A charming beach community bordering Elliot Bay and Puget Sound, Alki boasts some of the nicest waterfront property and beach leisure in all Seattle. Catering to those craving the southern California beach scene, Alki is a popular tourist destination for Seattleites, and one may frequently find them biking, rollerblading, and walking along the nearly 2.5 mile stretch of boardwalk. With an abundance of parks, midcentury bungalows, the requisite lighthouse, and a small but idyllic downtown, this community is a welcome relief from city living. It even has a miniature Statue of Liberty.
Alki Articles and Reviews
More to Alki…
Alki is more multifaceted than the most touristy, California-esk beach in the Seattle area! Yes, on a warm, sunny Seattle day there is nothing better than ice cream melting down your very pale arm as you stroll the beach watching the incredible variety other tan-impaired Seattleites enjoy their day in their way… which is often much different than expected.
However, our favorite summer day to visit Alki is the day of the SeaFair Fleet Week Parade of Ships. Seattle is a water town and very much a Navy area with bases sprinkled around the Sound. Every year this is a sparkling, clear day where Seattle shines in the background as the vessels cruise through the glistening cobalt waters of Elliott Bay. It is a red, white and blue letter day!
Another awesome adventure in the Alki nabe is around the tip and a little bit to the south. During low tides unusual sea life is on display here. Seattle Aquarium naturalists are sometimes on hand to name the interesting creatures. There are all sorts of slimy sea creatures to enjoy – brightly colored sea stars are the, well, yes, star of the show, but moon snails, crabs, and molted anemones are pretty cool too. If you are very, very lucky you may spot the ultimate prize the giant Pacific octopus… good luck and happy hunting.
SeaFair Parade of Ships & Low Tide
Reflection off tan-impaired Seattlites in summer!
In Seattle we don’t usually go to “the beach.” When we do though, we’re going to Alki Beach. I can’t say I’ve gone there much in the winter but it used to be one of the kids’ favorite spot in the summer. If I had a dollar for every time we packed up the van, braved the heavy summer traffic and went to “the beach” for the day I could almost pay for the parking.
My wife always managed to talk me into it by tempting me with fresh seafood afterwards though. Walking off a fried clam and chips basket on the boardwalk (which is actually paved) with a view of the mountains, ahh, that’s a good Saturday.
I recommend this neighborhood for all California transplants looking to break into your new, slightly rainier, lives slowly.
Seafood, Boardwalk, Good Views
Ah, Sun, Beach, Girls, Booze, I Love Califo- Uh, Seattle, I Mean…
Alki might as well not be in Seattle, as it sure doesn’t feel like the rest of the city. Centered around the sprawling and beautiful Alki Beach, this nabe tends to feel more like southern California with large soulless condos and immaculately kept lawns, if southern California saw very little sun six months of the year, and you couldn’t swim in the water without getting hypothermia ever. Oh yeah, you can see mountains from the beach, lots of them, and lots of snow, something you can’t really do in California. Alki has a vibe all it’s own from the rest of the city, and during the summer, the people watching is unparalleled along the boardwalk.
Obviously, with Alki being the location of the best beach in town, it’s a tourist magnet, but it is also a locals magnet. The food is great, if typical beach fare, fried food and frozen cocktails abound near the boardwalk, but it is also packed with upscale establishments offering excellent seafood. Live music can be found almost nightly on the beach during the summer, allowing the locals to see some excellent local bands play outdoors in probably the most stunning venue in the city, and it allows the tourists to get a more intimate perspective on the local cultural scene.
During the summer, the beach gets packed, the people get drunk, and the clothes come off. You can depend on Alki to give you a good time at any given moment during the summer, and during the grey rainy winter months, it just might give you a sense of tranquility, as there is very little like standing on the beach in the rain watching the clouds rolling over the Olympic Mountains. That experience is uniquely Seattle, even if the summer months offer something that is a little off-kilter from Seattle’s unique vibe.
Alki Beach (West Seattle)
Alki Beach defines Seattle’s summer experience and it’s one of the first places many people flock to when we get a break from rainy weather. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of traffic congestion and sometimes parking can be difficult. The best time to visit would be during odd hours while everyone is working. It’s one of my favorite places for longboarding, running, and sitting in the sun. I make full use of the boardwalk all the way from Harbor Ave through the end of Alki Ave on the board. The only downside is that on sunny days, trying to navigate through thick crowds can be very annoying as many like to walk on the bike path as you get closer to the sandy parts of the beach.
It has just about everything except for retail shops. If you need beach gear, check out Coastal and if you want a tasty burger, try Pepperdock. Just make sure you add bacon!