Volunteer Park (enter from 14th or 15th Ave. E, 206/684-4743, www.ci.seattle.wa.us/parks, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily Oct.–Apr., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily May–mid-Sept.) has 44 acres of lawn, a concrete reservoir, and a number of interesting attractions.
Completed in 1912, the park is one of many famous sites—including New York’s Central Park and the University of Washington campus—designed by the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm. Climb the long spiral staircase up the 75-foot brick water tower for a grand view across the city.
On the other side of the park is the glass Conservatory, built in 1912 and filled with colorful plants of all kinds. One room houses cacti; others contain ferns, bromeliads, and seasonal displays. The central space features a gorgeous collection of orchids, along with a banana palm and fig tree. There’s always something in bloom at the Conservatory, making this a great, steamy place to visit on a rainy winter day.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition