Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks
Take a walk along the Ballard Locks and explore the west end of Salmon Bay. The National Historic Site is open daily 24/7 for vessels and 7am - 9pm for visitors. Along your walk you can wander the botanical garden, watch salmon migrate (June - Sept), view the boats pass through the locks and checkout the museum if you want.
Pro Tip: So, there's a Red Mill Burger right across the street and after all of that walking you could enjoy a burger shake and/or fries. You also have quite a few breweries around in Ballard for some libations.
When it comes to generating heaping amounts of city view jealousy few sites are quite as valuable as the Seattle Waterfront. Seriously, after seeing months of grey, just getting in a five second view of the Puget Sound ringed by the tree filled/snow capped Cascade mountains makes you realize just how good we have it. Thats why we like to hit up the Waterfront trail by Myrtle Edwards Park which has both bike and pedestrian paths that include SAM's Olympic Sculpture Park as well as access to the classic waterfront and shops.
Pro Tip: Leave the car at home and grab a bus to drop you off near the Double Helix bridge off 15th Ave. and then take the pedestrian path until you reach downtown. Go the extra distance and end your trek at Pike Place with tasty cocktails at Rachel's Ginger Beer and a dinner at Radiator Whiskey (reservations recommended).
When most people think of a city park they imagine a few swing sets, screaming kiddos, and maybe some trees. All that is a-ok unless you are wanting to get some actual space and escape from the brick and concrete of downtown. That's why we head to Discovery Park, a 534-acre former military base nestled in the corner of Magnolia that has an incredible array of outdoor options that will satisfy exercise junkies and casual view hunters alike. Take to the upper bluff trail for unparalleled views of the Sound and Olympic Peninsula or stretch those calfs and descend to the waterfront for some beach time. Even better, this park is often less crowded than most trails on I-90, which can end up feeling like hiking queue's during peak hiking season.
Pro Tip: Head to the lower parking lot to avoid the packed upper lot, especially when around new years and occasional sunny days in winter (what, you didn't think you were the only one going outside on a sunny day, did you?). Remember to pack a lunch if you're making a day of it and snag a spot on the bluff or down below on the beach where you can also assemble driftwood for your new super lunchtime fortress of solitude.
South Lake Union to Fremont
If you want to take a walk that includes both nature and the city then we suggest hitting up the trails on South Lake Union over to Fremont. Start your day at the SLU Park and then start heading west along the marina path and take in views of Lake Union houseboats and seaplanes. There are plenty of places to stop in along the path but we suggest saving your appetite for Fremont.
Pro Tip: Two feet not cutting it? Bring your bike and follow the same path, only take it one step further and join the Burke Gilman trail in Fremont and ride until your legs tap out.
Ballard Locks to Golden Gardens
Start your day at the Hiram Chittendam Locks and take a stroll past the feats of naval engineering and the gorgeous adjoining park. Then, head out of the park and start your walk along the bike and pedestrian trail that takes you past the shilshole marina and into Golden Gardens. There are plenty of places to stop off on the trail, and you can also start out the other direction to hit up shops and restaurants in Ballard.
Pro Tip:This is another area that is prime to hit during non-tourist season, especially the locks, whose slender walkways can get jammed with stationary onlookers. Looking for a meal with a view? Head off the trail and head to Ray's Boathouse and hit the upper level for their happy hour deals and amazing waterfront views. Want something bad after doing your body good? Then head to either Red Mill's Totem Housefor fish & chips and/or a burger.
Chief Sealth Trail
Take a long walk on the paved path of the The Chief Sealth Trail. The trail is a 4.5 mile long that runs through southeastern Seattle and the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Chief Sealth Trail starts on S. Snoqualmie and 15 Ave S below Jefferson Park to Kubota Gardens at 51st and S Gazelle Street, with connections to light rail stations along the way.
Pro Tip: If you want a great view of Mt Rainier start on the southend of the trail. If you prefer a city view start on the northern end.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
The University of Washington is one nice place to snag an education. Equally as nice is the gorgeous campus. Cherry blossoms in the springtime are a must along with exploring the library red square.
Pro Tip: If you venture to the Quad on the UW campus during the spring enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom. Also, the earlier in the day you get there the less crowded it will be!
Head to West Seattle and enjoy the view of Seattle, boardwalk, beach and maybe a bald eagle in flight if you are lucky.
Pro Tip: Get there before 11am and you will find a parking spot on a nice day. Also, parking near Anchor Point near the pull-in spots is probably your best bet for finding a spot after 11am. Parking gets crazier the further you venture south down the strip.
WASHINGTON PARK Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum is one of the most amazing places in Seattle. The 230 acre park, which is operated by the city and the University of Washington, features a botanical garden, fishing areas, several canoe and kayak landings, and plenty of hiking trails, including the unique Arboretum Waterfront Trail. The trail features the largest remaining wetland in Seattle and the floating bridges create a unique experience and plenty of photo opportunities.
Pro Tip: There are two different ways to approach the half-mile Arboretum Waterfront Trail. You can park in the arboretum and walk west to East Montlake Park or you can park in the old Museum of History and Industry parking lot (2700 24th Ave. E.) and head east toward Washington Park Arboretum.
Seward Park Loop
A gorgeous view of Mount Rainier and views of the lake make Seward Park Loop an amazing place for a quick walk. It really is the perfect park for a trail walk/run/hike/skate/bike with old growth forest thanks to the 2.5 mile paved loop. Bring your dog and maybe a camera!
Pro Tip: Parking is limited at the base of the park, so drive up top for additional parking.
Kubota Gardens is a beautiful, Japanese-style garden. 20-stunning acres of hills and valleys, the Kubota Garden features streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings and an exceptionally rich and diverse collection of plants and landscaping. This unique urban refuge displays over sixty years of vision, effort and commitment by the Kubota family.
Pro Tip: Watching the garden transition from summer to fall and winter to spring is the best way to experience the park thanks to the changing colors.
Green lake Park
Some people love Green Lake Park, some people think that it's just a giant circle that's a one-and-done affair. Though, no matter your view this place is packed with swarms of locals on any given sunny day in Seattle and while the path may not hold many surprises, the people watching is top notch. Plus, there are plenty of food options surrounding the lake making it easy to make a full afternoon out of a visit.
Gas Works Park
Rain or shine there is a concrete path that will lead you around the water and the and by the old coal gasification plant. It is one of the most unique parks in the city, if not the state.
Lake Washington Loop
You can partake in a nice walk nearly anywhere along Lake Washington and the 61.14 miles of trails (amazing bike ride also we have to say!). The route follows a a mix of trails and city streets, and keeps to mostly residential, but still very scenic areas.
Jefferson Park, the sixth largest park in the city, offers great views of the Seattle cityscape and Olympic Mountains and is a great spot to take a walk. There also is a golf course, driving range, and skate park.
Located in West Seattle, Lincoln Park has 4.6 of walking trails, open fields to run around in and beach access. This is a great spot to watch ferries go back and forth from Vashon Island.
Mercer Slough Nature Park
Located in Bellevue, the Mercer Slough Nature Park offers a sizable wild land escape right in the city of Bellevue. The park offers 7.1 miles of hiking area, a canoe trail, seasonal blueberry farm, picnic areas, restrooms, the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center and more.
- Myrtle Edwards Running Trail
- Schmitz Preserve Park
- Ravenna Park
- Interlaken Park
- Interurban Trail North
- Burke Gilman Trail
Seattle landscape photos provided by Matt McDonald | EqualMotion.com