through Myrtle Edwards Park, or you can park near Elliott Ave. W. and take the Amgen Helix Bridge across to Centennial Park. The other option is to start your adventure near Alaskan Way and stroll the 1.3 miles to Centennial Park (a great walk, run or bike on a nice day).
If you’ve ever hung out along the Seattle waterfront, there’s a good chance you’ve been to Centennial Park and you didn’t even know it. If you haven’t been here before, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you venture into Myrtle Edwards Park (and possibly even the Seattle waterfront) as well. It’s easily one of our favorite areas in the city.
Have you ever spent time in Centennial Park? What do you think of it? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to experience in the Emerald City!