Room to Roam: 10 great Seattle parks for social distancing
Jefferson Park has abundant space in a spectacular setting
Seattle Parks and Recreation
UPDATED MARCH 24 Parking lots are closed at Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Seward Park and Magnuson Park, as well as Green Lake Park, Golden Gardens, Alki Beach and Gas Works Park
Looking for somewhere new to take your kids, as you maintain social distancing? Here are 10 parks with lots of room to roam and walk, run, ride, throw, catch and explore. Seattle and King County have closed all playgrounds, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, skate parks, dirt jump parks and picnic shelters and have banned gatherings and team sports, but in these places, there is still lots to do.
Maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, wash your hands frequently, and be aware that these days anything can be closed at any time. Bringing your own water is a good idea, too. Scroll all the way down for a handy graphic guide to social distancing in the outdoors.
There are seven gardens within this 230-acre public space, and each has a different character. Several put on extravagant flower shows for spring. You can forest bathe in the woodland garden, promenade on azalea way, clamber around Pacific Connections Garden, or take the boardwalk onto the lake on the shoreline. The Japanese Garden is closed.
PARKING LOTS ARE CLOSED3801 Discovery Park Blvd
Seattle’s biggest park has mossy, fern-lined woods, broad sunny meadows, ponds, cliffs, a historic lighthouse and beautiful beaches.
PARKING LOTS ARE CLOSED8011 Fauntleroy Way SW
This 135-acre triangular park jutting into Puget Sound is a prime location for tossing rocks into the waves. Other popular activities biking (or skating) along the paved waterfront walk, exploring the tangled trails through the woods, or playing catch on the field.
PARKING LOTS ARE CLOSED7400 Sand Point Way NE
In happier times, this 350-acre park is a hub for every outdoor team sport played in Seattle: from soccer and Ultimate Frisbee to rugby and cricket. These days the many sports fields are wide open for free play. Other things to do: look for life in the interlocking ponds of the wetland area, and ride bikes on the broad paths.
1247 15th Ave E
A true city park in the Olmsted tradition, Volunteer Park has big gracious trees, inviting lawns, and no shortage of art, such as Isamu Noguchi’s Black Sun sculpture, which is set invitingly in front of one of the better views of Seattle’s downtown skyline.
PARKING LOTS ARE CLOSED5900 Lake Washington Blvd S
This peninsula sticking out into Lake Washington has a spectacular forest, including madrone trees and one of Seattle’s only stands of old growth. There’s also a dreamy waterfront promenade great for bicycling on. See also: Six ways your kids can enjoy nature in Seward Park.
950 NW Carkeek Park Rd
Explore the trails through this 220-acre park’s woods, or throw a frisbee or let off stomp rockets on the field. The beach at this park is wonderful, but the long metal bridge and stairway to access it is too narrow for people to pass each other without violating social distancing, so if you're hankering for a beach experience, go to Golden Gardens instead.
There are lots of steep grassy slopes to run or roll down. There are trees big and small, some climbable, and a stage set up in a spot that makes a natural amphitheater.
This is a very inviting 16 acres, with a broad field and a track perfect for learning to ride a bike on, plus a children’s garden.
This big park has fields to run on and paths to bike on, plus lots of flowering cherry trees, and incredible views.
Seattle Parks & Recreation shared this infographic produced by the National Parks & Recreation Associaton: