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Outdoor Attractions in Seattle, Washington

Updated on April 28, 2016
Golden Gardens
Golden Gardens | Source


Seattle, Washington features an abundance of breathtaking and beautiful outdoor areas that give you the chance to enjoy nature within the city limits. Many of these places also feature plenty of outdoor recreation options, from hiking trails to soccer fields. Although these destinations show their best side in the summer, these stops are worth a look at any time of the year. If you're planning a Seattle visit, be sure to add these places to your list of things to do.

Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens Park

Golden Gardens Park is a popular beach hotspot for locals and tourists alike. The beach has plenty of picnic areas, a new playground for the kids and sandy areas for volleyball matches. In the evenings, people usually congregate around the beach's fire pits. There's also a large grass area perfect for Frisbee and other lawn games. If you want to stretch your legs, you can take a walk along the beach or head south towards the Shilshole Bay Marina to gaze at any number of arriving and departing boats. Some lucky visitors have even caught glimpses of Puget Sound's native orca pods.

Visit Golden Gardens at 8498 Seaview Pl NW.

Sunset at Discovery Park
Sunset at Discovery Park | Source

Discovery Park

Discovery Park is one of the best areas to walk, run and hike within the Seattle city limits. This great park has a variety of different trails to choose from, depending on how adventurous you're feeling. The popular Loop Trail takes you on a three-mile course through forests and along a bluff with incredible views.The park used to be part of a military base, and some of the structures still remain for you to see. But the real treat is the excellent views of Puget Sound from the park's bluff. In addition, one of the many trails takes you right down to the shores of Puget Sound. This beach is generally far less crowded than any of Seattle's other beaches, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature in solitude. During low tide, Discovery Park's beach is a fantastic place to view interesting sea creatures right on the shore.

Visit Discovery Park's Visitor Center at 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, WA 98199. The Visitors Center provides maps and information about the park.

View from Alki Beach
View from Alki Beach | Source

Alki Beach

Alki Beach features multiple spectacular views depending on which side you visit. Along the north side, you can see some of the best views of the downtown Seattle skyline. Further to the west, you can see the distant Olympic mountains. Alki is a very popular summer hotspot with surrounding coffee shops and restaurants. This beach offers a lot of the same amenities as Golden Gardens, but with a few additional ones as the beach is a popular place to launch kayaks and to take scuba diving classes. You can also visit a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty.

Visit Alki Beach at 1702 Alki Ave SW.

Green Lake Park
Green Lake Park | Source

Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is a pleasant urban oasis within the city of Seattle. The lake is surrounded by a three mile path that is wide enough to accommodate any number of simultaneous activities, including biking, running and rollerskating. The lake offers fun entertainment too, including fish to catch and swimming in warmer weather. You can even rent canoes, paddle boats and row boats to help you experience the lake.The park also offers some extra fitness opportunities, include basketball courts and grass for sports.

This is one of the most popular parks in the entire city, with plenty of people to watch as you make your way around the loop. If you're feeling less active, take a seat and watch some of the bizarre contraptions people take for a spin on Green Lake's trail.

Visit Green Lake at 7201 E Greenlake Dr N.

Carkeek Park
Carkeek Park | Source

Carkeek Park

Tucked behind houses and a small shopping area, Carkeek Park is one of Seattle's many fun secrets. Besides the woodland trails, the park also has its own little beach past a railroad track. To get to the beach, visitors must cross a raised bridge directly over the track. Children especially enjoy watching the trains pass under their feet. This small sandy beach is a popular stop for families with children. Picnic areas and grassy spots are sprinkled throughout the entire park. You can walk along the nearby creek or stop in the fruit orchard.

Visit Carkeek Park at 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd.

Aerial view of Gas Works Park.
Aerial view of Gas Works Park. | Source

Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park still holds relics from its past. In the early 1900s, a plant was constructed to manufacture gas from coal. Today, remnants of the plant remain as the area has become a popular park with stunning views of Lake Union and downtown Seattle. The buildings have been recycled into picnic and play areas. The park's hill makes a great place to fly a kite. The park's hill also offers the perfect place to take some incredible pictures of Seattle's downtown skyline.

Visit Gas Works Park at 2101 N Northlake Way.

Magnuson Park

Watch out for the land sharks!
Watch out for the land sharks! | Source

Magnuson Park

Magnuson Park used to be a Navy airfield. These days, the only things flying here are kites, basketballs and frisbees. The massive park is home many common trends in Seattle parks, including water views, great trails and areas to swim. This park has some uniquely interesting features, including a variety of public art installations. One of the highlights is a collection of submarine fins carefully placed to resemble a pod of whales. Additionally, the park has plenty of playgrounds, baseball fields, wide open fields and other facilities.

Visit Magnuson Park at 7400 Sand Point Way NE.

Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum | Source

Washington Park Arboretum

The Washington Park Arboretum, part of the University of Washington, features plenty of space to get some fresh air and enjoy a diverse collection of trees, plants and flowers. Numerous trails traverse through the arboretum to pass along small ponds and creeks. The arboretum is an especially great destination in the spring when the trees and flowers are in bloom. In the fall, you'll find plenty of amazing crimson and gold leaves on the trees. The arboretum includes a visitor's center with maps and information about the park's diverse natural treasures.

If you take the trail to the north, you can pass underneath Highway 520 to reach the shores of Lake Washington. This is a great place to stop and watch busy boat traffic on a summer weekend.

Visit the University of Washington Arboretum at 2300 Arboretum Drive E.

A view of the Ballard Locks.
A view of the Ballard Locks. | Source

The Ballard Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks, is one of Seattle's most unique destinations. Visitors can line up along the Locks to watch ships pass from the salty Puget Sound to the freshwater Lake Washington. Ships and boats of all types and sizes pass through the Ballard Locks, including private yachts, tour boats and industrial ships. This area offers plenty of places to walk, including a small botanical garden. If you don't mind a small indoor excursion, step inside the adjacent fish ladder building to watch salmon pass through the ladder. The summer months offer the best time to see large populations of fish passing through.

Visit the Ballard Locks at 3015 54th St NW.


Seattle is an impressive city that offers many wonderful urban features, from shopping to excellent museums. However, there's also plenty you can do outdoors within the city limits. If you want to get some fresh air and stretch your legs on your next Seattle adventure, simply try one of these amazing destinations.


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    • cactusbythesea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle

      Hi BSloan, thanks for the feedback! I hope you enjoy your trip to Seattle. :)

    • BSloan profile image

      Barbara Sloan 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Enjoyed your article. We plan on visiting Seattle in the next few years, thank you for suggesting such great places.

    • cactusbythesea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle

      Randomcreative, thank you for the feedback! I'm happy to hear you love Seattle too. :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great topic for a hub! Congrats on your nomination. I love Seattle and hope to get back there to visit someday. I will pull this up again if I do. :) Wonderful resource with beautiful photos.

    • cactusbythesea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks for the feedback, Beata Stasak! I hope you do make it to Seattle, I think you'll love it too! :)

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      6 years ago from Western Australia

      Hope one day I will end up in Seattle, my son is on his backpacking holiday there and love it:) Congratulation for your nomination, well deserved:)

    • cactusbythesea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle

      Ripplemaker, thanks for coming by to let me know about the contest! I'm very excited about the nomination! Thanks for the feedback too! :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I love places with a lot of parks and wish we have many of them. These outdoor destinations are surely places I would like to visit. :)

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Check your nomination right here read and vote okay? Have fun!

    • cactusbythesea profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle

      Internpete, thanks for the feedback! I hope you get to enjoy Seattle someday, it's a lovely city.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 

      6 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Great hub! I want to visit Seattle sometime because it looks like a fun city and I have relatives in that area. Voted up!


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