While Seattle is every part a busy metropolitan hub, it’s the hidden greenspaces, urban parks, pristine waters, and surrounding mountains and forests that truly make this a magical place. In other words, Seattle is the perfect place to escape to nature—without ever having to leave the city itself.
Research shows that soaking up nature can increase energy, boost attention spans, and up creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent. Help your attendees decompress, unplug, and reset in Seattle’s beautiful outdoor (and indoor) spaces. After all, this is the Emerald City.
There are dozens upon dozens of urban parks in Seattle, with 25 parks located in downtown alone. Right in the Washington State Convention Center’s backyard, Freeway Park features lush greenery throughout a Brutalist concrete design meant to represent the mountains and water. Other notable parks include Gas Works Park, featuring the remains of an old gasification plant and spectacular view of Lake Union, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, a swath of grass alongside Elliott Bay that houses dozens of abstract sculptures. seattle.gov/parks
In the heart of Amazon’s South Lake Union campus, three glass-and-steel domes house some 40,000 plant species from more than 30 different countries. While the Spheres are accessible mostly for Amazon employees as an innovative office and meeting space, they are open to the public on Saturday tours (reservations required). Attendees can admire the 50-foot-tall Canyon Living Wall of tiny air plants and marvel at the nest-like seating nooks. seattlespheres.com
Seattle is a waterfront town through and through, with ferry boats coasting across the smooth waters of Elliott Bay and the refreshing smell of salt water filling the air. Seattle’s bustling downtown waterfront allows various ways for people to connect with this environment. The area is currently undergoing a complete overhaul, allowing for more urban parks, promenades, and attractions. In the meantime, attendees can easily stroll from pier to pier to admire the views of Elliott Bay and boats passing by. On the north edge of the waterfront, Olympic Sculpture Park boasts iconic sculptures like Alexander Calder’s Eagle and Jaume Plensa’s Echo, an artistic experience by land that overlooks the water, and Myrtle Edwards Park stars a rocky beach and waterside picnic tables, all within view of the Space Needle. seattle.gov/parks
Washington State Ferries’ boats are one of the most popular—and easy—ways to experience nature here. Attendees can stroll, bike, or drive on board at downtown’s Pier 52 before embarking on a 35-minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. The journey includes gliding along pristine waters and past forested isles before coasting into port at the charming island town—a perfect day-trip destination. wsdot.wa.gov/ferries