Is it time for your review?  If that means a drive into the city for you, then why not make a day of it?

There’s the usual shopping and lunch, but how about a stroll through a park? Seattle neighborhoods offer some wonderfully-urban, free outdoor experiences. Here are two of my favorites.

Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park has been around since the late 1800s, but it was between 1904 and 1909 that the famous Olmsted Brothers formalized the design with lily ponds, a wading pool and a music pavilion. The park is also known for its conservatory, built in 1912, which houses flowering plants from all over the world and a collection of orchids (over 600 varieties).

The Volunteer Park Water Tower, built in 1906, is built on the high point of Capitol Hill (elevation 444.5’). If you climb the 106 stairs to the top, you are rewarded with a small exhibit about the Olmsted Brothers and their work on the Seattle parks system.

Belltown offers up the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. From this inner-city oasis you have views of the Olympic Mountains, Space Needle and Mt. Rainier. You can also walk right down to the waters of the Puget Sound and dip your toe. Sculptures on display include works by recognizable names like Alexander Calder (Eagle, 1971) and Louise Bourgeouis (Eye Benches I, 1996-1997).

And there is that great Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Typewriter Eraser, Scale X. I love that sculpture. And to think kids today don’t even know what a typewriter is/was, let alone a typewriter eraser!

The gardens of the sculpture park are based on four archetypal landscapes found in the Pacific Northwest. A valley, a grove, a meadow and the shore are all represented. The result is a setting loved by the art set and outdoorsy-types alike.

Next time you’re in town for your review, take a moment to smell the flowers.