Seattle's Many Parks Offer Perks like Exercise, Education and Endless Beauty

From national parks that protect entire ecosystems to neighborhood and city parks that offer urban recreation and entertainment opportunities at every turn, Seattle's green spaces are as diverse as the region. Take remote Olympic National Park, for example, where you can hike along a beach part of the day, later ending up in the mountains (after passing through a temperate rainforest en route.) As for urban access recreation, one park offers a field devoted to remote-controlled aircraft, while another allows visitors to join in a game of lawn bowling.

Of course, in the eco-conscious Pacific Northwest, many parks serve as preserves and oases for native plants and wildlife. That list includes Olympic, mentioned above, as well as Mt. Rainier National Park, both of which are home to multiple indigenous and protected species. In the city, Woodland Park is known for its world-class zoo, but it also serves as a hugely popular gathering spot, with expansive picnic areas and open fields, in addition to a formal rose garden and a sports complex (complete with a skate park). Reclamation is another theme, with one city park built atop a former natural gas energy plant and yet another on the site of a historic military fort. Seattle’s gold rush history proves the theme at Klondike Goldrush National Historical Park, where interpretive tours include panning demonstrations.



Founded in the late 1970s by a retired Tacoma pediatrician and his wife, who donated the 715 acres for the park, this regional gem is home to more than 200 species of indigenous wildlife. In residence are snowy owls, river otters, bald eagles,...  Read More

Woodland Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo


Woodland Park, known for its exceptional zoo, has a lot of other things going for it. Located on approximately 90 acres, the multipurpose park and recreation space is just southwest of Green Lake and north of the Fremont district. Separated into...  Read More



This 640-acre park has just about everything: a 45-foot climbing wall, a cycling velodrome and trails for hiking, biking and walking. There's also a local history museum and facilities for picnics, baseball, soccer, tennis, softball, even...  Read More

Outside the city
Olympic National Park
Photo courtesy of Lana_aka_BADGRL


Olympic National Park provides Seattle visitors with a huge range of recreation options in a compact area. About an hour to an hour-and-a-half southwest of Seattle on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, the nature preserve centers around the...  Read More



This slumbering volcano is the second-tallest mountain in the continental United States after California's Mt. Whitney. Because of its northern locale and more extreme weather, though, Washington State's prime peak is used by many mountaineering...  Read More

Olympic Sculpture Park


Olympic Sculpture Park: Stroll through the grounds and admire the fascinating large-scale works on display at this nine-acre green space. Extensive landscaping enhances the park's beauty, and a walkway, extending from the beach to Belltown,...  Read More



Magnuson Park is an urban, 350-acre park on Sand Point at Pontiac Bay, Lake Washington. This park, the second largest in Seattle, includes pieces of Seattle's military past (it's situated on a former Navy airfield). Today visitors enjoy boating,...  Read More



This local park accommodates a host of joggers, in-line skaters and sunbathers that exercise and bask along the greenbelt that circles Green Lake, the park's picturesque centerpiece. A favorite of locals, the park's plentiful green space and...  Read More

Gas Works Park


On the north end of Lake Union, you'll find what may be the most unique park in the area. The 21-acre industrial area, formerly the site of a gas plant, was transformed in the 1975 into a recreational complex (a worldwide first). You'll find...  Read More



Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, this expansive urban park--the largest in Seattle--offers two miles of beach trails and nine miles of winding footpaths. Ostensibly a bluff-top reserve, Discovery Park protects a remarkable...  Read More


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne