If it’s fresh air, a sanity check, an “escape” from the city, or exercise, you can enjoy it all in the Washington Park Arboretum.

What used to be the Puget Mill Company’s land is now a fabulous garden that borders the Broadmoor, Montlake, and Madison Park neighborhoods.

Its gently rolling paths take you through PNW greenery, magnolias and maples, explosions of color in Rhododendron Glen, the vibrant spring blooms of Azalea Way, and the largest collection of Japanese Maples in North America.  Among other things, you can also find the renowned Japanese Garden, some of the largest redwoods in Seattle, or head over to Foster Island for some views of Husky Stadium across the bay.

Among other things, you can also find the renowned Japanese Garden, some of the largest redwoods in Seattle, or head over to Foster Island for some views of Husky Stadium across the bay.

It’s loaded with history, beginning with its planning by the Olmstead Firm, led by Fredrick Law Olmstead, Jr., and WPA projects including the Stone Cottage at the south end. The Arboretum Aqueduct, which extends from Montlake over Lake Washington Boulevard, was built as a sewer trestle. A beautiful structure and walkway was designed as part of the trestle for pedestrians to reach the Arboretum. It was built in 1911 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Donations of specimens from around the world, as well as native plants add up to thousands of species of vines, trees, shrubs, and plants gracing its 230 acres. You can also kayak through  cattails, water lilies and purple loosestrife, all while looking for local critters, turtles, blue herons, ducks, and bald eagles nesting in Broadmoor.

A lovely place that is busy with walkers, runners, bird watchers, families, photographers, weddings, basically everybody, The Washington Park Arboretum is one of the gems in the emerald city’s crown of jewels!