Seattle, Washington has many wonderful restaurants serving up Northwest-style cuisine -- but when you're ready to cook up your own filet of Pacific salmon or make your own patties of grass-fed organic beef, grilling out is always an option. Many of the city's parks have grills that are open to the public.
Small, open-pit grills are fairly common in most Seattle parks -- but the parks department doesn't list every single grill site on its website. If you want to be sure you'll get the grill spot you want, look to the 26 park sites that have reservable picnic shelters or groupings of tables. The parks include Golden Gardens, Alki Beach, Beer Sheva, Gasworks, Carkeek, Lincoln, Magnolia, Seward, Woodland, Westcrest, Matthews Beach, Madrona and Magnusen Parks. Check out Seattle Parks and Recreations' "Picnic Sites" page for information on the number of reservable tables available and the additional amenities at the parks.
If you're looking for a sure thing and you don't want to make a reservation, the other option is to use one of the city's open fire pits, which are open to the public and don't require reservations. Alki Beach and Golden Gardens parks -- both right on the waterfront -- have fire pits available. The parks also have numerous grills or "stoves" along the beach, though all are first-come, first-served and the parks tend to be very busy in warm, sunny weather.
Bring Your Own Grill
The other option is to bring your own grill to the park. Seattle's city code states that fires are only allowed in a "designated stove or fire ring, or in a beach area at Carkeek Park approved by the Superintendent for beach fires." Many Seattle residents interpret that code as meaning they can bring their own grills into the parks.
See for Yourself
If you're hosting a party for a lot of people, you're probably not going to want to leave anything to chance. For that situation, making a reservation is always the best bet. If you're planning a more informal gathering, your other option is to simply check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website for the nearest park, and then scope out the digs before you bring your party there. If a grill is available and it's not near a reservable space, that means it's a first-come, first-served grill -- and you should set up your picnic before anyone else does. Bottom line: many of the smaller parks may have grills you can use, but check out the site ahead of time to make sure the grills are in good working order. If you set up your picnic near or under a picnic shelter, don't be surprised if someone comes around to let you know they've reserved that space.