The Olympic Sculpture Park began as a commitment between the Seattle Art Museum and the Trust for Public Land, and quickly grew into a green mecca of architectural art and beautifully crafted landscapes. The park contains mathematical sculptures, new-wave basket weaving and the artistic greenhouse designed by the likes of artists Tony Smith, Pedro Reyes and Mark Dion. The Olympic Sculpture Park has big plans for restoring Seattle's local environment by introducing new engineered soil to reduce rain runoff and encourage native plants and wildlife nearby. The views include both the Seattle port and the Olympic mountain range. Admission is free all year long.
Technically, the northern half of this park is Elliott Bay Park, but the whole waterfront strip runs so seamlessly together that no one ever refers to it as anything but Myrtle Edwards. The park is a bit obscure but also pleasantly quiet, filled only with joggers and cyclists enjoying just over one mile of winding bike and pedestrian paths that run along Elliott Bay. The views over the bay are spectacular, especially at sunset and the white columns at the northern end lend an eerie industrial feel to the park.
Visitors to Seattle are usually stunned by the abundance of water surrounding the city. Just north of downtown lies Lake Union. Surrounded by houseboat communities, marinas, shipbuilders and glitzy restaurants, the lake is a hub of activity. Seaplanes take off and land, sharing the 600-acre lake with kayaks, canoes, powerboats, sailboats and tugboats. While the lake can be explored any time of year, Fireworks Over Lake Union are an annual highlight, bringing thousands of people to the lake's shores. For a day out with children or friends, Lake Union never disappoints.
Located on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill, Kerry Park is a popular park in Seattle that is renowned for providing the beautiful panoramic views of the city. With Mount Rainier as a picturesque backdrop, this park is popular with locals and tourists alike. At night, the view of the city from the park is breathtaking and dream-like which makes it perfect for pictures.
These vessels cruise Lake Union, Elliott Bay, Lake Washington and Greater Puget Sound. The Royal Argosy Fine Dining Cruises take individual and corporate passengers around Elliott Bay while serving gourmet meals. The Locks Cruise goes from salt water to freshwater through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Many tours offer mountain views. Call or check the website for current tour schedules, fares and departure points.
Looking to sail on Lake Union? Then look no further than Electric Boat Company which rents our boats for a moderate rate. The 21 foot long boats includes a sound system and the top of the boat can be enclosed, in case of rain or leave the top down during good weather. There is a two hour minimum for a rental.
Tucked away in the corner of Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill Ice Rink is a charming winter attraction for people of all ages. Open through the holiday season, this ice rink offers themed evenings and a small concession stand serving the traditional hot cocoa and cider. Twinkling lights and holiday music add to the ambiance, making it a popular activities for couples, families and groups. The rink can also be rented out for private events, check website for details.
Seattle has a plethora of attractions. But for those who seek adventure, I-5 Colonnade will satiate their adrenaline rush. 7.5 acres (3.04 hectares) of space has been designed as a mountain biking trail. The park is a great place to watch enthusiastic bikers in action.
There's not much grass at Waterfall Gardens, but that won't bother you for long. The dominant materials in this Pioneer Square park are wood, concrete and water. It's like stepping into a Zen water and rock garden. The splashing water drowns out traffic noise and soothes the soul, while the few plants stir gently in the breeze. Benches provide a welcome urban respite. There's a plaque on the outside wall commemorating, the birthplace of the United Parcel Service.
Here, where the streets of downtown's business district angle down around Elliott Bay to the south, are the flatlands where Seattle was first built. Nightclubs, art galleries, tourist shops, design firms and restaurants dominate Pioneer Square. The area's First Thursday arts walk draws huge crowds to the studios, galleries and street performers, and the nightclubs keep the neighborhood hopping till the early morning hours. The kitschy Underground Tour explaining Seattle's early history is a perennial tourist favorite, as is the more sober Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which details the Yukon gold fever that made Seattle richer. Yesler Way, which slices the neighborhood in half, has a footnote in history as the original "skid row". There are also several small parks in the area, including the quiet Waterfall Park, the shady cobblestones of Occidental Park, and the totem-pole decorated triangle at First and Yesler, Pioneer Place Park.
Volunteer Park displays the Olmsted brothers' late-Victorian urban style of park design. Vistas of rolling lawns, carefully clumped shrubbery, tree-lined drives and carp ponds almost make you feel like you're strolling with top hat and cane in hand. The Kew Gardens-style glass conservatory, filled with humid tropical and arid desert environments, is free to all. At the southern end of the park stands a 75-foot brick water tower with a spiraling staircase and a 360-degree view of the Seattle area, from the Olympics to the Cascades. The view is a bit obstructed by the bars on the windows, but it's lovely in late afternoon sunlight. The park's name commemorates Seattleites who volunteered for the Spanish-American War. The park is also home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
Gas Works Park is an example of urban renewal at its best. Take an old gas-processing plant that has outlived its usefulness, and transform it into something everyone can enjoy. Located on the north shore of Lake Union, the park has excellent water views and a spectacular, unobstructed view of the city skyline. It is a popular spot for concerts, bikers, kite flyers, families on picnics and just about everyone else. This is also a prime spot from which to view the fireworks on the Fourth of July.