You don’t need Amazon stock to afford a skyscraper view of Seattle. All you need is a free half hour and the guts to do a little exploring. There’s a rooftop park on the seventh floor of the Fourth and Madison building, and the sights are incredible.
It’s a penthouse-quality view for the rest of us. And the place itself is beautiful, too. You’ll find manicured grass and ornamental trees and a sense of peacefulness. And while the tables and chairs are nothing to write home about, they make for a great place to eat lunch, read a book, or just sit and watch the city.
Okay, it’s technically not a park. It’s a POPOS. A privately owned public open space. There are a few of these oddities scattered around Seattle, but the rooftop garden on the 4th and Madison building is one of the city’s best. The rooftop garden is part of the Fourth & Madison building, but it’s open to the public (for free!). Just enter the building, take the podium elevator to the seventh floor, and there you are: enjoying skyline views from one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets.
This rooftop park is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Just make sure you take the podium elevator to get there (the one closest to 3rd Avenue). You might feel out of place, but that’s where guts come into play. If you have trouble finding it, just ask! The staff will help you out.
For those curious about why exactly something like this exists: A POPOS is a result of Seattle’s Land Use Code, which offers developers incentives if they include a public space on their property. Those incentives? Usually permission to build higher than the normal restrictions would otherwise allow. Other buildings with a POPOS include Safeco Tower and the Seattle Municipal Tower. Few of them, however, are as good as the rooftop garden on the Fourth & Madison building.
Looking for another a hidden oasis in the middle of the city? Check out Waterfall Garden Park in Pioneer Square.