Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Green Lake Park, more spectacular waterfront

Seattle has so many damn parks that they are often short distances from each other.  In many cases, there are even completely different parks right across the street from each other.  Seattle also has a crazy amount of water (and I am not talking about the rain).  Different parts of the city jut out into the Puget Sound on peninsulas.  So it is possible to look out over the sound from the city by looking West, North, South, or even East, depending on where you are standing.  Besides that, there are also canals (called “cuts” here) and lakes.  The largest is Lake Washington, which is Seattle’s Eastern boundary, but there are several lakes fully contained within the city.  This is one reason I call Seattle the “city of views.”  So many people have views of water.

I took a walk around Green Lake Park...

One of Seattle's lakes is Green Lake, which is entirely surrounded by Green Lake Park.  This is another Seattle park that I love, and I am far from alone.  The park is a wildly popular spot for sports, walking, and riding.  On a nice day, the traffic is quite heavy, but somehow the traffic flows well and it does not feel overly crowded.  It probably helps that there are different lanes for different types of traffic, whether wheeled or footed.  It was a spectacularly beautiful fall day when I first went.  I was wearing long sleeves, but probably did not need them.  The sky was crisp blue and there were trees everywhere.  The skyline peaks over Queen Ann hill looking South from some parts of the park.

You can see the top of the space needle in the middle
There are plenty of joggers, but most people are just walking.  It is so nice to see so many people, whether single, couples, friends, dogs, or family, enjoying an afternoon stroll together.  I saw the usual people on feet, bicycles, and skates.  I also saw some more unusual modes of transportation like wheeled cross-country skies.  One rough-looking guy went by on a very large skateboard propelling himself forward with a big pole, looking like some sort of large, post-apocalyptic gondolier.  

Green Lake Park was part of the Olmsted Brothers original plans for the Seattle park system.  There is nice landscaping with plenty of trees and grass and shrubbery, but the real star, all the way around, is the lake itself.  It is not a big lake, you can see the opposite side well from almost any part of the lake.  The lake is big enough to support small craft boating.  I saw a couple of guys with a twelve pack on a small sailboat.  The sure seemed to be having some relaxing fun.

There are other park features, including athletic fields, tennis courts, indoor pool, playground, and restrooms.  There is also a swimming area on one side and an aquatic stadium on the other side.  I have no idea what such a stadium might be used for, but the structure is cool.  There are also buoys marking a swimming area circumnavigating the lake.  That must be a decent distance since the meandering path is 2.8 miles around.  A goal someday maybe?
boathouse and aquatic arena
The historical bathhouse on the West side of the lake, built in 1928 for swimmers,  contains the Seattle Public Theater.  They conduct educational programs and produce professional theater.  What a great location right on the shores of the lake.  Another thing I like about the park is how it is surrounded by a neighborhood, so many of the streets have businesses which face the park.  You can walk over and get a scoop at Ben and Jerry’s or eat dinner at a local restaurant.  The park is one of the few in Seattle that is open 24 hours.  It is located in the northern part of the city west of I-5 and directing abutting Aurora Avenue.

turtles enjoy Green Lake too

Next is a post about the sister park across the street, Woodland Park.


  1. Beautiful. Since when is 2.8 miles a long-term goal for you, Mt. Stone?

  2. Damn, that is not clear? I was talking about swimming around the lake. I already walked the path. I am sure I could swim that far too, but I imagine it would be different in a lake (especially in winter).