It’s pretty likely that you’ve driven right past Waterfall Garden Park in Seattle… on your way to a game at Century Link Stadium or when you’re heading to the train station to pick up visiting grandparents. Little did you know that you were breezing right past one of Pioneer Square’s best-kept secrets and surprisingly, for this downtown district, it’s kid-friendly! If you’re walking down Second Avenue South, you’ll probably hear Waterfall Garden Park before you realize that it’s there – the park is home to a 22-foot, man-made waterfall that will easily make you forget that you’re in the middle of the city. So yes, you can quote us on this – take your kids to Pioneer Square for a morning or afternoon outing this summer!
When to Go
Because it’s located in Pioneer Square, it’s not a surprise that they keep it locked up after the sun goes down. The gates open at 8:00 AM daily and we suggest visiting either late morning or after lunchtime, as people who work in the area like to use Waterfall Garden Park to enjoy their own lunches, taking up all of the tables. Be sure to avoid visiting Waterfall Garden Park when there is a Sounders, Seahawks or Mariners games, or any other major event at the stadiums (charity walks/runs are popular on summer weekends!) – parking will be hard to find!
Simply put, there’s no easy way to get to Pioneer Square. If you make it to downtown Seattle, it’s easy to get there by taking a straight shot down Second Avenue, then following the signs to the King Street Station to take a jog over to Second Avenue South. Most days, it’s not hard to find a metered parking spot near the park. You can also park in upper downtown in one of the swanky underground parking garages and take the underground bus tunnel to Jackson Street. Then, just walk the couple of blocks over to Waterfall Garden Park.
What to Bring
You’re going to love this outing even more when we tell you that you won’t need to bring much to visit Waterfall Garden – some snacks or lunch for a little picnic, maybe some pads of fresh paper and pencils for budding artists to sketch the waterfall and a deck of cards to play some waterfall-side Go Fish. There are plenty of places to sit and you won’t need your stroller, since the park itself is quite small.
What to See
Families who need parks with a lot of bells and whistles, Waterfall Garden Park probably isn’t for you. Visiting this hidden gem is more about the novelty of the experience – a full-blown waterfall sanctuary in the middle of the bustling city – than a day of non-stop engagement for your kids. But, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have fun here! Use a trip to Waterfall Garden to actually sit down, in a gorgeous, serene-setting that didn’t take you two-hours to get to, and talk to you kiddos, catch up as a family and just enjoy some quality time together.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of little cafes and bistros in the blocks around Waterfall Garden Park where you can grab a quick lunch, but if you’re visiting over the lunch hour, we suggest packing your favorites into the park and enjoying it while you visit! If you want to grab something in the area to bring into the park to eat, try sammies from Salumi (309 Third Avenue South).
You’ll most likely need to pay to park, unless you head to Waterfall Garden on Sunday when street parking is free! There is no admission fee to enter the park.
Good to Know
There is always an on-site attendant at Waterfall Garden Park, so you can always feel safe hanging out there with your little ones!
Waterfall Garden Park
219 Second Avenue South
Seattle, Wa 98104
Hours: Daily from 8:00am – 5:30pm
— Katie Kavulla
Photo courtesy of Robert Shaw Photographic Images via Flickr