Walking around in nature during Seattle's reason for living (aka summer) should be a priority! And let's face it, few things make nature more potent than reality's little helper: psilocybin.
My favorite place to get trippy is the Arboretum—a 220-acre botanical Narnia on the shore of Lake Washington that's accessible by foot or bus, since it's basically in the middle of a neighborhood. For your adventure, all you need is a manageable amount of mushrooms (remember: You want to enjoy yourself, not enter a freak-out vortex) and maybe a couple pals who can hang.
On your trip to/at the Arboretum, when things start kicking in, you might have the urge to lie in the grass and admire an orange tree reminiscent of a primitive 1970s black-light poster—a tree that you have come to understand is your best friend. Succumb to that urge!
Some of the grounds are painstakingly manicured, but the wild and fecund forest areas are the best. Over by the water, your brain might find the concepts of canoes, lily pads with their geometrically perfect flower cups, and the water itself all intensely fascinating. (Nature is math, man.) Definitely walk underneath and around the stunning (and not long for this world) 520 ramps to nowhere; definitely do not try to climb them—those pipes are loose and won't bear your weight. Theoretically, of course.
Other tips: Squishing through trails of marshy mud might lead you to a gated dock decorated with cryptic graffiti. You may encounter dogs and people—you can let them into your zone and exist in a space with them, but don't push it. If a mom yells, "Get those flowers out of your mouth!" to her child, try not to cackle. Chances are at some point you'll start laughing so hard it turns to sobbing, so find a nice bench to get that out of your system while your best tree friend congratulates you on being so good at summer. EMILY NOKES
Seven Hills Park used to be a parking lot for the big, scary Christian Science church at 16th and Denny. Did you know that most Christian Scientists refuse to take a single aspirin? Even with the most devastating of migraines, they don't believe in taking medicine. Anyway—the church is closed, and the building has been converted into million-dollar condos, and the parking lot has been turned into the best little urban city park that ever was. It's called Seven Hills because some seriously stoned stoner made a rock sculpture in the northeast corner that represents the seven biggest hills of Seattle.
I live across the street from this park. All I have to do is open my living-room window to smell the barbecue and hear all the best sounds of summer. Seven Hills has green grass, eight benches, four picnic tables, and four barbecue grills—and there's never NOT someone making delicious food over there in the summertime. I think it's fair to say that most of the people I see hanging out at Seven Hills take an aspirin now and again, along with lots of marijuana, beer, and wine. The latter two are best enjoyed in a plastic cup. I've had countless drinks in that park this way, without a lick of trouble from John E. Law.
My second favorite park is Golden Gardens. Sitting on 87.8 acres (compared to Seven Hills' mere .39 acre), G-Gardens is HUGE! They don't have grills, but even better, they have first-come, first-served fire pits. And who DOESN'T love a campfire on a beautiful beach—especially a beach with sunset views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains?!? The plastic cup rule (or using a "ditch cup," as my mom likes to say—as in, if the cops come, ditch that cup somewhere FAST) also works perfectly fine at Golden Gardens. I once had a birthday party there with a tiny pony keg hidden in a car. Just keep your ditch cup low, and don't be an a-hole. KELLY O
For the past seven summers, the film enthusiasts at Three Dollar Bill Cinema have hosted a series of family-friendly films on Friday nights in Cal Anderson Park. This year's "Teenage Dreams" program features four exceptionally entertaining young-adult films: the rousing cheerleader comedy Bring It On (August 1), the charming Catskills dance dramedy Dirty Dancing (August 8), the peerless Jane Austen adaptation Clueless (August 15), and the delightfully terrible Teen Witch (August 22).
But almost as much fun as the films are the Friday evening pre-parties held by groups of folks all over the sloping Cal Anderson lawn, starting a couple hours before the dusk-time screenings. Essentially tailgating parties on blankets instead of trucks, the Friday Night Movie pre-hangs are laid-back affairs where people relax with friends and kids and coolers and picnic baskets. Sometimes these coolers and picnic baskets contain alcoholic beverages, which are sometimes poured into discreetly opaque cups, to be enjoyed by responsible adults. Do you enjoy a sunny evening happy hour in a park? Are you capable of procuring both spirits and a discreetly opaque cup? Friday Night Movies await, and here are some games to amp up the fun.
• For Bring It On, take a sip any time Gabrielle Union does something awesome and whenever Jesse Bradford gives you NAMBLA feelings!
• For Dirty Dancing, take a sip every time Jennifer Grey melts your heart with unique star quality and any time this film set in the '60s features a song from the '80s!
• For Clueless, take a sip any time someone falls down stairs or sings a Mentos commercial!
• For Teen Witch, take a sip whenever you see a chair or someone raps about topping! DAVID SCHMADER