Water-based and other Seattle activities
July 22, 2019 12:36 PM   Subscribe

I’m in Seattle this week (Tuesday morning through Sunday morning)! It’ll be my first time there. I love water-centric activities like swimming, sailing, kayaking, etc. and the weather will be perfect so I’m hoping to do a bunch of that. Got any recommendations?

Hikes also welcome - ideally with a swimming component, stunning views, or both. I may or may not have access to a car. And any other recommendations are great too :)

I like creative food (food trucks, casual/midrange restaurants with unusual menus, places that only do one dish extremely well, international cuisine of all kinds), colorful neighborhoods, people watching, street art, funky architecture, music festivals, performance art, etc. Planning on doing a lot of solo walking and exploring.

Thank you for your suggestions!
posted by danceswithlight to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Center for Wooden Boats rents unique rowboats, sailboats, canoes, and kayaks by the hour.
posted by niicholas at 12:44 PM on July 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

The University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center rents boats to the general public, and from there you can paddle around Foster Island and the Arboretum or just head out into Lake Washington.

Or take the ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. It's quite walkable, and the views from the boat are magnificent.

For hiking, public transit will get you directly to trailheads in the mountains with the Trailhead Direct shuttles.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:03 PM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh, and there are also kayak rentals and tours at Alki beach, if you want a salt water paddling experience.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:04 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I spent yesterday at Lake Sammamish. There's kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to rent. Very relaxed despite the crowd. You do need a WA state discovery pass to park, but they sell a day pass for $10 on entry. Head to Tibbetts Beach on entry (first left after the gate).
Also consider tidepooling! If a nice low tide coincides with your trip, check out Carkeek Park's beach to hunt for sea stars, crabs and other critters.
Make sure you have a good pair of water shoes for either, there's more rock than sand at both.
posted by rouftop at 1:08 PM on July 22, 2019

I second taking one of the ferries to the other side of Puget Sound, if just for the ride.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:44 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Martha Washington park on Lake Washington is lovely.
posted by nikaspark at 3:29 PM on July 22, 2019

You can take a water taxi from downtown to West Seattle and eat at Marination Ma Kai (Hawaiian inspired casual food, plus a full bar). Good view, usually good people watching. There is a kayak/paddleboard/bike rental place there too: Alki Kayak Tours. If you rent a bike, you could bike around the top of the West Seattle peninsula to Alki for more food options and a proper beach. There is a dedicated bike and walking path all the way, so it's a nice ride.
posted by wsquared at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2019

Bridal Veil Falls is a fun hike. As you're exiting the parking lot, if you turn right instead of left there is another parking lot that leads to a staircase going down to a swimming hole on the Skykomish River. Beautiful on a sunny day. You'll need a Northwest Forest pass for parking.

I like walking around Capitol Hill a lot, even the more residential areas. For Cap Hill restaurants, I really like Fogón Cocina Mexicana, Qin Xi'an Noodles, Kedai Makan Malaysian food (get there early!), and Frankie and Jo's, though you also have Molly Moon's and Salt & Straw, of course.

Ballard has lots of food trucks at all the breweries- some on a rotational basis and some are stationary. I like eating at No Bones Beach Club (again, arrive early), Gracia, and Bastille. Ballard also has my favorite farmer's market in Seattle on Sundays, it's huge! Don't know if you'll be around at that time but if you're a farmer's market fan there's always one going on somewhere during the summer.
posted by mollywas at 4:48 PM on July 22, 2019

I go kayaking from Ballard Kayak pretty regularly. You can just take kayaks out for a couple of hours, or their tours are fantastic too. I've also gone out from Agua Verde paddle club. It's a little hair-raising going through the Montcalm Cut, but then you can duck into the arboretum and tour it on the water, and it's absolutely magical.
posted by kalimac at 5:54 PM on July 22, 2019

I came in to suggest the exact itinerary as wsquared. Water taxi across the sound to Marination Ma Kai, soak in the view while eating a spam musubi or kalbi taco, rent a kayak or bike next door depending on your mood and the weather. Addendum: Shuttle or bike up the hill to Alaska Junction and visit Bakery Nouveau, winner of the World Cup of Baking, and eat the best croissant this side of France.
posted by Mizu at 5:01 AM on July 23, 2019

Take a walk around Seward Park! It's a wooded peninsula that juts out into Lake Washington and the walking/bike path on the perimeter is about 2.4 miles of beautiful views all around. You could check out the network of trails in the trees in the middle of the park, or take a swim - there are many accessible points of lake entry around the park. You get city views, mountain views, water views, forest-y views...
posted by sweetpotato at 3:19 PM on July 23, 2019

Response by poster: I had such a great time! Thanks to your suggestions, I was able to do a different water-based activity every day that I was in Seattle. Highlights included paddleboarding to Ivar's Salmon House, a waterside restaurant on Lake Union, for some epic fish tacos at sunset, and getting the last 2 seats of the night to eat the most outrageously delicious curry I've ever had in my entire life at Malaysian restaurant Kedai Makan on Capitol Hill. I can't wait to go back.
posted by danceswithlight at 10:54 PM on July 29, 2019

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