Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle’s Beloved Beach Spot

Alki Beach, located in the West Seattle neighborhood, holds a significant place in the city’s history as the original landing point for the settlers who went on to establish Seattle. The 135.9-acre park consists of the Elliott Bay beach stretching from Alki Point to Duwamish Head. Apart from its historical importance, the beach offers a variety of recreational activities throughout the year, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

The picturesque Alki Beach Park provides a half-mile of beachfront that holds the title of being the first public salt-water bathing beach on the west coast of the United States. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach during any season and indulge in various summertime activities such as jogging, rollerblading, volleyball, sunbathing, bicycling, and more. The iconic Alki Point Lighthouse, built in 1913, serves as a fully functioning Coast Guard lighthouse and offers free tours to the public on weekend afternoons during the summer.

Alki Beach’s vibrant atmosphere is further enhanced by the presence of several cafes and restaurants along Alki Avenue, offering a range of outdoor dining options. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or simply seeking a beautiful, relaxing destination in Seattle, Alki Beach promises to leave you with memorable experiences and breathtaking views of Elliott Bay.

Alki Beach Park

Beach Features

Located in the West Seattle neighborhood, Alki Beach Park covers 135.9 acres and has about a 1.5-mile-long sandy beach stretch between Alki Point and Duwamish Head. Known as the first public salt-water bathing beach on the west coast of the United States, the park is open daily and offers different amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Visiting Alki Beach Park also provides an opportunity to see the six-foot tall Statue of Liberty roughly halfway along the beach. Standing as a visual reminder of Seattle’s ongoing commitment to freedom, liberty, and openness, this replica serves as an occasional community meeting point.

Activities

Alki Beach Park is a popular destination throughout the year for a variety of activities, such as:

  • Walking along the beach
  • Jogging
  • Rollerblading
  • Playing beach volleyball
  • Sunbathing
  • Bicycling
  • Strolling

Seasonal events also engage the community and bring people together on the sandy shores.

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Facilities

Alki Beach Park offers a range of facilities to cater to visitors, making it an enjoyable place for everyone. Some of the available facilities include:

  • Parking: Ample parking spaces can be found along the beach area, allowing easy access.
  • Picnic Tables: The park features several picnic tables, making it suitable for visitors to enjoy a meal on the beach.
  • Restroom: Public restrooms are available within the park for the convenience of its visitors.
  • Bathhouse: The historical Bathhouse serves as a multi-purpose facility, and can be rented for various events.
  • Grills: Grill facilities make it easy to prepare food for gatherings and picnics.
  • Fire Pits: To safely enjoy a bonfire or to warm up on cooler days, the park provides fire pits for users.

Among these amenities is Alki Beach Pier, a prominent feature of the park that draws interest, providing a captivating view of the waterfront. With its stunning surroundings and numerous facilities, Alki Beach Park remains a welcoming place for locals and tourists alike.

Waterfront Activities

Water-Based Recreations

Alki Beach, located in West Seattle, is a popular destination for a variety of water-based activities during the summer months. Visitors can enjoy the calm waters of Puget Sound, ideal for activities such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. The Alki Beach Water Taxi also provides an opportunity to explore the area from a different perspective while enjoying stunning views of the Seattle skyline.

Land-Based Recreations

Alki Beach boasts a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of land-based recreational options. Beach volleyball is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, with volleyball courts and nets available for public use. The park also offers sports fields, tennis courts, and a play area for children, ensuring a fun day for the entire family.

For those preferring a more leisurely experience, Alki Beach features a picturesque beachfront promenade, perfect for walking, jogging, or rollerblading, while enjoying views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The beach offers various amenities such as grills and fire pits, making it an ideal destination for picnics and gatherings. Nearby, Golden Gardens Park in Ballard serves as another great option for beachgoers interested in exploring the area’s waterfront parks.

Furthermore, Alki Beach is home to several waterfront restaurants, providing ample opportunities to dine and unwind with stunning views of the Seattle skyline from across Elliot Bay. Overall, Alki Beach offers an abundance of activities and experiences, making it a must-visit destination in West Seattle.

Natural Attractions

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Alki Point Lighthouse

Located on a rocky outcrop at the westernmost point of Alki Beach, the Alki Point Lighthouse is an important Coast Guard-operated navigation facility. The Pacific Northwest’s coastline can be treacherous for seafaring vessels, making the guiding light of Alki Point Lighthouse invaluable. Visitors to Seattle’s Alki Beach Park can appreciate this historical gem from the outside or attend one of the scheduled public tours that grant access to the tower.

Beachside Parks

Adjacent to Alki Beach itself, you will find delightful parks and recreational spaces, providing a blend of sun, sand, and greens. Seattle Parks and Recreation maintain these attractions for visitors to enjoy, offering various activities and amenities.

Seacrest Park

Seacrest Park is located near the eastern end of Alki Beach, along Elliott Bay. Known for its tranquil ambiance and lovely views, it is a perfect picnic spot or just a place to relax. Here you can find:

  • Fishing pier
  • Boat launch
  • Kayak rentals
  • Paddle boarding opportunities

Luna Park

A short walk from Alki Beach lies Luna Park, once the site of Seattle’s first amusement park. Though the original park is long gone, the area remains a pleasant waterfront green space for leisure activities. At Luna Park, you can:

  • Explore the rocky shoreline
  • Play at a small playground
  • Enjoy a view of the Seattle skyline

Lincoln Park

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Further south of Alki Beach is Lincoln Park, a larger park covering almost 135 acres. Lincoln Park offers a variety of outdoor activities and beautiful scenery for visitors. Highlights of Lincoln Park include:

  • Miles of wooded and waterside trails
  • Tennis courts
  • Playgrounds
  • Sports fields
  • Wading pool
  • Colman Pool, a heated seawater pool on the waterfront

These natural attractions, combined with Alki Beach’s sandy shores and the stunning Pacific Northwest backdrop, make for a memorable visit to Seattle’s Alki Beach Park area.

Dining and Drinking

Alki Beach Restaurants

Seattle’s Alki Beach offers a diverse range of dining options, reflecting the vibrancy of West Seattle’s food scene. One of the iconic spots to eat near the beach is Alki Spud Fish & Chips, which opened in 1935 and has been serving delicious fish and chips ever since. For those craving pizza, Pizzeria Credo located just a short distance from the beach, receives rave reviews for its amazing pizza and friendly staff.

Seafood lovers will appreciate the elegance of Harry’s Beach House, where the atmosphere feels like a well-appointed friend’s home and the seafood dishes are heavenly. Another option for seafood enthusiasts is Duke’s Seafood located at 2516 Alki Ave SW, which offers a variety of dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking waterside view of Seattle, try Salty’s on Alki Beach. The view is truly unforgettable!

Bars

For those who enjoy a tasty beverage with their meal or simply want to unwind by the beach, a visit to one of Alki Beach’s bars is a must. West Seattle Brewing is a popular brewpub located nearby that offers a rotating selection of craft beers on tap along with refreshing salads and flavorful bites.

Cafes

To satisfy your caffeine cravings or enjoy a light bite, a visit to one of Alki Beach’s cafes is in order. Although there is a Starbucks close by for those who prefer familiar chain locations, there are also local options that provide a unique and cozy atmosphere. Cactus Alki Beach is a Mexican restaurant with a great selection of cocktails, making it a popular destination for both dining and enjoying a pleasant cafe experience.

For a beachside spot with a bit of everything, Marination Ma Kai is a must-visit, offering a fusion of Hawaiian and Korean flavors for both food and drinks. Located right on the beach, it’s a perfect spot to sample delicious fare while enjoying Alki Beach’s stunning views.

Getting There and Parking

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

How Far is Alki Beach From Downtown Seattle?

Alki Beach is located in West Seattle and is easily accessible from downtown Seattle. There are two main ways to reach Alki Beach from downtown. One option is to drive across the West Seattle Bridge, taking the Harbor Avenue exit. This waterfront road runs parallel to the beach and offers numerous parking opportunities close to the beach and other amenities.

For those who prefer a more scenic route, the West Seattle Water Taxi is another option. This ferry service connects downtown Seattle to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From Seacrest Park, it’s just a short walk or bike ride along the picturesque Harbor Avenue to reach Alki Beach.

When it comes to parking, there are several options available near Alki Beach:

  • Along Harbor Avenue: This road offers street parking and is lined with parking spots close to the beach.
  • Diamond Parking Lot #A683: This lot is located within a short walk from the beach and offers 28 spots, with a 2-hour rate of $5.

Biking to Alki Beach

Alki Beach is very bike-friendly, and many cyclists choose to ride to the beach. From downtown Seattle, it is possible to take the Interbay bike route via the Elliot Bay Trail and then cross the West Seattle Bridge to reach Alki Beach. The West Seattle Water Taxi also allows bikes onboard, making it easy for cyclists to combine a ferry ride with a bike ride to Alki Beach.

Additional Information

Keep in mind the following information when planning your visit to Alki Beach:

  • Alki Beach Park has volleyball courts that are in high demand during warmer months. To reserve a court in advance, call 206-684-4062.
  • Alki Beach Park is one of only two parks in the city of Seattle that allows bonfires all year round, in designated fire pits.
  • The beach is located at 2665 Alki Avenue Southwest, along the water at the tip of West Seattle.

History and Symbols

Statue of Liberty Replica

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Alki Beach features a replica of the Statue of Liberty, which has become a symbol of liberty and courage for the local community. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue became a place for people to mourn, reflect, and leave mementos.

Alki Beach’s Past

Alki Beach is considered the birthplace of Seattle. It was the landing site of the first white settlers in the city on a stormy day in November 1851. These settlers, known as the Denny Party, were aided through their first winter by the Duwamish people, led by Chief Seattle. They named the area New York-Alki, with “Alki” being a native word meaning “by and by,” reflecting their hope for the future growth of the settlement.

Eventually, the city’s center shifted to what is now Pioneer Square, but Alki Beach remained an important part of Seattle’s history. Today, the beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, with attractions such as:

  • Alki Bathhouse: A historical building that now serves as a community center and event space
  • Shops: A variety of shops along the beach offer food, drinks, and souvenirs
  • Seaweed: Alki Beach is known for its abundant seaweed, which provides a natural habitat for marine life

In addition to its cultural and historical significance, Alki Beach also has a few noteworthy landmarks. The Alki Point Lighthouse is a fully functioning Coast Guard lighthouse that offers free tours to the public on weekend afternoons during the summer months. The Alki Beach Park, operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation, spans 135.9 acres and features 0.5 miles of beachfront, making it the first public salt-water bathing beach on the west coast.

Nearby West Seattle Neighborhoods and Attractions

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Alki Beach, located in West Seattle, is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. It offers picturesque views of the Puget Sound and the downtown skyline, making it a great spot for outdoor activities and relaxation. In addition to Alki Beach, the West Seattle area boasts a variety of unique attractions and neighborhoods worth exploring.

Admiral

Adjacent to Alki Beach is the Admiral neighborhood, known for its bustling shops, restaurants, and entertainment. A trip through Admiral presents an opportunity to treat yourself to a delicious meal or explore its heritage at the Log House Museum.

Delridge & Fairmount

For nature enthusiasts, the Delridge and Fairmount neighborhoods boast a network of parks and trails, such as the Camp Long and the Schmitz Preserve Park. Walking and hiking through these areas provide a lush, green escape right at the city’s doorstep.

Fauntleroy

The Fauntleroy neighborhood, with its ferry terminal connecting to Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula, serves as a gateway to further exploration beyond West Seattle’s borders. It also hosts the beautiful Lincoln Park, offering breathtaking waterfront views and multiple walking or biking trails.

High Point & Highland Park

High Point and Highland Park are residential neighborhoods characterized by their cultural diversity and community-centered atmosphere. Both locations have several parks and sports facilities, including the always active Delridge Community Center.

Morgan Junction & Pigeon Point

Morgan Junction and Pigeon Point highlight the dynamic combination of urban and suburban living found in West Seattle. They feature an array of shops, restaurants, coffee bars, and public spaces, such as the Morgan Junction Park.

Puget Ridge & Riverview

The Puget Ridge and Riverview neighborhoods, situated near the Duwamish Waterway and South Seattle College, showcase captivating views and provide access to essential community resources. Here, you can explore the sprawling campus or learn about Seattle’s rich history at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.

Roxhill Park

For thrill-seekers, Roxhill Park, located in the Roxhill neighborhood, offers a world-class skate park and exciting playground for kids. In contrast, South Park provides a vibrant arts scene and hosts various cultural events throughout the year.

West Seattle Junction

Finally, the West Seattle Junction blends shopping, dining, and entertainment into a lively urban environment. Here, visitors can shop at a variety of boutiques, dine at local eateries or enjoy events like the West Seattle Art Walk.

Although safety concerns, such as police presence and occasional incidents like drive-by shootings, should always be considered when exploring any urban area, West Seattle neighborhoods generally maintain a strong sense of community and pride among residents. Public input and pilot programs help continuously improve the quality of life in these areas. So while visiting the stunning Alki Beach, don’t forget to venture out into these fascinating West Seattle neighborhoods and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture.

Give Alki Beach a Visit!

Alki Beach: Discover West Seattle's Beloved Beach Spot

Alki Beach, located in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, boasts a storied history and breathtaking views that attract visitors year-round. As the original landing point for settlers who established the city of Seattle, the beach features several spots of historical and cultural significance. With 135.9 acres of park space, Alki Beach Park consists of the Elliott Bay beach between Alki Point and Duwamish Head, presenting half a mile of beachfront to explore.

Visitors to Alki Beach Park can partake in a variety of activities, including jogging, rollerblading, sunbathing, bicycling, and beach volleyball. The park is a popular destination for long walks, be it in summer or any other time of the year. Along Alki Avenue, beachgoers will find casual beachside cafes and restaurants offering a range of outdoor dining options. The area is also home to the fully functioning Alki Point Lighthouse, a Coast Guard-operated landmark, which provides free tours to the public on weekend afternoons during the summer months.

Rich in history and brimming with beautiful views, Alki Beach immerses visitors in a vibrant atmosphere, fostering memorable experiences and making it a must-visit destination in the city of Seattle.


Sources:

https://www.seattle.gov/parks/allparks/alki-beach-park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alki_Beach_Park

About the author

My name is April, and I’m a Seattle-based writer, traveler, and foodie. I started this travel guide blog to share my passion for Seattle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best coffee shops, the trendiest restaurants, or the most scenic hiking trails, I’ve got you covered.

When I’m not writing or exploring Seattle, you can find me watching movies with my husband, reading, or gardening with my dog in the backyard.

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