Amenities

Art in the Park

About

Located between 6th and 9th Avenues, Freeway Park is bounded on the north by Union and on the south by Spring Street. To the east is First Hill, to the west the park overlooks Seattle's financial center. Freeway Park provides a space where residents, shoppers, downtown office workers, hotel visitors and the whole array of people from all backgrounds who make up the downtown population may come together to enjoy the social elements of a city park. 

Jim Ellis has been a lifelong civic leader who led the effort to create Freeway Park in 1976. Ellis also spearheaded initiatives to clean up Lake Washington in the 1950s; to finance mass transit, parks, pools, and other public facilities through "Forward Thrust" bond issues in the 1960s; to preserve farmlands in the 1970s; to build and later expand the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in the 1980s; and to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway along the I-90 corridor in the 1990s. Most of the projects he was involved in happened only after years of opposition and were a direct result of Mr. Ellis' tenacity. Freeway Park was championed by Jim Ellis and built with the Forward Thrust funds in 1976.

The idea for a downtown park over the freeway is as old as the Seattle segment of Interstate 5 itself. By the time the last light through the city was completed in 1966, public-spirited individuals and the city, county and state officials were already talking about constructing a lid over the below-grade portion separating first hill from downtown.

With Forward Thrust bond money, as well as county, state and federal funding, the five-acre park became a reality in 1976. Seattle's Freeway Park, was the first park in the world to be built atop a freeway. Lawrence Halprin & Associates, under the design direction of Angela Danadjieva, designed the groundbreaking work of landscape architecture. In 2019 the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Current Projects

Visit the Freeway Park Improvements project page for more information about the project.

Jim Ellis Freeway Park Fountain Discharge Retrofit

Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the fountain retrofit construction contract to reroute the discharge from the American Legion, Paul Piggott, and Canyon Cascade fountains from the storm drains to the sanitary sewer to JEM Contractors. This project was developed to upgrade the fountains to meet the new water quality code that was approved in 2012.

The American Legion and Paul Piggott Fountains improvements are complete and fully functional. We worked with WSDOT, the Design Team, Parks Engineering, and the Contractor to resolve the issues we have with the Canyon Cascade Fountain. A revised building permit has been approved and once the concrete strike is over we will re-mobilize on site to complete the project. We hope to have the construction contractor back on site in August to complete the work on the Canyon Cascade Fountain before the end of the year. We also are experiencing mechanical issues at the American Legion Fountain and the Paul Piggott Corridor. Thank you for your patience as we work to return all three fountains back to operations. 

If you have questions or need more information about the Freeway Park Fountain project, contact Sandra Albertsen at:
Sandra.Albertsen@seattle.gov or (206) 684-8938

Downtown parks special events

Center City Parks are full of  arts, concerts, festivals and random acts of urban fun. Our park concierges have information to help you plan your visit and games so that you can play in the park. Learn more about downtown park events on our Downtown and Center City Parks page.