Open grass fields and parks full of trees are never difficult to find in Seattle. Whether you’re seeking a pleasant garden to think in or a breathtaking view of the water, there are beautiful parks scattered throughout the city to enjoy.
Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park is a gorgeous waterfront park with a beach and wetland marsh that looks out onto the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Watch kayakers and sailboats drift by on the bay and stroll along the rugged coastline. There is an off-leash dog park in the northern portion of the park and forest trails to walk on. The park is a popular place to sit and watch the sun set on the water and Olympic Mountains.
The Arboretum is a hidden jewel on the shores of Lake Washington, with a Japanese garden in the southern part of the park. This Seattle Park has 230 acres of trees and plants, including a garden of Asiatic maples of the genus Acer, which are native to Asia’s mountain forests, and plenty of birch trees, poplars, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Be sure to visit the Woodland Garden while you’re there, which features two quiet ponds and one of the largest Japanese maple collections in North America. Autumn is probably the most beautiful time to visit the Woodland Garden for the variety of colors you’ll spot in a single outing.
Green Lake Park is one of Seattle’s most iconic and favorite parks, with joggers making their morning runs along the 2.8 mile path around the lake, roller skaters weaving through the park, and dog walkers tangled up in leashes. The park is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing color. Many people kayak, wind surf, and fish on the lake, and it’s a great place for a picnic.
A 534 acre park on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest city park. The park offers sublime views of both the Cascades and the Olympic Mountain ranges, two miles of tidal beaches, dramatic sea cliffs, and peaceful forest groves. Walk the loop trail through the park that runs for 2.8 miles and meets up with other walking trails, or go bird watching on the beach. The Seattle Audubon Society has compiled a list of 270 birds to be seen in the park and on the Elliott and Shilshole Bays. Be sure to finish your visit with a walk out to the West Point Lighthouse for a gorgeous view of the Sound.
With 120 acres of old growth forest, eagles’ nests, and 2.4 mile bike and walking trail, Seward Park is a 300 acre haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. The park covers the entire Bailey Peninsula, a former island that juts out into Lake Washington. It’s an urban refuge for native plants and animals, including Garry’s Oak—the only native oak in Washington State. Whether for a picnic, a forest walk, or a visit to the bathing beach, Seward Park is one of Seattle’s most beautiful and treasured parks.