Posted by: instanthausfrau | June 27, 2007

A Day in the International District: Gardens and Tea

Danny Woo Garden Gate While most folks with kids know of several wonders in the International District (watching & hearing the trains come and go, the flavors of Uwajimaya‘s flagship store, the dragons curled around the lightposts), we entered an often-missed corner today. Tucked away behind I-5, on a steep hill that can be daunting (but with ample benches!), the Danny Woo Community Garden and Kobe Terrace Park make for a lovely outdoor adventure.

You’ll find plenty of metered parking available along S. Main Street. Grab a spot near the Panama Hotel (you’ll thank me when you’re leaving!). From there, it’s an easy meander. Head through the modern-stylized torri gate and follow the path, enjoying the purple stones mixed with white gravel near the bottom and the wonderful mix of garden items in the Community patch. We found that many of the gardeners were happy to answer our questions about their work, and show us what was coming up.

Danny Woo Community Gardens

As you head further up the hill, you’ll make your way into the Kobe Terrace Park. The winding paved path is well-shaded, lined with Japanese Cherry Trees (spectacular in the spring!), and a favorite picnic lunch spot for folks working in the offices of the I.D. Occasional glimpses of the Sound and city reward your attempts to peek between the trees. Reaching the top, you’ll find the giant lantern gifted from our sister city Kobe, surrounded by a pool of river-rock.

Lantern in Kobe Terrace Park

While you are now adjacent to the roar of I-5 traffic, with passing cars visible beyond the line of trees, there are lots of places to climb, jump and play here. We even saw huge container ships docking way down below. After a through exploration of the surrounding area, we made our way back down.

Some Americorps Volunteers, fresh from work rebuilding in the Gulf Coast, were building a new fence and retaining wall in the park. We also got more views of the city from the wooden decking, though we had to be careful of a large hole in one section (marked by the orange safety cone).

Panama HotelThirsty now as we made our way out, we stopped off at the Panama Hotel for tea. The Panama is a sort of combination museum and cafe, with photographs and newspaper clippings of the I.D.’s pre-World War II identity as nihonmachi (Japan Town) adorning the walls. Older children with an interest in history will love everything there is to see, and the window into the floor provides an eerie memorial to the Japanese Americans who had to leave so much behind in entering Internment Camps (this also makes the Panama a great place to stop after visiting the Wing Luke Museum’s Camp Harmony Exhibit). Grab a matcha latte and a seat in the second room, where you’ll find a small collection of children’s books and toys. Moon adored playing with the tea set. After a bit of nosh and rest, you’ll be refreshed and ready for the rest of your day’s adventures.

A Day in the International District


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