Natural Wonders in Six Miles or Less—Get Your Nature Fix Without Leaving the City

There’s a famous quote out there (which we can’t attribute to anyone, even after several dedicated, almost stoic attempts to track it down) that goes along the lines of …

“The trouble with Italy is that it’s in Italy.”

Ah yes. The art, culture, food, wine, fashion, history, beaches, and vistas…are inconveniently located for our regular enjoyment. More’s the pity.

So what are we to do about this approximately 5,661-mile constraint?

Get organized, save some money, and book a flight. Then, in the meantime, enjoy the occasional meal at one of Seattle’s world-class Italian ristorantes — or visit the Da Vinci exhibit when it comes through town (happened last year!) —  just to get our fix until we land in Rome.

And that’s the truth about constraints — they’re everywhere in life — so the best we can do is work within them because the map of the world rarely matches the way we want it to be in our heads.

Especially when it comes to traveling, what with our limited time, resources, and connections. We simply must make do.

But the good news is, there’s often magic that happens in the process of making do. We walk through doors to new worlds, see what we’ve been missing, maybe discover something for the first time.

For nature-loving travelers heading to our fair city this summer — especially those here for a quick turn, maybe taking a cruise, or conducting business for a few days — we’ve got some good news: it’s SUPER easy to get your nature “fix” in short-order in Seattle without leaving the convenience of the metropolitan area.

So the question is, what would you do if making do to experience some natural wonder during your stay at Inn At The Market is as simple as an .8-mile walk…or a 15-minute Uber ride? And what magic would happen, what would you discover for the first time?

Especially considering…

…Seattle is stunningly endowed with parks. And we’re not talking swing sets and drinking fountains here. Think spectacular views of Puget Sound, the Olympic and Cascade mountains, Lake Washington … all embraced by lush landscapes, hiking trails, and of course our unique wildlife: eagles, osprey, kingfishers, otters, seals—if you’re really lucky an orca whale or two…


 The proximity from Inn At The Market (indicated within the emboldened parentheses below) to Seattle’s premier, in-city natural splendor negates time and transportation constraints. Plus when you’re done you can grab a great meal at a ristorante, maybe have an Aperol spritz to cool off.

That’s right! It’s time to explore some of Seattle’s in-city natural wonders, park-style!

  • Olympic Sculpture Garden (15-minute walk)

Created and operated by the Seattle Art Museum, this waterfront park transforms a nine-acre formal industrial site into an open vibrant green space for art. Experience a variety of sculpture in an outdoor setting while enjoying the incredible views of the mighty Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. The zig zagging path is roughly 1 mile (round trip). But eager hikers can extend the journey by following the connection to the Elliot Bay Trail and find themselves in Smith Cove Park. Be forewarned, that makes this easy stroll a 7-mile round trip adventure!

  • Discovery Park (15-minute ride share)

Discovery Park is a wonder! This 534-acre natural area is the largest city park in Seattle. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular views of both the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes almost two miles of protected tidal beaches, open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets, and streams. Watch for quail and fox atop the bluff, as well as osprey, seals (and gigantic cruise ships) from the beach.

  • Volunteer Park (11-minute ride share)

This almost 50-acre park is located in the popular Capitol Hill neighborhood. Volunteer Park is home to the Volunteer Park Conservatory (a historic greenhouse) and the famous Seattle Asian Art Museum. In addition to the permanent landscaping, from July through the first frost beautiful dahlias bloom in abundance, thanks to the efforts of the Puget Sound Dahlia Association. As if that’s not enough, the Volunteer Park Trust produces Summer Series at the Amphitheater — July 2nd through August 18th on Thursday evenings — where you can enjoy free shows and performances ranging from jazz to folk and pop. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket!

  • Washington Park Arboretum (13-minute ride share)

A welcome oasis on the shores of Lake Washington, the Arboretum contains 230 acres of dynamic plants, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. Take a walk through the Arboretum and discover this living natural majesty. A new 1.2-mile stretch of trail connects to Arboretum Drive to form an all-weather 2.5 loops that provides an incredible resource for recreation and relaxation…right in the middle of our city.

  • Seward Park (19-minute ride share)

Seward Park boasts 300 acres of beautiful forest land, home to eagles’ nests, one of the last tracts of old growth forest in the city of Seattle, a 2.4-mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, miles of hiking trails, shoreline, and of course beaches. And don’t forget the Audubon Center, dedicated to cultivating wonder and nurture curiosity of the natural world through environmental science, outdoor exploration, and of course play!

Not a bad way to make do, right? We’re lucky to have these incredible parks in virtually every neighborhood’s back yard. Each one is worth the (easy) trip. And here at Inn At The Market, we believe you’ll find some magic no matter which you choose.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, or book a stay if you haven’t yet. We’re happy to help you get your nature fix anytime!