Your Seattle Parks Winter Bucket List

The holidays are over. You’ve seen snow flurries and below-freezing temperatures. Perhaps you’ve consumed one too many holiday cookies. And you’re starting to remember it rains here, like, all the time. You’re searching for “real estate in San Diego” and “vacation homes in Maui.” You must escape this gray city!

Well, slow down there, partner. Sure, our city may be a little wet in the winter, but it’s still one the greatest cities in the world, year-round (in our unbiased opinion). We’ve put together your Seattle Parks Winter Bucket List giving you 10 reasons to look forward to the weeks ahead. So before you do anything rash, read on. San Diego may have sunshine, but it’s no Emerald City, and if you wear socks with sandals in Maui, you might not fit in.

Plant a tree for peace

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy Planting
Winter is when we honor some of our country’s most important legacies. Commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.by planting a tree to celebrate peace and social justice from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17 at Discovery Park. The whole family is welcome and the event is free. Instructions and supplies are provided. Find more details in our environmental learning centers brochure.

Full Moon Trek
Dancin’ in the moonlight! Everybody’s feeling warm and bright…and exploring Discovery Park! From 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31, take a guided hike and experience Discovery Park from the perspective of a nocturnal animal. The views in the park are always beautiful, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it bathed in starlight. The Full Moon Trek event costs $5 per person and is designed for ages 8 and older. Find registration information here.

All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes
We’re hosting pancake breakfasts three out of four weekends in February. Need we say more? February is the month of love and we’re showing our community appreciation with short stacks. Hiawatha Community Center hosts its annual all-you-can eat pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. – noon on Sunday, Feb. 8, followed by Delridge Community Center’s sweetheart pancake day from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday, Feb. 14. Bitter Lake Community Center is hosting an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. – noon on Sunday, Feb. 22. All events range in price from $4-6 per person with tots eating for free.

What will you discover at the Aquarium?

Halibut, sea otters and jelly fish, oh my!
There are numerous reasons why Seattleites love the Seattle Aquarium, but one of the main reasons to love it during the winter months is that it’s indoors. You can leisurely marvel at the Aquarium’s numerous exhibits no matter what the weather. This fall, the facility opened a new spotted lagoon jellyfish exhibit and this January the Aquarium is hosting a series of “Visit Hawaii in Your Own Backyard” events. Round up the kiddies, grab your grandparents or call up a friend – it’s time for a field trip.

Neighbor Appreciation Day
Free cookies, free coffee, free swimming, free lunch. Why? Because your city appreciates you! Saturday, Feb. 14, is Neighbor Appreciation Day and we’re celebrating our vibrant communities in Seattle community centers and pools. Stop by Belltown Community Center on Feb. 13 for treats, or visit Queen Anne or Montlake Community Center on Feb. 14 for cookies and coffee. South Park Community Center is serving up pancakes from 10 a.m. – noon. Evans Pool is hosting a potluck lunch and free swim on Feb. 14 and Southwest Pool has a free swim with refreshments. For details and event times, visit our Events Calendar.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Seattle’s annual Lunar New Year Festival takes place in February in International District Chinatown’s Hing Hay Park. Kick off the Year of the Goat with entertainment, a $2 tasting menu, children’s costume parade and authentic cultural activities like Chinese calligraphy drawing, origami, face painting and more. Visit the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area’s event page for more information.

Japanese Garden Opening Day Photo by Laurel Mercury

Japanese Garden Opening Day
After three months of seasonal closure, the Seattle Japanese Garden will reopen to the public on Sunday, March 1, with a celebratory Opening Day First Viewing. Help bring the garden out of its winter hibernation and rejoice in knowing that spring is on the horizon. For a detailed list of the day’s activities, visit the garden’s website closer to the event.

Pi Day Race in Magnuson Park
At Seattle Parks, we’re huge advocates of nature and fitness, but, we’re also big fans of pie. Show off your geeky side and join hundreds of runners in Magnuson Park for the Pi Day Dash, a 3.14-mile run on 3-14-15 beginning at 9:26 a.m. (GET IT?! If so, this event is for you). Race organizers promise there will be pie for the masses. Register in advance here, and learn about sponsors, course details and volunteering opportunities.

Firehouse Mini Park

Children’s Play Areas
Little kids don’t care if they get grass stains and they certainly don’t worry about their hair getting frizzy. The muddier and muckier, the better! No matter the season, children need to get outdoors and stretch their legs and imagination. Be adventurous this winter and see how many of our children’s play areas you can cross off your list. With more than 100 playgrounds in the city, you can check out a different spot every weekend.

Treasures found inside the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Summer in the Conservatory
The weather outside is frightful, but the Palm House is so delightful. A balmy 72 degrees in fact. The Volunteer Park Conservatory recently reopened after months of renovations, which means Seattleites have a beautifully remodeled respite from the winter rains. In the five houses of the Conservatory, one can find palm trees, orchids and most importantly, heat. Take a stroll through the Conservatory and enjoy a little summer in January. The Conservatory offers FREE docent-guided tours of the houses and its plant collections by reservation. Tours last from 30-60 minutes (minimum two weeks’ notice required).