Seattle has so many parks and outdoor spaces to offer, so I’ve compiled some recommendations for you! These are great spots to spend your summer outside, are beautiful year-round, and can be reached easily using public transportation.
- Seward Park: Seward Park is located on a peninsula and is home to a variety of trails, including an awesome 2.5 mile loop around the park. On the north end of the loop you can see the Heritage tree, which is arguably the oldest tree in Seattle. The number 50 bus drops you off at the entrance to the park, or you can add mileage to your adventure by taking the Light Rail to the Columbia City Station and walking two miles to the park.
- Volunteer Park: Volunteer Park has trails, a conservatory, and a water tower with a lot of stairs and an awesome view. When the mountain is out, you can see Rainier from the water tower. The number 10 bus drops right outside of the park and both the number 12 bus and the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station are within walking distance.
- Magnuson Park: Magnuson has it all – Lake Washington beach front, trails, playfields, wetlands, and history. It is a former naval base, and you can check out the old naval buildings while you are there. You can reach Magnuson on the number 62 bus, or from the University of Washington on route 75.
- Alki Beach and Jack Block Park: Alki Beach has a California vibe with boardwalk-style businesses across the street, it’s always a lively scene. If you walk along the road southeast from Alki, you’ll reach Jack Block Park. This peaceful Port of Seattle park has old infrastructure, cool views of the Duwamish industrial area and the city, and lots of great flowers in the spring and summer. There are many ways to get to this area via public transit. You can take the Rapid Ride C Line to buses that drop at the water taxi, or you can take the water taxi directly from downtown Seattle to Alki, crossing Elliott Bay making for a fun journey.
- Sam Smith Park: This park that stretches over the beginning of the I-90 bridge on the Seattle side has a great playground that I promise is fun at any age (I still haven’t stopped enjoying tire swings yet). It also has the coolest quarter-mile tunnel that is fun to walk, run, or bike through. It ends at one of the I-90 bridge connections with an awesome view of the lake, mountains, and the great label etched in stone atop the westbound side of the Mount Baker tunnel that reads: “Seattle: Portal to the Pacific.” This park can be reached on bus routes 7 and 8 which drop on its west side and the number 14 which drops on its east side.
- Jose Rizal: Located adjacent to both Downtown and the International District, this little park on Beacon Hill has the most incredible view of the area, including downtown Seattle, the stadiums, and the Olympic Mountains. This is the perfect spot to have a dinner picnic on a clear summer day and watch the sun set over our fair city. Bus routes 36 and 60 both drop very close to this park.
- Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park: Beginning at the southern section of this park you can see cool sculptures and great grassy areas as you walk north along the water. Your hair will blow beautifully in the wind as you walk the path along Elliott Bay. These parks are walkable from any bus route or train that gets you downtown!
- Golden Gardens: Golden Gardens is another west facing park to watch a gorgeous sunset on a clear day. This park has sandy ocean beaches and you can enjoy a beach bonfire or play with your dog at the large dog park. Golden Gardens is accessible from bus routes 40, 45, or the Rapid Ride D Line.
- Luther Burbank: If you are up for an island adventure, a visit to Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island is in order. This park has great views and many lake activities, as well as forested areas full of birds and other wildlife. The 550 bus picks up throughout the bus tunnel, and drops you less than 10 minutes from the park at the I-90 Park ‘n Ride on Mercer Island.
- Discovery Park: There’s something fun about an old military fort, it makes me want to build my own out of sticks and leaves. Luckily there are many places to do that at Discovery Park. Formerly Fort Lawton, this Magnolia park has bluffs with great views, ocean beaches, a lighthouse, and forested trails. You can reach Discovery Park by bus routes 19, 24, 27 or 33.
–Anna Wittow, IMBY Intern