From Madam Damnable’s Hotel to Profanity Hill, a New Guide Walks You Through Seattle History

‘Seattle Walks’ outlines 17 walkable routes that reveal segments of this city’s past.

It’s easy for newcomers to be deterred by the hills or the rain, but the truth is that Seattle is one of the most walkable cities in the country. Unlike, say, the ugly monotony of Florida’s cities or the imposing boulevards of California’s, Seattle feels pedestrian-sized. There’s enough happening on street level to reward a wanderer’s attention, and enough straight-shot trails available between neighborhoods to make long-distance travel relatively easy.

Walking isn’t just pleasurable—it’s often more efficient, too. Some days it’s almost faster to walk from downtown to Fremont at rush hour than to catch a bus. And when you start heading outside Seattle, you’ll discover the existence of a web of paved trails—the Interurban to the north and south, the Mountains-to-Sound to the east—that can take you to the suburbs without encountering more than a handful of intersections with traffic.

In his new book Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City, David B. Williams encourages readers to slow down and look at the city through a pedestrian’s eyes. It’s a worthy cause. Once you start walking Seattle, you truly gain an understanding of its day-to-day life. You watch buildings being built and notice the businesses that have quietly shuttered. You learn where neighborhoods begin and end. You discover the strange ways that parts of the city connect.

Read the rest of this review in Seattle Weekly’s print edition or online here at seattlereviewofbooks.com. Paul Constant is co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read daily books coverage at seattlereviewofbooks.com.

More in Arts & Culture

A scene from the 2017 Seattle Pride Parade. Photo by Bobby Arispe Jr./Flickr
Seattle Pride Pick List

Maximize your Pride Weekend experience with these standout celebrations and activities.

Hulking out at the ACE Comic Con in Glendale, Ariz. Photo courtesy of ACE Comic Con
The Pop-Up Disruptor Con

ACE Comic Con heads to Seattle this week with a stripped down, star-focused model. Will it work?

Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan is still a teen, making ‘Lush’ an even more ridiculous indie rock achievement. Photo courtesy Ground Control Touring
Pick List: Snail Mail, Sounders Pride, Peach Kelli Pop

The week’s best entertainment options.

Dino-Might

While peppier than its predicessor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom still feels very calculated.

Photo by Brett Curtiss/Flickr
Memories of Prides Past

We caught up with some notable locals to reminisce about their favorite moments from the festivities.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Indignation and Compassion

Cancer season, and summer, begin with choppy waters.

Putting in the Werk

While best known for underground dance music, Kremwerk has quietly fostered Seattle’s alternative queer entertainment scene.

Take dad out to the ball game, take dad out with the crowd… Photo by Elise Lin/Flickr
Father’s Day Pick List

Make the most of a day with the ol’ man with these dad-centric activities.

Speedy Ortiz with the candlestick in the flowery room. Photo courtesy Ground Control Touring
Pick List: Speedy Ortiz, Men in Blazers, Fremont Fair

The week’s best entertainment options.

Most Read