27 August 2009

East Queen Anne Playground

East Queen Anne Playground
Location: Newton St & Warren Ave N, Queen Anne
Number of swings: 4 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium-long

This is a really nice playground; you can tell it's kept up well. It's also full of children. I think this is the place to see and be seen with your child if you live on Queen Anne, so if you're feeling social in that way, I highly recommend this place. There are nice new toys to play on, and the swings have long-ish chains, so adults can enjoy as well. I didn't stay too long though, because this play was very very busy.

How to get there: Routes #4 and 13 stop along Queen Anne Ave N and the 4 continues down Blaine, all within a block or two of the park. Route #45 also stop along Queen Anne Ave.

Ross Park, Ballard

Ross Park, Ballard
Location: NW 44th St & 4th Ave NW
Number of swings: 1 regular, 1 baby
Ground material: Sand
Chain length: Long.

This is one of the parks I didn't discover until I set out on this swing-blog journey. It's a nice little find in the midst of this quiet residential area. However, if you come here in a group you'll have to take turns, since there's only 1 regular swing.

How to get there: Routes #28 and 46 stop along Leary Way.

26 August 2009

BF Day Playground, Fremont

BF Day Playground in Fremont
Location: N 41st St. & Fremont Ave N
Number of swings: 2 regular, 1 baby bucket, 1 baby seat
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Short.

Chain length: Short. Don't let that deter you! For some reason these swings also happen to be high off the ground. After a few pumps of your legs, you've already built up such a great force you could catapult yourself over the playground. Maybe? Does anyone else have weird childish fantasies while playing at the playground? This park is pretty ok, whatever that means. I got to witness a really awesome dodgeball game when I paid my visit here.

How to get there: Route #5 stops along Fremont Ave in both direction.

25 August 2009

Madrona Playground, Madrona

The Madrona Playground in the Madrona neighborhood is a gem. It's a new-ish park, and there are some fun toys to play on/bring your children to play on.

Location: 33rd Ave & E Marion St
Number of swings: 2 regular, and another set with 1 baby swing and some hanging chains that once were attached to a swing of some kind.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium.

The chains were medium-long, I'd say, but they were thicker than what I usually find in Seattle.

I was impressed by this park. It was full of people attending some sort of bbq when I came through, but getting a spot on the swings wasn't a problem. The chain length was such that I could get some good momentum.

How to get there: Bus routes #3 and 84 stop at 34th St. in both directions.

24 August 2009

Wallingford Playground, Wallingford

Wallingford Playground
Location: Wallingford Ave N & N 43rd St.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby, 1 tire swing.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Long

A long chain on what seems like a massive small-child sanctuary? AWESOME. This is another good place to come at night, because there are many small children in the daytime, and I sometimes feel a little creepy when I'm competing with them for playground space. This is just off the main drag of the Wallingford neighborhood, so it's ideal when you're already in the area and feel the urge for some swinging. There's also a tire for you tire enthusiasts.

How to get there: Bus route #44 runs along 45th St. in both directions. Route #16 also stops on 45th. Routes #26, 30, 31 all stop at N 40th & Wallingford.

23 August 2009

University Playground, U-District

This is another park I spent a lot of time in as an undergrad. The chains are very long, there aren't very many small children present, and the nearest late-night falafel is within a 15-minute walk.

Location: 7th Ave NE & NE 50th St.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Long.

This is a great place for late-night swinging. You can also scope out the street scene once you get going really high. If you bring friends who hate swings (and are super lame because of it), the tables in front of the swings have chess boards printed on them.

How to get there: #66 bus (Southbound) stops on Roosevelt St., Northbound stops on 12th.

David Rodgers Park, Queen Anne

I approached David Rodgers Park on Queen Anne on foot. This involved multiple uphill climbs, but the large green square on the map was enticing.

Location: 3rd Ave W & W Raye St.
Number of swings: 2 baby, go down the hill a bit to find the 4 regular.
Ground material: Sand. Rubber for the babies.
Chain length: Long.

On first look, I saw only the baby swings. And they looked nice, but I was disappointed.

As I made my way to a grassy knoll, these 4 swings appeared out of nowhere. How had I missed them on my trek up the hill?

These swings are wonderful. There's so much green space to peer out to, so many places for a little picnic, and the seclusion of the spot is pleasing.

How to get there: Bus #13 stops at the park. Routes #3 and 4 stop nearby on 1st.

22 August 2009

Cowen Park, U-District

Cowen Park is at the end of the Ave in the U-District, just after you cross Ravenna Blvd.
I used to come here often as an undergrad, especially after the discovery of the zipline.

Location: Ravenna Blvd. between 15th Ave NE and Brooklyn Ave NE.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby buckets, 1 zipline
Ground material: Wood chips.
Chain length: LONG

These are some of the longest chains I've come across in my Seattle swinging adventures. This makes it challenging to get momentum, but once you get going... wow. You can swing very high and at great speeds. This is about as close to flying as we can get.

The zipline is very popular. Especially during college party hours.

Cowen Park also contains some hiking trails that lead you to Ravenna Park.

How to get there: Take any of the buses that go up the Ave (University Way): #71, 72, 73, 83, Cowen Park is at the end, bordered by Brooklyn Ave NE, Ravenna Blvd., and 15th Ave NE.
You can also take northbound #66 and 67, which run on 11th Ave NE. Route #48 stops at 15th Ave NE and Cowen Pl NE.

Gilman Playground, Ballard

What what what? They replaced the swing seats at this park! Ok, they are nicer. But there used to be 1 hard/inflexible seat, which made this park stand out. Oh well, the swings are still good.

Location: 9th Ave NW & NW 54th St.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Sand
Chain length: Long

I spent lots of time at this park back in college, these swings helped inspire this very blog. The swinging here is superb, as the chains are quite long and allow you to get really high. I highly recommend this park.

How to get there: Route #44 stops along Market St in both directions.

19 August 2009

The Bluff, Shoreline

And now for some juicier swing adventures.

The Bluff in Shoreline is a beautiful picnic/view/hike place. There also happens to be a homemade swing in the brush.

Location of trail beginning: The end of 15th Ave NW after it comes off of NW Springdale Pl in Shoreline. (just south of Richmond Beach)

The first trail opens up to the bluff:

Just take the next trail down into the ruffage, it can be found by staying to the left against the hillside; the swing will appear in a green-lit clearing. You can get some good air, but the ever-fraying condition of the rope as it continually rubs against the tree causes some anxiety. Or it gives you a rush. Same feeling, different connotations. Watch out for the inevitable twisting action of the rope. I wonder how much longer that fraying rope will last...

Go a little further down the trail: there is a graveyard of swings past. It reminds me of pirate hangmen. Is this perhaps an ominous message to the swinging community? Meh.

How to get there: You might want to drive or walk in. This area is pretty residential. See above for trailhead location.

Powell Barnett Park, Central District

Powell Barnett Park in the Central District is awesome. It's pretty new, and the toys there are big enough to enjoy even if you're a 6'1" adult as myself. Cool park, ok-ish swings.

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Way & E. Jefferson St.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 1 baby bucket, 1 baby seat
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length is short.

These swings are noteworthy because they have hard inflexible seats. (side note: "inflexible" was a word I missed in the 6th-grade spelling bee, and it haunts me to this day) It's fun to have a hard swing seat option; your hips don't get any pressure from the sides. Go to this park. Now.

How to get there: Bus routes #3, 8, 84.

18 August 2009

"King County may shut down 39 neighborhood parks"

from the Seattle Times:
"King County may shut down 39 neighborhood parks"

This blog seems like a relevant place to post this. As a self-proclaimed playground swinger, I am against the closing of any swings in any playgrounds or parks. So please don't. I don't think it really costs as much as they say it does to maintain a park.

Mercerdale Park, Mercer Island

This Seattle swinger has now infiltrated Mercer Island!

Mercerdale Park
Location: 78th Ave SE & SE 32nd St.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length is medium-short.

Honestly, I was expecting something a little more fancy on Mercer Island. Seattle's inner city has better playgrounds than this, but Seattle is amazing like that. These swings are ok though; they remind me of the swings at the Cascade Playground: short-ish chains that get you going quickly, within a few pumps of my long adult legs. Maybe I need to further explore the island, or maybe I should go catch a bus back into the city.

How to get there: Buses #201 and 204 stop next to the park. I took #550 bus from the bus tunnel to the Mercer Island Park & Ride, and then walked.

17 August 2009

Froula Park, Roosevelt

Froula Park is in the north part of Seattle before you get to Lake City Way. It's a fun little park next to the Roosevelt Reservoir.

Location: 12th Ave NE & NE 73rd St.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length is medium.

This park is usually less crowded than others (or maybe I just wander into it at off hours), and there are some pretty views. While swinging you get to view 12th Ave NE and the tennis courts.

The delight of this park's see-saw is also noteworthy.

How to get there: Northgate-bound buses #66 and 67 stop along 12th Ave NE. Bus #68 stops along NE 75th Ave in both directions. Buses #72, 73, and 79 stop along 15th Ave NE in both directions.

11 August 2009

Garfield Playfield, Central District

Next to Garfield High School are some sports fields and, oh yeah, some SWINGS.

Location: 23rd Ave & E. Cherry St.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium/average

These swings are ok. They're older. You can also watch random baseball games/practices while you swing.

How to get there: Routes #3 and 84 stop at 23rd and Cherry. Routes #48 and 4 stop at 23rd and Alder.

10 August 2009

Miller Playfield, Capitol Hill

The Miller Playfield on Capitol Hill is another great park. It's next to a school, and is quite often full of young children during the day (but what playground isn't?).

Location: 19th Ave E & E Thomas St.
Number of swings: 5 regular, with 1 baby seat swing at the end.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length is medium.

The great thing about this playground is that there are more swings than usual. Most Seattle parks have sets of 4, usually 1-2 taken by baby options. Having 5 regular swings in a row at this park gives you a better chance of getting a turn.

There's also a tire swing here:

How to get there: #43 Bus

Leschi Park, Leschi

UPDATE: These swings have been replaced (4/9/11)

I completed some important swing research recently; it took me through the Central District and towards the lake shore, and I stumbled across Leschi Park (in addition to many other amazing parks that you will see in future posts). Leschi Park is amazing. I had never been to it, as my previous Seattle life lent itself mostly to explorations in the NE section of the city. Leschi Park is adjacent to Frink Park and Lake Washington, and there are lots of beautiful trails in both parks to experience inside-the-forest fantasies and catch some lake views.

These swings are amazing. I love them.

Location: Leschi Park, Leschi neighborhood, on Lake Washington Blvd. Approximately at the corner of E. Yesler Way and 32nd Ave S.
Number of swings: 3 regular, 1 baby bucket
Ground material: Sand

The chains of these swings are long, although not quite as long as the swings at Cowen Park on Ravenna. This seems to be an older swing set, a look into a playground of Seattle's past. Be careful jumping off from high though, at the edges of the sand there is concrete buried approximately 1 inch down. It hurts to land on. Trust me.

When you swing up high, you can see glimpses of Lake Washington through the trees.

How to get there: #27 Bus takes you right to the park.

08 August 2009

Favo(u)rite Swings

This is a new blog, but my swinging activities in Seattle are not new. Rather than post every great swing in one day, I plan to try and not update all at once. It keeps it fun to have a little something to look forward to.

But, that means a lot of GREAT SWINGS will go unmentioned until a proper post is made!

So here are a few of my favorite swings:

---Lincoln Park, West Seattle. The swings on the south end that peer over to the Fauntleroy-Vashon Ferry. Go in the evening if you want to avoid crowds of children competing for what I like to call "the joy."
---Ober Park, Vashon Island. Best swings I have ever found in... um... life?
---Gilman Playground, Ballard. These 2 swings used to have 1 rubber seat and 1 hard plastic seat, and it was the best of both worlds. They're both flexible now, but still provide an awesome swinging experience.

OK enough spilled secrets.
Happy swinging!

EDIT: Recent inspection of swings at Gilman Playground has revealed a change in swing seat architecture, and statements have been revised accordingly (09/20/09)

07 August 2009

Denny Park, Denny Triangle

Denny Park. Everyone in Seattle knows where this is; it's right by the Space Needle! And the park is a little uninviting sometimes, but trust me, it's a beautiful place to sit on the grass and enjoy a lunchtime picnic. But there are no swings.

But this is a swinging blog, right? Well, there's a swingline! Or is it zipline? I'll tag it as zipline. Anyway, this is like a swing attached to a pulley attached to a cord. So you jump on and swing all the way down the track! There's another (slightly more exciting) one in Ravenna Park in the extreme north of the U-District. That park also contains real swings, and I will definitely post about it in the near future.

Location: Denny Way between 9th Ave N and Dexter Ave N.
Ground material: Wood chips

The swingline has black rubber grip, similar to the swings at Rogers Playground in Eastlake, but this is in much better condition. It may even be... *NEW* (cue gasps).
It's exciting.
For about 30 seconds.

Wanna go there?
There's a little bit of street parking.
Or a million buses go by there. Examples include: #8 stops in both directions at Denny Way and Westlake Ave. Or take any bus that goes to the Seattle Center. You can also take the SLUT/Seattle Streetcar to Westlake Ave & 9th.

Denny Park is also Seattle's oldest park. Read all about it at the wikipedia entry.

Cascade Park/Playground, Cascade

Nestled in the Cascade neighborhood just out of downtown is a cute little park and playground.

It's a dinky little park, but there are swings! Well, sort of.

Location: Harrison St. & Minor Ave. N
Swings: 1 regular, 1 seat
Ground material: Wood chips

I definitely judged this swing negatively before taking a seat. The chain is short, as if it were made for a child and not a 25-year-old (a child? at a playground? c'mon now). However, the swinging here was pretty decent. This is definitely not a destination swing, but if you happen to be nearby and feel the urge, give this swing a go.

While you swing, you get to look out over the grassy field. This playground has posted "rules" about how to play "Hot Lava." This is a game everyone has played on every playground for all time, but this was the first time I saw it actually posted at the playground. There was a little map showing children how to avoid dropping into the wood chip "lava." Maybe some day I'll edit this post and include a picture of it.

How to get there:
Street parking available.
Bus: #70, 71, 72, 73, 83 stop in both directions along Fairview Ave. at Harrison St. #25 stops in both directions along Eastlake Ave. at Harrison St.

Rogers Playground, Eastlake

Rogers Playground in the Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle contains some great swings.

Location of park: Eastlake Ave. E. & E. Roanoke St.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips

The great thing about these swings is that their chains are about medium length (shorter than the swings at the park on 8th Ave NE and NE 50th St. in the U-District, but longer than the swings at the south end of Lincoln Park in West Seattle), and they are covered with yellow grip! I can swing really hard on these and my hands stay comfortable.

While you swing, you can enjoy the view of the adjacent tennis courts. Or you can swing the other way and look at a tree with a school in the background. The view is pretty standard playground, nothing stunning like the view of Puget Sound from the Lincoln Park swings, but it's not as bad as staring at an empty wall.

How to get there:
Drive: you can park along the streets that border the park.
Bus: #66X, 70, 71 72, 73, 83 stop along Eastlake Ave. #25 stops along Roanoke St. #49 stops along Broadway at Roanoke St.

Seattle Swingers

This is a blog about swings in Seattle. Yes, I'm talking about playground swings. Swinging is a joyous pasttime of mine (oooh let's take that quote out of context), and not all swings are as good as others. I hope to provide valuable information to Seattle people on the swinging options available in this beautiful city.