When Seattle summers start to sizzle, this area more than accommodates local families’ need to cool down. From shoreline playtime to a giant, man-made waterfall, the area’s best spots to spend a summer day don’t just keep your and yours cool, they’re pretty cool themselves. Pack up the kids and hit these awesome area venues for the perfect way to simmer down this summer.
3801 W. Government Way
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 386 4236
Discovery Park, the largest city park in Seattle, occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. It boasts a child’s play area, tennis courts and scenic forest trails to explore on foot, on bikes or with Fido. All of the paths and trails are clearly marked and include signage back to either the north or south parking lots. Stop by the visitor center in the south lot for educational information and maps of the park grounds. Expect an array of kites in the sky, birds to watch and beach to explore. When it comes to eating, this is the perfect place to host a family picnic, which is your best bet, as the park is large and very easy to spend the entire day at.
219 2nd Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98104
The Waterfall Gardens is more of a mini-park with a large waterfall. Located close to Pioneer Square, it’s the perfect stop after exploring the historic neighborhood. The Waterfall helps cool the area, making it a nice respite on hot summer days. It is a wonderful place to sit, relax and drown out the noises of Seattle with the sounds of the running water. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds or at one of the supplied bistro-style tables that are normally filled by local workers around noon.
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1702 Alki Ave. Southwest
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 684 4075
Alki Beach is the perfect summer park destination, with plenty of free parallel parking along the street. Families may walk, ride bikes, roller blade, jog or walk their leashed dogs along the path that lines the beach. Join other families out on the sandy beach to construct sand castles, play volleyball or simply enjoy the fantastic views while soaking up the elusive Seattle sun. The beach often experiences minus tides, revealing more area to explore. Afterward you play, use one of the provided fire pits to make some yummy s’mores. When it comes time to eat, Alki Beach is a great place to bring along a lunch, or hit one of its many nearby, kid-friendly restaurants.
Gas Works Park
2101 N. Northlake Way
Gas Works is one of Seattle’s most distinctive parks, offering opportunities to explore the old gasworks pieces and the large play barn. Its hilly area is perfect for flying kites or rolling around. For active families, a 13-mile trail loops around the gas works making it ideal for strollers, bikes and skates. The park boast amazing views across Lake Union, encasing the space needle, houseboats and seaplanes. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic lunch and to capture some unique family photos. Park in the south parking lot and pick up one of the free maps available on the information board in a box. There is no swimming, fishing or wading in the water at the park.
853 Lake Washington Blvd.
Madrona Park is located on the waterfront on Lake Washington. Boasting more than 31 acres including a nice kids’ play section, jogging trails, picnic sites, shady areas, a basketball court and a ravine, this park is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Enjoy a wooded hillside that leads down to the grassy beach and swimming area with a diving board and swimming raft. Lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. during the summer. On weekends, parking spots can be hard to come by and the ice cream trucks seem to drive by much more than at other parks.
Related: Staying Safe in the Summer Sun
Kristy Stevens-Young is a freelance writer in Seattle. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.