We all have favorite parks we go to seeking fresh air and greenery, but for the days when you want to explore new terrain, here's a handful of off-the-beaten-path parks that are well worth trying out.
Kirke Park (Ballard)
This sweet little neighborhood park was a community-inspired project completed in 2012. The Kirke Park play area features a play set with a climbing wall and slide, plus a separate, smaller slide for tots. There's also saucer swings, a P-Patch, tons of grass to romp around in, and an area with sand pits and a hollowed-out tree trunk for kids to explore.
Bathrooms: No7028 9th Ave NW
Laurelhurst Playfield (NE Seattle)
Another neighborhood favorite, Laurelhurst Playfield boasts a spectacular climbing structure with triple slides, monkey bars, a secret tree house and a merry go round. There's also a play area for littles, and the longtime favorite super high swings are still there. Bring a bat and glove and play a game of baseball on either of the two diamonds, race around the dirt path that circles the park, hit some tennis balls or have a picnic in the huge grassy areas.
Bathrooms: Yes4544 NE 41st St
Maple Leaf Reservoir Park (NE Seattle)
Pop by Maple Leaf, a neighborhood south of Northgate, and check out Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, a well-manicured play area boasting city views and lots of green space. Take a spin around the half-mile circular path, zip across the zip line and climb, slide and swing on the updated playground equipment.
Bathrooms: Yes, however, the comfort station is under construction through fall 2019. There are portable toilets available during the repair work.1020 NE 82nd Street
Ella Bailey Park (Magnolia)
This neighborhood gem features playground structures for both big and little kids plus some simply stunning views for mom and dad. Formerly the Magnolia Elementary School playground, the park has fast become a family-friendly favorite. Pack a lunch for prime picnicking, take a scooter stroll around the path that circles the park, or just sit back and enjoy the views.
Bathrooms: Just a port-a potty2601 W Smith St
Soundview Terrace (Queen Anne)
Also known as Rachel’s Playground, this Queen Anne pocket park holds more meaning than a slide and nice views of the Cascades. The park is dedicated to two Queen Anne families who lost their lives on Alaskan Flight 261, which crashed off the California coast in 2000. It features a climbing area, a bit of grassy lawn for picnics with a view, and a memorial plaque in honor of the families.
Bathrooms: No2500 11th Ave W
Jack Block Park (West Seattle)
While driving the West Seattle side of Harbor Island, keep an eye out for Jack Block Park. This easy-to-miss park features lots of space for scootering, a sandy play space with huge, climbable buoys and large docks for strolling. Trek up the winding, stroller-friendly path to the 45-foot tall observation tower for some unbeatable views of the Seattle skyline, mountains, shipping crates and cranes.
Bathrooms: Yes2130 Harbor Ave SW
Seattle Children's PlayGarden (Central Area)
This park fulfills a mission to inspire adventure in all kids by featuring wheelchair-accessible play areas and accommodations designed to create a safe (and fun!) play space for children of all abilities. Your little PlayGarden-goers can explore the Wild Zone and hike mini switchback trails through tall grasses, climb ladders or the tree fort or swing to their heart's content. The red truck brimming with planter beds is perfect for play, and the interactive Trimpin's Bongobenny Quintet musical fence is a surefire hit for mini music lovers.
Note: This play area is open to the public daily, except during summer camp hours. Check their calendar for dates and times.
Bathrooms: ADA-accessible restrooms1745 24th Ave S
Editor's note" This article was published in 2016 and updated May 2018.