Pioneer Square Alley Exploration

Many folks retreat to the indoors when it is raining. I decided to embrace the wetness on this rainy day and head outside for some urban exploration. My destination: Pioneer Square.

This Tlingit totem pole stands in Pioneer Square.

Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, Pioneer Square is rich in history, culture and quirky haunts. A Tlingit totem pole, a waterfall and the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park are an easy walk of each other. Art galleries and restaurants share the neighborhood with high tech start ups and homeless shelters.

I like Pioneer Square because of its people-friendly design and public spaces. Streets tend to be narrow so traffic moves slowly, making it perfect for pedestrians and bicyclists. Parks and public squares invite you to sit, linger, and engage with the neighborhood.

Nord-Alley-bikesSince it’s a drippy day, I don’t spend much time sitting. Instead I explore this oldest part of Seattle by wandering its streets and alleys. The Pioneer Square community believes alleys are more than a place to stash trash. They promote alleys as people space.

The Alley Network Project helped Pioneer Square citizens and businesses activate the alleys as people space. Boarded up doors and windows were opened up and used again. Plant baskets, artwork and lights were installed. Instead of dark, creepy passageways to be avoided, the alleys were inviting people to use them.

So I explored them. I walked through an alley delighted to see an open doorway, hanging plants, and bikes. More importantly, I wasn’t the only person using the alley. On this wet day, as I photographed the alley environment as it was reflected in a puddle, I captured this mystery woman in a beautiful red coat as she dashed by.


What are the alleys in your community like? Are they active spaces that welcome people?

9 thoughts on “Pioneer Square Alley Exploration

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  1. Having moved from our capital city St. John’s I now have no alleys, just clear open spaces, I do enjoy reading about yours though. I admit to knowing nothing about Seattle, so I am becoming both educated and entertained while reading your blog. I like you’re adventurous attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That alley photo, with the images reflected on the puddle brought me out of my solitary voyeurism, with the need to say: WOW! You have done it again! What an eye you have…now giving it new voice in written form. I saved the flick and carry the wish I was three spirit forward through my day. Thank you, Louise!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that image on the bottom! Is that the ivy-covered building on one side of Occidental Park? I live between Madison Valley and Capitol Hill and I enjoy my share of threading through alleys on long walks. You never know what sort of unsanitized (and not in the gross kind of way), quirky things you’ll find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @usfman. Pioneer Square is experiencing a renewal. Once empty buildings now have businesses in them and upper levels of some buildings now have apartments and condos. The area feels alive again, and I think that’s a good thing.


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