Nature in the Midst of the City
Parks in Seattle were planned for early on. The Olmsted brothers conceived of a "string of pearls", a cruising boulevard studded with parks. This plan was largely accomplished and Seattle now has long-established parks throughout the city. Given the prevalence of water and hills, stunning views and water access are common.
The Arboretum is a large city park that lies just southeast of the University in the Madison Valley neighborhood. It has a great trail that cuts across two islands facing the university campus.
Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill has one of THE best views of the city (skip the Space Needle).
Seward Park is a lovely park on Lake Washington that encompasses an entire peninsula into the lake. There is a beautiful walk around it's perimeter as well as an old growth forest trail in the interior.
Volunteer Park, on Capitol hill sports not only a fabulous city view (particularly from the water tower), but also the Asian Art Museum and a conservatory.
Lincoln Park is in West Seattle and has a great walk along the waterfront of Puget Sound.
Discovery Park, in the Magnolia neighborhood, is also a large park and has some amazing views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.