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Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives, item No. 178139

The very best lesser-known parks around Seattle

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It's easy to think of enjoying a day out in Seattle parks, sticking to one of the heavy-hitters like the Arboretum, Volunteer Park, Discovery Park, Seward Park or Carkeek Park, having a picnic, and calling it a day. But did you know Seattle Parks and Recreation maintains over 400 parks and open areas around the city? Have you ever considered trying to check every single one of those parks off your list, as a couple of people have already done? (Do you even have a list?)

Why not head out to one of the city other hundreds of grassy knolls and sunny beaches? Bonus: the lesser-known parks are going to be a little less crowded.

Whether or not these parks are more obscure is, of course, subjective. One of these could already be your favorite park. Or maybe you have a different lesser-known park on your list of faves—if that’s the case, let us know in the comments.

Map points are ordered north to south.

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1. Meadowbrook Pond

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Techincially-speaking, Meadowbrook Pond isn't a park. It's next to Meadowbrook Park, but it's actually a Seattle Public Utilities Project. But it sure feels like a park, doesn't it? It’s been closed for maintenance for a bit, but should be opening up again later this summer.

A post shared by Kathie B (@klb285) on

2. Rainbow Point

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Northeast 75th Street & Banner Way Northeast
Seattle, WA 98115

Enjoy a panorama of downtown and the Olympics while resting upon benches or meandering along the simple pathway. This park is lighted, and features trees and shrubs, along with plant beds and small lawns.

3. Sunset Place Park

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1st Ave. NW & NW 52nd St.
Seattle, WA 98107

It's not much more than a couple benches and a view, but Sunset Place Park can be a serene and relaxing experience. Just sit here and take in the views of Ballard and beyond, even though you're in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

A post shared by Sarah Smith (@1sarahsmith1) on

4. Northlake Park

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699 NE Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98105

The sign says there's a park here, but it's hard to figure out where to go. Once you find it, it's totally okay to stand and stare at the boats in Lake Union under the I-5 overpass for a few hours. That's kind of the point.

A post shared by Josh Maldonado (@jmald) on

5. Mayfair Park

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2600 2nd Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109

This park’s flat ravine bottom was once the site of something called “Killman’s Sand Bunkers.” Now, it's a parent's delight. Let the kids enjoy the play area, sip from a drinking fountain, and cause whatever other havoc they like.

A post shared by stephiblu (@stephiblu) on

6. Soundview Terrace/Rachel's Playground

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2500 11th Ave. W
Seattle, WA 98119

This little neighborhood park that features a play area with slides and climbing equipment, a long green strip, and picnic tables with a view of the Cascades and Magnolia. A great place for a picnic, a quiet moment, or a quick view of Puget Sound.

A post shared by Katie Willis (@katiewillis1) on

7. Thomas C. Wales Park

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2401 6th Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109

In December 2007, the Queen Anne Community Council named this 1.3 acre park after Thomas C. Wales to honor the late assistant U.S. attorney who lived in the neighborhood. Walk under the gravel hoop to enjoy the art-filled space.

A post shared by Jordan West (@travelingwest) on

8. Bellevue Place

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Bellevue Pl. E and Bellevue Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 684-4075
Visit Website

This Capitol Hill corner has small grassy slope overlooks Lake Union across I-5. Down the hill, part of a short bike path runs through, eventually connecting to Melrose Avenue E.

A post shared by Eilish Marie (@eilishmariebr) on

9. Frink Park

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398 Lake Washington Blvd. S
Seattle, WA 98144

Primarily used as a natural woods drive, Frink Park is a densely vegetated ravine. The park was spruced up in 1909 with footbridges, paths, benches and a bridge over the ravine. Now it's home to 3,000 feet of trails. Since it’s connected to Leschi Park, you can take the path all the way to the water.

A post shared by Lissa Lune (@lissalune) on

10. Bradner Gardens Park

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29th Ave. S & S Grand St.
Seattle, WA 98144

Bradner Gardens Park features year-round vegetable gardening, raised beds, plants that attract beneficial insects, swale gardening, soil-building techniques, and water-wise drip irrigation. It's also a beautiful place to walk around or just sit and admire. The views of downtown aren't so shabby either.

A post shared by Casey (@efex32) on

11. Jack Block Park

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2130 Harbor Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

Once a wood treatment plant and a shipbuilding facility, this 15-acre park in West Seattle is situated on the northwest corner of the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5. The park has public beach access, a children's play area, and a 45-foot observation tower. Not bad for a place once designated a superfund site.

A post shared by Romeo (@weeklywhiskers) on

12. Me-Kwa-Mooks Park

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4503 Beach Dr. SW
Seattle, WA 98116

Across the street from the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and immediately south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Natural Area, most of this park stretches up the hillside and extends north and farther south on land that is largely undeveloped. The dense trees provide a habitat for many birds, including screech owls. Make sure you check out the tide pools across the street during low tide—there are tons of critters to be found.

13. Hitt's Hill Park

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5234 37th Ave. S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 684-4075
Visit Website

Named after a man who loved watching things explode—Thomas Gabriel Hitt founded one of the largest fireworks companies on the West Coast—this hilltop park boasts views of Lake Washington, downtown, and Rainier Valley.

A post shared by Kris Peterson (@imkrispnw) on

14. Lowman Beach Park

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7017 Beach Dr. SW
Seattle, WA 98136

Lowman Beach is small, but like beaches everywhere, it has some surprises. It includes about 300 feet of rocky, saltwater shoreline a few blocks north of Lincoln Park. Above the beach is an acre of grass with tennis courts and swings—plus a view of the Olympics, Alki Point, and Williams Point spread out in three directions.

A post shared by Anna (@galaprilcom) on

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1. Meadowbrook Pond

Seattle, WA 98125

Techincially-speaking, Meadowbrook Pond isn't a park. It's next to Meadowbrook Park, but it's actually a Seattle Public Utilities Project. But it sure feels like a park, doesn't it? It’s been closed for maintenance for a bit, but should be opening up again later this summer.

2. Rainbow Point

Northeast 75th Street & Banner Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98115

Enjoy a panorama of downtown and the Olympics while resting upon benches or meandering along the simple pathway. This park is lighted, and features trees and shrubs, along with plant beds and small lawns.

Northeast 75th Street & Banner Way Northeast
Seattle, WA 98115

3. Sunset Place Park

1st Ave. NW & NW 52nd St., Seattle, WA 98107

It's not much more than a couple benches and a view, but Sunset Place Park can be a serene and relaxing experience. Just sit here and take in the views of Ballard and beyond, even though you're in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

1st Ave. NW & NW 52nd St.
Seattle, WA 98107

4. Northlake Park

699 NE Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98105

The sign says there's a park here, but it's hard to figure out where to go. Once you find it, it's totally okay to stand and stare at the boats in Lake Union under the I-5 overpass for a few hours. That's kind of the point.

699 NE Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98105

5. Mayfair Park

2600 2nd Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109

This park’s flat ravine bottom was once the site of something called “Killman’s Sand Bunkers.” Now, it's a parent's delight. Let the kids enjoy the play area, sip from a drinking fountain, and cause whatever other havoc they like.

2600 2nd Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109

6. Soundview Terrace/Rachel's Playground

2500 11th Ave. W, Seattle, WA 98119

This little neighborhood park that features a play area with slides and climbing equipment, a long green strip, and picnic tables with a view of the Cascades and Magnolia. A great place for a picnic, a quiet moment, or a quick view of Puget Sound.

2500 11th Ave. W
Seattle, WA 98119

7. Thomas C. Wales Park

2401 6th Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109

In December 2007, the Queen Anne Community Council named this 1.3 acre park after Thomas C. Wales to honor the late assistant U.S. attorney who lived in the neighborhood. Walk under the gravel hoop to enjoy the art-filled space.

2401 6th Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109

8. Bellevue Place

Bellevue Pl. E and Bellevue Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98102

This Capitol Hill corner has small grassy slope overlooks Lake Union across I-5. Down the hill, part of a short bike path runs through, eventually connecting to Melrose Avenue E.

Bellevue Pl. E and Bellevue Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98102

9. Frink Park

398 Lake Washington Blvd. S, Seattle, WA 98144

Primarily used as a natural woods drive, Frink Park is a densely vegetated ravine. The park was spruced up in 1909 with footbridges, paths, benches and a bridge over the ravine. Now it's home to 3,000 feet of trails. Since it’s connected to Leschi Park, you can take the path all the way to the water.

398 Lake Washington Blvd. S
Seattle, WA 98144

10. Bradner Gardens Park

29th Ave. S & S Grand St., Seattle, WA 98144

Bradner Gardens Park features year-round vegetable gardening, raised beds, plants that attract beneficial insects, swale gardening, soil-building techniques, and water-wise drip irrigation. It's also a beautiful place to walk around or just sit and admire. The views of downtown aren't so shabby either.

29th Ave. S & S Grand St.
Seattle, WA 98144

11. Jack Block Park

2130 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126

Once a wood treatment plant and a shipbuilding facility, this 15-acre park in West Seattle is situated on the northwest corner of the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5. The park has public beach access, a children's play area, and a 45-foot observation tower. Not bad for a place once designated a superfund site.

2130 Harbor Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

12. Me-Kwa-Mooks Park

4503 Beach Dr. SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Across the street from the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and immediately south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Natural Area, most of this park stretches up the hillside and extends north and farther south on land that is largely undeveloped. The dense trees provide a habitat for many birds, including screech owls. Make sure you check out the tide pools across the street during low tide—there are tons of critters to be found.

4503 Beach Dr. SW
Seattle, WA 98116

13. Hitt's Hill Park

5234 37th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98118

Named after a man who loved watching things explode—Thomas Gabriel Hitt founded one of the largest fireworks companies on the West Coast—this hilltop park boasts views of Lake Washington, downtown, and Rainier Valley.

5234 37th Ave. S
Seattle, WA 98118

14. Lowman Beach Park

7017 Beach Dr. SW, Seattle, WA 98136

Lowman Beach is small, but like beaches everywhere, it has some surprises. It includes about 300 feet of rocky, saltwater shoreline a few blocks north of Lincoln Park. Above the beach is an acre of grass with tennis courts and swings—plus a view of the Olympics, Alki Point, and Williams Point spread out in three directions.

7017 Beach Dr. SW
Seattle, WA 98136