If you want a fun, new way to explore Seattle, here’s a pro tip: Wander through its parks. There’s more than 485 of them across our city, and Linnea Westerfield, a West Seattleite, has trekked them all.
It all started after Linnea gave birth to her son in 2009. She needed an excuse to be outside, so she made an ambitious goal: visit all of Seattle’s parks in one year.
“I thought I’d seen a lot of the city, but there were so many neighborhoods I’d never set foot in, ” Linnea said.
Visiting every one of Seattle’s parks ended up taking four years — with two more kids in tow. Lucky for us, Linnea kept track of what she learned about Seattle’s parks on her blog, A Year of Seattle Parks. The blog later turned into the 2017 book “Discovering Seattle Parks.”
We talked to Linnea to get all her best Seattle park recs. Need your own excuse to go outside? Follow the Google Maps and check ‘em out for yourself:
Which park surprised you most?
“I was surprised by how alive Cal Anderson Park is. It’s in such an urban neighborhood and it sometimes has a bit of a bad reputation.
I love the parks that seemed to be always filled with people. They’re like the living room for the community.”
What’s the best park for a picnic?
“Gas Works Park. It’s classic views on the hill that’s just a special, unique park for Seattle.”
Your favorite for a long walk?
“Discovery Park because you can piece together as long of a hike as you’d like – something short to something that lasts a couple hours. It has the best trails in the city.”
“Montlake Playfield is probably one of my favorite playgrounds. It has cool climbing equipment and an obstacle course where parents and kids can challenge each other. Another great park for all ages is Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill. It has great walking paths and views for adults. For teenagers, there’s a great skatepark there.”
Which park’s the most underrated?
“Schmitz Preserve Park in West Seattle. It has some of only old growth forest in Seattle. I don’t think most Seattleites realize that. It has hiking trails that are good year-round and it sort of flies under the radar.”
What’s your favorite park in North Seattle?
“It’s hard to beat Magnuson Park for the sheer number of things to do. You need to go several times to try to tackle everything. It also houses nonprofits that are doing interesting work for the outdoors and for youth. It also has a lot cool history.” (More on that here).
What about in South Seattle?
“Seward Park. It was the first park I went to officially for this project. I think that it’s fantastic in every season. It brings people from all different backgrounds together year round. It has great views, swimming, and educational programs.”
OK, hard one: Which park has the best view?
“One of my favorite views is from Jack Block Park in West Seattle. It has an incredible view of downtown and it’s like no one knows this park is here. It’s a great alternative to taking pictures in Alki.
Another park that’s great for views is the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington. From their trails, you get to look out to parts from the Arboretum. There’s great trails and birding.”
What’s the most valuable thing you learned from this project?
“What’s amazing about parks is that they’re free and they’re accessible to everybody. It’s a great way to see different corners of the city, explore new neighborhoods, and an excuse for people of all ages to get outside. It’s the easiest subject to talk about because everyone loves them.
We live in such an urban and fast-growing area and our parks are going to be more and more important to get fresh air and that clarity of mind you get when you’re outside.”
Want to learn more about Linnea’s Seattle park adventures? Watch her talk about her project at Ignite Seattle here. Inspired to check out more of our parks yourself? Be sure to tag #theevergrey on Instagram and Twitter.
That’s love. The New York Times runs a “Vows” section that’s full of heartfelt stories about notable weddings around the country. And you know who turned up in their pages over the weekend? Two of our unsheltered neighbors, Bob J. Kitcheon and Michelle Vestal. They met under the clock at King Street station in Pioneer Square, got hitched under I-90 last month, and have a story you’ve got to read. “When you’re homeless and you’re in a relationship, it gets real, real serious. It’s unbearable sometimes,” Bob’s best man told the Times. “But if you can go through that with an individual, that’s love.” Kudos to KING for covering Bob and Michelle’s March 18 sidewalk wedding. Check out their video here. (The New York Times)
Thanks, Suzanne. Betsy Troutman was so shocked she cried: A big fan of Seattle’s KEXP had decided to leave our indie music station a donation of $10 million, and Betsy, KEXP’s director of development, just couldn’t believe it. “The thought that she would do this is mind-blowing to me,” Betsy said. It’s the biggest gift KEXP’s ever gotten by far, and all we know about the anonymous donor — who didn’t even live here — is that her name was Suzanne. (The Seattle Times)
The other Seattle bike boom. With all the neon shareable bikes scattered (or tossed!) around the city, you might think Seattle’s going through an unprecedented bike boom. But we’ve actually seen something like this before — in the 1890s. (Crosscut)
Four minutes on the E. Buses are for going places, but the RapidRide E Line — the most popular bus route in our city — is something else. “This is a bus line for observing a range of humanity,” writes KUOW’s Joshua McNichols. The route goes down Aurora Avenue to South Lake Union and back, and if you’ve got four minutes just to hear these voices from riders, it’s worth it. “Oh man, it runs the gamut,” says rider Casey Stevens. “You find a lot of people commuting to Amazon, like myself. You find a lot of homeless folks trying to get from whatever shelter they were staying at to wherever they’re going to be during the day, and everything in between.” 🚌 (KUOW)
Argosy Ship Canal Tours. Try welding or pilot a tug. Music, food trucks and more. 11am-4 pm Saturday, May 12 @ Ballard’s Seattle Maritime Academy. Learn More ».
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🎙 Tonight: Visit The Collective for an interview with the CEO of Axon, the company that makes the TASER, at Dent:Live (South Lake Union)
🗣 Thursday: Explore the living history of Seattle’s first people at the second edition of Seattle Live (Queen Anne)
💻👩 April 23-27: Connect with inspiring mentors, peers, and resources at the weeklong Women in Tech Regatta (South Lake Union)
🎙 April 24: Boost your small business and meet peers in your industry at the inaugural Elevate NW Conference (Queen Anne)
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💡 Hear from someone who’s covered conflict in Syria (Columbia City)
💡 Check in with the head of the ACLU (Belltown)
🎙 Hear from the local company that makes the TASER at this Evergrey partner event (South Lake Union)
🎟 Laugh away your parenting woes (University District)
🎶 Do a girl group/boy band sing along (Central District)
🍴 Fill up on this happy hour food walk (International District)
🗣 Hear the stories of Seattle’s first people at this Evergrey partner event (Queen Anne)
🎶 Get your swing on at the Hep Cat Ball (South Lake Union)
🎟 Let actors turn your bio into a literary epic (Belltown)
🎶 Watch a massive hip hop dance-off — through Saturday (Central District)
👋 Check out the one and only Specialty Coffee Expo — through Sunday (Downtown)
🏈 Meet the 2018 Huskies at this big spring fan fest (University District)
🛍 Shop the Handmade & Homegrown market (Georgetown)
🏞 Run for Earth Day and get a tree (Sand Point)
🍿 Watch flicks at the African American Film Festival — through Sunday (Central District)
🗣 Hear from locals using art as ‘creative resistance’ (Hillman City)
🏞 Hike a trail on Earth Day (All over)
👋 Volunteer with fellow LGBTQ+ folks (All over)
🎈 Take the fam to the opening of a Universe of Super Heroes (Queen Anne)
🎈 Celebrate cherry blossoms and Japanese culture (Queen Anne)
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