Events around Lake Union for Floating Home and Houseboat Owners

I have only been a houseboat owner for a year, and have been pleasantly surprised at all the things that go on around the Lake that I never knew about, and now am able to have front row seats for!

While there are too many events to mention at South Lake Union and Gasworks Park, here are some of the highlights on Lake Union itself from the past year:

Opening Day Week-  May 1-May 8:   The Seattle Yacht Club hosts the first official week of boating season with a variety of events on Lake Union and Lake Washington.    Boaters and guests enjoy a variety of dinners, music, events, official and unofficial boat parades as well as official and unofficial partying:  Official Opening Day is May 7.

Kenmore Air Flights-  April-December, especially Fridays and Sundays:   The Seaplanes are both transportation and tourist attraction, and watching them come and go can be a past time in itself.  Starting in late April through December, but primarily May-October, Kenmore Air has flights to 14 different locations and seem to take off or land almost 1-2 per hour in the busy times.   It also seems that their busiest time, as well as the busiest times on the lake, are Friday afternoon to the North and West as all the planes and yachts depart for the San Juan Islands and the Puget Sound, and Sunday afternoon to the South and East, as everyone comes back to the city and Lake Washington.

Duck Dodge-  Every Tuesday May 5- Oct 31: One of my favorite activities I didn’t know about before living on Lake Union was the long-running Duck Dodge regatta.    Listed as Fodors “One of top 100 things to do in America,” this race is for sailboats to circumnavigate the lake as quickly as possible- without making any duck change it’s course- thus the Duck Dodge.   Participants are a motley crew that also decorate their boats and wear costumes to the week’s changing theme.   After the race is complete, everyone creates a big raft of boats in the middle of the lake and parties until after dark.  2016 Schedule and themes here.

Paddleboarding and Kayaking!  May-September:  While this is in theory available year-round, the best times to go are May-September, when the water is warmer, the days are brighter and longer!   The best place to learn to Paddleboard and either rent or buy one is Urban Surf, right across fro Gasworks Park  I like this place because at least in the past, I could reserve by telephone and not have a huge line.   You can also rent a paddleboard or a kayak at Moss Bay in South Lake Union or Agua Verde in the University area Agua Verde  Both of these places I believe At Agua Verde, you can also enjoy some great mexican food and margarita after a fun day of paddling around the lake.

SeaFair-  June 15:  While SeaFair happens primarily on Lake Washington, that doesn’t prevent Lake Union residents from enjoying the festivities.  Lots of yachts and smaller craft come and go through Lake Union on the way to SeaFair, and the Blue Angels often come roaring overhead as they make their turns for the main event.  And, any houseboat owners intrepid enough to move their homes can moor at the log boom!

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival- early July:  One of the nicer attractions around Lake Union includes the Center for Wooden Boats, and they put on a festival evey year, around July 4 weekend.

July 4 Fireworks:  Everyone of course knows about the fireworks on Lake Union.  Getting to enjoy them from your houseboat or floating home is particularly fun.  I didn’t realize that SeaFair actually sponsors the activities over at GasWorks park.   This last year’s fireworks were brilliant and the weather was hot hot hot!

Dragon Boat Paddling and races- July 30 and Year round:  Lake Union Park seems to be a hub of Dragon Boat paddling,  with the annual Seattle Dragon Boat Festival scheduled for the end of July:

Crew Regattas- October 2 and November ?:   The rowing teams and weekend warriors are out on Lake Union from 5 am almost every day, rain or shine, and two of the biggest events happen in the fall.  On October 2, Lake Union Crew will hold the Tail of the Lake Regatta:    Lake Washington Rowing Club seems to hold their Head of the Lake Regatta in early November:

Christmas Ships Parade-  December:  Another unexpected amazing surprise is the Christmas Ships Parade, hosted by Argosy Cruises.   Even long-time Seattleites told me they had never heard of this, but it was amazing.   On various evenings through December, Argosy tours Lake Union, Lake Washington or other ports on the Puget Sound.   Their main ship holds a chorus caroling beautiful tunes over a loudspeaker loud enough to carry half of Lake Union, and ticket buyers can buy a ride.   Many other boats deck themselves out with Christmas lights and themes and follow the Argosy boat in a merry parade.   Rain or shine, the Christmas Ships Parade is sure to light up a rainy or cold December in Seattle!