What is one of the best parks in Seattle?

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Answered by: Janie, An Expert in the Seattle and Tacoma Travel Guide Category
In the heart of Washington, the "Evergreen State," lies the metropolis of Seattle. Boasting a unparalleled fusion of vibrant urban culture and breathtaking natural beauty, Seattle has something for everyone.

However, nature lovers especially tend to flock to the Seattle area. From the Puget Sound, to the towering Cascade and Olympic Mountains, to the San Juan Islands, nature surrounds Seattle on all sides. Recreational opportunities abound: hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and skiing, just to name a few.

But you don't even have to leave the city limits to enjoy these natural surroundings. The many parks in Seattle offer an accessible glimpse of the legendary beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

One of the best is a hidden gem called Discovery Park. Only minutes from from the urban heart of Seattle, it boasts stunning vistas, miles of forested trails, and driftwood-strewn beaches.

After an invigorating hike, you break through a curtain of trees to the sight of a stretch of beach anchored by a charming white lighthouse. As you descend to the coastline, your toes tingle to lose their hiking boots and bury themselves in the cool sand.

Discovery Park offers something for everyone: over 11 miles of hiking and walking trails, panoramas of the Puget Sound and both the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, and a unique combination of forest, sea, and wide open spaces. Whether you're an avid hiker, a laid back day tripper, a nature enthusiast, an aspiring photographer, or something in between, Discovery Park is a must-see destination in the Seattle area.

As the largest park in Seattle, Discovery sits on 534 acres in Seattle's Magnolia district, which occupies a peninsula northwest of downtown. Originally the site of Fort Lawson, which was at its most active during World War II as lodging location for both troops and prisoners of war, it was converted to a city park in the 1970s. You can still see some of the barracks as reminders of the park's colorful history.

Other notable parks in Seattle include:

Volunteer Park, which has a historic conservatory originally constructed in 1912 that houses a wealth of rare and exotic plants.

Alki Beach Park, which boasts miles of Puget Sound beachfront dotted with fire pits and picnic tables and lined with boardwalks, surrounded by an artsy, tourist-friendly beach community.

Gas Works Park, which is located squarely downtown, offers some of the best views of the Seattle skyline. Its grassy hills are popular with kite-fliers and it is also the location for Seattle's best Fourth of July fireworks show.

Golden Gardens Park, which has some of the best sandy (rather than commonly rocky) beaches to be found in the Seattle area along with magnificent views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

Green Lake Park, which is a small oasis in the middle of a very urban neighborhood. It features lush grassy lawns and an almost 3-mile path that circles around the lake, which is open to water sports. The path is very popular with local walkers, joggers, bikers, and rollerbladers.

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