As a West Seattleite, there a few staples when it comes to getting outside: walking the stretch of Alki Beach or moseying around Lincoln Park, but after doing the same walks day after day (anyone else getting major Groundhog Day vibes?), it was time to explore something new.
If there are any silver linings to limiting my contact with the outdoors, it's the serendipity of finding and exploring nooks and crannies of this beautiful city that I've never seen before. So in an effort to diversify our quarantine daily routines, my mom and I hopped in the car and headed to Beach Drive, an area of WeSea south of the Alki Point Lighthouse and the business district of Alki.
If you've never made the trip down there, you gotta. It maintains that Southern Cali vibe that Alki embodies, but with so many other treasures to explore.
Although it was nearly impossible to keep our eyes off the unbelievable and unobstructed views of the Puget Sound, we noticed along the sidewalks, bronze clusters of stars along the walkway. After trying to figure out what the heck was happening, we finally stumbled across the starting point of this "avenue" with a plaque that reads, "The Avenue of Stars."
After a quick Google search, I found out that this special art installation is also a star-gazing walking tour in our very own backyard. The Avenue of Stars is a must-see for any planet, space, stars, astronomy/astrology buffs and enthusiasts.
Even though you can really start anywhere along the avenue, I highly suggest you start at start at Constellation Park, located at 64th and Beach Drive. The park itself is beautiful and actually a hot-spot destination for whale watching and a beachcombers dream in low-tide, with tide pools along the way for exploration.
Once you come across the "Avenue of Stars" plaque you begin to walk along the bronze star constellations embedded into the sidewalks. It's a longer walk, with 27 popular clusters of stars that wraps up near Benton Place along Beach Drive.
Each bronze constellation has a plaque alongside it that identifies the name and the season that the cluster of stars is most visible for stargazing. Because of the incredible unobstructed southern and western views, Constellation Park is aces for stargazing, and they've actually placed them along the avenue that optimizes the view of the specific constellation you are searching for in the nights sky.
Most of the art pieces include and name some of the brightest stars within the constellation which act as a tool to help you identify the constellations as well as gives you more information about the cluster of stars.
Another fun aspect of the plaques are the messages that the park donors have included with each installation. Some of the constellations are memorials for lost loved ones, others include poetry about the sky and the ~universe~ so not only is this a road map to an epic night of stargazing, it also has beautiful personal touches to it.
The best part about this park and avenue is that it's an educational and a fun activity at any point of the day. In the daytime, you get to enjoy the tide pools, beautiful views and can follow the avenue to learn about what constellations we have visibility to in the Pacific Northwest. Then, at night, bring your flashlights and telescopes to see what you can find!
And listen, I know...it's gonna be a trek to get out to West Seattle. The bridge is closed, the detour is long and it's just another added stressor that we don't need, trust me - I know! But we got nothing but time anyway. Come on over, folks, for the love of science and art.