The Emerald City has another jewel in its crown: the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront of downtown Seattle. It officially opens to the public Saturday and Sunday January 20-21, and I recommend stopping by for a stroll when you are next in the area.

Whatever your particular tastes and however you may feel about the modern sculptures represented throughout the park, it’s a bold urban move in a prime development spot that ended up being preserved for public space and urban lifestyle. It also connects the city core literally with the water again: it has returned 850 feet of shoreline back to a more naturally sloped and publicly accessible topography, right in the middle of downtown Seattle.

The meandering path and architectural control emphasizes integration with the art, yet the views are expansive outwards to Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountain range, downtown skyscrapers, ferry traffic, and even Mt Rainier. One stop shopping for all the local classics there.

And perhaps one of the most impressive feats is invisible to the casual visitor: $64M of the park’s $85M total were from private donors, not from government tax sources.

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