How To

Things to do in Seattle: 4 great parks within 15 minutes

Seattle may be a metropolitan haven, but hidden between the skyscrapers and city lights are picturesque bits of Northwest’s lush nature and scenery. When you’re craving a bit of fresh air without venturing outside of the city, make your way over to one of these premiere parks just minutes away from SPU.

Students standing in the Sculpture park with the Seattle skyline in the background is one of many things to do in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park

  • Car: 10 minutes
  • Biking: 26 minutes
  • Bus: 20 minutes

Along the beautiful downtown Seattle waterfront you’ll find the Olympic Sculpture Park. Curated by the Seattle Art Museum, the park boasts unique and colorful work from international artists ranging from steel trees to a glowing glass bridge. Normally you’d have to pay admission to see this quality of work, but the SAM has made this park free and open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset. Bring a sack lunch or grab a pastry at the Taste café on site. “I love the sculpture park … looking at modern art along the water,” says Laurence Idos.

Students walking in the park towards downtown Seattle. Walking one of the many fun things to do in Seattle

Myrtle Edwards Park

  • Car: 9 minutes
  • Biking: 25 minutes
  • Bus: 24 minutes

Just a few blocks from the bustling coffee shops and music venues of Seattle’s trendy Belltown neighborhood is the serene Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s one of the few spots in Seattle where you can be so close to the heart of the city while still gaping at views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and the tranquility of the Puget Sound. This is a great spot for a mid-afternoon jog or taking photos with your friends. You’ll also have a great view of the ferry boats arriving and departing from a nearby pier. It’s not hard to spend an entire restful afternoon admiring this scenic view.

Students sitting on the grass in Gasworks Park, another fun thing to do in Seattle

Gas Works Park

  • Car: 7 minutes
  • Biking: 13 minutes
  • Bus: 22 minutes

Gas Works Park is the perfect intersection of Northwest naturalism and Seattle industrialism. A former coal gasification plant, its remnants have become one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks. Look around: You may recognize it from the old episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy or parts of Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger’s outdoor date in 10 Things I Hate About You. Standing on top of the hill gives you a full view of Lake Union. When the sun is out, expect to find hundreds of Seattleites flocking to the park to play Ultimate Frisbee or to lay out on the grass and soak up some vitamin D. “Gas Works has an incredible view of the Seattle skyline,” Idos says. As one of the closest parks to campus, you can expect to likely to run into a friend or two here.

Students at the beach looking towards the ocean and throwing rocks at the beach which are more fun things to do in Seattle

Golden Gardens Park

  • Car: 13 minutes
  • Bus: 57 minutes
  • Biking: 29 minutes

Tucked away in the nearby Ballard neighborhood, Golden Gardens lets students get their beach fix without venturing too far. Grab a blanket and watch the waves of Puget Sound crash against the shore, or bring a volleyball and make use of the park’s many nets. For those really wanting to dive into the outdoors, the park also boasts loop trails and hikes through the forest. When the sun goes down, the park provides designated containers for a bonfire. Roast marshmallows, share some laughs with friends, and absorb the epic view of the coastline.

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