Seattle Parks: 8 Places to Play, Learn and Stay Active

When most people think of a park, they imagine an open green space. The parks in Seattle, however, offer way more than a place to run. Many have cultural and historical attractions and art while providing a place for visitors to play. Keep reading to learn about the best Seattle parks and what they offer.

Seattle Parks Welcome Visitors to Explore More Than the Outdoors

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Discovery Park

Measuring 534 acres, Discovery Park ranks among the largest Seattle parks. This popular spot offers views of Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and other noteworthy scenic sites. Guests also enjoy two miles of protected beaches, sea cliffs, active sand dunes and forests.

In addition to picturesque views, Discovery Park has hiking trails, a lighthouse and lots of wildlife. Those who want to explore all day should stop by the visitor center and tour the former military buildings and the cemetery. In addition, Discovery Park covers most of the site that once housed Fort Lawton. Visitors also have access to a playground, bike trails and picnic tables.

Denny Park

Ranked among the oldest Seattle parks, Denny Park provides a quick escape with plenty of places to relax. Its broad walkways welcome visitors to stroll and admire the surrounding scenery. Along the paths, see azaleas, rhododendrons and mature trees. Families with kids and pet owners are also welcome at Denny Park, as the park has a playground and off-leash dog park.

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Volunteer Park

Volunteer Park sits in the heart of Seattle. Visitors enjoy access to more than 40 acres complete with Volunteer Park Conservatory and Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Those who want to just play outside can do that, too. Stroll along walking paths, let kids swing and splash, and sit down together for a picnic. Before leaving, admire some skyline views of Seattle. Volunteer Park offers a great place to see the city and historic sites.

Carkeek Park

For picturesque views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, head to Carkeek Park. More than 220 acres welcome nature lovers to explore meadows, wetlands and even the beach. Those beach-combing should bring a bucket and shovel to collect shells. Clear paths help guide visitors throughout the park, which has a railroad that runs along the coast. In addition, Carkeek Park provides a top place to watch sunsets in Seattle.

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Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park caters to families with children and kite fliers. The area once served as a gasification park, but today welcomes outdoor enthusiasts to see interesting structures and enjoy fresh air.

Gas Works Park sits near Lake Union. While there are no water recreation activities permitted, the lake provides a top place for scenic and family photos. Some may even see couples taking wedding photos here. Feel free to bring a kite and climb the big hill for a special vantage point.

Kerry Park

Kerry Park ranks among the best Seattle parks for its view. This small park is located on the south side of Queen Anne Hill, and provides the opportunity to see the Space Needle and Seattle skyline. Look a little further to see Mount Rainier. Other things to do at Kerry Park include watching sunsets and admiring fine art.

Those with kids should visit Bayview-Kinnear Park, which has a playground and is only a stairway away from the west side of the park. Most people don’t realize they can visit two parks in the same day.

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Lake Union Park

This spot sits close the center of downtown Seattle. In addition to green space and water views, visitors will find the Museum of History and Industry and Center for Wooden Boats. Both attractions help showcase the region’s culture and history.

After checking out attractions, get on the water. Lake Union Park offers a place to rent stand-up paddle-boards and non-powered boats. Guests can also cool off at the spray park during the summer and early fall.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Want to browse art? Stop by Olympic Sculpture Park, which ranks among the best Seattle parks for waterfront views and sculptures. The area measures nine acres and includes public art as well as views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. Admission is free, and guests can tour independently or take a guided tour. After learning about the sculptures, sit on a bench and take in the view.

For more ideas, check out the top Seattle family-friendly activities and book a Seattle vacation rental to enjoy the comforts of home.