Wander down to the Seattle docks at Lake Union Park with your family and get a glimpse of a time where floating markets were the way to shop. On Thursdays this summer from 11:00 – 3:00 pm, the decks of the Steamship Virginia V become a fun place to enjoy activities with your kids while perusing handmade and yummy locally-farmed goods.
How to dress: On sunny days, this is a great excuse for Sperry Top Siders, a wide-brimmed hat and a shopping bag for your purchases. Layers are always a good idea, especially if you decide to go for a boat ride. The park itself is fairly stroller friendly, but you’ll have to park it to explore the merchants on the Viriginia V.
What to see: Park in the lot near Outback Steakhouse on Westlake Avenue where there is ample parking ($1.50 an hour) and you can walk over a scenic bridge to get to the docks where Farmboat takes place. There are not a lot of vendors, but the kids will love trying samples, helping select veggies to eat for dinner and climbing the decks of a steamship first launched in 1922. The Center for Wooden Boats is nearby, and if you time your visit to coincide with their Tugboat Story Time (The 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm) your toddlers can explore the Arthur Foss too. Another boat, the Fremont Avenue offers an “Ice Cream” cruise that lasts about 45 minutes for a tour around the lake sprinkled with historical tidbits about the Seattle area. ($11 an adult, $7 children 5-12 and $2 for children under 5. Ice cream treats start at $2.) When your wee ones need a place to climb, there is a small playground tucked beside the Daniel’s Broiler Restaurant.
Where to have lunch: There are so many places on the grass or the docks just begging for someone to set a blanket for a picnic-you could pack your own, or pick up something from Nollies, a local cafe selling food on the Virginia V. If you just need a coffee fix there is a drive-thru Starbucks on Westlake Avenue a couple blocks away.
Cost of trip: Inexpensive to moderate, depending on your purchases and activities. The market and ice cream cruise are cash only.
Bonus: There is a trolley station very close to where Farmboat takes place. If you want to make this a bigger adventure you could combine it with this trip advice.
– Terumi Pong