By Stephanie Montague, Military Spouse

Summer is coming to Seattle . . . eventually. When it finally arrives, you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful city to spend the day outdoors. Between Puget Sound, numerous lakes, and two mountain ranges in the background, views from Seattle on a summer day are amazing.

Making the Most of a Summer Day in Seattle

When the sun comes out, Seattleites don’t hesitate to get outside and make the most of it. The city has tons of outdoor activities, whether you want to spend the day on the water, at the beach, in the park, or sipping a margarita in the sun. Here are a few great ways to enjoy a summer day in the Emerald City.

Rent Kayaks and Enjoy Seattle from the Water

The Agua Verde Paddle Club is located in Portage Bay, a funky residential area with an enclave of houseboats near University of Washington. From their launching point, you can either head towards Lake Union for an incredible view of downtown Seattle, or paddle in the other direction for a quiet nature view of the Washington Park Arboretum. Agua Verde rents single or double kayaks as well as paddleboards. They also offer guided tours, including sunset and moonlight paddles.

Enjoy Delicious Mexican Food on a Lakeside Terrace

Whether you’ve worked up an appetite from kayaking, or you’re only interested in the food, the Agua Verde Café has amazing Mexican fare, a fun atmosphere, and gorgeous views! Relax and enjoy a margarita on their casual deck overlooking Portage Bay. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Their happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 16:00 to 18:00.

Pro tip: don’t miss the fish tacos!

Have a Cookout on the Beach

Spend a full day with family and friends at Golden Gardens Park in the Ballard neighborhood. This huge park on Puget Sound is one of two locations in Seattle where you can have a campfire on the beach. The park also has a boat launch, a fishing pier, nature trails, and an off-leash dog park.

Pro tip: Fire pits are first-come first-served, so get there early to claim yours! You can reserve covered picnic areas in advance.

Pikes Place JBLE

Visit Pike Place Market

No article about Seattle would be complete without a mention of Pike Place Market. While you can visit this lively market any time of year, it is especially great on a nice day. With a large variety of locally-grown produce, fresh fish, baked goods, and local specialty foods, you can eat your way through the day. Buy some food to go, sit on a bench, and enjoy the view of Puget Sound. Don’t forget to check out the little stores across the street from the main market – they offer great options as well. Look for the boutique that sells a unique Pacific Northwest specialty: smoked salmon jerky!

Pro tip: Visit the Pike Place Fish Market and watch as the workers play catch with giant fish. The scene is chaotic and fun!

Catch a Baseball Game

The Seattle Mariners play at Safeco Field in downtown Seattle. Enjoy a beautiful summer day watching the game with a view of the Seattle skyline. Try the Ichiroll sushi (named after Ichiro Suzuki) to enjoy the flavors of the Pacific NW.

Pro tip: Members of the military community get a 10% discount by purchasing tickets online.

Spend the Day at Alki Beach and Enjoy Fish Kebabs

Another great beach area in Seattle is Alki Beach, located just across the West Seattle Bridge from downtown Seattle. This is a fun area to spend the day relaxing by the water, playing on the beach, people-watching and, of course, eating!

Pro tip: While you’re there, you MUST eat at Sunfish, a casual no-frills restaurant across from the beach. They are best known for their fish n’ chips, but be sure to order the Sunfish Special: a fish kebab made with big chunks of grilled Alaskan Halibut, prawns, green peppers and onions. Even if you don’t have time to enjoy a full day at Alki, Sunfish is worth the trip.

Take the Ferry to Bainbridge Island

The Bainbridge Island ferry is a great way to get on the water without breaking the bank. The ferry leaves from Pier 52 in Seattle and takes about 35 minutes. Enjoy unobstructed views of Puget Sound, the Seattle Skyline, the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, and the many islands surrounding Seattle. While you’re on Bainbridge Island, you can easily explore the charming downtown area by foot. It’s a short walk from the ferry terminal, and it’s full of cute restaurants, bakeries, boutiques, and of course, coffee shops!

Pro tip: If you’re walking onto the ferry (as opposed to bringing a vehicle), the fare from Seattle to Bainbridge is $8.35 for adults (19 – 64). Children between the ages of 6 and 18 are half-price, and children under 6 ride free. There is no charge for the return trip from Bainbridge back to Seattle.

What’s your favorite way to spend a summer day in Settle? Tell us in the comments!

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Stephanie MontaguePCSgrades Author: Stephanie Montague is the founder of Poppin’ Smoke, a website designed to encourage members of the military community to use their military benefits for (fun) travel. Stephanie and her husband have been traveling the world since he retired from the Army in 2015.