It’s a fact—Seattle isn’t sunny every day. But when it is, there are few more beautiful places on Earth! On sunny days, Seattleites head out to enjoy the warm weather and soak up the sun, especially during the late spring and summer when the sun stays out until past 9 p.m.. There’s no shortage of places to go, from hanging out in your own backyard to spending time on one of Seattle’s beautiful beaches.
Here are 10 ideas for some of the best ways to get out and enjoy the sun.
Seattle is an athletic city. Even on rainy days, you’ll likely see someone out jogging or running, but on sunny days, Seattle’s many biking and walking trails are worth enjoying. Some trails are especially great for beautiful days, including Alki Trail in West Seattle. Like much of Alki, the trail has superb views of the water and parts of the trail feature a great view of the Seattle skyline across the water. It passes by Alki Beach so you can take a break at the beach.
Go to a Spraypark or Wading Pool
If you’ve got kids, spray parks and wading pools are the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. When the temperatures pass 70 degrees, Seattle Parks open the water works to the public. While wading pools are fun for very young children, sprayparks are fun for all with buckets, jets of water and other fun features. Sprayparks are located at parks throughout Seattle, including Ballard Commons Park, Georgetown Playfield, Highland Park, Jefferson Park, John C. Little Park, Judkins Park, Lake Union Park, Miller Playfield, Northacres Park and Pratt Park. Seattle Center's International Fountain is also a hit on sunny days!
Rent a Kayak
Seattle is sandwiched between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, with smaller Lake Union right in the middle of the city, and Lake Sammamish not too far off on the other side of Bellevue. In short, Seattle is a water city. When the sun comes out (or even when it doesn’t), getting out on the water is one of the best ways to enjoy the best of what the Northwest has to offer. Kayak rentals and tours are available throughout the city. Check out NorthWest Outdoor Center or Moss Bay on Lake Union, Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard in Ballard, or Alki Kayak Tours (they have rentals too).
Another way to get out on the water is to rent something bigger than a kayak. You can find boat rentals of all sizes, but some of the most interesting are at the Center for Wooden Boats, which believes that classic wooden boats are best. While anyone can rent a rowboat or pedal boat from CWB, only people with previous kayaking or canoeing experience can rent kayaks and canoes. You can also rent a wooden sailboat, but must pass a sailing checkout process.
Alki Beach may just be the finest beach in Seattle. Sure, it’s popular and can be a little crowded, but its shores are sandy and the views are beautiful. From the beach, you can admire the Seattle skyline as well as the boat traffic crisscrossing the Puget Sound. Roast some marshmallows at the fire pit or stroll along the trail or just relax on the sand (or on a bench).
Seattle’s parks in general are great sunny day destinations, but some simply have more to offer on beautiful days than others. Case in point—Golden Gardens Park. With a nice stretch of sandy beach, Golden Gardens is stunning and the perfect place to enjoy time by the water or to build a bonfire when the sun sets. The park is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Seattle as the views are wide open and feature the Olympic Mountains, too.
Another great park for sunny days is Discovery Park—a park that has a little bit of everything. Hike the trails through both open grassy areas as well as shaded forest. Enjoy open views from heights above the water, but also enjoy some beach time. The beach at Discovery Park is long and has some secluded areas, but it also has a lighthouse that makes for a great photo op.
Seattle has a lot of restaurants with a view or outdoor dining, but does not have nearly as many restaurants with rooftop dining. However, dining on a rooftop is the best way to enjoy the sun alongside a drink and some appetizers. Especially as the sun goes down, rooftops are one of the best ways to enjoy the orange skies in style.
Mt. Si is one of the most popular hikes in the area and it’s less than 45 minutes from Seattle. Sunny days are great for mountain hikes as mountain air tends to be a bit cooler—ideal for those who don’t want to deal with 90+ degree days. The trail up the mountain is beyond novice level, and yet doesn’t require any real hiking expertise either. You’ll gain a bit over 3,000 feet in four miles so endurance is needed. You’ll need a Discover Pass to park in the lot at the trailhead.
A little over an hour from Seattle, Mt. Rainier is another option for a day in the mountains. Mt. Rainier National Park has trailheads all along the road driving through the park, some short and easy, while others are day hikes. Of course, you can also climb the entire mountain if hikes are just not enough for you. For newbies to the park, a visit to Paradise can be a fine starting point as there’s a restaurant, plenty of trails and stellar views of Mt. Rainier.