Lonely Planet review
Hovering over train tracks, in an unlikely oasis between the water and busy Elliott Ave, is the 8.5-acre, $85-million Olympic Sculpture Park. Worth a visit just for its views of the Olympic Mountains over Elliott Bay, the park has begun to grow into its long-range plan.
Among the highlights is The Eagle , Alexander Calder’s 39ft-tall red steel creation from 1971, which crouches along the horizon of the park. The thing probably weighs about a ton, but from where it’s positioned, it looks like it’s about to launch itself off the top of the hill and into the distant mountains.
The sculpture park is an excellent lesson in how to make the most out of limited urban space. Its Z-shaped path slinks back and forth between Belltown, busy Elliott Ave and the edge of the bay, rescuing three parcels of land and filling them with art and plant life.
Starting from the bottom, Tony Smith’s Wandering Rocks zigzags up the hill in the Ketcham Families Grove, described on signs as ‘a deciduous forest of quaking aspen’ – well, eventually. It’s just beginning to sprout now, but it’s still pretty. More than 20 large pieces of sculpture dot the landscape, including Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, with its weird blue sprouts bristling over Elliott Ave.
The glass building at the top of the park contains a small cafe, restrooms, a gift shop and visitor information.