A Walk Through Delridge's Secret Parks
West Seattle isn’t just the Junction 🏞️
August 18, 2022
Perhaps better known for its industrial areas, Delridge is actually one of the most abundantly green neighborhoods in Seattle, with tons of parks, community gardens, a whole arboretum, and extensive, wild greenbelts along Puget Ridge and the Duwamish River. It’s also a bustling community full of food trucks and farm stands (some of which are free!). Summertime in Seattle is a jewel to behold anywhere in town, but it especially shines in Delridge.
Walk the walk! 🚶♀️
A block or two off the main drag lies a 34-acre protected green space surrounding the Longfellow Creek watershed. Made of steel sculptures and manicured flower beds with a space for eating and/or just seating, Dragonfly Pavilion is at the entrance to the trail that’ll lead you down to Longfellow Creek Green Space, through a lush mini-forest full of western red cedars, moss, and woodsy wildlife. As you follow the trail, keep your eyes peeled for the resident beavers in the creek, working on their dam, as well as coho salmon and blue herons. Also don’t miss the community P-Patch at the south end of the green space or—if you’re in a more urban mood—the skate park at Delridge Playfield next door.
📍 Dragonfly Garden and Pavilion: 4111 26th Avenue SW
There are a few different entrances to this park and your preferred one may depend on your agenda or mood. The two well-marked ones are on 28th Avenue SW and around the corner on Nevada Street, but if you’re feeling a little romantic, you may want to use one of the unmarked trailheads either on 26th and Dakota or behind the West Seattle Health Club on SW Yancy Street. It’s funner that way.
📍 Longfellow Creek Green Space: Delridge Way SW & SW Graham St
A food court in the middle of Delridge 🌶️
This is so fun: At the southeast corner of Delridge and Findlay is the KBM Commissary Kitchen, a shared commercial kitchen used by up to sixteen different food trucks, caterers, and bakers. If any of the day’s rotating vendors strikes your fancy, you can press the corresponding speaker button to place your order. Suppose you’re out and about before noon on a weekend. In that case, you’d be delinquent to miss 9th & Hennepin Organic Donuts. They do hot, fresh, always made-to-order doughnuts in flavors like yogurt cake with fresh strawberries and pink peppercorn glaze or a chocolate brioche long john with cold brew glaze. FYI, the luscious jambalaya at Jemil’s Big Easy and the super summery Veracruz-style seafood cocktails at Taqueria La Jarochita are required eating in Delridge.
📍 KBM Commissary Kitchen: 5600 Delridge Way SW
Because it’s a pod of many different trucks, each one keeps its own individual hours. So you can either chance it by showing up and seeing who’s open or plan before you go at the KBM website. The vendors do change from time to time, so it’s good to check monthly.
A quick stop in San Francisco 🌉
Half a block north of the food truck pod, at 5414 Delridge Avenue SW, look closely and you’ll notice that one of these houses is not like the others. Nestled among the 5-over-1 aughts-era apartments and 1950s ramblers is an architectural anomaly: a San Francisco-style Painted Lady! In 2016, this 4-unit residential building was designed and built by McNelis Architects, who aimed to recreate a Victorian row house from a photo their client had long admired: taken right after the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, it showed a tilted, splintered row house. This one’s nice and level, and it’s not strictly a Painted Lady, as the yellow-and-cream palette is pretty subdued in comparison. But the fun San Francisco architectural details, like overhanging eaves, bay windows, carved rosettes, and ornamental cornices, are plain as day.
📍 The Christianson Development: 5414 Delridge Way SW
It’s just a building. Walk by it. Admire it. Don’t bother anyone.
Get to the garden 🧑🌾
Delridge’s notorious non-through-streets make this garden a much longer walk from Delridge and Findlay than it should be, about 0.7 miles, but we promise it’s worthwhile. This lot once held a house, a meadow, and fruit trees. When the house fell into disrepair and blackberries took over, it was put up for sale but lingered on the market. Neighbors, though, remembered that the yard once grew food and dreamed of turning it into a community farm, so they lobbied for the city to buy the property. Et voilà, the dream was realized. Once home to a dozen goats, who fueled a creamery, the ⅔-acre park now grows pears, cherries, plum, grapes, cucumbers, broccoli, chard, sunflowers, and plenty more, all of which stock a complimentary farmstand. Free plant starts are often available. This dreamy, unique community space is completely free to visit, contribute to, and harvest from. Isn’t that nice? We think that’s nice.
📍 Puget Ridge Edible Garden: 1899-1801 SW Brandon St.
Open from 6 am to 10 pm This is a residential neighborhood, so keep it in mind when visiting. If you harvest from the garden’s farmstand, consider contributing as well in the form of garden work or a donation–or just a friendly chat with the neighbors.
Hot Tip 🔥
If you really want to walk hard, from Puget Ridge Edible Park, you can dip over an extra mile or so to the South Seattle Community College campus, home of both the SSC Arboretum and the Seattle Chinese Garden. It requires a bit of navigating and backtracking, but the pretty little landscaped garden and adjacent, slightly larger arboretum are perfect for jogging, dog-walking, meditating, and picnicking.
End the day with D&D, if you time it right 🎲
Managed by the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center opened in 2006 as a multi-arts community space that hosts plays and other arts performances, creative workshops for both youth and adults, public community events, and office rentals for nonprofit partners. Built into the repurposed Cooper School, which had been vacant since 1990, this cultural hub includes an art gallery, a dance studio, and a 50-seat theater. The best way to utilize Youngstown is to show up for an event, of course. Luckily, Youngstown has a very diverse and frequent roster, from pay-what-you-can yoga classes for all ages to Dungeon and Dragons nights for teens and young adults.
📍 Youngstown Cultural Arts Center: 4408 Delridge Avenue SW
The building is technically open from 9 am to 9 pm, but because certain portions of the building are office spaces and galleries, not all areas are accessible during all of those hours. But if you show up on an off-hour, it’s fun to just walk around the 1917 brick schoolhouse—which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places—and marvel at all the cool murals too.
Don’t forget 🌽
If you’re walking between May and October, on either a second or fourth Saturday of the month, the BIPOC-run Delridge Farmer’s Market will be happening about 2.5 miles south of Youngstown between 10 am and 2 pm. In addition to selling flowers and produce, the market offers Southern, Caribbean, and Burundian food, among many other cuisines. It’s a bit of a schlep on foot, about an hour each way, but if you have the time, it’s a very worthy side quest. (As well, King County Metro buses #120 and #125 frequently run down Delridge Way SW and will deliver you right there in just a few minutes, if you don’t mind cheating a little.)
The daughter of a King County Metro driver and a Space Needle waitress. Meg was born on the Hill, grew up on Queen Anne, went to school in the CD, and presently haunts the U District. Her writing has appeared in Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, Eater Seattle, Curbed Seattle, Atlas Obscura, Mental Floss, and many other publications. She sometimes backs up drag queens on the accordion and hosts drunken spelling bees.