Partial view of downtown Seattle, Port of Seattle, and Olympics
12th Ave S. between McClellan and Forest
I stumbled over mention of the 12th Avenue South Viewpoint on a list of photography spots quite a while back and added it to my list of parks to visit on Beacon Hill. But as Seattle viewpoints go, it turns out this one isn’t terribly impressive, at least when the trees are fully leafed out. It does provide an unusual view though, and could interest some photographers because of that.
The park is similar to Sunset Hill in design. It’s a grass strip between a quiet neighborhood street and the edge of a bluff.
The only park features are the sign and two benches. One of the benches is oddly placed, because pretty much the only thing you can see while sitting there is a bank of blackberry brambles.
The park is just roomy enough to play catch with a Frisbee or kick a ball around, but it would benefit greatly from a couple picnic tables to draw more people in.
The view has a lot of obstructions in the form of trees and bushes. You can see the West Seattle Bridge, Port of Seattle, Olympic Mountains, and a partial (distant) view of downtown. Due to the angle you do get to see the top of the Space Needle, which is unusual for viewpoints on the southeast side of the city.
Fall and winter are probably the best seasons. Fall, after mid-October, for some leaf color. Winter because the Olympics always look their best with a blanket of snow, and you’ll get a better view with the leaves gone from the trees.
This isn’t a viewpoint to go out of your way to visit unless you make a hobby out of seeing all the Seattle viewpoints. But if you’re in the area you might want to drop by just to see everything from a different angle. It could be an interesting location for industrial-themed sunsets with the port cranes. For people living in the area it’s a nice open spot to go to soak up some sun.
Things to Know
6 am – 10 pm
Two benches. No picnic tables.
Street parking along the length of the park. Plenty of space available.
I’d guess the 12th Avenue Viewpoint is used almost exclusively by locals and the occasional wandering photographer, and not very heavily due to the lack of amenities such as a picnic area or playground. It’s probably popular for sunsets though.
I was there on a beautiful Sunday in mid-October and the only other people I saw was a group of five who were traveling around in a car together. I think they were tourists because when they asked me about the area I directed them to the better view at Jose Rizal Park, which they’d never heard of before.