But, what about Greenlake?


 I have a few previews currently in progress, and a small list of a few more places to get started on, and then I will be done with what I intend to cover in north Seattle. Which is the area of the city easiest for me to do.

Previewing takes more effort than it probably appears from just reading my posts. I usually visit a park a minimum of three times before finalizing my preview. For some parks it’s quite a bit more than that. (For small viewpoints that aren’t close to me I sometimes cheat with just one visit.)

Sometimes that’s because there’s a lot of ground to cover in larger parks and I don’t feel like doing it all in one visit. A lot of times I look at my photos and realize I left something out. Some of the need for multiple visits is to make sure I have a good feel for a park, especially in terms of typical usage and parking conditions.

When going over my To Do list a couple days ago I realized it will eventually be a glaring lack that this blog has no Greenlake preview amongst all my north end coverage.

Pretty much everyone in Seattle and the suburbs has at least heard of Greenlake. When I was in high school in Edmonds we used to come down to rollerskate around the lake. And when I was in my early twenties, living on Capitol Hill, I used to swim at Greenlake as part of my training for a one mile open water swim event.

So it seems only natural that I would do a nice big write-up about the park. But nope. That’s not gonna happen.

The reason is: Greenlake is a park for the robust.

There’s nothing wrong with that. If all parks were designed with only the robust in mind it would be a problem. But since that’s not the case, I’m content to leave some parks to a different type of person while I visit the kinds of places that make me happy.

The main attraction of Greenlake, aside from water activities on the lake itself, is the inner and outer paths that encircle the entire lake, favored by walkers, runners, cyclists, and people traveling on a variety of small wheels. The inner path is over two miles long, the outer over three.

Greenlake is used by more people every year than any other park in Seattle.

With all those people, and how and where parking lots are located, parking is no treat. You often have to park a long distance from where you want to go. And the streets around the lake can be confusing to drive, especially if traffic is heavy. (Traffic in this case includes not only cars, but also a large assortment of pedestrians, baby strollers, bicycles, and skateboards.)

As a middle-aged fogie, that all adds up to my worst nightmare for a park outing. It’s way out of my comfort zone.

And more to the point, there would be little payoff for the effort and multiple trips needed. Most of my target audience for this blog would agree with me about the headaches and inconveniences, and not bother going after reading the preview.

Most people who would enjoy being at Greenlake have either already been, or are the types of people who find no hardship in jumping in the car or on the bus to go check it out with minimal info or planning. I have nothing but admiration for those people, but they aren’t reading my blog.

I’m not saying don’t go. In fact, Greenlake is such a Seattle Thing that everyone should go at least once. But for us non-robust types, I recommend getting a friend who is familiar with the park, and who understands your specific needs, to be your chauffeur and tour guide. That way you have as few headaches as possible and can just go along for the ride.

Meanwhile, you can find me on a quiet bench somewhere else.


2 thoughts on “But, what about Greenlake?

  1. If you want to find parking you can go through any neighborhood street, especially on the east side.
    And don’t forget about kayakers who also use the lake! And swimmers and standup paddle boarders. You can rent all sorts of self powered boats and there’s a lifeguard during the summer weekends. Another interesting feature is the seattle parks and recreation small craft center that has some free and some paid events.
    Green Lake is a great community where you belong to the community as soon as you’re at the park, regardless of where you live.
    And if you feel like just sitting on the bench then this is the place to go because people watching here is the best of any park I’ve been to. Whether you’re going on any day at any hour or during one of the many events that take place throughout the year.


  2. Thanks for your comments about available lake activities and the sense of community. (Though they do underscore my point about being a park for the robust.) You’re definitely right about it being a great place for people watching.


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