Seattle's Unrealized Central Park - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Seattle's Unrealized Central Park

$35 per person
2 hours
Up to 10 people
See Dates
$35 per person
Seattle, Washington
What We’ll Do

Join me for a virtual tour of the failed Seattle Commons project. The park was a proposed redevelopment plan for South Lake Union, the neighborhood now at the center of Seattle’s tech-fueled population explosion. It was narrowly voted down by Seattleites in the mid-1990's. Referred to as “Seattle’s Central Park,” the plan would have created a large urban park in the center of the neighborhood, which is now occupied by blocks of skyscrapers. We’ll do a virtual tour of the area, learning about the various development plans and major land transformations throughout South Lake Union’s history. You’ll hear about the political and economic trends that led to the Seattle Commons plan and its rejection by Seattle voters, and we’ll discuss the future of Seattle’s urban core in the wake of the current population boom.

Where We’ll Be

This is a 100% ONLINE experience, and we will be discussing South Lake Union (SLU), the fastest-growing neighborhood in America's fastest-growing city.

If Seattle voters had voted slightly differently in the mid-1990s, it would have been a huge city park called the Seattle Commons. Despite what it could have become, SLU does have three public spaces: Denny Park, Cascade Park, SLU Park, which we will discuss in-depth.

About Your Host

Hi, I’m Chris, a member of the Atlas Obscura community.

As a 10-year resident of Seattle, I've witnessed firsthand how my city has rapidly changed. When I moved here, I became acquainted with this region as an AmeriCorps volunteer, doing environmental restoration in Seattle's urban parks. I learned more about regional policy and planning processes as a graduate student at the University of Washington, where I earned a Master's degree in public administration. The failed Seattle Commons plan is an intriguing case study in urban planning and Seattle politics. I'm excited to offer a walking tour of this ambitious project, and I hope you'll join me!

For questions about this experience, please contact me directly through Airbnb.

What Else You Should Know

The tour meets up in Denny Park and ends at Lake Union Park. This is a walking tour with a total distance of about 1.5 miles. Wear comfortable shoes and attire. We will walk rain or shine, so watch the weather and prepare accordingly.

Group Size

There are 10 spots available on this experience.

Who Can Come

Guests ages 18 and up can attend. Parents may also bring children under 2 years of age.

What to Bring
  • Water
  • A snack
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Appropriate weather gear if necessary (umbrella, raincoat, etc.)
Cancellation Policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase. See cancellation policy.

What We’ll Provide

I will provide printed maps and short informational packets.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

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