Top South End Parks to Explore This Spring

by Dorothy Driver

Now that we are on the back side of winter, it’s time to step into the light and get reacquainted with the outdoors. Lucky for us, we live in a part of the city that is full of wonderful parks and greenspaces just waiting for us to explore. Here are a few favorites, including some secret spaces that most people don’t even know are there.

  1. Jefferson Park If you haven’t been to Jefferson Park in a while, you may be delighted to learn that there is a gorgeous new club house, golf driving range, and a killer skate park for kids.
  2. Chief Sealth Trail Running almost 4 miles through the Seattle City Light Utility Corridor, this trail stretches from near Columbia Way on Beacon Hill, to 51st Ave S in Rainier Beach. Bike it, walk it, take a shortcut through the valley and enjoy some otherwise hidden views.
  3. Beer Sheva Park  Called “Atlantic City Park” at the beginning of the last century, this jewel was once the center of a thriving native American community and rumored to be birthplace of Chief Sealth’s daughter, Princess Angeline. Today it houses a community-initiated playground, a landscaped watershed with a nature-inspired public art piece, and the Atlantic City Boat launch opening on to beautiful Spinnaker Bay.
  4. Chinook Beach  Another access point for small, unmotorized watercraft to Spinnaker Bay, secret little Chinook Beach also sports a fishing platform, and nooks perfect for rocky waterside picnics.
  5. Kubota Gardens  This 28-acre site was once the outdoor showroom for the Kubota Gardening Company, founded by visionary landscaper and gardener Fujitaro Kubota in 1923. Despite forced internment during WWII, the family kept the business going until it was donated to the City of Seattle in 1987 as an historic landmark. Endless trails, reflecting pools, waterfalls, and the new Terrace Overlook crafted by master Japanese stone masons will keep you coming back all year long.
  6. Deadhorse Canyon – Lakeridge Park Some believe the nickname of this park comes from the passing of a pioneer pet horse. It is more likely that it is a reference to the term used for grades too steep to log, since this canyon was a prime source for Taylor’s Mill which sat downhill on Lake Washington. These days it is a rainforest respite here in the city.
  7. Seward Park Designed by the Olmsted brothers who also designed Central Park in New York City, this park is ringed with a 2.4 mile paved path which captures some of the most stunning views to be found anywhere.
  8. Ruby Chow Park Ruby Chow was one of Seattle’s great women. A business woman, activist, and the first Asian American on the King County Council, she was also the first person to employ Bruce Lee when he emigrated from China.  If you are an airplane buff, or are looking for a great spot to watch the Blue Angels take off during SeaFair, check out this little pocket park on the north end of Boeing Field at Georgetown.
  9. Veterans Park (Fletcher Place) The smallest city park in Seattle, this tiny triangle in Old Town Rainier Beach is lovingly tended by local Veterans who also host a flag retiring ceremony at this location every year on Flag Day.
  10. Hat & Boots – Oxbow Park The iconic “Hat & Boots” of Georgetown were rescued by community activists when they were abandoned at a local gas station and food stop that was forced to shutter after the opening of I-5. These MUCH larger than life sculptures harken back to playful Americana, and are now the anchor for a sweet playground park and limitless photo ops.