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Breathtaking views abound in Seattle. In fact, it s almost hard to look anywhere without seeing sites like Mount Rainer rising above Lake Washington, the sun setting on Elliott Bay or water crashing over Snoqualmie Falls. Along with these spectacular vistas, there are also some lesser known spots filled with beauty. Hidden gardens are dotted throughout Seattle and feature thousands of roses, concealed waterfalls and tranquil walking paths. Here are five in particular that are worth a look.

Japanese Garden in Madison Park

Tucked away inside the Washington Park Arboretum in Madison Park you ll find the Japanese Garden. Renowned Japanese garden designer Juki Iida designed the three and a half acre formal garden in 1960. Tranquil paths wind around and over the koi ponds, while fuchsia rhododendrons pop against a backdrop of beautiful maples and towering evergreens. Pick up a plant list to identify all the plants as you walk around and enjoy the relaxing garden.

Waterfall Garden in Pioneer Square

Hidden beside the brick buildings of Pioneer Square is a quaint waterfall oasis in the middle of downtown. Water tumbles 22 feet down the large boulders in the corner of the park. Potted plants and lush vegetation surround small tables that make for the perfect afternoon lunchtime perch. Let the soothing cascade of water and cooling mist take you work week troubles away.

Streissguth Garden in Capitol Hill

Soak in breathtaking views of Lake Union, downtown Seattle and even the Olympic Mountains from Streissguth Garden s hillside perch in Capitol Hill. Located next to the East Blaine Street stairway, the garden s acre of winding paths features year round blooming flowers, 68 trees, close to 300 shrubs and plenty of labeled plants for any non-green thumbs. During the summer months, roses and strawberries are especially noteworthy with colors of red, cream and yellow. Developed over 40 years by the Streissguth family, the garden features beautiful flora and fauna perfectly manicured with intent and passion. In fact, the garden started as the Streissguth s private treasure until they gifted the land to the city for residents to enjoy. There is also thriving vegetable garden and several varieties of berries.

Parson s Garden in Queen Anne

Another former family garden, Parson s Garden on Queen Anne is a hidden gem just steps from the better known Kerry Park. Reginald H. Parsons started the garden and his family gifted it to the city in 1956. Coral rhododendrons and camellias line the impeccable manicured lawn while blooming trees bend to provide just the right amount a shade. A picturesque bench is nestled amongst sweet smelling flowers making this small park feel like a private hidden oasis. It can be rented for wedding and ceremonies, or pack a picnic and enjoy it with a friend.

Rose Garden at Woodland Park Zoo

Finding lions, tigers and bears is expected and Woodland Park Zoo, but over 200 varieties of roses might be a little less expected. Completed in 1924 through the efforts of both the Seattle Lions Club and the Seattle Rose Society, the 2.5-acre garden is a spectacular sight. Seattle has one of the world s most conducive climates for growing roses and the thousands of red, coral and white blooms are evidence of that. Reflecting pools and exquisitely pruned trees compliment the fields of rose bushes and the sweet smell envelops the senses.

So next time you need a break from urban sprawl, check out one of these five hidden gardens. With colorful blooms and tranquil waterfalls you will find your own personal paradise.

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