Good Urban Park

Strolling through Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park on a nice day you get the feeling that you’re in a real urban neighborhood in a real city.  No other park in Seattle does it better.

65 Responses to “Good Urban Park”

  1. blaster99

    What the f*ck does that mean? The hipsters there have the pretension level or a “real” city? Give me a break.

  2. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    Is that a throw-down challenge to other parks in Seattle? I think I have to agree, though. The location and the fountain are awesome.

    The playground at Denny Park is now open, by the way. It’s small but I like it–there are more creative play designs than equipment. Phase 2 is supposed to include a “water feature” but I don’t know if I’ll be able to step into it.

  3. JoshMahar

    So true! @1 you certainly don’t go to this park very often because its amazingly diverse. Dodgeball, slackline walkers, the yellow hat band, crazy-good hacky sackers, not to mention that the child’s play area is always full. It reminds me of Union Square in New York.

    I always go back to this this Jacobs quote but, life attracts life. There are so many things to do in the park, and perhaps more importantly, there are so many places to sit and watch those things happen.

    I wish so more parks in Seattle could be like this. I think Seattle Center could be if they design it better and somehow open it up a little more to the surrounding streets.

  4. Steve

    It’s especially amazing how great Cal Anderson park is given what it used to be — back before they covered the reservoir, I remember actively avoiding it, at least the parts north of the sports fields…

  5. Kathryn

    There really is not ‘they’ about it. One of the Cap Hill papers did a great article on the woman who was instrumental in getting the reservoir covered and the park developed to what it is today. I can’t find it!

    Anyway, she lived in that little house and ran the framing shop out of it. It was ironic that where her house was is now part of the station. She has moved to High Point and I am sure will work for improvements that folks will be enjoying for years to come the way we are about Cal Anderson.

    Great things are happening now in the Pike Pine and Broadway areas. With the folks who live and work there being serious about creating a wonderful place. I’d note that zoning designations in the abstract is not really enough.

    Witness the difference between the building along the north side of Pine between 14th and 15th that appears to be multiple buildings, versus the monolithic structure on the SE corner of Pine and 15th.

  6. dan cortland

    Different parks serve different needs.

  7. Pascal Aulne

    I’m so tired of this “real city” business. What makes a city “real”? Since this park is more crowded than other parks in the city, that makes it more “real”?

    People don’t play pétanque in my neighborhood park, so I guess Ballard’s not part of the “real city” and must just be a figment of my imagination.

    I’d have to agree with commenter #1, hipsters do not a city make. Additionally, most of them spend hours griping about how much they hate Seattle and how it isn’t a “real city”. Go figure!

  8. Michael

    Wow folks really reading between the lines aren’t we? I would not classify a single person in that photo as a “hipster”. There are old people, young kids, and a bunch of people playing what looks like bocce ball. Lets not get so defensive.

    I have to agree with the posting that this is one of Seattle’s finest parks. There is something for everyone. A fountain to stare at, ball fields to play, tennis courts that double as bike polo/dodge ball/skate parks when not used as tennis courts, a children’s playground, grass fields to lay in, and a plethora of people watching!

    Spending time at Cal Anderson will make you feel like you are part of a VERY vibrant and active city. What is so hipster about that?

  9. d

    capitol hill is finally getting some transcendent spaces for ball play.

  10. Bill

    The “woman who was instrumental” referred to by Kathryn (#5) is Kay Rood. She deserves a lot of credit.

  11. Kathryn

    Thanka Bill. If anyone can find the article, not sure if it was CHS or Cap Hill Times, they interviewed Kay Rood as she was packing up to move and told the story of Cal Anderson Park.

  12. Matt the Engineer

    @3 See I was going to point to Seattle Center as a possible 2nd place candidate. I love to go on sunny weekends to watch the mass of children playing in the fountain.

  13. Bill

    Searching the archives of the “Capitol Hill Times” Web site for Kay Rood produces five or six articles, most of which are about the park.

  14. Wes Kirkman

    I’ve noticed people in this City outside Cap Hill have some serious hate for the neighborhood. I assume it is jealousy because they think they can’t afford it, but that’s just my piecing random people’s comments together. BTW: that kid in orange is def hipster.

    Thanks Dan B for this posting. I was just talking with coworkers this morning about how awesome this park is for the same exact reasons mentioned here. After having spent the entire weekend here working on my Seattle suntan (a wonderful color of salmon), I couldn’t help but brag about it.

  15. Get_Real

    @1: what a moron. Perhaps the Eastside is more your style.

    I rarely get to Cap Hill anymore. When I do go, I always try to walk through Cal Anderson Park; it’s such a great space filled with diverse people doing diverse things. I think that’s what is meant by a “real park” in a “real city”.

    It’s just a fantastically designed space that you can’t help but walk into and through. When the trees get bigger, it’s going to be even more amazing.

  16. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    Just search: Kay Rood Cal Anderson and there’s some gems, including an article about the park written by her at HistoryLink.

  17. Jazzyjazz

    Hi, I can’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you help me, please :)

  18. “The Right To The City” | hugeasscity

    [...] year the City of Seattle snuck “security” cameras into Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.  When the news got there was some short-lived public outcry and the ACLU [...]

  19. Time Passages (They Grow Up So Fast) | hugeasscity

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