Essential Seattle parks for marching into spring

Green Lake. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

It’s been a roller coaster winter this year. In comparison to past years, there’s been more sun and less rain at the expense of a lot of snow. While I personally loved the snow (don’t hate me) I think we’re all more than ready to put that past us, right? As we anxiously await spring and warmer temperatures, here’s a list of our favorite parks for walks (you just might need to bundle up). 

Green Lake

Green Lake is a popular destination year-round and a staple Seattle park. Located ten minutes from downtown and five minutes from Ballard and Fremont, it’s always busy. It’s a reliable 2.8-mile loop that can be completed in approximately one hour. If you start near the shops on East Green Lake Way N, there are a couple cute coffee shops (Retreat and Revolutions Coffee) to grab a warm drink before you start the loop.

The path is paved and accessible for walkers, runners, bikers, and skaters. There are often a lot of families and dogs out too. It’s great to get some fresh air, a nice view of the lake and wildlife, and for some stellar people watching.

If you’re hungry after your walk, check out Bongo’s for delicious Caribbean & Cuban plates & sandwiches.

More information here.

Seward Park. Photo credit:

Seward Park

Just south of Seattle downtown, but within city limits, is Seward Park. Boasting 300 acres of forest land, an amazing old growth forest, and a 2.4 mile bike and walking path. Much of the path is along the Lake Washington shoreline with playgrounds, picnic areas, and plenty of parking.

More information here.

Olympic Sculpture Park. Photo credit: Seattle Art Museum.

Olympic Sculpture Park & Myrtle Edwards Park

Located right on the water in downtown Seattle, you can walk from the sculpture park all the way to Magnolia. After enjoying the sculptures you can walk north to Myrtle Edwards Park, which has a 1.25 mile bike and pedestrian paths along Elliot Bay. You’ll get views of the Olympics Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound.

Stop by Macrina Bakery & Cafe for breakfast or Tempesta for some amazing doughnuts before or after your walk.

More information here and here.

Washington Park Arboretum. Photo credit: UW Botanic Gardens.

Washington Park Arboretum

Even as a University of Washington Alumni and a Seattle native, I somehow missed this park until a few years ago. Jointly managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, its 230 acres contain plants from all over the world and also some only found in the Northwest.

There are several loops you can do in the main park that will take you an hour or so and you can make it a longer walk with a nice waterfront view of Lake Washington if you go down to the 520 bridge and Foster Island on the 1.5 mile Foster and Marsh Island Loop.

More information here.

West Point Lighthouse in Discovery Park. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a 534-acre park in Magnolia and bordering the shores of Puget Sound. It is Seattle’s largest public park and has nearly 12 miles of walking trails.

Our favorite trail is the loop that takes you to the West Point Lighthouse. From there, you can enjoy stunning views of Puget Sound, walking along the beach and taking in views of the boats passing by. There are some stairs on this trail and if it’s rained recently, it can be a little soggy. Waterproof shoes might be helpful during this season.

More information here.