Whether you’re a visitor or a longtime resident, it never hurts to have a go-to list of outdoor activities ready for that picture-perfect day in the great outdoors.
Here is your insider’s guide to the best outdoor activities in Seattle:
Get your splash on
- Seattle Center International Fountain provides great fun for kiddos and adults who love people watching.
- Green Lake Park Wading Pool is open daily from June-September. Restroom just adjacent to the wading pool.
- Greenlake Boathouse offers tons of water craft rentals to enjoy on Greenlake: try a paddleboat, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or canoe.
- Lake Union Spraypark overlooks Lake Union and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), as well as the Center for Wooden Boats.
- Golden Gardens Park in Ballard is my favorite beach in the city. The sand is mostly soft (not rocky, like some beaches), there is space for grilling and playing volleyball, picnic areas, and a playground for kids. Parking can be extremely competitive, so show up early and bring a wagon if you’re hauling more than you can carry.
- Alki Beach this is THE place to be if you love rollerblading, skateboarding or volleyball. Alki boasts a long walking path near the water with space for feet, strollers and wheels. Fantastic views of downtown Seattle across Elliott Bay are a nice bonus. You could even hitch a ride on the King County Water Taxi to get there from downtown Seattle!
- Myrtle Edwards Park is one of the most beautiful seaside walks in the Pacific Northwest. The paved trail runs right next to the water, with stops for little beaches along the way.
- Soak up some sunshine at any of these spectacular deck-side settings:
- Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards at these fine businesses on Lake Union:
- Visit Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
- Take a ferry ride from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge or Vashon island. Cars, people and bikes are all welcome!
- Kerry Park on upper Queen Anne is where 90% of all Seattle skyline photos are taken. Down a steep staircase, you will find a cool little park for the kiddos. Hint: start at Menchie’s for self-serve frozen yogurt goodness and then walk down to Kerry Park to marvel at the view. The walk is about ¾ mile each way. It’s a fairly steep hill for a portion of the walk.
- Discovery Park in Magnolia (still Seattle) is one of my all-time Seattle favorites. It has a pleasant and easy 2.7 mile loop hike (not paved), is kid-friendly, with gorgeous bluff views of Puget Sounds about halfway. Ideal for a light picnic.
- The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t so named because it hosted the Olympic Games—it’s because of its breathtaking position overlooking the Olympic Mountains. Walk north on the waterfront path and you’ll connect with Myrtle Edwards Park. Walk south and you’ll hit the waterfront area. Walk west and you’re in the ocean. Oops.
- If you’re on the waterfront and feel like a little maritime action, Argosy Cruises offers a variety of narrated 1-3 hour cruises. We also LOVE Let’s Go Sailing, which offers daytime and sunset sailing adventures that allow you to kick back and let someone else do all the work. You can even bring your own food and drinks to enjoy while watching the sinking sun! Note: Let’s Go Sailing boats are not ideal for small children (i.e. under the age of 5), since the boat picks up an impressive amount of speed to cross Elliott Bay and you have to hold on carefully for the ride.
- Gas Works Park, a former gas plant turned public park, offers sweeping views of Lake Union and downtown Seattle. Fly a kite, run up and down the giant hill, and wave at kayakers as they paddle past. Insider tip: this is where they filmed the paintball scene in “10 Things I Hate About You”.
- Washington Park Arboretum is another fun one for nature lovers.
- If it’s summer, summer, summer time, catch an outdoor movie in one of Seattle’s many venues (2016 schedule here as an example).
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