Spaces for sunshine, city views

Ten smaller parks worth exploring in the Seattle area

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

With Washington Governor Jay Inslee announcing on Friday, June 5, that King County was moving into a modified phase one of reopening the county, groups of five are now allowed to gather together outside.


Many people have already been getting outside as individuals, but now, people can take a walk outside or sit on the grass with their friends and family. Soon, popular parks like Gas Works, Kerry Park, Discovery Park and Greenlake will be full of people again, looking to enjoy the summer sunshine.


For Seattleites who find these parks too crowded, or who are looking for interesting new spaces to spend their time, here are ten smaller Seattle parks that provide great opportunities for good views and socially-distant socialization.

two concrete couches at a park
Ballard Corners Park (Daniel Newman)

Ballard Corners Park: This park is only a few minutes drive past the Ballard bridge and is located on NW 62nd and 17th streets. The park, founded in 2009, is small, but charming. The concrete couch and sofa in the corner simulates the feeling of being in a living room, so one can experience the feeling of being outside and inside at the same time. There is some grass to stretch out and relax on, and a few tables with bar stools to sit at, as well as other various benches.


Bhy Kracke Park: The streets near this Queen Anne park are difficult to navigate, and there is a short walk to the viewpoint, but the view from the top is worth it. The Space Needle and tall buildings in downtown Seattle are clearly visible from this location, perfectly contrasting with the blue skies of summer. The park is slightly East of Kerry Park and on the upper end of Queen Anne hill, but it is much smaller and less crowded. Pull up a chair, sit in the sun and enjoy one of the most beautiful views Seattle has to offer.

a boat on a canal
The Fremont Canal Park near SPU. (Daniel Newman)

Fremont Canal Park: For those looking for a little reminder of Seattle Pacific University, Fremont canal park is right behind Otto Miller Hall and Royal Brougham Pavilion. It is also right alongside the popular Burke Gilman Trail, providing a popular destination for bikers, runners and dog walkers. For those who prefer to sit, the park’s 0.69 acres have many benches and tables to sit and watch the water and boats moving through the canal.

a view of a city and a bridge
Fremont Peak Park in Fremont. (Daniel Newman)

Fremont Peak Park: This park in Upper Fremont is filled with wooded trees. Stepping into the park feels somewhat like being on a campground. While the beginning part of the park envelops you in trees, stepping further inside allows a beautiful view of the Ballard and Fremont areas. Opened in 2007, this park provides an escape from busy city life to gather with a few friends and enjoy a conversation.

a open field at a park
Kinnear Park in Queen Anne. (Daniel Newman)

Kinnear Park: Kinnear Park is a heaven of greenspace. Filled with trees and green grass, it allows plenty of room to throw a frisbee or a football. This park is one of the oldest in Seattle, originally planned in 1887. The 14.1 acre park in Queen Anne is also designated as a Seattle landmark. The best view of the skyline is seen from the brick viewpoint at the top of the park, while, near the bottom of the park, there is a long walkway for those looking to take a longer hike.

a butterfly painted on the wall of a building
The Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, which is northeast of Green Lake. (Daniel Newman)

Maple Leaf Reservoir Park: This park is further away from SPU, and it is divided into two sections. The lower section is a playground with greenspace, a small butterfly garden and a painted mural, as well as baseball fields and a half-mile track for walking around. The upper section has a large water tower and a view of downtown Seattle.

blossoms at a garden
Parsons Gardens in Queen Anne (Daniel Newman)

Parsons Gardens: This garden in East Queen Anne used to be the private garden of Reginald and Maude Parsons in the early 1900s, but their children donated the land to the city of Seattle in 1956. Large rhododendron bushes mark the entrance of the park, and a sizable patch of grass provides a perfect place for a picnic. Around the outside of the park is a path that diverts into many different benches with views of the peaceful area. Marshall park is also right across the street, providing another view of the city of Seattle.

a play structure at a park
Ross Playground in Fremont. (Daniel Newman)

Ross Playground: This smaller neighborhood playground sits in between Fremont and Ballard and was leased to the parks department in 1940. It has an engaging structure and a small baseball and basketball court for those looking to get active with a few friends. There are also large patches of grass in the baseball outfield and picnic tables to spend time conversing with others.

a park with a community garden
Trolley Hill Park in East Queen Anne. (Daniel Newman)

Trolley Hill Park: Another small park on the East side of Queen Anne hill also offers space to relax on the grass and enjoy some time in the sun. Built in 1998 on one of the streets where the old trolley system used to run, the park has a walkway lined with small trees. There’s also a small community garden as well.

a playground near the space needle
Ward Springs Park in Lower Queen Anne. (Daniel Newman)

Ward Springs Park: This park in East Queen Anne, near downtown, used to be owned by Seattle Public Utilities, pumping all the water to the neighborhood of Queen Anne. Now a public park, the pump house still stands next to a small playground and an absolutely beautiful view of the Space Needle. This is another great place to relax in the sun while reading a book or listening to music and taking in the views of the city.