Nestled in green surroundings between the Pacific Ocean and dizzying mountains in the background, Seattle welcomes you in a resolutely atypical atmosphere. The city is inspiring and innovative and is regularly highlighted for its quality of life. If the city center is often immersed in a tumult that testifies to its dynamics, nature, which unfolds majestically around the city, invites you to a delicious break. Welcome to Emerald City!
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A wild paradise in an urban jungle
Your trip to Seattle takes place in the northwestern United States, between Lake Washington and Puget Sound. A trip to the United States is often an immersion in the middle between skyscrapers and futuristic constructions. Seattle is no exception, like the Amazon spheres, whose structure houses green areas for employees, or MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture), designed by Frank Gehry, who will challenge you with its curves and colors.
In addition to its impressive infrastructures, Seattle offers much more than an urban decor: more than 485 green areas and parks are actually distributed in the four corners of the city. They are crossed by cozy paths, which in turn lead you through relaxing gardens, enchanting forests or beaches that reveal breathtaking views.
Head into the 216-acre Discovery Park that stretches across the Magnolia Peninsula. Rocks and forests are as lavish as the meadows and beaches. Pack a picnic and enjoy the unique views from the West Point Lighthouse after exploring the park’s 20km trails.
The Golden Gardens is also an emblematic place in the city, to include in your itinerary. Located close to Ballard – a must-see neighborhood to discover the city’s distinctive culture – this magnificent green space is especially appreciated by those traveling with their dogs, and the dog owner has plenty of time to frolic on the winding paths that bordering Puget Sound.
After an American brunch and a stroll through the colorful Capitol Hill district to meet local artists, continue to the Washington Park Arboretum to find some peace. You will find a Japanese garden of indescribable beauty, home to rare plants in abundance.
An entrance to national parks
Why limit your trip to Seattle to the city limits when you have the prospect of pushing the immersion in natural surroundings even further? Within a radius of 2 hours by road you have access to three parks where wildlife unfolds unimaginable charm.
Mount Rainier National Park is about its 4,390-meter-high volcano, visible from the observation deck of Seattle’s famous Space Needle. As the intestines of Mount Rainier are heated by magma, the top is covered with a layer of snow. Your excursion in this park will make you discover steep landscapes that contrast with the green panoramas. Lakes and rivers meander between the forests in a spectacular mosaic. Old farms await you in the middle of the meadows, marking your hike with a historic note. We advise you to reach the Sunrise area before dawn to admire the sunrise.
Olympic National Park is another natural marvel waiting for you near Seattle. With its name from the Olympic Mountains and Mount Olympus – the highest point in the region – this park is remarkable because of the three ecosystems that live together there: from the coast of the sea to the temperate rainforests that pass through the mountain ranges. Stay at a lodge by the lake for a quiet and peaceful experience.
As you walk along the beaches of La Push, listen for the impressive cliffs. Depending on the wind direction, you will sometimes get the impression that they are singing. Scenic hikes inland will take you through lush forests just to name one in Hoh. Known for its gentle silence, it is home to Roosevelt moose, black bears and a few bobcats that you may be lucky enough to encounter on your way. Depending on your itinerary, you can be captivated by the sublime Sol Duc River, which follows its course between moss-covered cliffs.
Maybe you dream of going to the United States to admire sublime glaciers and rich wildlife? In this case, we suggest you visit North Cascades National Park, the largest and wildest park in the state located on the Canadian border. Overlooking a coniferous forest, Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker are reflected in the surface of Picture Lake, revealing a very photogenic background. You will also be seduced by the Redoubt volcano and its steep sides covered in fog at the first light of day. The park is also home to Lakes Diablo and Ross, two turquoise plateaus that invite you to walk on the water. In addition, boats are waiting for you on the shores.
A region that can be discovered along the water
Not far from the famous Pike Place Market and historic Pioneer Square, you can reach the ferry terminal for a 35-minute crossing that takes you to scenic Bainbridge Island. Far from the urban euphoria, you will discover a more rustic facet of Seattle and its surroundings. Our advice: let the friendly atmosphere invade you and enjoy this relaxing break.
Treat yourself to a cruise between Elliott Bay and Lake Union. Your route will definitely take you through Ballard Locks, one of the city’s technical feats. Stop at Fishermen’s Terminal to watch the boats return from the ocean with their prey. Step back on board and enjoy the beauty of the green spaces around you as your boat shifts from saltwater to freshwater (or vice versa), with a backdrop of stunning mountain views that protect Seattle.