Touring Along Link Light Rail

It’s been a little over a year since Link Light Rail opened – have you gone for a ride yet? If you haven’t, you haven’t experienced the hidden gems that dot the South Seattle landscape – the shops, parks and restaurants that these neighborhoods are known for. So, plan a day where you can hop the Link in downtown Seattle and ride the rails, stopping at five of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods along the way.

Stop 1: Beacon Hill

It’s the only underground stop on the trip, but as soon as you arrive, there is a lot to see! Look up from the boarding platform to see the art installation “Space Forms” – a purple starship, a spotted red dragon, green jellyfish hang from the ceiling.

Step off the train and visit:

  • The Beacon Hill Library at 2821 Beacon Ave S. and browse through the shelves of books, music and DVDs
  • El Centro de la Raza – the center for people of all races – and learn what this extraordinary nonprofit is doing in our city and state.

Stop 2: Mount Baker

The only elevated station on our tour overlooks one of the busiest intersections of South Seattle – that of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Rainier Avenue South. But, there is no shortage of activities here.

Step off the train and visit:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park – a four-and-a-half acre park designed around a black granite “mountain” inspired by the civil rights leader’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech made the day before he was assassinated in 1968.
  • You’re probably getting hungry by now. How about barbeque? Jones Barbeque is a family-owned restaurant since 1991 – make sure to leave room for the peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, pecan pie and cheesecakes!

Stop 3: Columbia City

You may not know it, but the third stop on our tour is to a neighborhood in the most diverse zip code in the country! Hop off the train and stop in one of the many ethnic restaurants in the historic business district fronting Rainier Avenue South.

If you are there on Wednesday between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., stop by one of the 40 vendors at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market on Edmunds Street between 37th and the alley of 36th streets. If you’re there too early, don’t worry – light rail will pass by Columbia City on your way back downtown.

Stop 4: Othello

The fourth stop on our tour along Light Rail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of South Seattle’s green spaces. With 20 acres of parks within a quarter mile, including Othello Park just steps from the station, there is no excuse not to enjoy the great outdoors!

Step off the train and visit:

  • The now infamous Taco Truck at 3513 Rainier Ave South is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Visit the indoor and outdoor vendor stalls at Othello Public Market at Martin Luther King Way South and South Othello Street to savor a “multicultural potpourri of food.”

Stop 5: Rainier Beach

The last stop on our tour is Rainier Beach – long synonymous with the area high school that has won numerous state athletic titles in its 50 year history. Did you know that the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft went to Rainier Beach High School?

There is a lot to do in Rainier Beach so plan on spending a little time, or coming back for a second day.

  • Visit the Kubota Garden– a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants.
  • Visit Seattle’s first public kindergarten at Emerson School – did you know Seattle icon Fred Hutchinson is a graduate of Emerson?

That’s it for our tour – do you know any other hidden gems along Link Light Rail that you are willing to share? If so, share them with us!