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The Urban Waterfall

Posted by Johnine Larsen on September 5, 2014
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waterfall-park-1Pioneer Square has a secret waterfall. This hidden gem is twenty-two feet high, flows over granite boulders, and is open to the sky. No, it’s not tucked away in some corporate lobby, and it’s not guarded by tickettakers. Waterfall Garden Park is open to the public, and it is completely free.

The waterfall is part of a tiny park. At just 60’ x 108’, there isn’t much space, but the park uses that space well. Very well. Step away from Seattle’s gray skyscrapers, gray sky, gray roads—step away from all grayness in general—and enter the vibrant Waterfall Garden Park at 219 2nd Ave S. The place is perfect.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by trees and flowers and sculptures and cute bistro tables. It’s an oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle, and it beckons lunch-goers and readers and anyone else seeking a little big of sanctuary in the midst of a busy day.

But why?

Why does a magnificent waterfall like this exist in the middle of the city?


The answer: it acts as a sort of memorial, dedicated to the men and women of the United Parcel Service. UPS’s original headquarters once occupied this space, back in 1907, and now, The Annie E. Casey Foundation maintains this park in the mail service’s honor.

So if you find yourself in Pioneer Square and you’re sick of eating lunch in a cubicle or a crowded coffeeshop, or need a respite from stress and anxiety, or simply want to pop in and take a few pictures, the waterfall is always free. Its hours: 8 a.m to 5:45 p.m.

Few people know about this place, so even though it’s small, it’s not packed like an elevator. And in the event of rain, part of the park has a glass roof. So if you have a free half hour, feel free to stop by. You won’t regret it.


Our nearby lunch recommendations: