Gas Works Park | Seattle’s Unusual Park
There is nothing like a good park. Tim and I often end up at one of Seattle’s many parks when we’re looking to get out of the house and enjoy the nice weather. Gas Works Park is a staple. It sits right on Lake Union, offers a great of the Seattle skyline, and has plenty of room to play and relax.
Gas Works Park (2101 N Northlake Way) is a little more than 19 acres and it sits on the north end of Lake Union. It used to be the site of a coal gasification plant, hence the name of the park. The plant operated from 1906-1956. After the plant closed, the City of Seattle took over the land and spent several years cleaning it up before opening it to the public in the mid-70s.
Today, much of the abandoned plant still sits in the middle of the park. It’s interesting to walk around the ruins and see an old plant like that up-close. Other parts of the plant have been painted and re-worked to be incorporated into a children’s play area. This old plant “leftovers” make the park strange and unusual, but it’s also what makes Gas Works Park standout.
NOTE: On a recent trip on the Argosy Cruises harbor tour, we learned that Gas Works Park was originally going to be named Myrtle Edwards Park, after the city council woman who died in a car crash in 1969. She helped the City of Seattle acquire the land after the plant shut down. However, the Edwards family asked to keep her name off the park. They didn’t like that so much of plant was being incorporated into the park, and they felt the park was ugly and it was still “toxic” from its years as a coal gasification plant. Instead, the city changed Elliott Bay Park to Myrtle Edwards Park.
Gas Works Park is probably one of the more famous Seattle parks. It’s been featured in a few movies, including 10 Thing I Hate About You and Singles. You may have also spotted the park on a few different episodes of “The Amazing Race” television show. The park’s unique features must make it appealing to the folks in Hollywood.
The park offers plenty of grassy areas and hills. You will often see people flying kites, picnicking, running, and enjoying the beautiful views. The park’s edge runs right along the lake and is directly across from South Lake Union Park and the Center for Wooden Boats, where people can rent boats for the day. The park is a great place to watch boats of all kinds out on Lake Union, including sail boats, motor boats, kayaks and canoes. You’ll also see plenty of paddle boarders.
Gas Works Park is also a great place to see the Seattle skyline. The last time Tim and I visited the park, we overheard a tourist exclaim, “WOW!” when he first saw the view of the city from Gas Works Park. You can see an unobstructed view of the north end of downtown, including the Space Needle.
My favorite thing to do at Gas Works Park is to just hang out in the grass and relax. Tim and I have taken Top Pot Donuts and coffee to the park and enjoyed a late morning snack. We have also enjoyed the late afternoon sun before a beautiful Seattle sunset on the hills of Gas Works Park. It is one of my favorite parks and I always enjoy being lazy and playing in the sun here. It’s a great place to for both Seattleites and tourists in our great city.
Have you ever been to Gas Works Park? What is your favorite thing to do at the park? We would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more fun places to adventure around the Emerald City!