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The Best of Seattle's Great Parks

Volunteer Park Walking Trail

Volunteer Park Walking Trail



Olmsted Legacy
List of the Best Parks
Helpful Books and Guides
Seattle Parks Official Web Site




I feel that Seattle's marvelous parks and botanical gardens are the crown jewels of the city's many attractions.  One of the city of Seattle's best municipal decisions dates back to 1903.  The famous landscape architect firm of the Olmsted Brothers  was invited by the city to submit a plan to provide the Seattle with a unified system of parks, botanical gardens and boulevards.  The city executed a  stroke of genius in urban planning when they adopted the Olmsted firm's recommendations and established a separate Parks department to implement the Olmsted master plan. 

The following lines are from one of our recommended books about Seattle: Urban Walks, 23 Walks through Seattle's Parks and Neighborhoods.  In the book's chapter about the Olmsted Parks, we quote the book:   "In addition to private gardens and entire neighborhoods, Seattle has thirty-five Olmsted parks, the University of Washington campus, and the Washington Park Arboretum, linked together by an extensive boulevard system ringing the city, leaving some of the area's most stunning vistas and landscapes open for all to see.  Maintaining and enhancing the Olmsted vision is a process that continues to this day."

The book Urban Walks has a quote from John Charles Olmsted that is prophetic. "I do not know of any place where the natural advantages for parks are better than here.  They can be made more attractive and will be, in time, one of the things that will make Seattle known all over the world."  Mr. Olmsted made this statement upon his first visit to Seattle. 

As you drive through and walk in the beautiful Olmsted boulevards and parks, you just have to marvel at the brilliant minds at the Olmsted firm that conceived of the gorgeous landscapes for the Emerald City of Seattle.



Please click here to open up our detailed map in a separate tab in your browser showing the location of the Seattle area parks.



Seattle has many wonderful parks for the visitor to explore.  The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department does an excellent job of planning, developing, and maintaining their vast park system.  A visitor could spend several days just exploring the best of Seattle's parks.  A query of the Department's parks listing shows over 150 parks that feature gardens, paths, or beautiful views. 

Here are some of Seattle's best parks.

Please click on the park name or the image to see our detailed information about the park.


Volunteer Park

Volunteer Park Conservatory

One of Seattle's crown jewels of beauty. Designed by the Olmsted firm.


Louisa Boren Park

Seattle's Louisa Boren Park

A tiny park on Capitol Hill with gorgeous views of the Cascades and Lake Washington. Sunrises and early morning views can be outstanding.


Bellevue Downtown Park

Bellevue Downtown Park


This splendid park is located in Bellevue but it is in the Seattle metropolitan area and just 10 miles from downtown Seattle. The park offers dramatic views and it has a European feel to it with its large green field and beautifully landscaped promenade. Bring your camera.


Bhy Kracke Park

Seattle's Bhy Kracke Park View

A little park on Queen Anne Hill with great views of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, and south Lake Union.  This is one of Seattle's hidden attractions. 


Discovery Park

Seattle's Discovery Park

The largest of Seattle's parks and one of its most popular parks.


Freeway Park

Seattle's Freeway Park

A beautiful park sitting on top of a major interstate highway.


Cal Anderson Park

Seattle's Cal Anderson Park

Named by Forbes Magazine as one the best city parks in the U.S.


Kerry Park

Seattle's Kerry Park

A tiny park with spectacular views of the Space Needle, downtown and Elliott Bay.


Gas Works Park

Seattle's Gas Works Park

A lovely park featuring dramatic views of Lake Union and an old factory.


Lake Union Park

Seattle's Lake Union Park

One of Seattle's newest parks. Another outstanding park built by Seattle Parks and Recreation.


Myrtle Edwards Park

Myrtle Edwards Park


One scenic place to explore in Seattle is Myrtle Edwards Park.  This park features a 1.25 mile trail that goes along the waterfront and offers a lovely place to run, walk, bike, or skate.  You can see a lot of interesting sights on your walk through this park.


Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Seattle's Jose Rizal Park View

A small park on Beacon Hill with splendid views of downtown and Elliott Bay.



Parks on Lake Washington Boulevard

Parks on Lake Washington

Enjoy visiting several of the Olmsted designed parks on Lake Washington.


Pioneer Square Park

Seattle's Pioneer Square Park

A tiny park featuring a beautiful pergola and a totem pole.



Olympic Sculpture Park (operated by the Seattle Art Museum)

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park

A spectacular blending of sculpture, landscape architecture, and absolutely beautiful scenery.

Victor Steinbrueck Park

Victor Steinbrueck Park


This tiny park adjacent to Pike Place Market packs a scenic punch and it is a great place to rest your legs.


Resources to Help You Explore Seattle's Parks

Two resources in our guidebooks section can help you explore the great parks of Seattle:


Urban Walks

Urban Walks:  23 Walks through Seattle's Parks and Neighborhoods (book)

This delightful book contains detailed and informative descriptions of walks through 13 of Seattle parks. The book is small enough to fit in a backpack.


City Walks Seattle

City Walks Seattle:  50 Adventures on Foot  (cards)

This set of 50 pocket-sized cards has detailed maps and narrative for exploring Seattle on foot.  15 of the cards are for Seattle's parks. 



Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Website

Please click here to go to the official web site for the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department.


Click here to go to the Dazzling Seattle Travel Guide Site Map