Your Seattle Parks Fall Bucket List

Seattleites know better than anyone that fun doesn’t have to stop when the rain starts. Fall arrived on Sept. 23, and we’ve compiled a list of this season’s must-dos.

Make a commitment to get out of the house this fall and prove to everyone you’re doing it. Send photos to @seattleparks and share your autumn adventures. #bucketlist

Discovery Park

Fancy some foliage
Red Tricycle recently came out with 10 Places to See Fantastic Fall Foliage, and we weren’t surprised to see that half of the list is made up of our parks. Take your family to explore Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Woodland Park, Kubota Garden or the Washington Park Arboretum and count all of the different shades of oranges, yellows and reds. Bringing a thermos full of hot apple cider is highly recommended.

Brew some beer
Besides the changing leaves, lederhosen and dirndls are another sign of fall, or more accurately, Oktoberfest. The Pacific Northwest has a huge local beer scene. This year, why not learn how to make your own brew? Ballard, Bitter Lake and Belltown Community Centers are hosting home brewing classes this season.

Carkeek Park

Tread some trails
Trade in your flip flops for hiking boots, and hit some trails this fall. Parks has miles of developed and semi-developed trails to explore. Grab a map, fill your backpack with trail mix and you’ll be ready to roll.

Magnuson Park garden

Do some good
Spend a Saturday digging in the dirt and doing some good. From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, Magnuson Park is hosting two stewardship events: one at the Magnuson Community Center demonstration gardens (Bird-friendly Landscape and Resource Conservation Landscape) and one at the Magnuson Children’s Garden. Assist Natural Area Wonderwoman Emily Bishton and Magnuson Nature Docents in providing guidance to a team of Seattle Works volunteers who will be giving both gardens a fall spruce-up, or assist in hosting hands-on nature activities for children. You can’t go wrong here.

Community face painting

Get some scares
Fall wouldn’t be complete without a visit from a ghost, goblin or gremlin. Our Northeast Community Centers are going gung-ho ghoul this year. On Friday, Oct. 17, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center will host a Freaky Fall Festival. Then on Saturday, Oct. 18, they’ll hold a haunted house. On Friday, Oct. 24, Meadowbrook Community Center and Pool will host a Haunted Bounce and Spook the Pool. Also, for moms and dads who don’t want the pressure of painting their child’s face to look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Spider-Man, Magnuson Community Center is hosting free costume face painting on Friday, Oct. 31. We have many haunted happenings taking place this season. To find an event closer to your home, take a look through the community centers brochure for your neighborhood.

Spot some birds
Join a naturalist in the fall forest for a morning bird walk. In October, seasonal migration is at its peak. Carkeek Park is hosting a Fall Bird Walk from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25. All levels of birders are welcome, even beginners. The program is designed for adults and families with children ages 6 and older.

Dance some “Thriller”
Have you ever started instinctively doing side-to-side zombie arms when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” comes on the radio? It happens to the best of us. Every year groups of people dubbed the “Thrillers” perform the famous choreography on the same day, at the same time across the world. This charitable event is called “Thrill the World.” This year, Seattle is scheduled to join in the fun at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, at Occidental Park. Head out to the park and watch it all unfold. Plus, we hear Seattle’s “Thrill the World” is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association, so bring a donation if you’d like.

Community Dinners at Rainier Community Center

Cook some dinner
For many people, fall brings to mind turkey, thanks and togetherness. Our community centers are celebrating that spirit by hosting Community Dinners throughout the season. Stop by Rainier Community Center on Fridays, Oct. 17, or Nov. 21; or visit Rainier Beach on Sundays, Oct. 19, Nov. 16 or Dec. 21. Break bread with your neighbors. Suggested donation is $3 to $10.

Rent some relaxation
Little cabin in the woods, anyone? Did you know there are 10 cabins for rent in West Seattle’s Camp Long? For those of us who appreciate getting outdoors, but don’t appreciate soggy tents or tarps, rustic Camp Long is the perfect nature getaway. Each cabin sleeps six people and the grounds have restrooms, showers, barbeques and fire pits. Start practicing those camp fire songs.

Park Ranger Peggy Bohan

Learn some history
You call yourself a Seattleite, but how much do you really know about our city’s history? This fall, Seattle Park Rangers will be spending Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons giving talks about Seattle’s history and culture in Victor Steinbrueck Park. Talks take place at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (these may be canceled in inclement weather). Bring your questions and learn some fun facts. You can share them with your friends later at Oktoberfest.

Your Seattle Parks Summer Bucket List

Remember the “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” essay assignment on the first day of school? You had to think about the previous three months and make up events that made you seem more interesting and adventurous than watching Judge Judy marathons. Embarrassing.

You may not get a summer vacation anymore, but the season is still something to be treasured. Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to help you take advantage of these rare, sunny days and create some brag-worthy memories.

We won’t ask you to write an essay, but we’d love to see you in action. Prove you completed some of the activities on our Summer Bucket List by sending photos to @seattleparks on Twitter #bucketlist

On my summer vacation I…GOT HEALTHY! Join us from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, for our first-ever Big Day of Play at Mount Baker Park Sailing and Rowing Center! We’ll have entertainment, music, kids’ activities and plenty of opportunities for you to learn about our active recreation and healthy food programming.

On my summer vacation I…ROCKED OUT WITH THE T-BIRDS AND PINK LADIES IN MAGNUSON PARK! On Thursdays throughout the summer, Magnuson Park will host outdoor movies. “Grease” kicks off the line-up, followed by “The Lego Movie,” “Gravity,” “Sixteen Candles” and other favorites. Spread out a blanket on the grass, take part in movie trivia and get some grub at a food truck. Don’t worry, no one can say you’re wasting away in front of the television if you’re doing it outside.

On my summer vacation I…MET A CAMEL! I mean, really, how many chances does one get to meet a camel in the Northwest? Visit Othello Park on Sunday, Aug. 17, for the Othello Park International Music and Art Festival. Between noon and 6 p.m., the park will be filled with family-friendly music and performances. Wander through the vendor and food booths, take a ride on the zip line and of course, say hi to the visiting camel.

On my summer vacation I…PAMPERED MY POOCH! Sunday, Aug. 17, is truly a dog day of summer. From 1-3 p.m., you can take your pups to Helene Madison Pool and let them cool down in the water. Each year the pool hosts a dog swim before the facility closes for preventive maintenance.

On my summer vacation I…WENT SCUBA DIVING IN ELLIOT BAY! Did you know you there is a protected area off the shores of West Seattle’s Seacrest Park for scuba diving? Explore underwater sea creatures in the Sound and then treat yourself to lunch at Marination Ma Kai, voted one of the city’s best lunch spots by Seattle Magazine.

On my summer vacation I…DANCED THE NIGHT AWAY WITH 800 OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS! Dancing ‘til Dusk events take place throughout downtown parks in the summer. We provide lighting, bands and free dance lessons; you just have to show up in your boogie shoes. From 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 5, we’re hosting a square dance in Freeway Park, so save the date and swing your partner! For other Dancing ‘til Dusk dates, click HERE.

On my summer vacation I…LEARNED A NEW SKILL (FOR ONLY $2)! Have you always wanted to register for a new class or activity, but have a fear of six-week commitment? Seattle Parks’ Healthy Parks, Healthy You program has got you covered. With the Try It for $2 program, you can attend a program or class session at one of our community centers or pools for only $2. If you like what you experience, you can register for the remainder of the session at a pro-rated amount. Yoga, Zumba, karate? See you there.

On my summer vacation I…FOUND MY INNER TARZAN! Grab a group of friends and take to the trees. Camp Long in West Seattle has a vertical playpen. Climb through tires and obstacles up in the sky or travel between high platforms on beams, swings and ropes supported by belayers. There are a variety of challenge course options available for adventurers of all levels.

On my summer vacation I…BIKED THE BURKE-GILMAN TRAIL! The Burke-Gilman Trail runs from Shilshole Bay in Seattle to the City of Bothell spanning more than 18 miles. Grab your helmet and follow the historic railroad route near the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Sammamish River. Pack a lunch, enjoy the views and get some fresh air.

On my summer vacation I…DISCOVERED A NEW PARK (OR 10)! Pick a park, any park, and then grab your sunscreen and go. We have more than 400 parks within our city limits and very few people have seen them all. Take this summer to find a new picnic spot, a breathtaking viewpoint or a perfect practice field for your soccer team. Each of our parks is unique, and they’re all FREE.