Seattle is an amazing and unique destination for many reasons but ask any local and they’ll tell you their favorite feature is the city’s proximity to nature. Surrounded by Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the west as well as the Cascade Mountains to the east, it’s easy to find a breathtaking view or outdoor activity in the Emerald City. Lucky for you, the Visit Seattle team is sharing their favorite ways to soak in every inch of this city’s incredible location, with scenic sights that give you a glimpse of the unparalleled natural beauty of the region.
It’s near impossible to visit Seattle and not feel the allure of nature. Whether you prefer biking city streets, kayaking local waters or walking public green spaces, you’re bound to find it all (and more) within city limits. Here are a few of our team’s recommendations should you choose to opt outside.
Rent a Bike
“Rent a Lime bike or JUMP bike and ride along Myrtle Edwards Park.” – Tamara Thorberg, Tourism Manager
“Alki Beach is a great place to bike because the path is wide and easy to navigate. You’re right next to the water and you’ll find picturesque views of the city skyline.” – Cari Whiteley, Senior Convention Sales Coordinator
Go Sailing, Kayaking or Canoeing
“Go for a free public sail every Sunday at The Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union. You can also rent kayaks and canoes from them at a budget-friendly price (same goes for the Waterfront Activities Center at the UW).” – Tracey Wickersham, Senior Director, Cultural Tourism
Explore a Local Park
“Discovery Park and Carkeek Park are both wonderful. I love the wooded, well-maintained trails and varied plants, trees and viewpoints. Both are also excellent picnic locations.” – Kris Cromwell, SVP and Chief Operating Officer
“Cal Anderson Park has plenty of room to hang out with groups of friends. They’re also dog and cat friendly, and have a sports field for baseball, soccer and frisbee.” – Phil Manning, Junior Graphic Designer
“Seward Park is wonderful. It’s small enough to navigate easily, but large enough to explore. Plus, there’s a playground and usually some ducks or geese to keep my little one interested.” – Kristin Gillespie, Director, Content Strategy
“Green Lake Park is one of my favorites. It’s easy to get to and there are always so many dogs!” – Rylee Dewitt, Coordinator, Convention Sales
HIKE YOUR HEART OUT
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or beginner hiker, Seattle boasts trails of every skill level, for every skill level. Of course, it’s easy when you’re surrounded by three national parks and two major mountain ranges. Adventure seekers can opt for a subalpine trek among the Cascade or Olympic Mountains, while city-goers can take to flat land on urban neighborhood trails.
“I love Twin Falls because it’s an easy hike to navigate yet has big rewards – and it’s less than an hour from the city.” – Kristina Thorne, National Account Director
“Rattlesnake Ledge is a popular trail, but for a good reason. The view at the top never disappoints! You overlook the lake and surrounding mountains – it’s just beautiful.” – Amanda Jakubik, Convention Sales & Services Coordinator
“In the summers, I like taking visiting friends and/or family to the Denny Creek hike because it’s not too hard or far away, but still fun.” – Tamara Thorberg, Tourism Manager
“Mailbox Peak in Snoqualmie is a great hike if you’re up for a challenge. There’s actually a mailbox at the peak and sometimes it’s filled with surprises from other hikers.” – Addie Davis, Senior Coordinator, Public Relations
VENTURE TO VIEWPOINTS
If picture-worthy views are what you seek, Seattle has a plethora of one-stop-shops that boast backdrops you can’t help but post on Instagram. Whether you’re searching for the perfect snapshot of the city skyline against the water or a birds-eye view of the streets below, here are scenic viewpoints worth the venture.
Washington State Ferries
“One of my favorite viewpoints is from a Washington State Ferry in the middle of Elliott Bay. You can’t beat the 360° views of the mountains and skyline with the wind in your face.” – Kristin Gillespie, Director, Content Strategy
Gas Works Park
“Sitting at Gas Works Park looking across the water (Lake Union) to downtown is beautiful, especially when there are sailboats on the water and Kenmore Air planes taking flight.” – Claire Bowen-Pope, Partner Services Manager
“Kerry Park is justifiably famous, and it really is a beautiful view of the city skyline and Elliott Bay – plus, on clear days, you can see Mt. Rainier in the background.” – Tracey Wickersham, Senior Director, Cultural Tourism
Sky View Observatory
“I love the views from Sky View Observatory because it’s located inside the tallest building in the city, Columbia Center, so you see practically all of downtown, including streets, cars and buildings. You can even spot Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains on a sunny day.” – Paige Siry, Graphic Designer
To learn more about things to do in Seattle, head to visitseattle.org/things-to-do.