Seattle attracts folks from near and far because of its unique double allure; this place can offer the mountains and the water. Thanks to its location on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle has a total area that is 41% comprised of water. Founded on the harbor of Elliott Bay, this city has one of the busiest ports in the country. (The Port of Seattle was the 9th most active in 2002.)
So how to take advantage of all this blue? There are countless ways to enjoy an aquatic-themed half day (or more) in this town.
Consider starting in Eastlake and heading toward South Lake Union via a waterside trail (the Burke-Gilman) that takes joggers, bikers and runners past charming houseboats, The Wooden Boat Center, the Museum of History and Industry (or MOHAI) and through a manicured park that's filled with roaming geese and fountain-captivated kids.
Guests love powering their own vessel around Lake Union — Photo courtesy of The Electric Boat Company
After strolling this serene urban oasis, keep moving to the west side of the lake, where you'll find the launchpad for The Electric Boat Company. Here you can rent your own mini-vessel for a couple hours. (The covering comes in handy for both sun and rain.)
Pack your own provisions if you think you might work up an appetite or thirst while cruising around Lake Union and down the Fremont Canal. Enjoy the vantage point of the city skyline as well as popular urban oasis Gas Works Park from Lake Union's epicenter.
If you're feeling a little more active, adjacent to the electric boats you'll find the Northwest Outdoor Center, where visitors can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. If you're seeking a bit more of an adrenaline rush, check out the water scene from above by hopping on a Kenmore Air floatplane. You can find the charmingly teeny terminal on the southwest edge of Lake Union.
The waterside space at A Terrible Beauty also makes a lovely setting for special events — Photo courtesy of A Terrible Beauty
After all that movement, enjoy some refreshments at a waterside venue like A Terrible Beauty - a friendly Irish pub with a killer patio - or I Love Sushi, which is right next door. If you feel like heading back into the heart of Eastlake, indulge in cocktails or dinner on exquisite back decks at Little Water Cantina, Eastlake Bar & Grill or, on the other side of the University Bridge, Agua Verde (causal Mexican), Ivar's (seafood with a Northwest bent) and Westward (where cocktails and small plates around a waterside fire pit are the biggest draw).
As a finale, watch the sunset with a local brew in hand, and then head back to your hotel that's on terra firma.