If you follow along with Mad’s Muses on Instagram (@madsmuses), it’s very likely that you know that I recently went on a trip to Seattle due to the overflow of touristy pictures flooding your newsfeed. When I was preparing for the trip, people kept asking, “What in the world are you going to do in Seattle?” And I honestly didn’t know how to answer. I knew that Seattle had a lot to offer but I didn’t know exactly what those offerings were or how to prioritize them. What I didn’t expect is that we ended up going to several unique city parks; I didn’t even know they existed before I touched down in the Pacific Northwest.
As a small town girl, when I think of a park I think of a playground, a couple of baseball diamonds, some picnic tables, and, if you’re lucky, a walking track. Let me be the first to say that Seattle’s parks are much more exciting than a walking track; there are full skyline views, iridescent lakes, eye-catching sculptures, and vibrant flora. Of the parks that we visited, my favorite were Volunteer Park, Kerry Park, and Gas Works Park. The best part: they’re free!
Volunteer Park was the last park that we visited during our stint in Seattle but it is easily my favorite. With around forty-three acres of green space in the quirky Capitol Hill neighborhood, you could spend an entire day venturing around the green lawns, reservoir, water tower, and art museum.
The best part of our visit, though, was the conservatory. At home in Kentucky we’ve had a cold and wet winter and the signs of spring are just starting to peek through the bleak wintertime scenery. Visiting the Volunteer Park Conservatory gave me a much-needed dose of springtime cheerfulness! The greenhouses are divided up into different categories including bromeliads, ferns, palms, seasonals, and cacti and succulents; I couldn’t get enough of the cacti room! It held masses of plants that we simply don’t have in the Bluegrass State and it was neat to be able to see them in the coziness of a conservatory. There are tons of photo ops! Entrance to the conservatory is $4, but the small cost keeps the building’s maintenance in check and helps the plants continue to flourish.
The water tower in Volunteer Park is also pretty fascinating. It was built in 1906 and has the architecture of that time. A large brick cylinder, the water tower gives three-hundred and sixty degree views of Seattle, with mountains on one side and the city’s skyline on the other. The one-hundred and eighty steps to the top were definitely worth the view, especially because it was free!
Kerry Park is a fairly small park located in the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood of Seattle. For what Kerry Park lacks in space it makes up for in views! Arguably the best views in Seattle, you get a panoramic shot of the city including the Space Needle up front and center and Mount Rainier in the background.
In addition to the sweeping views, Kerry Park is also home to a sculpture called Changing Form which is a point-of-interest for many photographers. While the view from the park is its highlight, simply venturing around Queen Anne Hill is worth the walk. The neighborhood has plenty of muse-worthy houses for your daydreams and Pinterest boards.
Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park is the most interesting park I have ever visited, hands down. There are so many unique features within its nineteen acres that I almost don’t know where to begin. Located in the Wallingford neighborhood, Gas Works Park sits on the shore of Lake Union, and on the other side of the lake lies the Seattle skyline.
The name Gas Works comes from the fact that the park is the former home of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant; the rusted skeletons of the plant still stand in a fenced-off area. Other portions of the plant have been covered by a picnic shelter and have been painted in order to be a children’s play area. The remnants of the gas plant are part of what makes the park so remarkable.
The park also has a kite flying hill – which strangely reminded me of the teletubbies’ underground house – that has a winding path used for walking and bike riding. We roamed up the hill to the top where an enormous sun dial rests. This is one of the coolest views I had of the city. Standing at the top of the kite hill, you have a sweeping view of Seattle, the Space Needle off to the side, the gas plant to the left, the Wallingford neighborhood to the right, and Lake Union all around, dotted with tiny sailboats. Definitely a park worth visiting if you’re interested in history or just a good view.
These are only a few of the dozens of parks in Seattle, and by no means am I an expert on any of them! Visiting several of these parks, though, helped me realize that traveling in an expensive region doesn’t have to break the bank. All of these options were low cost (mostly free!) and were some of the best parts of my trip. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get an amazing experience! Where are some of your favorite parks?
Hi, I'm Madeline
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