Take your lunch break, celebrate parks

It’s Park and Recreation Month! Take your lunch outside!


Not to brag, but the entire month of July celebrates us. And we want you to join in the party. July is Park and Recreation Month and this year’s theme is “OUT is IN.”

The National Recreation and Park Association is challenging everyone to spend the month of July doing typical indoor activities outside every day.

Our suggestions:

Surveys show that many Americans are forgoing their lunch breaks because they feel guilty spending time away from the office. But, studies show that employees who take frequent breaks throughout the workday are more productive.

So in honor of Park and Recreation Month, take your lunch break and spend it with us. You’ll be more productive, and you’ll help us make the city a safer place.

Scattered throughout downtown parks in the summer you’ll find a variety of programming sponsored by Seattle Parks and our partnership organizations catered specifically for the lunch hour. The idea is that the more positive activities we bring in, the more negative activities will move out.

Seattle Tilth staff lead a gardening workshop in Freeway Park.

Freeway Park Association Executive Director Riisa Conklin described it well when she said, “It’s like we’re creating small interventions. We want people to know there’s always something going on.”

Conklin said her association has increased programming in Freeway Park by 50 percent this year. If you stop by the park around noon, you’re apt to find the Friends of Seattle Public Library book carts, kite painting parties, Seattle Tilth gardening classes and yoga.

Friends of Seattle Public Library books carts in Freeway Park.

“Too many people don’t know the park here, and we want to draw in residents,” Conklin said. “This is their park.”

But what’s that you say? You work further south or west and don’t care to climb up to Seventh Avenue? No problem.

Tucked away in Occidental Park beneath the dappled shade you’ll find free, classical chamber performances at noon every second and fourth Tuesday through September. These pop-up concerts feature University of Washington School of Music graduates who play in unique venues all over the city.

If you’d like a little more brain stimulation, play a drop-in game of bocce at Occidental, or really get the juices flowing at a game of drop-in chess at Bell Street, Westlake or Hing Hay Parks.

We’re working hard to create a more inviting atmosphere in our parks, but we need your help. So to celebrate Park and Recreation Month, get some grub and come visit us. Your city and your stomach will thank you.

For a more complete list of our outdoor summer activities, visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/downtown/.