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Denny Park, Seattle

3.3
#42 of 65 in Parks in Seattle
Seattle's oldest park has come to new life with a 2017 renovation. Denny Park has a playground for kids, a dog park, and the densest greenery in the downtown corridor.

A peaceful green island in a sea of traffic, Denny Park lies on the central business district's northern fringe, and is surrounded by major thoroughfares. Broad pathways planted with rhododendrons and azaleas lead to a central circle surrounded by thick crowned maples, pines, and other trees shield the grass and its sprawling occupants from city noises until it's time to return to the working world. The central offices of the Parks Department are at the west end of the park.

Denny Park lies on pioneer David Denny's land claim, and was first donated to the City by Denny and his wife in 1864 as a cemetery. In 1883 the Dennys drew up a new deed rededicating most of the cemetery property to become a public park with the gravesites to be removed at the City's expense. Ordinance 571, approved by the Common Council of the City and Mayor H.G. Struve on July 10 1883, converted, dedicated, and set apart the land donated by Denny as a public park.

In 1894, due to the surrounding increase in urbanization, plans were prepared for improvement of the park. Included in the plans were walks, lawn and planting areas, tool sheds along the north side, a fountain and pavilions with restrooms. By 1903 the park was in the midst of a residential area so it was replanted in formal design, a shelter and tool house were added, swings, teeter-totters, and a sand court and playfield were installed.

In 1910 a regrading of the downtown area was threatening Denny Park. Despite pioneers' demands that the park remain as an early day landmark, by 1930 Denny Park was flat. A cupola from the recent Denny School was placed in the park as a historical relic. A new formal plan was prepared by the Parks and Recreation Department, and new planting was placed and new restrooms were built.

In 1948, because of the Parks and Recreation Department's growth in staff (including the new position of Park Superintendent) and stature, a permanent Administration Building (before the department had moved around in rented offices) was built, despite the objections of the Denny family, on Denny Park. The building was designed by Young and Richardson, Architects, and won the AIA Grand Honor Award. (edited from the files of Don Sherwood, Park Historian, 1916-1981.)
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Denny Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
30 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • Oldest in the city and all that, sure. But it still works today for almost everyone. Those less fortunate have a place to sit and rest, but moms can still bring their kids to play on the swings or zip...  more »
  • There are many beautiful parks on the day, but I think this is the perfect park for a rainy although day. Rather than being optimized for some humid weather, the trail is a great choice to feel the sentiment of Seattle.
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  • I take my dog here and the park is very nice. They put a string of lights up so it's more well-lit. Used to be very dark in the evenings. There's an enclosed dog Park but I keep my dog on the outside.in the summer on the weekends is usually street festivals and I straighten your by between here and the community center.
  • This is a beautiful large park with many amenities that is freeway close and yet offers a sense of nature. Especially good park if you have grade school age kids as it has a mini zip line, slide, and nice play area. There is also a recreation center on site that is operated by City of Seattle.

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