The eastern suburbs of Seattle are full of creative public art that will interest kids and adults alike. This abundance makes it easy to turn a short walk into an outing for art discovery.
Here are five areas that offer a good start for your explorations.
Bellevue: art surprises in a garden
Follow the main gravel path at the Bellevue Botanical Garden to find the stone Friendship Circle, a great spot for a family photo. The beehive look of the Night Blooming sculpture offers a sparkly light effect when you crouch through the door to the interior, then look up. Kids will have fun looking for sculptures of an owl, rabbit and frog — and a stone chair that looks like a throne in the forest.
[ Also: More on Bellevue Botanical Garden ]
Bothell: an artful view of history
A stroll along and around downtown Bothell’s Main Street offers many spots to spark young imaginations about life in years past. Look for colorful painted murals on building walls, cutout figures of early business owners and community leaders, and historical photos on utility boxes along the sidewalks.
To bring this history to life, look for hints that you can still see in the downtown buildings today.
[ Also on the Eastside: More than a dozen playgrounds for preschoolers ]
Duvall: Look up, down and all around
Walk along Main Street in Duvall and you’ll see a variety of artworks along the way.
Look up for carved art panels attached to the lampposts. Look down for a swimming salmon design carved into a crosswalk. And look around for benches with local scenes as well as painted murals and large sculpture installations. See who can spot the next artwork as you walk along!
Kirkland: sculptures for the kid in us all
Whimsical is the word that describes many sculptures installed around downtown Kirkland.
A walk that starts at the library, then loops around Marina Park and the shopping core will take you past several sculptures of animals, a carousel horse, and children jumping for joy. You’ll even see a local art landmark: The cow and dog sculpture that is often decorated to celebrate holidays, seasons, and sports teams.
Redmond: a selfie spot in an artwork
Redmond’s Downtown Park features a performance stage that is also an artwork. It makes a great spot for a family selfie, but only if you lie down and look up.
If you and your companions lie on the stage floor, head-to-head like the spokes of a wheel, the mirrored ceiling and floor designs will give you a fun photo and picture-taking experience. The park often hosts creative, temporary outdoor art exhibits as well.
Originally published February 2022
Janice King is the author of “Eastside Seattle Walks, 20+ routes to explore nature, history, and public art in Seattle’s eastern suburbs.” The book is available in bookstores and libraries.