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ON a DRIVE in SEATTLE
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ON a DRIVE in SEATTLE

S eattle is a place to be outside. Like most of the Pacific Northwest, it combines sprawling, forested mountain ranges with tranquil coastlines, and subsequently draws nature-lovers as both inhabitants and visitors.

But what most people, even long-time residents, don’t know is that pockets of thoughtfully designed and maintained public spaces are tucked away in Seattle’s city proper. Many of them are a result of progressive urban policy from the 1960s; and of course, most take advantage of and inspiration from Seattle’s idyllic location and surroundings.

You don’t have to leave the city to see what makes the Seattle area so compelling. In fact, taking a drive through it can reveal hidden histories and pockets of beauty you’d never see outside of it. And many of them speak to the city’s culture of recycling and reuse, making the mundane or discarded into something new.

stop oneMagnuson Parkfeatured above: The Fin Project: From Swords Into Plowshares by John T. Young, c 1998

Start on the northwestern side of Lake Washington in Magnuson Park, the second-largest in Seattle. It’s beloved by city residents, but not everyone knows that the park used to be a military base—and it contains a massive art installation on the lakeshore. At a distance, it looks like whale fins emerging from the grass, but they’re actually decommissioned submarine wings that weigh up to 10,000 pounds—and symbolize how things meant to be weapons can be turned into art for all.

Venza Feature Touchscreen Display

As you continue moving south, keep track of everything from Seattle’s fickle weather to the latest traffic with the Venza’s touchscreen display.

stop twoGas Works Park

Drive south to Lake Union. Like its fellow, Magnuson Park, Gas Works is a public space born out of something else entirely. Technically, it’s on the site of the country’s only remaining coal gasification plant. While the plant obviously is no longer in use for its original purpose, its “remains” have been turned into structures for the park, including play areas and more. And many of the park’s plants were used to naturally detoxify and cleanse the soil to make it safe as a public space.

Venza Feature Apple Carplay1, Android Auto2, and Amazon Alexa3 Compatibility

You’re getting closer to Seattle’s downtown proper, so you might drive by the Experience Music Project. Seattle is a musically inclined city, and it’s easier than ever to lean into that with the Venza’s Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

stop threeDenny Substation

Located on the south side of Lake Union, Denny Substation is a testament to the city’s dedication to making sure that even utilities like electricity plants are responsible to the environments in which they’re built. The substation features solar energy, community spaces, and a fascinating central piece of public art that combines an old-growth tree with a traditional transmission tower.

stop fourUPS Waterfall Garden Park

More than a century ago, UPS was born in what is now known as Pioneer Square. The park, which was built in the ’70s to commemorate the founder of UPS, features a 22-foot man-made waterfall (which has made the park one of the most expensive to maintain in the country), indoor plants, and quiet places to retreat from Seattle’s downtown area. It’s a hidden “pocket” park that remains even after UPS relocated its headquarters, ensuring that the space and original design doesn’t go to waste.

*Carplay disclaimer: Apps and services are subject to change at any time without notice. Data charges may apply. Apple CarPlay® functionality requires a compatible iPhone® connected with an approved data cable into the USB media port. Apple CarPlay® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

*Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statement apply. To use Android Auto on your audio display, you’ll need an Android Auto compatible vehicle and Android phone. For phone compatibility visit: https://www.android.com/auto/. Requires compatible smartphone connected with an approved data cable into the USB media port, and data plan rates apply. Apps and services vary by phone carrier and are subject to change at any time without notice. Android, Android Auto and Waze are trademarks of Google.

Alexa disclaimer: Amazon, Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Certain functions require adequate signal strength and smartphone technology/connectivity. Not all Amazon Alexa functionality is available for in-vehicle use. See applicable app for details. Download of the Toyota+Alexa app is required to begin in-vehicle use of Alexa. Data charges may apply for certain functions. Apps, prices and services subject to change at any time without notice. To learn more, go to https://www.toyota.com/audio-multimedia. To learn more about Toyota's data collection, use, sharing and retention practices, please visit https://www.toyota.com/privacyvts/.