Seeing Seattle by Water - Kayak Tour of Lake Union

Seattle is a city where water and mountains collide, and it’s basically a sin to visit and not experience one or the other (but hopefully both!). If you’re visiting for a short time the mountains are sometimes hard to get to, but luckily we have three big beautiful lakes right in the city. Since they are so accessible, we love to recommend to people of all backgrounds and fitness levels to get out on the water and experience the city from a different point of view. For first time visitors to Seattle, we often point to Lake Union as the spot for stunning views of the city (iconic Space Needle included) and the fun experience of checking out the house boats that sit along the edges of the water and the sea planes taking off over head!

lake union

Where to Rent

The fastest way to get onto the lake is to rent equipment from a place right on the lake. There are three companies we love equally, so take your pick:

Agua Verde

Located in Portage Bay, Agua Verde is not only a Mexican restaurant but also a paddle club! You can rent either kayaks (single or double) or stand-up paddle boards March - October (and if you need a snack, we won’t be mad at ya if you grab a taco before heading out. They even have a to-go window). The Paddle Club has a huge selection of rentals, so the chances of them running out of equipment even on busy, sunny days is pretty slim. You don’t need a reservation for groups under 11, and they also offer guided tours in case you don’t want to venture out alone. Check out their tour page to see what’s up.

 Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union. 

Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union. 

Northwest Outdoor Center

This company offers single, double, or triple kayaks and paddleboards and is located on the western side of Lake Union, meaning you need to travel less distance than you do if you rent from Agua Verde (see map below). However, unlike Agua Verde, they do suggest making reservations and will require an extra $10 per item deposit for groups over 6. No need to worry if you are beginner, though. The center offers classes, which range from basic strokes to learning how to eskimo roll. They are also open year-round, which is a bonus if you’re crazy and want to be on the lake in the winter.

Moss Bay

In the south part of Lake Union, you’ll find Moss Bay, which provides single or double kayaks and paddle boards for rent. The waterway around the business has a 7-knot speed limit making it safe to paddle in case you’re worried about the boats. Moss Bay also offers tours that include a lesson (total time 3 hours) and will take you past all the great sites. They are open April - October.

Set Sail

Lake Union is a fairly small lake and easy to navigate (you are basically looking at one giant circle), and because of its location north of downtown, you get pretty epic views of our gorgeous skyline. The lake is also home to Kenmore Air, a seaplane operation that has been in business since 1946. From your vantage point on the lake, you can see the planes coming and going directly overhead and if you’re wondering, yes, it absolutely is an instagram-worthy event!

 Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union. 

Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union. 

On the north end of the lake sits the famous Gasworks Park, a 19 acre park that you’ll recognize by the giant defunct (yet cool looking) gasification plant. You aren’t able to dock at the park and get out of your rental, but it’s definitely worth a paddle-by. There is always something new and unsual going on at the park from weddings to Irish step dancers, to nudist bike riders, to art installations. Seriously, we’re never sure exactly what we’ll see so check it out and report back.

 Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too! 

Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too! 

Sleepless in Seattle IS the best Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. Don’t argue with us. Tom Hanks actually filmed in Seattle for the movie, and there are many spots around town that you can visit from the film’s scenes. One of those spots is the Baldwin house boat (Tom Hanks’ Seattle home in the film), which still sits on Lake Union and looks exactly the same! Head to the houseboat on the west side of the lake and see if you can find it. And while we’re on the subject of houseboats, Seattle has the coolest ones around. They line the lake on both sides and are beautiful and interesting and worth checking out and then discussing what you would do if you owned one (for us, it would be paddle board right off our deck every morning before the day started).

 Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same! 

Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same! 

Grab a Bite!

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time to stop for a bite. We have two favorites that have a dock where you can park your equipment. This is a great way to rest for a bit and fuel up for the equipment return trip.

100 LB Clam is exactly what you want in warm weather dining. It has outdoor-only seating with a walk-up window for ordering food. You’ll find a rotating menu, but you can be guaranteed that it will have delicious seafood combos and cold beer on draft. We highly recommend the Poutine O’ the Sea (clams! bacon! chowder!) or the fishwish BLT. Wash it all down with a microbrew or, our pick, a Rainier tallboy (your classic Seattle beer since 1887). They are open 11:30am - 3pm in the summer only. If you are outside of this window or you prefer indoor seating, head into the White Swan next door. It’s run by the same owner and also has an incredible menu (with a few of the same items like the poutine!) and a great happy hour.

Ivar’s Salmon House is another great lake option with a large outdoor seating area (and inside seating too). The restaurant is a Seattle staple and has been serving customers since 1938. The restaurant sits right on the lake, so you won’t miss a second of the boat action. You’ll find the freshest seasonal seafood on their menu, and you definitely can’t go wrong with a bowl of their famous clam chowder...even if it IS in the middle of summer.

 A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic! 

A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic! 

Check out our inclusive map to get your bearings on our recommendations.

Map of Kayak Tour Lake Union Seattle

We can't wait to hear how you like it! Comment with your thoughts and/or questions below. 

10 Awesome Seattle Dates Under $20

Seattle Dates

1. Play a round of mini golf at Flatstick Pub. This fun indoor mini golf pub only costs $7/person and is a great place for a night of fun. 

Flatstick Pub

2 .Watch the sunset and roast s'mores at Golden Gardens. This is hands down one of the best waterfront parks in Seattle. They have fire pits, so bring a picnic bag with some wood, matches, and all the fixings for your perfect s'more. 

3. Get your karaoke on at Rock Box. Because who doesn't want to belt out to Celine Dion with their BAE? Full price at Rock Box is $7/hour, but during happy hour you can get the amazing price of $4/hour. 

4. Volunteer together. Seattle is a tightknit community, which means there are a ton of places to get involved and give back! This is a great way to grow closer and get to know new people as well. Some of our favorite nonprofits include Treehouse, EarthCorps, and Solid Ground

 Volunteering at Pike Place Market Food Bank

Volunteering at Pike Place Market Food Bank

5. Rent pedal boats at Greenlake. Green Lake is a beautiful place to get out on the calm water for some 1-on-1 time. Pedal boats are $20/hour and are perfect for a leisurely jaunt out on the lake!

6. Grab some ice cream at Molly Moons in Queen Anne and head down to Kerry Park to soak up the views. Just a few blocks away from the best views in Seattle is some of the best ice cream! Check what time the sun is setting and go grab a bench, enjoy your waffle cone, and watch the sun go down.

Kerry Park

7. Take advantage of Seattle's awesome music scene and see some live music at Conor Byrne. This bar in Ballard hosts amazing local talent for a very low cover charge! You can't go wrong with any of the artists, they are always great! 

8. Take a hike - There are tons of great hikes of varying difficulty to do around the city ( is a great resource). You don't even need to leave the city for Discovery Park. A hike to the lighthouse on the water is a perfect date for an afternoon! 

Take a Hike

9. Play some games! Seattle has so many fun places to go if you like arcade games (we will 100% destroy on any skee ball set-up in our presence). Full Tilt Ice Cream Parlor, Kings Hardware, Unicorn and Shorty's are our favorite picks in the city! 

 Skee ball at the Unicorn

Skee ball at the Unicorn

10. Go place some bets at Emerald Downs. There aren't many people who don't enjoy the thrill of placing a bet at the races! Head over and see if you can win big. You can bet for as low as $2 a race!

Emerald Downs

What are some of your favorite cheap date spots? We would love to hear about them! 

Rain or Shine Guides 2017 Bucket List

 Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It's 2017! 

It kind of came at us like a freight train and we are sitting here in the first week of January wondering how another year could have come and gone. 

To start this year off right we figured we would make a bucket list of all the things we want to make sure we do, big or small! 

Our 2017 Bucket List

1. Find #ThatNWBus at Palouse Falls 

People visiting Palouse Falls have started making a pitstop at an old abandoned school bus in the area and it is gaining fame on Instagram with the hashtag #thatNWbus. It's beautiful and run down and holds art from the people who have made the trek. Keep your eyes peeled on Highway 260 and you can visit too!

2. Float Green River

The Green River gorge in Auburn is supposed to be one of the most beautiful river canyons in Washington. You can start the beautiful float south of Seattle in Flaming Geyser State Park and take out at the SR18 Bridge. It should take you around 2.5 hours to complete, and we heard this is a very popular float filled with people partying, throwing back a few beers, and enjoying the sunshine. If you are looking for a quiet float, this might not be your spot.

3. Stay at the new McMenamins in Bothell

McMenamins is a PNW charm and their new location in Bothell is supposed to a be a great place for a little stay-cation. With a pool, restaurant, bar, movie theater, and outdoor grounds with fire pits, this place is great for relaxing, reading or hanging out with friends. It has something for everyone.

4. Try the iced cardamom coffee at Voxx

We fell in love with Fonte's cardamom latte and now we are moving on to the rumored deliciousness at Voxx Seattle Coffee, an iced cardamom coffee! We might save this one for the summer months.

5. Take a cooking class at Hipcooks

A good friend of ours recommended Hipcooks for great cooking classes in Seattle and ever since hearing the rave reviews on Bonnie and her cooking secrets we have been dying to get into one of her classes!

6. Zipline at Canopy Tours NW

It's one thing to hike through the beauty of the PNW, it's another to zip through it amongst the trees! We want to get in touch with our inner flying squirrel and check this out once it warms up!

7. Hike the ice caves

Up north in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Park near Silverton, WA you can hike a trail to view the Big Four Ice Caves. Not only are ice caves cool on their own (they just scream Game of Thrones battle scene), but Macklemore filmed his music video for "Can't Hold Us" here. Just oozing cool points now.

8.Visit Soap Lake

Soap Lake is located in Eastern Washington and has been used by early settlers for its healing purposes and therapeutic effects due to its extremely high mineral content. While we heard there isn't a whole lot going on here, the town is trying to attract tourism and has plans to install a 52,000 pound lava lamp as a roadside attraction. So, let's recap: soak in a lake for healing AND see a giant lava lamp? Sign us up.

9. Enjoy a drink and the view at Mbar.

Mbar is new to the Seattle scene and apparently has one of the best rooftop patios in the city! There is nothing we enjoy more than cocktails in the sun, so we will absolutely be here on the first semi-warm day of the year.

10. Search out the best Korean BBQ in the city

Who doesn't love roasted and delicious marinated meat? (Vegetarians probably don't but there aren't any of those in this duo, so we are just going to say 100% of people love Korean BBQ.) We are going to be on the hunt in 2017 to find the best. Apparently Lynnwood is known to have great Korean BBQ (who knew?). First stops will be Sul Lung Tang and Ka Won.

So those are our 10 bucket list items. What do you have on your bucket list this year? We would love to hear in the comments! 

New Year's bucket list
 Confetti gun fail

Confetti gun fail

What To Do With Seattle's CityPass


For first time visitors to Seattle the CityPass is a great way to see some of Seattle's hottest attractions without paying top dollar. One adult pass costs $74 and gives you access to the: 

  • Space Needle

  • Seattle Aquarium

  • Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
  • Museum of Pop Culture   OR   Woodland Park Zoo

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass   OR   Pacific Science Center 

If you were to go to five of those places (on adult tickets) you would pay around $140. Unlike some cities, the places on CityPass in Seattle are actually awesome places to visit so with the savings and the locations we definitely recommend it. You can visit them in whatever order you would like and it is valid for 9 days from the first time you use it. 

Now depending on how long you are in Seattle you might be able to do it all, but even if you only have time to visit three or four of the places you might still save money. Here is the order and places we would choose if we were doing the CityPass ourselves:

Argosy Cruises

Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour 

  • Argosy gets you out on the water, which is worth the ticket price by itself in our opinion. You get to see the city from the Puget Sound and learn a ton about the history and culture of Seattle. They have indoor and outdoor seating so it's fun rain or shine. Also, there is a bar on the boat. 
Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass is completely unique to Seattle. This museum brings to life the beauty of local artist Dale Chihuly and his glass blowing techniques. It is truly a spectacular place to visit.


  • The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is that museum for people who don't normally like museums. It is full of rock memorabilia, props from famous sci-fi movies, and an entire room devoted to the Seahawks Super Bowl win! 
Space Needle

Space Needle

  • This one doesn't need much of an explanation. It's one of Seattle's more noteworthy landmarks and the most visited place in the city. Head up to the observation deck to take in the city, mountains, and Puget Sound below.
Seattle Waterfront

Seattle Aquarium

  • The aquarium is right on the waterfront and is a cool building full of local and not so local fishes and marine life. There is a ton to do around it on the waterfront, so try to plan some extra time while you are visiting to check out the Seattle Great Wheel and maybe take a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island.

If you are cramped for time to go to all the places, we would recommend skipping the aquarium, especially if you have been to one of the more famous ones like Atlanta, Vancouver, or Monterey because Seattle just won't compare. If you have time though, of course go, you can see otters and that is never a bad thing!

Another thing to note is if you have small children, the Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center would be better options than MoPOP and Chihuly, which are better for ages 13+. 

You might like these other blog posts about sightseeing in Seattle: