In 2009, I set out on a warm August morning with my six-month-old son tucked into an orange Bob stroller, a pair of brand new walking shoes, my camera and a handful of Google Maps printouts. My destination was Seward Park, and it was Day One on my ambitious quest to visit all the parks in the city of Seattle in one year. I spent a glorious day walking the gravel trails of Seward Park, stopping at every sign to read about the park’s fascinating history and taking dozens of pictures of the views of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier along the way.
As I crisscrossed the city with my maps, I learned about the influence of the Olmsted Brothers, discovered interesting tidbits of Seattle’s founders and relished the gorgeous viewpoints, walking trails and peaceful green spaces I’d found.
One year eventually stretched to four as I realized I had underestimated the extent of Seattle’s always-growing parks system—426 parks now and a handful of new ones are built every year—and my little family grew from three to five with the arrival of twins in 2011.
As I trudged out in all weather to every corner of the city, now with a blue double Bob stroller, my appreciation for Seattle’s amazing parks grew. I loved coming across tiny pocket parks and hidden viewpoints in neighborhoods I’d never set foot in before. As I read placards about natural history and examined interesting art pieces, my kids played on playgrounds and tested out spray parks.
Certainly every park didn’t leave me amazed. There were some that had worn-out amenities and others that looked a little neglected. I puzzled over why the city owns several parks that are nothing more than a triangle of grass alongside a busy road. But I continued on, particularly enjoying the times when I stumbled up on a great little-known park.
In 2013 I finally completed my mission to visit all the city’s parks. Now I’m sharing my inside scoop on my favorite parks in Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region.
Thanks for stopping by!
Linnea Westerlind, Seattle