Here's a bold claim: the Olympic Sculpture Park might just have something for everyone. Located on the waterfront, not far from Pike Place Market, it features great views of Puget Sound (well, on clear days) and the ferries going back and forth. Stroll the paths and admire the sculptures large and small scattered throughout the park, or sit on the many chairs and benches and admire the view. There's a nearby bike trail, and the Neukom Vivarium (a giant 60-foot rainforest log ecosystem in a greenhouse) is just steps away. Best of all, it's free! Get a dose of culture and then head down to the waterfront for some fish 'n' chips.
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"visual dialogue" racing down a hill
Art. Outdoors. Free. Just north of downtown Seattle, on a 're-purposed' terraced hillside overlooking Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains beyond, is the Olympic Sculpture Park.
On an uncharacteristically clear January afternoon, this sculpture caught our eyes...What is it? Those of us who grew up with word-processing and computers have probably never used one of these...it's an old-fashioned typewriter eraser. And that's the title of this stainless-steel-and-fiberglass sculpture: "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X," a piece by husband-and-wife team Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
In the artists' words:
"We don't copy the objects we use, we try to transform them and we hope they go on transforming as you look at them. The idea of endless public dialogue...visual dialogue...is very important to us."
The sculpture park is open 365 days a year, from dawn to dusk, just north of downtown Seattle, in the Belltown neighborhood.
A quick walk north of Pike's Public Market is the Olympic Sculpture Park. Part of the Seattle Art Museum, this dedicated area is full of steel, forged and twisted into over a dozen shapes, sizes, and painted various colors. It's free to wander the park, which also provides a great view of glorious Elliott Bay (even in the rain).
Morning jog with Running Evolution through the Olympic Sculpture Park
Running clubs are a great opportunity to meet locals and get their recommendations for things to do around the city.
I took a run on a chilly Saturday through the Olympic Sculpture Park with Running Evolution for Seattle Before8, and received no less than ten suggestions for future places to visit and restaurants to try by the time we were finished.
The Sculpture Park is a fantastic running route, and opens up into a trail that takes you north along the Elliott Bay shoreline. The view of the ferry in the distance is tremendous, and there is always interesting wildlife that you can see up close and personal.
High on my list of top ten sculpture parks, Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park is an open and inviting scene. The park is designed by architects Weiss/Manfredi who won the park’s international design competition and is filled with famous, contemporary artwork. The public space offers multi-level vistas allowing visitors to view sculpture with perfect backdrops of the Seattle skyline or Elliot Bay.
This is where Seattle presents an impressive sculpture collection in a creative outdoor space, that may otherwise have been a challenging urban site divided by a highway. The park's path meanders through oversized sculptures like Richard Serra's The Wave and Claus Oldenburg's Typewriter Eraser, to an overpass with more fun art on Seattle's waterfront.
One thing I loved is how much seating there was - by the café and near the sculptures, orange café chairs are scattered throughout. This makes it a little friendlier to elderly, or visitors wishing they brought blankets...like the group sitting in the shade of a giant orange Calder.
If you like exploring what new cities have to offer outdoors, this park is a must with 360° sights. The sculpture park also joins with a longer, paved, waterfront walking/biking path called the Elliot Bay Trail.
100% picturesque and definitely the place to be when the sun is out!
N.B. there are tours, a great place for sunset, and it’s free.