You might not know this, but West Seattle was the original Seattle. Could you imagine the Space Needle and downtown high-rises a few miles southwest of where they are now?! It almost happened!
We often mention the story of how the Denny Party settled West Seattle in 1851 on our Duck Tours. What they soon found is that it didn’t make for the best city (they needed a deeper bay and better tides) so they moved across Elliott Bay to build Seattle where it stands today.
West Seattle still has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to its gorgeous coastline, so make sure to check out the following on your trip:
You won’t need palm trees for the ultimate seaside experience when you visit Alki Beach. In the summer you’ll find locals sunbathing, swimming and lounging on the driftwood along the sand. Check out the restaurants across the street for local seafood and a beautiful glimpse across the water.
This independent record store got its start in 1988 after two older music stores merged into one. You can shop for vinyl before or after you pop into their in-house café for coffee and a bite to eat. They often host live musicians, sometimes without announcement, so you may happen upon a free show when you wander in!
The Duwamish people are a native tribe of King County (the city of Seattle’s name comes from one of their chiefs!). They built the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center with elements of Salish design to preserve their culture. There’s also an art gallery and exhibit on-site, and a kitchen where they prepare traditional foods to continue their heritage.
Although it’s getting harder to find independent book shops (and this is the last one in West Seattle), Pegasus Book Exchange is thriving. You can find many previously owned and lightly used books at great prices among a few newer names gracing the shelves.
This beautiful lighthouse located at the end of Alki Beach is a fun summer activity to explore between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. You can take your family for a free tour of the lighthouse, which is more than 100 years old, guided by Coast Guard personnel.
There’s so much nature in West Seattle that it’ll be easy to forget you’re in a big city. Lincoln Park has a heated saltwater pool for those who want to take a dip. Camp Long offers rental cabins and a rock climbing wall if you’re looking for a little adventure. At Hamilton Viewpoint Park, Seacrest Park and Jack Block Park you’ll get amazing views of the Seattle skyline from across the bay.
If you’re looking for a downtown that’s not quite as busy as Seattle’s but still has just as much to offer, look no further than the West Seattle Junction. You’ll find all kinds of shops here; from bakeries and cafes to a pottery store and consignment shop. Bonus: there’s a farmer’s market here every Sunday from 10-2, year round!
Looking for an alternative way to get around the peninsula? Try seeing it from the water! Alki Kayak Tours offer guided tours around different parts of West Seattle and the Puget Sound. They also offer stand up paddle board, cruiser bike, longboard and inline skate rentals to get around Alki Beach or the Duwamish River!
Other bus routes that also go to West Seattle from downtown: 21, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125. Make sure to check here for up-to-date information on routes, schedules and maps!
*Did you know? Some photos that appear on this page are public domain! Neat!