May 18

Park It

Get a breath of fresh air at these green spaces and outdoor places.

Lake Union Park
(860 Terry Ave N)
Take advantage of the warm weather by lunching al fresco at Lake Union Park. It’s one of the best views in the neighborhood–from the comfort of a park bench you can see everything from seaplanes coming in for a landing on the lake to Gas Works Park across the water, and even catch a glimpse of the University of Washington campus through the trees. Nearby, a variety of vessels are always on display at The Center for Wooden Boats, often with future sailors learning the ropes of handling small watercraft on the docks. On dry land, stroll by the art installations or historic maritime vessels docked behind the Museum of History and Industry.

Amazon’s Urban Rainforest
(Ninth and Mercer)
Head to the open courtyard between Amazon’s Bigfoot and Nessie buildings for a look at the inlaid ceiling installation titled, “There is Another Sky” by artist Spencer Finch. The green and yellow glass creates the feeling of walking into an urban jungle, aided by fountains that resemble Aztec pyramids. Flowing from the entrance on Ninth Ave N is a rushing stream that dulls the noise from the street. Grab a seat in the shade during the summer, or a breath of fresh air when the weather cools off on one of the heated stone benches.

Cascade Playground
(333 Pontius Ave N)
With picnic tables, a basketball half-court, and just enough space to run wild, Cascade Playground is more than just a place for little ones. The wide grassy field is ideal for everything from picnics to pick-up basketball games, and leashed dogs are welcome. For those with a green thumb, a P-Patch community garden is open to anyone looking for a local opportunity to try their hand at sustainable, organic gardening.

Amazon Biospheres
(Lenora St and Seventh Ave)
The three massive domes are still under construction, but once completed in 2017 the Amazon biospheres will join the list of one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks. A multi-story garden will be built within the trio of spheres incorporating over 300 plants from 30 countries (with full-time horticulturists on staff), so even in winter months there will be a bounty of green among the urban scenery of South Lake Union. Entrance to the biospheres will be limited to Amazon employees, but the space outside the glass-paneled spheres will be cultivated for non-Amazonians to sit and enjoy the view. 

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop
Start at Lake Union Park and use this six-mile loop to explore the neighborhoods perched on the water’s edge. At four locations around the trail an audio tour describes the history of Lake Union and its role in the development of Seattle. Take a moment to admire the boats, small and large, as they dock and depart from their moorings. The trail’s proximity to Lake Union Park makes it an easily accessible walk and a great way to learn more about the neighborhood’s roots.

Small Spaces
Across from Cuoco and Brave Horse Tavern is a tiny alcove covered in climbing vines and plants with umbrella-sized leaves, a tiny pocket of green perfect for a quick break outdoors.

Denny Park
(100 Dexter Ave N)
Spend some time in Seattle’s oldest park, where you can wander along wide paths and enjoy the shade of towering maples and pines. The large trees quiet sounds from the surrounding streets, making the park an oasis of calm in bustling downtown (though in the center of the park there is an off-leash dog area). Be sure stop by the azaleas and rhododendrons, Washington’s state flower.

Story by Ethan Chung, Lake Union Park photo by Lara Swimmer, Denny Park and Amazon Urban Rainforest photos by Aaron Briggs

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle