Gas Works Park in Seattle, WA
Gas Works Park in Seattle, WA, is a beautiful and peaceful green space that many people have never heard of. In the late 1800s, it was a manufacturing plant for coal gas to power light bulbs, getting its name. It sat derelict until the 1990s when it became home to an art museum and event venue. Explore this hidden gem on Lake Union!
It’s a 20-acre park located on Lake Union, just north of downtown Seattle. The name comes from its origins as an industrial plant in the early 1900s which used natural gas to generate electricity before it was decommissioned and converted into a public space in 1975.
Colorful and modernist, the park has a mix of grassy spaces, open fields, areas with large rocks that visitors can climb on or rest at while enjoying views from across Lake Union. The playground area also features an interactive flying-saucer-type play structure for kids to enjoy. Gas Works Park is part of Seattle’s public parks system, so there are no admission fees!
History of Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park was first conceived in the early 20th century as a Seattle Gas Light Company site. The company manufactured gas from coal, which they stored on top of Kite Hill before sending it out through underground pipes to homes and businesses throughout downtown Seattle. When the industrial complex at this location closed down, Seattle City Council member John Miller proposed transforming it into an urban park – one with ‘industrial beauty’ that would serve as a reminder of what had been there before. Engineers began removing the plant equipment and contaminated soil in 1972; two years later, they saw the opening of the new public space known as Gas Works Park, or simply “The Mound” by locals (for its rise up above Lake Union).
However, it had been sealed off from the public for two years and was in a state of disrepair. Soil tests revealed high levels of lead and arsenic, which made adding plants to The Mound impossible.
In 1974, a group of artists known as “The Artist Relocation Program” was moving into the area because it had been inexpensively zoned for industrial use rather than commercial or residential purposes. They were attracted by its rough edges – especially The Mound – and the opportunity to express themselves creatively.
The artists worked with landscape architect Richard Haag, who had received permission from Seattle City Council to use The Mound as an open-air art studio in exchange for restoring it. As a result, it was what is today one of Seattle’s most popular green spaces – Gas Works Park!
Facts about the Gas Works Park
20 acres of park space with grassy areas and large rocks for climbing on.
Interactive playground area that has a flying saucer play structure.
Part of Seattle’s public parks system, so there are no admission fees!
The name comes from its origins as an industrial plant in the early 1900s which used natural gas to generate electricity before it was decommissioned and converted into a public space in 1975.
Gas Works Park is located 2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103, USA.
The name comes from its origins as an industrial plant in the early 1900s which used natural gas to generate electricity before it was decommissioned and converted into a public space in 1975. Colorful and modernist, the park has a mix of grassy rooms, open fields, areas with large rocks that visitors can climb on or rest at while enjoying views from across Lake Union. Gas Works Park is part of Seattle’s public parks system, so there are no admission fees!
What are the opening hours?
Open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year except for December 25th and 26th, when it is closed.
What are the admission fees?
There are no admission charges to enter Gas Works Park, but some of Seattle’s other public parks have parking fees.
What is the access to this park?
There are many ways you can get access to Gas Works Park. The park is located on the right-hand side of the street; the parking lot is on the right, or street parking is on the left. Parking is free for all at other times of the day or night.
What can I find here?
Aside from taking in the views (which includes Lake Union and downtown Seattle ), enjoying lunch, or reading a book while relaxing on one of several benches scattered throughout Gas Works Park, there is quite a bit! You can play basketball if that’s your thing at either of the two courts located near the center of this park. If you want to do something a bit more laid back, take time to gaze at one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks; Gas Works Park has an incredible view over Lake Union towards downtown and beyond!
Several pieces of art can be found in various parts throughout Gas Works Park. One is called “Sun Tunnels” by Nancy Holt, which was commissioned for Expo ’74 (the World’s Fair), while another installation named “The Reunion” was made from materials salvaged from the plant when it closed down. There is even a slide with views out towards Puget Sound! It may not have much as far as activities, but there certainly are some fun things to do in the gas works park!
A green space where visitors can enjoy views of Lake Union, art installations, and views from across the lake. A playground area with a flying-saucer-type play structure for kids to enjoy is located in this park.
What is prohibited?
No dogs allowed except for service animals; overnight camping or open fires; swimming or wading; fireworks, firearms, weapons, and hunting; amplified sound or music except for special events with a permit; and rollerblading.
It has over ten different structures left from its industrial past, preserved and used for things like picnic shelters and even a public sundial. The park is great to visit because of its unique history as it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was opened in 1975, only five years after first winning design approval but then had to wait another three decades before earning recognition!
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