Howe Street Stairs

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Howe Street Stairs
Public stairway
Three flights of the Howe Street Stairs pictured in June 2016
Three flights of the Howe Street Stairs pictured in June 2016
Opening date1911
LocationSeattle, United States
Coordinates: 47°38′10″N 122°19′14″W / 47.6360°N 122.3206°W / 47.6360; -122.3206Coordinates: 47°38′10″N 122°19′14″W / 47.6360°N 122.3206°W / 47.6360; -122.3206

The Howe Street Stairs (also known as the Howe Steps, Howe Stairs, Howe Street Staircase, and the Howe Staircase) are a public, outdoor staircase that straddles Seattle's Capitol Hill and Eastlake neighborhoods. They were constructed in 1911.


Due to Seattle's difficult topography, the city has spent more than a century building in excess of 650 staircases linking sections of neighborhoods that are otherwise isolated or disconnected. The Howe Street Stairs were originally built in 1911 to provide a pedestrian link between two different lines in Seattle's former streetcar system.[1]

The Howe Street Stairs as they pass under the I-5 Colonnade, pictured in 2016

A proposal to construct a plaza at the bottom of the staircase has been advanced by area residents since the 2000s.[2]


The stairs, which begin at Eastlake Avenue, are divided into 13 flights interrupted by landings and streets. They contain 388 steps and are the longest such staircase in the city.[1] A portion of the stairs pass through the I-5 Colonnade. They terminate at Howe Street, from which they take their name.[1][3]

The stairs sit parallel to the nearby Blaine Staircase, which transits an identical route. They are frequently used for exercise and fitness, as well as commuting.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Jamarillo, Jake (2012). Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods. Mountaineers Books. pp. 11, 70–74. ISBN 159485677X.
  2. ^ "Existing East Howe Steps through Colonnade Park". East Howe Steps Plaza Steering Committee. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Craig (27 November 1996). "How To Take 13 Flights To Fitness – 282 Steps Favorite Training Site For Athletes, Fitness Buffs". Seattle Times. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  4. ^ Yandel, Jeannie (8 February 2013). "The Hidden Legacy Of Seattle Stairways". KUOW-FM. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  5. ^ "COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT APPLICATION–2011–2012" (PDF). Office of the City Clerk. City of Seattle. Retrieved 10 June 2016.