Discover Kerry Park
Kerry Park has long maintained its reputation for being an iconic viewpoint park in the Queen Anne Hill neighbourhood of Seattle, Washington. On a clear day, the unsurpassed view of Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle is also blessed with the appearance of Mount Rainier; moody and impressive in the background. Step into any gift store in Seattle and at least one postcard will depict the city from this incredible vantage point!
Sunset is a particularly popular time at Kerry Park. Tourists and locals alike will line the wall for a glimpse at the skyline as the various city lights start to twinkle. Glowing ferries glide across the Puget Sound waterway and the Space Needle shines like a beacon from its 500ft pedestal.
History of Kerry Park
Originally, Kerry Park was part of Mr. and Mrs. Albert S. Kerry’s private estate. But the businessman and philanthropist gifted the small area of land to the city of Seattle in 1926, under the condition that it be turned into a public park. At the time, the neighbourhood surrounding Kerry Park was a quiet and affluent residential area and the park was intended to serve as a peaceful retreat for local residents. In 1928 the park opened to the public and Kerry's wishes were granted. Today, the small viewpoint landmark is a safe place where everyone is welcome to enjoy its view.
Features of Kerry Park
Despite its tiny nature as a sliver of green encompassing little over one acre, Kerry Park is deemed the most stunning location from which to view Seattle’s skyline. It includes two small lawn sections, a large metal sculpture, two coin operated telescopes, a railing, and several benches positioned south, towards the panoramic view. Steps near the west end of the park lead to a small children’s playground below and there is a paved walkway that winds along the wall and railing.
Over the years the park has been modified and improved to enhance the visitor's overall experience. In 1971, the Kerry’s three children donated the large steel sculpture which stretches 15 ft into the sky at the centre of the park. It is titled Changing Form and was created by Doris Totten Chase. Today, the hollow nature of the sculpture has proven popular with children visiting the park, who enjoy playing in it.
The View from Kerry Park
Since the view is what entices visitors to Kerry Park – and is the sole reason for its creation – we felt it deserved its very own section! Alongside gracing countless postcards, the view also features as the backdrop for local news segments, films, and tv series. For instance, it is the opening scene in 10 Things I Hate About You and appears at regular intervals in Fraiser.
The view itself incorporates the Space Needle, iconic downtown skyline, Mount Rainier (or The Mountain, as local Seattleites refer to it), the Port of Seattle, West Seattle, and Elliott Bay. But several of these landmarks will not be visible unless it is a clear day!
Next up, “where is the best view from Kerry Park?” I hear you ask! Well the answer lies in the west because of the trees lining the Queen Anne Hill at the eastern end of the park. The view is also best in the winter time, when the trees below have lost all their leaves. Although if you visit Kerry Park during the Autumn months you will be wowed by the vibrant hues of the park trees’ red, orange, and gold tinged leaves.
Bring along your binoculars or coins to activate the telescopes for clearer details, and the chance to identify lots of other significant Seattle landmarks! And if you're interested in finding other parks that offer incredible views of Mount Rainier and beyond, check out our article on the Olympic Sculpture Park!
Kerry Park as a Safe Haven
Seattle prides itself on its warm and welcoming reputation towards marginalised groups. And the Queen Anne neighbourhood is known for being a diverse and inclusive community. Consequently, Kerry Park has provided a safe place for many marginalised groups including Seattle’s LGBTQ+ community. Every year, during the Seattle Pride Parade, the park is decorated with rainbow flags and other symbols of LGBTQ+ pride. It is a testament to the resilience and strength of the community, and a reminder of the struggles they have faced in the past and continue to face today.
Kerry Park demonstrates that one small act of kindness can have a mighty impact on a whole city of people. Even tourists have determined that no trip to the city would be complete without a visit to the viewpoint. And whether its early in the morning, in the afternoon, or to catch a dreamy sunset, there’s clearly no wrong time to make the trip!
The Kerry family believed in the park’s magic and the need to preserve it for future generations, but I wonder if they ever envisioned that their generous gift would become such a loved and valued part of Seattle?
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our CityDays Urban Exploration Games - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of cities around the world.