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Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2018 highlight list!

Last year, we worked in every corner of the city to restore our urban forest, build new parks and play areas, maintain our nearly 500 parks and 26 community centers, and provide hundreds of programs, summer camps, swim lessons and more! Thank you, Seattle, for making 2018 a great year!

Read on to learn about some of our major accomplishments from 2018.


  • We began operating and staffing the Lake City Community Center! A standout teen program at the center is the Lake City Young Leaders program, which serves youth ages 13-17 with an emphasis on community-based activism, food drives, and mural projects.
  • The Recreation for All fund, through the Seattle Parks District, provides financial support to local nonprofit organizations, small businesses, community groups, and individuals to provide culturally relevant programs and events throughout the City of Seattle.  In 2018, we partnered with 25 community groups to provide over 6,500 people with recreation opportunities.
  • We created a three-month mobile recreation program called “Rec N the Streets”, bringing fitness opportunities to neighborhood gathering spaces and providing events in communities with serious health disparities.


  • We welcomed well over 1.6 million visitors to our indoor pools and small craft centers.
  • More than 226,480 people visited our summer beaches!
  • Community members swam 163,400 laps in support of our “Laps 4 Pride” initiative to show support for the LGBTQ community.

Recreation opportunities:

  • We scheduled 175 hours of free community drop-in time on eight different athletic fields around Seattle as part of our Athletic Field Drop-In Program.
  • Our Specialized Programs served 378 youth with disabilities in summer day and overnight camps.
  • Our Rainbow Recreation program for LGBTQ adults aged 50+ had 250 people participate in special events and trips, as well as 181 participants in classes such as Gentle Yoga, Enhance Fitness, Seniors Creating Art, Writers Workshop, and more.

New and enhanced parks and facilities:

  • We opened three new parks: Yesler Terrace Park, the Woodland Park Sensory Garden, and Gemenskap Park.
  • We renovated the playgrounds at Georgetown Palyfield, Prentis Frazier Park and Gas Works Park! The renovations added new features and improved safety as well as ADA accessibility.
  • Our Enhanced Cleaning team completed specialty cleaning at over 50 locations, including community centers, pools, shelter houses, rental facilities, crew quarters, administration buildings, and fountains. Enhanced cleaning helps ensure that our facilities are warm and welcoming places to gather.

Energy and water conservation: 

  • Staff completed 24 utility conservation projects, resulting in an average energy consumption reduction of about 58%.
  • We replaced old and inefficient natural-gas-fired boilers at three facilities with high-efficiency condensing boilers.
  • The department used 20% less water for irrigation than industry standard water volume budget for irrigated areas of our parks.

Green spaces:

  • 145,736 native plants installed by the Green Seattle Partnership.
  • 3,334 feet of trails restored and 195 trail projects completed by our Trails Program.
  • 2018 set a record for most visitors to the Seattle Japanese Garden. Over 100K people came to visit or attend events such as Family Saturdays, Tanabata Star Festival, and Maple Festival.


  • On Aug. 18, Rainier Playfield and Community Center was filled with hundreds of families and community members shooting hoops, showing off their pickleball skills, dancing to hip hop, getting their heart pumping with Zumba, rock climbing, bouncing on inflatables, running in sack races, watching cultural performances, and much more! All of these fun health and physical fitness activities were part of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Big Day of Play, our annual, signature event dedicated to celebrating Seattle’s diversity and encouraging neighbors, communities and families to have fun, build relationships and be active together.
  • More than 30,000 families, friends and neighbors joined us for the Green Lake Pathway of Lights, a beloved Seattle tradition. Attendees traveled the the 2.8-mile path around the lake, while taking in the warm glow of thousands of twinkling candles and enjoying holiday music and refreshments.
  • Our Event Scheduling office permitted 5,939 events in parks and recreation facilities, including 3,508 picnics, 219 ceremonies, and 34 day camps.

Youth opportunities:

  • The 2018 Teen Summer Musical at Benaroya Hall was a huge hit, with 3,726 tickets sold! The summer musical is an opportunity for local teens to perform on the big stage while learning the business side of theater operations.
  • Our Youth Employment Unit was able to place 242 young people into jobs and internships in 2018.