Activities & Resources
Green Lake Park050in Seattle, WA 98115
about Green Lake Park:
The obvious attraction is the 2.8-mile foot path around the lake. A smooth path with two lanes - one for foot and stroller traffic, one for faster traffic-on-wheels - makes for a nice walk with baby and stroller or with older kids, but if you have an insistent new walker with you, watch out for speeding bicyclists and runners. There is a certain contingent who uses the path as its own private Churchill Downs. There is also a 3.2-mile path around the edge of the park. If a long walk is out of the question, look for these attractions to keep the kids busy:
Children's playground: The playground is located just south of the main entrance, at E Green Lake Way and Latona Avenue NE. The playground is an extremely popular gathering place and can get very crowded on sunny days. A large sandpit dominates the space, and features a canoe to climb in, digging toys, and a sandplay bench. There are also activity stations set up next to the sand area, where kids can ring chimes, work a maze by spinning a steering wheel, and "drive." Swings, a merry-go-round, and two climbing structures round out the play area. The playground is next to a meadow with large conifers at its edges - these are great climbing and hiding places.
Inside the white-painted community center adjacent to the playground, children under five can play in an indoor playroom.
Swimming: Green Lake has three swimming areas. For little kids, the north side of the lake features a popular wading pool. For year-round swimming, the community center on the east side of the lake (located next to playground) houses Evans Pool.
The lake also has beach access here (lifeguards on duty in the summer), but swimming in Green Lake is not recommended. The lake has suffered from algae and waterweed infestation in recent years, which renders the water clogged and murky. Plentiful waterfowl have made swimmer's itch an unappetizing possibility.
Birdwatching/botanizing: The park is home to hundreds of species of trees and plants, and includes a recently installed native plant restoration area on the west side of the lake. Bring your binoculars - look for downy woodpeckers working the trees, as well as bald eagles, great blue herons, ducks, goldfinches, and many other birds. The native plant area is located west of The Bathhouse Theater. Park in the lot on W Greenlake Way and Stone Avenue N. Walk west along the path to an open area with fenced plantings alongside the lake, and snags surrounded with native plants. You'll see an island in the lake parallel to this area. Ask for the guide Trees of Greenlake at the community center; it's available for a donation.
Performing Arts: The Bathhouse Theatre is located on the park's northwest side.
Sports: Tennis courts are located just north of the main entrance, and at the W Greenlake Way and Stone Avenue N parking lot. Contact Seattle Parks and Recreation for reservations. A basketball court sits right behind the community center, and is often the site of spirited pick-up games. Adjacent to the community center, look for playing fields, which host volleyball, soccer, and softball.
Golf: A small municipal pitch 'n putt golf course is located at one corner of the lake, at the intersection of E Greenlake Way N and W Greenlake Way N.
Boating: North of the main entrance and beyond the tennis courts, look for a brick building that houses a boat rental outfit. You'll see paddle boats stacked up next to the lake. Paddled boats, canoes, and kayaks are available to rent. Launch here, or at the boat launch on the southwest corner of the lake. Look for it next to the blue Green Lake Small Craft Center on W Greenlake Way, across the street from Woodland Park. Park in one of the many adjacent lots. The Green Lake Small Craft Center offers sailing, rowing, canoeing, and kayaking classes for youths and adults, but does not rent boats.
Parking: Look for unmetered street parking all along E Greenlake Way N. The park has three lot areas: at E Greenlake Way N and Latona Avenue E (get here early if you must find a spot close to the playground), at W Greenlake Drive N and Stone Avenue N, next to the tennis courts, and at W Greenlake Way on the Woodland Park side of the lake. This last lot has the most ample, consistently available supply of spaces.