Native Americans set up villages on Portage Bay and Union Bay. The first white settlers arrived in the neighborhood in the late 1860s. Seattle annexed much land north of the present Ship Canal in 1891. The arrival of the University of Washington in 1893 and the construction of Denny Hall, along with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition set the compass for the area’s future course.
Ravenna, named after the Italian city, was annexed by the city in 1906; Ravenna Boulevard, built in 1903, was part of the Olmsted overall master parks plan for the city.
• University Playground: 9th Ave. NE and NE 50th St. A pleasant green place with a pair of tennis courts and baseball diamond and playground area for kids.
• Cowen Park: 5849 15th Ave. NE. Cowen Park joins the west end of Ravenna Park and features picnic areas, a ball field, barbecue pits and kids play area.
• Ravenna Park: 5520 Ravenna Ave., is relatively big — 49.90 acres. Formed by a wooded ravine and is favored by hikers, joggers and picnickers. Amenities include tennis courts, ball field, trails and wading pool. A woodsy oasis in the city.
• Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way, includes a mile-long shoreline along Lake Washington and occupies 350 acres, second only to Discovery Park. Formerly a US Navy airfield, this is a popular spot for boating, swimming, walking, flying kites.