Green Lake Park


Designed by John Olmsted in 1903, Green Lake Park is one of the most visited parks in Seattle. Located about five miles from downtown (take the E-line bus if you are feeling adventurous), Green Lake has a European feel to it. The lake has a generous path that easily accommodates wheels and pedestrians, and it is especially popular on weekends during the summer. There’s a place to rent paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes. Ice cream and snacks are available from local businesses. But the main point of this is the leisurely stroll—about 2.8 miles around from beginning to end–which should take about an hour. (TRICIA ROMANO)

Volunteer Park


Volunteer Park is located on the tonier north side of Capitol Hill. The grounds are lush, and on the west-facing side, there’s a famous sculpture, Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi (yes, the Soundgarden song is named after it), and, during sunset, the sun will line right up in the center of it. One of the lawns has a stage used for outdoor concerts and theatrical productions, and there’s a small, sweet conservatory, where, for $6, you can see a range of plants and flowers. (TRICIA ROMANO)

Washington Park Arboretum


Operated by the University of Washington, the Arboretum is a beautiful 230-acre park right in the center of the city. Walk down the great open trail, Azalea Way, all the way to the end at Duck Bay. If you curve to your left, it’ll take you to another trail with floating walkways and a marshy, swampy area with lily pads covering the water. Or traverse the higher hills and get a completely different, deeper woods experience. The park is free, but if you decide to visit the Japanese Garden (and you should), it costs $10 ($6 for children 6-17 and seniors 65 and older). (TRICIA ROMANO)


Alki Beach Park


Alki Beach is one of two truly beachy beaches in Seattle—it’s a bit smaller than Golden Gardens in Ballard, but it comes with a totally SoCal boardwalk. Bikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and walkers course up and down the crowded sidewalk along the beach. You can take a break and eat ice cream, burgers, pizza, or drink beer or margaritas by the water and people-watch. The sandy area is small, but there are a few fire pits that you can lay claim to if you want to barbecue, and a beautiful view of downtown Seattle and beyond. Worth the 25-minute trek to West Seattle, especially if you take the water taxi. (TRICIA ROMANO)

Discovery Park


Located in the neighborhood of Magnolia, a short car or bus ride from downtown, Discovery Park is the biggest of the city’s parks. It has 534 acres, and you can make your hike as challenging as you’d like, with a steep trail through the woods that takes you to the beach below. If you get there, you should walk over to the West Point Lighthouse and sit on the rocky sand. (Cheaters can drive right to the beach and park at the lower-level parking lot.) Or you can walk the hilly fields that offer stunning views of Puget Sound. If you squint, it almost looks like you’re in Ireland somewhere. (TRICIA ROMANO)

Golden Gardens


Golden Gardens is a true beachy beach with the golden sand of its name. You’ll see boats swirling around on Puget Sound, people playing volleyball and sitting around fire pits. There might be a drum circle or two, for which we apologize. The west-facing location of Golden Gardens makes for stunning views of summer sunsets and the Olympic Mountains. If you want to get a spot to barbecue, you should show up early and stake a claim. (TRICIA ROMANO)

Madison Park Beach


People in Seattle call city parks like Madison Park “beaches,” in part because it’s a space next to water where the public goes swimming, and in part because there’s a tiny strip of sand. But it’s really a park—a green patch of land next to the water. If you want to see where the young, hip locals hang out for a day in the sun, then go to this part of the Madison Park neighborhood and relax. Afterward, you can grab a bite and a drink at one of the many nearby restaurants. (TRICIA ROMANO)


Poo Poo Point


According to the Washington Trails Association, during the early days of logging, hikers named this point on West Tiger Mountain for the sound the trains made ("poooooh, poooooh") as they zigzagged up and down the rails. This was obviously well before we standardized the onomatopoeia for many products of the steam age. Poo Poo Point is the closest and easiest hike (excepting Little Si and Rattlesnake Ridge) for Seattleites, the kind you're in the mood for if you woke up hungover at 11 am but still want to walk through some red cedars. On a clear day, you can watch paragliders launch from the bald spot Weyerhaeuser shaved into the shoulder of the mountain in the 1970s. (RICH SMITH)

Mount Si


Old reliable. Even in the middle of winter, even when covered in snow, you can almost always get up and down this one without fearing for your life. For this and other reasons, the mountain is popular. The switchbacks make the same argument over and over again, especially on the way down, but if you're in more of a workout mode, you can find comfort in the repetition. (And if you want to take the old trail up, which is a little more interesting, park in the lot for Little Si, hit the trail, hang a right at the Boulder Garden, and take the trail that goes straight up.) Mount Si's summit feels like a playground. You can scramble up the haystack if you're trying to impress somebody. Otherwise, you can post up at the first lookout and behold the Cascades rolling out to the south, or else head over to the west side and strain to see Seattle in the distance. Note: Protect your snacks. The top is lousy with gray jays. These birds look like they just finished helping Cinderella get dressed, but they'll swoop down and snatch a cashew right out of your mouth. (RICH SMITH)