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So You Want to Get Outside, But You Live in a City

Lately, I have heard people emphasize that getting outdoors is more important than ever. I couldn't agree more! Fresh air in our lungs and beautiful Pacific Northwest views in our sights are just a few of the reasons why going outside is so worthwhile. . In these times of isolation, being able to control our setting is something we should absolutely take advantage of, especially in this wonderful state we live in! 

Before your adventure, keep these things in mind:

  • Mask up! Even when you’re outside, there will be other people there. Remember to keep a mask or two on you and be ready to cover your mouth and nose when passing people, especially on narrow trails! We can never be too considerate or safe. 

  • Get a park pass! If you are planning on visiting a state or national park, look into the permit requirements at your specific trail. State and National parks are NOT the same and you cannot use the same type of pass for both. 

  • Plan your outfits and transportation accordingly. The weather can be unpredictable and, not to mention, really cold this time of year! Keep yourself warm and dry for comfort and safety on your adventures. If you are going somewhere with snow/ice, make sure your car can manage all road conditions. I suggest carrying tire chains, as some locations require visitors to have them on hand. Many National Park trails are on unpaved, gravel roads, so make sure you are prepared.

  • Drink water and eat a big breakfast! You will have more fun if you are not hungry and dehydrated the whole time! 

  • Do not leave garbage anywhere; I like to bring a Ziploc or grocery bag with me in case I cannot find a trash can. Even if you think your waste is biodegradable, pack it with you and throw it away later. Our garbage is not part of the ecosystems we visit and it should stay that way! Remember, always leave somewhere better than the way you found it. 


So, here it is: My top 3 favorite things to do outside around Seattle!

  1. Hit the trails!

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or walking and talking, trails are a great place to be and explore. AllTrails is my favorite way to find new paths, anywhere I am. 

  • The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop speaks for itself—the 6.4 mile loop wraps around Lake Union making for a great way to explore Seattle without really straying from the beaten path (it is paved!). Wherever you’re at in the city, this trail is accessible, so grab your shoes or your bike and hit the lake!

  • Poo Poo Point and Mt. Si are both less than an hour away from the city. They are popular spots, but for good reason! AllTrails rates these hikes as difficult, so if that is not for you, hit up the Little Si trail to start out with. 

  • Don’t forget!!! There are “trails” right outside your front door. Living in a city can feel detached from nature and exploration, but you’ll never know where the sidewalk on your street will take you until you start walking! Going on walks is a great way to clear our minds and appreciate our communities—plus, it’s fun to create your own route!

  1. Play a game!

Outdoor games are a great way to get some exercise while having a great time. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, and fields all over Seattle that are waiting for you and your roommates!

  • Discovery Park is just one of many parks to visit. A quick 10 minute drive from SPU and you will find everything you might need for a pickup game of any kind. Plus, the trails are wonderfully maintained and they just may lead you to a cute lighthouse!

  • Don’t forget!!! Check out the schools in your area! While it may seem funny, you are almost guaranteed to find a basketball hoop and/or a field there. But remember, do not trespass if the area is clearly closed! 

  1. Day Trip!

If you’re craving a little getaway, but don’t know where to go, here are a few ideas, North, South, East, and West! Since national and international travel are frowned upon, staying in Washington can be safer and fun, but don’t forget a mask. 

  • Cities in Snohomish County are close to home and easy to get to, yet you’ll still feel like you’ve escaped Seattle! Everett and Mukilteo are just a few spots to walk around and find a small business to support. You’ll likely find a view of the water in town and learn some history of the community. Bridle Trails and St. Edwards State Parks are also (roughly) in this area!

  • Drive an hour or two east, into the Cascades, and you’ll find cute towns like Leavenworth and North Bend. The surrounding mountains instead of buildings will make for a nice change of scenery, and you’ll catch a break from the hustle and bustle of Seattle.

  • The South Sound area is fun to explore—Tacoma has been changing and growing so much it’s hard to keep up with! Some of my favorite outdoor spots in downtown Tacoma are the Bridge of Glass and Ruston Way. Lastly, the Narrows Bridge is lovely to walk on a clear day!

  • Hop on any of the ferries, sing a sea shanty, and explore where I call home: the Olympic Peninsula! There are tons of state parks and small towns to explore, as well as Olympic National Park. It is such a blessing to be living between two amazing mountain ranges, we should absolutely take advantage of this! 

  • Don’t forget!!! The neighborhoods around Seattle are all so different and special! A fun day trip doesn’t even have to be out of town in a city like this one! 


The “great outdoors” has been there much longer than any of us have, don’t miss out on the endless adventures it offers! Whether you’re in town or in the woods, I hope this list helps you get started on a season of fresh air!


Hello! I am a student at Seattle Pacific University, majoring in Visual Arts and English Literature. This year I will be serving as a co-Campus Correspondent as well as the Director of Art and Design at HC SPU chapter. I am originally from the Olympic Peninsula area of Washington. Some of my hobbies include hiking, collaging, reading, and writing.
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