4.4
8 votes

Gas Works Park Seattle

2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, Washington 98103 USA

Free
Free to Visit
Open Now
Sat 6a-10p
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • Outdoor
    Seating

“A former gas plant turned public park”

When dealing with abandoned buildings, like the city of Seattle was when their gasification plant was rendered useless by their switch to natural gas in 1956, most would probably jump at the chance to tear everything down and start building something else from scratch-- but Seattle isn't most cities. Rather than develop the land into another plant, they saw the chance to build one of the world's coolest public parks, today known as Gas Works Park. It was definitely a great use of the space-- it's right on the shore of Lake Union and offers an unbeatable view of the Seattle city skyline.  As you can imagine, the abandoned gas plant, which converted coal and crude oil into gas to power the city, wasn't the cleanest place when it was first purchased by Seattle, but it was decontaminated and fixed up to make it look spiffy. Despite the fact that the place needed a good scrub down, the city decided to leave a lot of the old structures standing, like the synthetic natural gas generator towers. They were built between the 1930's and 1940's, and it gives you a good idea of how much work went into providing power for Seattle back in the day (they could manufacture millions of cubic feet of gas a day)-- and how much things have changed in the 70 years since then. Some of the structures weren't just preserved-- a few, like the pump house and boiler house, have been converted into public park buildings. The boiler house, which provided steam to power the engines and for the gasification process, is now a picnic shelter and the pump house, where air was compressed for the oxygen extraction process and where finished gas was pumped into storage or out to customers, is now a play barn. In the play barn, much of the original equipment is still in place and incorporated into the playground equipment. The city also built a kite-flying hill into the park; on top of the hill is a sculpted sundial designed by local artists. The hill makes a great place for events and celebrations, like fireworks and concerts and (back in the day) rallies and protests. But even when there's nothing major going on at the park, it's still a perfect was to spend a Pacfic Northwest afternoon-- whether you want to explore the old plant or sun yourself on the hill with a picnic lunch and contemplate the fact that something once considered a toxic eyesore is now one of the city's most beloved parks, it's worth a visit. -Roadtrippers Gas Works Park in Seattle, Washington is a 19.1 acres (77,000 m2) public park on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, located on the north shore of Lake Union at the south end of the Wallingford neighborhood. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places January 2, 2013, more than a decade after being nominated. Gas Works park contains remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the US. The plant operated from 1906 to 1956, and was bought by the City of Seattle for park purposes in 1962. The park opened to the public in 1975. The park was designed by Seattle landscape architect Richard Haag, who won the American Society of Landscape Architects Presidents Award of Design Excellence for the project. It was originally named Myrtle Edwards Park, after the city councilwoman who had spearheaded the drive to acquire the site and who died in a car crash in 1969. In 1972, the Edwards family requested that her name be taken off the park because the design called for the retention of much of the plant. In 1976, Elliott Bay Park was renamed Myrtle Edwards Park.

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Reviewed by
Dana Newkirk

  • Road Warrior
  • 298 Reviews
  • 325 Helpful
July 02, 2014
Rated 5.0

Gas Works Park is an excellent place to hang out on the rare days when the rain gives Seattle a break. There's always tons of people picnicking, or flying kites, or just enjoying the nice weather. It's a great place to take pictures, also. On one side you've got the crazy industrial plant, and on the other side you've got the beautiful coast and mountains. And the best part? It's free. One of my favorite places in the city!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 315 Reviews
  • 324 Helpful
August 24, 2014
Rated 4.0

Easily the coolest park in Seattle. The city decided to take an old coal refinery and instead of tearing it all down, they left it up and it remains a really neat centerpiece in the park. There's some really fantastic views of downtown, and Gasworks is one of the best places to check out a New Years or 4th of July fireworks show. There's plenty of parking, and tons of room so you won't feel crowded if you decide to have a picnic or just relax with a book.

Be sure to head up onto the hill and check out the big, working sundial!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Caitlin Prior

  • Expert
  • 91 Reviews
  • 80 Helpful
July 30, 2014
Rated 4.0

Do to lake sediment containing hazardous substances you cannot swim, fish or wade in the park. So stay out of the water and enjoy the green areas!

1 person found this review helpful

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Gas Works Park Seattle

2101 N Northlake Way
Seattle, Washington
98103 USA

Hours

Open now until 10:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm

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  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Private Parking
  • Yes Parking

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