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A Comprehensive Guide to the Many Skybridges Across Seattle

While Seattle isn’t a city known for its skybridges, there are still plenty within the city. First, let’s settle what a skybridge is. According to dictionary.com, a skybridge is, “Also called skywalk. A bridgelike structure for pedestrians built to link one building with another over a public alley or street.” Skybridge are often discouraged by city planners. However, Seattle Refined found quite a few of them around town with all of them adding uniqueness to our city.

The most commonly known skybridge in Seattle might be the one that links the downtown Macy’s building across Third Avenue to the parking garage. Installed in 1962, the skybridge has provided convenience and shelter from the weather for over 50 years.

The most beautiful skybridge might be the one at the Washington State Convention Center spanning Pike Street at 8th Avenue. Towering over the street, this skybridge was a point of contention among city council members, who feared it would block views of the Pike Place Market when it was built in 2001.

Bringing in an artsy feel is the skybridge linking the Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Waterfront Park over the train tracks. The design was envisioned as a way to showcase art while capitalizing on views of the skyline and Elliot Bay as it descended 40 feet from the city down to the water.

Just down the road from the Sculpture Park is another skybridge linking the headquarters of Zulily with a parking garage at 2601 Elliott Avenue. Originally built between 1917 and 1925 as a warehouse and manufacturing facility for the American Can Corporation, the skybridge is accessed from the second floor and is now known as the Seattle Trade & Technology Center.

Nestled along Elliott Avenue is another skybridge in the 3131 Elliott Building which was constructed in 1986. The skybridge links to an adjacent building and provides access to Lower Queen Anne shopping. The other side hosts direct access to Myrtle Edwards and the Olympic Sculpture park.

Linking the Westin Building to the Westin Hotel is another skybridge with plans for improvement. Located on Virginia Avenue between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue, the skybridge was approved to be built in 1983. An average of over 200 people use the skybridge daily to reach events, offices and parking. In 2015, permission was given to keep the skybridge along with permission for cosmetic improvements around the two buildings.

One of the most photographed skybridge in Seattle has to be the one that links Pacific Place to the downtown Nordstrom location. The view of the city from the center of the skybridge is magical. Built in 1988, the skybridge has been an important part of the shopping experience between the two buildings.

The Pike Place Market even has a skybridge. The bustling market is usually packed with parking scarce. The Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Avenue has a skybridge linking the parking lot to the Pike Place Market’s main arcade. This is not a skybridge for beauty but one definitely there to serve a purpose.

The skybridge linking the UW Tower building with the parking garage is tucked away on 12th Avenue NE just off NE 45th Street. The basic skybridge provides ADA accessibility in a congested part of town.

Ballard even has a skybridge. The Swedish Ballard skybridge links the parking garage with the hospital and spans Tallman Avenue. Built in October of 1982, the skybridge was recently re-approved for ordinance in 2014.

Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research relay on their skybridge to get from labs to offices quickly. There are a few sky bridges at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research campus. The first links the 1100 Eastlake Building with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Campus. Other link the Thomas Clinical Research building with the Hutchinson Human Biology building and the Weintraub Basic Sciences building.

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