Five of the best spots for sunrise or sunset in Seattle
It’s definitely worth being sleepless in Seattle if it means you catch that magical light at the start or the end of the day! Here are five of the best spots for sunrise or sunset in Seattle by photographers Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall
1) Seattle Waterfront
Photograph: 47.592454,-122.381905 Parking: 47.592494, -122.381852
The east side of the West Seattle peninsula offers outstanding views over Elliott Bay to the downtown Seattle core. There are four main areas used for these panoramic vistas; Jack Block Park, Seacrest Park, Don Armeni Boat Ramp, and Hamilton Viewpoint Park. Each of these areas has a slightly different advantage. Jack Block Park offers users a ramp out into the bay and a 45-foot observation tower. This park places you close to the busy dock areas of the Port of Seattle. Seacrest Park is extremely convenient for anyone who arrives by passenger ferry from Seattle. The neighboring Don Armeni Boat Ramp offers a couple of viewing areas and solid ground for setting up a tripod at sunset. Finally, Hamilton Viewpoint Park is located a couple hundred feet above Elliott Bay and has a better view of the Cascade Mountains behind the core area of downtown Seattle.
2) Elliott Bay Marina
Photograph: 47.630447,-122.389970 Parking: 47.631057, -122.390874
Elliott Bay Marina lies northwest of the downtown area of Seattle at the base of Magnolia Bluff. The marina’s location gives it an alternative look at Seattle, with a more industrial feel to the shoreline. Despite the forest of sailboat masks, both the Space Needle and Mount Rainier can be seen from the shore. From this area, it is also possible to view the massive cruise ships that dock at Terminal 91. The east end of the marina is an ideal location to photograph the Seattle skyline behind a row of sailboat masks. The west end of the marina is where you need to be to view the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop. Unless obscured by the towering sailboat mask, Mt Rainier maybe viewed throughout the marina.
3) View of Seattle and Mount Rainier from the Space Needle
Photograph: 47.622850,-122.354487 Parking: 47.625074, -122.350351
The Space Needle has an Observation Deck located 540 feet above the ground with a 360 degree view of Seattle and the Puget Sound Basin. The downtown core, with its high rise towers, is spread out at your feet to the south with Mt Rainier dominating the southern horizon. Ferries, container ships and cruise boats can be seen coming and going over Elliott Bay. West Seattle, Puget Sound, the Elliott Bay Marina, the Olympic Mountains as well as Magnolia and Queen Anne Hills fill the landscape to the northwest. The Observation Deck is open from 10am to 8pm daily. Because the view spans from east to west, anytime of day will be good for photographs with the most popular time for photographers being late afternoon and sunset.
4) Pier 66 Seattle Waterfront
It is hard to find a better view of the Seattle waterfront area than the one from Pier 66 Rooftop Park. Located on the shores of Elliott Bay, this stunning view includes the Bell Harbor Marina, the Great Wheel, downtown high rises and, if you are really lucky, Mt Rainier. The park includes numerous benches and telescopes for watching the marine traffic. Linger until the lights come on at dusk – the Great Wheel glows as the light fades on Mount Rainier.
5) View From Queen Ann Hill, Kerry Park
Photograph: 47.629416,-122.360391 Parking: 47.629592, -122.359493
The view from Kerry Park includes all of Seattle’s most iconic features and is one of the most popular city views for photographers. Many people line up along the wall overlooking the city – it is not unusual to have to wait your turn to take your place up front.
In the fall there are a few rare days when the city is covered with a low fog. Be there at sunrise to secure a spot for your tripod. If lucky you’ll catch the Space Needle popping out of the fog in the first rays of the morning sun. This may only last minutes before the fog raises up above the level of the park or simply dissipates.
For more great locations to photograph in Seattle, take a look at Vicky & Tom’s SNAPP Guide Seattle which covers 50 spots and over 200 images to inspire your trip. All images by Kirkendall-Spring Photographers.