“Nature” isn’t as far away as we sometimes think. Even in a modern city like Seattle, the patient observer doesn’t have to go far to see that the natural world isn’t necessarily at odds with the concrete and glass structures that we’ve built for ourselves. Luxuriant moss grows in gutters and alleys, geese flock to civic parks, and hummingbirds visit flower planters on the sixth floor of downtown apartment complexes. The stars are there, too, waiting to be discovered.
Our Ursa Minor blend is the perfect mellow sipping coffee for all hours of the day. It’s a nutty, mellow blend from Brazilian coffee seeds. In this spirit of all-night sipping and after-hours adventure, we offer the following guide to stargazing in Seattle. For good measure, we’ve also included a brief myth from the Xinguano, an indigenous Amazonian tribe, which may help to explain how Ursa Minor came to be.
Some evening, when the clouds clear and the night is young, brew yourself a to-go mug, and look to the skies as so many generations of humans have done. Perhaps you, too, will find inspiration there.
The Myth of the Tapir¹
The Xinguano tells the story of a fruit tree in the forest. Children climbed the tree daily to eat the fruit. One day the tapir came to the tree and asked the children if there was any fruit for him. The children threw fruit peels at the tapir. He became so mad that he shook the tree and the children fell out. As the children landed they turned into all kinds of animals. The animal-children chased the tapir across the land before finally killing and eating him. Far from home, the hunters decided to climb into the sky for the night.
In this way, the animal-children who hunted the tapir became the Southern Cross, the Xinguano believed, who also migrated north to become a different constellation during the warm season.
Where To See Stars In Seattle
Got your Ursa Minor blend brewed and ready to go? Great. Here are your best bets to glimpse what’s good in the skies above.
Solstice Park (West Seattle)
This park opens at 4 a.m. and offers a mostly unobstructed view of the northern, western, and southern skies. The trails are unlit. From this vantage point, it’s easy to spot constellations to the west where there is little light pollution.
- Jefferson Park (Beacon Hill)
A grassy slope here gives would-be stargazers great views to the west from the trail around the sports field. Looking over the city, one can faintly make out constellations over the sparkle of urban high-rises.
- Sunset Hill Park (Ballard area)
An elevated view of the horizon opens up from the vantage of this city park. As always, sky features to the west are more prominent, facing away from the city center.
- Alki Beach
One of the best places to see the stars, meteor showers, or even auroras in Seattle is Alki Beach. It’s one of the oldest places in Seattle and overlooks the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound to the north. A good rule of thumb is the closer you are to the Alki Beach volleyball courts, the better the views will be.
- Seattle Astrological Society “Star Parties”
If you’re not yet confident in your ability to identify stars (or you just want to learn more) you can always meet up with the experts. The SAS offers monthly meet-ups at Green Lake and Paramount Park. In the interest of spreading star-knowledge, these events are free and open to the public. You can learn more about upcoming star parties by checking out the SAS website.
¹ “Xingu; the Indians, Their Myths”
by Villas Bôas, Orlando, 1914- cn; Villas Bôas, Cláudio, cn
Publication date 1973