Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle, WA
Seattle’s first historical park is a place where the community can gather and enjoy the sights of nature. Located in West Seattle, Dr. Jose Rizal Park is full of activities that will keep you entertained all day long! From walking trails to playgrounds, visitors can do plenty of things when they come out to this public space.
The people behind this project were dedicated to making it an experience unlike any other- something that would stay with you long after your visit was over and make you want to go back again and again. They wanted it to be a place where residents could feel at home and welcome while still beautiful enough for tourists who might not live here year-round.
History of the Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle
The Dr. Jose Rizal Park was dedicated on July 16, 1981, by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) to commemorate Seattle’s first historic park and a memorial for Filipino independence leader, JOSE RIZAL, who visited Seattle in 1882. Located at Beacon Hill neighborhood near the downtown area of Seattle with mainly residential buildings surrounding it, this small triangular-shaped property is bounded by South Alaska Street on the south side, 14th Avenue S to its west side facing two large apartment complexes named The Royal Crest Apartments and The Harborview Towers. Its north edge meets Beacon Avenue S, where cars pass through, heading towards the I-90 tunnel ramp project currently under construction, while to its east side is a small parking lot overlooking the Interstate-90 and State Route 99. The park is situated near where Jose Rizal along with Puno, Ureta, and Ponce stayed when they arrived in Seattle on May 31, 1882, aboard the ship SS Diamon via San Francisco from Hong Kong after their Japan tour of more than two months to study about coal mines technologies for future industrialization of the Philippines.
Filipino American artist Napoleon Abueva designed Rizal Park. The latter also created other monuments such as the Bonifacio Monument at Corregidor Island, which commemorates Gregorio del Pilar’s victory over Spanish troops during his first significant action in Tirad Pass, Aguinaldo Shrine located at Kawit, Cavite, which was the home of Emilio Aguinaldo, first President of the Philippines and designer of our Philippine Flag in 1897, Rizal Monument at Luneta Park Manila where Jose Rizal was executed by musketry on December 30, 1896, as a martyr during Spanish colonization.
Abueva’s design for Dr. Jose Rizal Park is an open circle symbolizing equality among all races with three major sections: The entry gate from 14th Avenue S has two tall flagpoles bearing the United States and Philippine flags facing each other to represent the friendship between these two countries; a circular fountain near center part is surrounded by four fountains spraying jets of water representing life-giving elements such as earth (north), wind (east), fire (south) and water (west); a bronze bust of Dr. Jose Rizal is located on the south side facing the Royal Crest Apartments where he stayed with his two friends when they visited Seattle during 1882, and flowers surrounding it with benches for resting representing the renewal of life. The park rests on three major points: north, west, and east sides symbolizing past, present, and future, respectively.
Dr. Jose Rizal Park has earned many awards, such as first place in the International Garden Festival at Osaka Japan in 1985, Grand Award Winner from Pacific Coast Chapter Council of Landscape Architects Associations’ Design Competition in 1986, etc. This trendy gathering place was full of activities like public such as celebrations or protests organized by Filipino American community organizations, mainly the FANHS, The Philippine Independence Day Council, Samahang Pilipino, etc.; it was also visited by many dignitaries from both Philippines and United States.
Facts about the Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Dr. Jose Rizal Park is the only park in Seattle named after a Filipino hero. It is home to the Filipino Community Center. Dr. Jose Rizal Park has been the site of many protests, including Filipino American community organizations, mainly the FANHS, The Philippine Independence Day Council, and The Filipino American Political Action Group. There is a community garden located in the park that was started by Eddie Bulosan, author of the classic novel America is in the Heart. This book inspired many Filipinos to immigrate to this country.
The Dr. Jose Rizal Park is one of Seattle’s most popular parks for weddings and receptions with its beautiful gardens, walkways, fountains, and more. The Dr. Jose Rizal Park is located on a historical site where many culturally significant events occurred or were created like:
- Oratorio de San Felipe Neri (built-in 1904) was the first Filipino Catholic parish church founded by Rev. Peter Crespin, a French priest. The latter helped Filipinos form the Roman Catholic Church here in Washington State. It also holds occasional concerts throughout the year, including classical music recitals for piano, violin, vocalists, and more!
- A statue of St. Martin de Porres, as a gift from Hawaii’s sister state, Hawaii!
- The first Filipino newspaper in the US was founded here by Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo called Ilocos Times (1912)
Reason to visit the Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle
Many activities will keep you entertained all day long, from walking trails and playgrounds to swingsets. The people behind this project were dedicated to making it an experience unlike any other- something that would stay with you long after your visit was over and make you want to go back again!
You can see the Seattle skyline from here. Exotic plants and flowers, including birds of paradise. There is even an aviary with colorful tropical birds. The park also has beautiful gardens, walkways, statues of winged dragons, and other mythical creatures. Dr. Jose Rizal Park also offers a safe place for kids to play during the day with its fountains, swings, slides…and more! It is located in a residential neighborhood, so it’s not very crowded on weekdays but fills up quickly on weekends when people come from all over Seattle to enjoy this beautiful park. Seattle’s Chinatown/ID neighborhood is just minutes away from the University of Washington, where you can find many activities happening throughout the week or year that are open to anyone to attend.
Dr. Jose Rizal Park has many beautiful and historical monuments and statues, including:
- Statues of saints Peter and Paul, patrons of the oratorio that was built on this site.
- The sculptures symbolize Mother Earth (the woman with her arms raised to support the globe), Father Time (the man who holds up his clock), Youthful Progress (a young male figure holding an electric light bulb), Refreshment of Sleep (man seated on bench reading newspaper while resting head against backrest), Prosperity by Labor (male worker carrying wheat sheaf), and Education (the female figure holding a book).
- The Wing Luke Museum showcases many artifacts from the Asian Pacific Islander American community and tells their fascinating stories.
Location and Admission
Rizal Park is located at 1007 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144, United States.
It is bordered by E. Harrison Street on the east, 28th Avenue East on the west, and Belmont Ave to Lake Washington Blvd along the north and south.
It is situated at Lake Washington Blvd and E. Harrison Street in Madison Valley, which lies to the east side of Capitol Hill, north of Madrona and south of Leschi.
The park is easily accessible by bus or car. There are parking lots on both sides of the park and a garage nearby as well – It’s within walking distance from downtown Seattle, so you can get some exercise while exploring this historic neighborhood. Free parking is available in the block to the north of Dr. Jose Rizal Park on King St between Maynard and Juneau.
Dr. Jose Rizal Park is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year! Please check their website for more information. Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle is free and open to the public.
Phone: +1 206-684-4075
Website: Dr. Jose Rizal Park
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