ALKI BEACH - FROM FIRST SETTLERS TO FUN SEEKERS
Alki Beach is where it all began for Seattle. It was here in 1851 that the first white settlers of Seattle landed on a cold, stormy November day. In their first winter they were greeted by Chief Noah Sealth and the Duwamish people.
Picking up a word from the Chinook trade jargon, the settlers named their new home "New York Al-ki" — Al-ki meaning "by and by" New York, of course, foreshadowed a typical Seattle trait of thinking big!
The beach became a popular summer resort in the early 1900s and it still maintains that feel today, with older beachfront cottages decorated with floats and shells sandwiched between newer, glossier condominiums. It's a scene reminiscent of a California beach town.
This is the place in West Seattle to see and be seen. In the summer, scores of people take to the beach — cycling, rollerblading, jogging, playing volleyball, or just catching a few treasured Seattle rays. Popular restaurants line the street, and boutique shops offer tropical beach attire, although the temperature of the water rarely tops 56 degrees.
But unlike a resort town, things don't close down at Alki Beach when the temperature drops. People visit year-round to exercise or dine, enjoying the spectacular views of the Sound and downtown Seattle. (And speaking of downtown Seattle in summer, a passenger-only ferry runs from around the bend right to Pier 55.) In December, West Seattleites and neighbors from other parts of town join together around beach bonfires to enjoy hot cider and watch the passing Christmas Ships.
On your next visit to the beach, be sure to check out these one-of-a-kind attractions:
The Statue of Liberty
Not the real one of course, but a small replica donated to the park by Reginald H. Parsons and the Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1952. Plans are underway to have it restored due to wear and weathering.
Site of the Former Luna Park
At what was once the site of Luna Park, an amusement park in the early 1900s, sits a 2.5 ton anchor dredged up by the Northwest Divers Club. When tide is low, you can still see some of the pilings of the former park.
Monument to Seattle Founders
At Alki Point, you'll find a monument to the arrival of Seattle's first white settlers.
Newly rebuilt, the Alki Bathhouse offers art classes for individuals of all ages. Courses include pottery, cartooning, drawing, and painting.