Clinging to the base of a forested hill, Alki Beach looks across Puget Sound toward stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. One of the few white sand beaches in Seattle, Alki offers a soft contrast to adjacent rocky shorelines. On summer nights, it is a gathering spot for a multigenerational, multiethnic mix of Seattle’s youth, families and elders. Along the beach, people gather early in the day to claim one of the most coveted party venues in the city. As night closes in, the parties are visible as a series of glowing campfires dotting the beach with an inky darkness filling the space between them. Approach one and you have entered a private realm, enclosed by neither walls nor doors but still a clear definition of place, carved out of the brisk night air. Light, heat and sound alone mark the threshold of these intimate gatherings. Step into the fire’s sphere of warmth and you have entered the heart of the party; step four feet back and you’re “out in the cold” so to speak, outside the action and alone.