What’s Next? The Future of the Seattle Waterfront


Seattle’s new waterfront is taking shape and dramatically changing the city’s landscape. Get ready for an easy-to-navigate urban shoreline with recreational, entertainment and dining options galore – mere minutes from The Emerald‘s front door in the center of downtown Seattle and steps from the waterfront at Second and Stewart. Future residents at The Emerald will love easy walking access to all that Seattle’s waterfront offers.


Waterfront Park is Seattle’s future 20‑acre shoreline cultural destination. Eat, play, and relax at this vibrant public park, starting with Pier 62, minutes from The Emerald. This new park, part of the ongoing waterfront redevelopment, offers breathtaking views of the Olympic mountains, Seattle’s skyline and Mount Rainier – with plenty of space to social distance.


The Emerald’s future residents can enjoy a leisurely stroll to the end of Pier 62 and appreciate the new solar-powered LED lighting along the pier’s edge. “Pier 62 features a new floating dock, integrated lighting, and other design elements that open up this one‑acre site on Seattle’s central waterfront as a canvas for a range of year‑round public uses.”


Pier 62 Seattle floating dock. Image by Robert Wade.


The rebuilt Pier 62 was designed to be a flexible park space with views of Elliott Bay, the Olympics and the Seattle skyline. A floating dock provides direct access to the water and will include art by artist Stephen Vitiello. New grating along the seawall increases light to the nearshore salmon habitat below. The rebuilt pier also includes new handrails and embedded LED lighting.


The new Seattle waterfront will feature a two-way protected bike lane from S King Street to Pier 62. The bike path will have raised buffers on both sides to separate people biking from people walking and driving. People riding bikes on the existing Elliott Bay Trail near the Olympic Sculpture Park can join the waterfront bike path at Bell St, continuing down to join the existing Elliott Bay trail at S King St. Have you seen the new sidewalk in front of Pier 62? You can now walk the wider, flat trail from Ballard to West Seattle via the waterfront. View a waterfront map here and take a Virtual Waterfront Tour.


“For the first time, we will really connect Pioneer Square, the historic piers, Pike Place Market and the aquarium—they will all be basically part of one parks system,” says Marshall Foster, director of the city’s Office of the Waterfront. “That is something that doesn’t exist today, and it will thread those neighborhoods together,” making the waterfront a single, unified downtown district, rather than a series of disconnected destinations.


The park promenade will be the core of the new waterfront — providing a new linear park from Pioneer Square to the Seattle Aquarium and improving access to Colman Dock and all the activities on the waterfront. The promenade will join the Overlook Walk on the north end and the rebuilt Railroad Way on the south end, providing access to the historic Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square neighborhoods.


Bay Steps at Overlook Walk which will connect the waterfront and Pike Place Market.

Image: James Corner Field Operations, courtesy of the City of Seattle


The Overlook Walk will create an elevated public park and connection between the waterfront to Seattle’s urban core. People can walk on the elevated pathway from Pike Place Market to the waterfront without ever crossing the new Alaskan Way. Overlook Walk will have expansive views of Elliott Bay, informal play areas, new public plazas and landscaping.


Pier 58, currently known as Waterfront Park, will be redesigned to create a public park and improve access, safety and flexibility to the pier, while offering expansive views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains.


The aquarium is an epic new amenity. Along the central Seattle waterfront and just below the new Overlook Walkway, the Seattle Aquarium will be expanding, complete with a 350,000-gallon shark tank that will be visible to people walking through the plaza below.


“The Seattle Aquarium’s new Ocean Pavilion will be that place to inspire a new generation of ocean conservationists through science, yes, but also through empathy, urgency and agency. The expanded aquarium campus will serve as a new education platform that aspires to engage the entire community — including the expected 20 million additional waterfront visitors per year — in conversation about what we value.” – Seattle Times


Waterfront Seattle will rebuild Alaskan Way from S King to Pike streets, and build a new street, known as Elliott Way, from Pike to Bell streets. The new surface street will span a total of 17 blocks from Pioneer Square to Belltown, with two lanes of traffic in either direction for the majority of the street.


The new seawall includes habitat enhancements to restore the salmon migration corridor and improve ecosystem productivity. All seawall features were designed to be integrated with other key Waterfront Seattle improvements, including the future park promenade, the rebuilt Pier 62 and Pier 58.


Between Colman Dock and Pier 48, a new habitat beach supports the waterfront ecosystem, including enhancing the salmon corridor by adding rocks and nearshore vegetation.


Envision Saturday strolls along the Seattle waterfront, taking in the views from the landscaped pedestrian promenade and enjoying Bluff Walk Slides, part of the Overlook Walk. Just one of the many reasons so many future residents will enjoy calling The Emerald and its premiere location, home.


Information gathered from Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Aquarium, Waterfront Park, Seattle Waterfront, and Seattle Magazine.