Nicknamed “The Emerald City” for its lush, green woodlands and its more than 6,000 acres of parks, Seattle is the perfect destination for travelers looking for both big city excitement and quiet corners to unplug and relax. You could spend weeks wandering the city’s vast system of trails and green spaces, so we’ve created a list to help you get your adventure started.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Just a mile West of the Pan Pacific, Olympic Sculpture Park skirts Elliott Bay, transforming a former industrial site into a destination for both natural and manmade works of art. Free to the public, and commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum, the park’s distinct, z-shaped path allows visitors to zigzag through 21 different sculptures, and take in gorgeous views of the city’s intersection with the sea. Olympic Sculpture Park: 2901 Western Ave.; 206-654-3100
There’s a reason 90s rom-com, 10 Things I Hate About You, opens with a view from this iconic Seattle park. On rare, cloudless days, the Space Needle, Elliott Bay, Bainbridge Island and Mount Rainier all fit into a single frame. Forget the bikes and the segways, at Kerry Park, weary travelers can count on a perfect little tour of the city from a single perch.
This sprawling, 534 acre natural area overlooks Puget Sound, and feels light-years away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Capitol Hill. The park boasts nearly 12 miles of walking trails that lead visitors through forests, beaches, prairies and even tide pools. It’s the perfect place to zen out, and leave behind the noise of a busy day.
Home to the last surviving stretch of old-growth forest within the city’s limits, Seward Park is an ideal spot for a morning jog or afternoon picnic. Thick Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks and Alaskan Cedars tower along the park’s trails, sheltering and secluding visitors looking to withdraw into the wild.
Located in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, Volunteer Park boasts a conservatory, reservoir, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. If you’re in town during the summer, be sure to stop by to catch a free concert, or to wander through the park’s famed dahlia gardens.