Jefferson Park, perched on top of Beacon Hill, is one of Seattle’s largest green spaces. The area is renowned for its sweeping views of downtown Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound; located in one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse neighborhoods in the city, it is rapidly becoming a residential favorite and one of the most kid-friendly parks that parents can hope to visit.

For the under-five set, the highlight of Jefferson Park’s recent renovations is the playground, which resembles nothing so much as a miniature amusement park. Kompan play equipment – including a unique trio of dodecahedron climbing structures – will keep kids busy and entertained. Spinners and twisters, swings, slides – the recreational structures incorporate updated versions of those classic play sets you just don’t see all that often anymore. Sandboxes, teeter-totters – the playground boasts a toddler-specific play area, making the visit enjoyable for kids of all ages.

If you’re more in the mood for something a bit closer to nature, go ahead and bring the bikes! The park offers several paved loops that are perfect for a budding cyclist, from small circular loops to more expansive trails. Other amenities include expansive sports meadows built over the reservoir lid (the fields will be fenced off until at least February to allow the turf to take root) and a brand-new comfort station. Most of the trees have been planted only recently, but that’s no excuse to avoid a wonderful day outside!

Keep your ears open for news about upcoming concerts in the amphitheater, distinguished by an art installation that brings topographic lines off of the map and into the real world. Not that they weren’t there already, but this only makes it stick! Count the elevation gain as you climb up to the highest point in the park and take in the views of Harbor Island, and Elliott Bay. Be sure to keep an eye out for future attractions! Coming next summer: a skate park and Beacon Mountain, which will include a spray and terrain park for the little hikers.

If the weather is iffy, keep in mind that the play area is right next door to Jefferson Community Center which hosts a fun-filled open gym for toddlers every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Or you might decide to walk up to ROCKiT for their Tots’ Jam or All Ages Free Create. This unique community creative space is kid-friendly, but offers parents a chance to exercise their own artistic sides! The nearby Beacon Hill Library also offers story times for preschoolers in their beautiful new building.

Hungry after all that playing? Walk a few blocks south of the park – El Quetzal offers an authentic (and tasty!) Mexican dining experience. The family-run kid-friendly restaurant will tease your palate with sandal-shaped huaraches and “tortas gigantes”. If you’re more in a mood for something else, you might want to check out some Filipino food at Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine.

Jefferson Park isn’t just for golfers anymore. Bring the whole family along and taste everything this vibrant neighborhood has to offer.

—Karen McHegg