United States

Seattle, WA

A guide to the best places to run in Seattle

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Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is one of the most spectacular city settings in the United States. Situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, there are miles of waterfront, and spectacular views of the mountains. There’s nothing like Rainier on a clear day! Running in Seattle offers a great variety, owing to the city’s unique geography, seven hills, and 5,500 acres of parkland.

seattle-neighborhoods

The best place to run in downtown Seattle is along the waterfront paths of the Elliott Bay Trail. North of downtown, the Burke Gilman Trail has some pretty sections. We also love Discovery Park, Lake Union, Green Lake and Woodland Park. Another great run is the area around the Washington Park Arboretum/Marsh Island/University of Washington. South of the city, the running highlight is Lake Washington Blvd. to Seward park. Great residential neighborhoods for running include Capitol Hill and the Queen Anne neighborhood. We’ve also developed guides to the best places to run in the tony suburbs of Bellevue and Redmond, location of major corporate offices and new residential neighborhoods. For some bucolic running away from things, head to Bainbridge Island.

Seattle remains a car-centric city, with legendary traffic. A new light rail system has been a boon, connecting the University of Washington with downtown and out to the airport. The King County Metro Transit offers a decent bus system. Note also Seattle’s famed weather — in winter, there can countless days of chilly, rainy, overcast weather. This gives way to spectacular summers, with consistent sun and mild temperatures.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Seattle, WA

Green Lake

About 6 miles from downtown, Green Lake is one of the most popular destinations for running in... more...

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Elliott Bay Trail

Seattle, WA

The main waterfront trail route along Puget Sound running from Century Link Field in the south to Smith Cove in Magnolia to the north.There are various running options here.
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Green Lake

Seattle, WA

About 6 miles from downtown, Green Lake is one of the most popular destinations for running in the Seattle area. This beloved park has a 2.8 mile inner loop, which is much more crowded than the 3.1 mile outer loop.
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Lake Union

Seattle, WA

The city of Seattle is divided by this heart shaped lake and has stunning views of the skyline, the Olympic Mountains & Mt. Rainer. 2–3 miles from downtown, and close to the Capitol Hill area.
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Burke-Gilman Trail

Seattle, WA

A flat 27-mile long urban pedestrian and bicycling trail that connects many parts of Northern Seattle.The views are spectacular, as most of it hugs the shoreline as it courses through many neighborhoods.
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Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Seattle, WA

Good neighborhood for running -- vibrant with fun commercial areas and high-end homes. Also, a good spot to do some hill running! We've listed some of the hip commercial streets, the best residential areas, and the hilliest spots.
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Discovery Park

Seattle, WA

The largest urban park in Seattle, Discovery Park’s 530 acres include more than 10 miles of trails, varying from forested singletrack to wooded stairways overlooking the shores of Puget Sound.
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Redmond

Seattle, WA

Our guide to running in Redmond, home to Microsoft and many other employers. Highlights are the Squamish River Trail, Marymoor Park, and the Redmond Watershed.
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Elliott Bay Trail

Seattle, WA

The main waterfront trail route along Puget Sound running from Century Link Field in the south to Smith Cove in Magnolia to the north.There are various running options here.
Explore

Green Lake

Seattle, WA

About 6 miles from downtown, Green Lake is one of the most popular destinations for running in the Seattle area. This beloved park has a 2.8 mile inner loop, which is much more crowded than the 3.1 mile outer loop.
Explore

Burke-Gilman Trail

Seattle, WA

A flat 27-mile long urban pedestrian and bicycling trail that connects many parts of Northern Seattle.The views are spectacular, as most of it hugs the shoreline as it courses through many neighborhoods.
Explore

The good news about Seattle weather: it’s temperate, rarely falling below freezing. The bad news: it can rain, or ‘mist’ for days on end, especially in winter. So pack wet weather running gear. Summers can be gorgeous, with some long stretches of dry weather. It never gets overly hot.

seattle-weather-map

There’s a good selection of hotels in downtown Seattle. The most accessible runs from downtown are along the waterfront Elliott Bay path. There are also hotels off Mercer St., 2–3 miles east, near Lake Union. There is also a cluster of hotels near the University of Washington, providing access to the Arboretum. In Bellevue, hotels are along the 405 or downtown, with access to the Lake t0 Lake trail. In Redmond, try to stay near the center and enjoy Squamish River trails and Marymoor Park.seattle-hotels

Downtown: Sound Sports
Right next to the Alexis Hotel, Sound Sports is a high quality running shop that makes sure to put you in the right shoes. Technically no official group runs, but people tend to gather at the store and go for a run together.

Greenlake : Super Jock ‘N Jill
Established 1975, Group runs Monday night in Greenlake at 6:15pm. Medical Nights hosting local podiatrists, physical therapists, sports medicine doctors, and massage practitioners for you to connect with.

Magnolia: Seven Hills Running Shop
This is the only trail running specific store in Seattle. Group runs are Wednesday at 7:30pm, and Saturday at 8:30am. 6–8 mile run through Discovery Park and Magnolia neighborhood, including going through the Ballard Locks and Magnolia Bluff.

Capitol Hill: Fleet Feet Sports
Once Seattle Running Company, now Fleet Feet Sports. Brian Morrison was the manager of the former and now the owner (with wife Andrea). This store is 1 mile from downtown.
Group runs: Tuesdays at 6:00pm, 5–6 miles, hilly. Thursdays 6:00pm, 3–4 miles, casual “Pub Run,”.

Redmond Super Jock ‘N Jill   Group runs Monday 6:15pm

Rock ‘N Roll Marathon Quoted as one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the RNR series, 5.0, 13.1 or 26.2 mile options. Start and finish at the Seattle Center.

Lake Union 10K Run Race starts and finishes in Lake Union Park, with a course running clockwise around the lake. Portage Bay, a local, organic, sustainable cafe sponsors the event and provides a post race breakfast. Additionally are post-race vendors, raffles and awards to enjoy.

Seattle Seafair Torchlight Run (aka Michelob Ultra Seafair Pirate Run)
This 5K and 8K run is not only about making it to the finish line, but doing it in style. Racers wear pirate costumes and run through downtown Seattle on Tourchlight Parade night. After the race, runners enjoy food, entertainment and free beer in the Michelob ULTRA Beer Garden for those over 21.

Jingle Bell Run
This fun and festive holiday themed 5K (read: costumes welcomed) is not only fun but benefits the Arthritis Foundation. It’s the nation’s largest holiday 5K run series, benefitting the nation’s leading cause of disability.

St. Patrick’s Day Dash
This 5K began in 1985 as a dash between bars and as a training for an Irish Olympian. Today it’s Seattle’s largest single-distance run where the winners cross the finish before the last person starts. This 5K starts and finishes at the Seattle Center, winding through downtown Seattle along 4th Ave, and proceeds go to the Detlef Schrempf Foundation in support of Northwest children’s charities.

Top Pot Doughnut Dash 5K

Top Pot Doughnut

This 5K course starts and finishes near the Green Lake Community Center and moves in a clockwise direction utilizing the streets and inner path of the park run. Sponsored by Top Pot Doughnut, everyone gets a doughnut at the end of the race.