Kerry Park is one of Seattle’s many parks, but it’s one of the most famous. And it’s famous for one simple reason—this park has one of the best views in town. Kerry Park’s iconic view of the Seattle skyline is widely published in photographs and probably just about anyone who has seen a skyline photo has seen this view, yet they may or may not know where to go see the view for themselves. While you’re at the park, you can also catch views of Mt. Rainier and Elliott Bay.
How to Visit and How to Get There
Kerry Park is located at 211 W. Highland Drive and is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The park is not very large and is essentially a narrow strip of grass with a sculpture at its center and the viewing wall along the opposite end from the street. Parking is available on the neighborhood streets surrounding the park.
Kerry Park is named for Albert Kerry, a Northwest lumberman who was also known for his involvement in the community. He served as vice president of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 and had a hand in the financing and direction of the building of the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle in 1924. Aside from Kerry Park in Seattle, a town in Oregon and a town in Washington where he set up lumber mills are also named after him.
The park has its genesis in the surrounding Queen Anne neighborhood’s battle to keep their views unobstructed. Around the turn of the 20th century, folks living on West Highland Drive bought the block between First and Second Avenues West to this purpose. And later, they also bought up the lot across the street to keep developers out. That lot was donated to the city in 1927 and later became Kerry Park. The name was chosen because Albert Kerry contributed a healthy sum toward the purchase of the lot.
Kerry’s children also donated funds to purchase the “Changing Form” sculpture by Doris Chase within the park.
What to See
First and foremost, see the view. That’s what you came here to do. However, there can be a fine art to choosing the best time to see the said view. While there is no bad time to visit (even a moody rainy or foggy skyline is still pretty cool), visiting at sunset is pretty magical. Watching the city’s lights come on and enjoying the city painted with sunset colors is pure date night bliss.
This park is also popular with photographers, professional and amateur alike. Set up your tripod and snap photos of the skyline and Elliott Bay. The 15-foot-tall sculpture at the center of the park with its giant cutouts also makes its way into a fair number of photos. Kids will likely enjoy climbing on the sculpture as well.
A stairway on the west side of the park leads down to a smaller park at the bottom of the hill called Bayview-Kinnear Park, which has a small playground. It’s technically a separate park, but it’s so close that the kids won’t know the difference.
What Else to Do Nearby
Kerry Park’s location in Queen Anne ensures that you’re close to many things to do if you visit. Just a few blocks away is Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, which makes a perfect complement to the park on a summer evening.
Seattle Center with its plethora of attractions is less than a mile away. If you’re visiting the city, it’s easy to take in Seattle’s most iconic view and then go straight to the Seattle Center and see the Space Needle up close as well as visit the Pacific Science Center, MoPop, see a show, or ride the Monorail to downtown Seattle for dinner.
Lake Union is also just about a mile away. Take in the lake from Lake Union Park while you dine on some food truck fare (look for a food truck or two in the parking lot). The park is also home to a playground, Daniel’s Broiler (an upscale restaurant that serves steakhouse fare), the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) where you can learn more about Seattle’s industrial and maritime past, and the Center for Wooden Boats, where you can rent a boat to get out on the lake or just take a look at the wooden boats on display.