West Seattle is a dotted with parks, greenspace, and shoreline, but if you ask locals what single feature defines this bustling district, it’s Alki Beach Park, one of the iconic beaches in Seattle. Taking its name from Chinook dialect, “alki” means “by and by,” as poetic a name for this gorgeous strip of beach as one could hope to summon. The next time you find yourself in the neighborhood near Origins Cannabis, we invite you to take a moment to savor this authentic slice of West Seattle life.
Alki Beach Park History
In addition to its natural beauty—a 2.5-mile beach walk that draws joggers, bicyclists, strollers, and beachcombers—Alki Beach played a significant role in the history of the city and the larger region. On a cold, stormy and unpleasant November 13, 1851, the Denny Party—the first Caucasian settlers—arrived on the schooner Exact to stake their claims to the nascent Seattle. The full story is full of drama, rivalry and, oddly enough, skunks, and is well worth further reading.
Alki Beach would not long remain the center of town; the tides were too strong to build permanent piers. Before long, the main body of settlers would decamp to the site of the future Pioneer Square and what is now central Seattle. But Alki Beach would remain a vibrant part of West Seattle life.
By the start of the 20th century it was the terminus of the electric streetcar line “all the way from Seattle,” and in 1907 became the site of the grandiose Luna Park (named for the pre-existing Coney Island amusement park). Boasting heated saltwater pools, a Ferris wheel, an enormous carousel imported from Germany and a restaurant, Luna Park was a major attraction for decades until a fire destroyed the park.
Alki Beach Park was formalized in 1910, making it the first municipal saltwater beach on the West Coast. Similarly trendsetting, the Alki Bathhouse, which still stands, was constructed the following year. In yet another first, the city’s first flight—albeit in a hot air balloon—originated at Luna Park in 1908.
Alki Beach Park Today
These days, Alki Beach Park is less a hotspot than a peaceful, relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of central Seattle, a few miles to the northeast. The park offers stunning views of Puget Sound, its busy maritime traffic, and in the distance the snow-capped splendor of the Olympic mountain range.
It’s well worth a stop before or after visiting Origins Cannabis, your local recreational dispensary in West Seattle, and whether or not you’ve partaken in our locally sourced cannabis products, you’re sure to be knocked out by its natural beauty and grace of this most special of the Seattle beaches.