Seattle's Lake Union Boat Festival lets you enjoy all sorts of boats, plus plenty of land-based fun, at the Center for Wooden Boats.

Share story

Take a trip on Lake Union by sail, oars, paddle, steam, electric or power boat at the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival Saturday through July Fourth at the Center for Wooden Boats.

Boat rides are free and go on all day but often fill fast, so it’s best to sign up first at the wharf before heading to festival activities that include boat building demonstrations; a ship-model exhibit and kids’ toy boat building; a treasure hunt and kite-making.

Daily events also feature experts building kayaks, canoes and rowboats; tours of the new CWB workshop and warehouse storage to see historic wooden boats awaiting restoration; pirate boat model racing in the model pond; and tours of the 1889 tugboat Arthur Foss.

Classic boats on display at the festival at South Lake Union range from rowing dinghies to the 133-foot schooner “Adventuress.” Nautical workshops and trivia games challenge your boating knowledge, and food vendors and music are all featured daily.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Along with a daily beer garden, the Northwest Microbrew and Music Night party at 5 p.m. Tuesday offers tastes from many local breweries to benefit the Center for Wooden Boats. Partnership with One Reel is a new feature at this year’s Wooden Boat Festival, providing live music. There also will be broadcasts of the synchronized fireworks soundtrack at both Gas Works and Lake Union parks (the Center for Wooden Boats is by Lake Union Park) during the big fireworks show on the evening of July 4.

One Reel is also producing a MOHAI (Museum of History & and Industry) walking history trivia game, The Cheshiahud Challenge, noon-6 p.m. Wednesday along the shores of Lake Union. Complete a game-map by answering trivia questions at each location to enter to win two three-day Gold Passes to Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival on Sept. 1-3.

Also new this year, see a special dragon boat race by the Seattle Flying Dragon Boat Club, noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Everyone is invited to join a racing boat team, no experience necessary, all equipment provided. Sign up at or at 10 a.m. race day if space is still available, for a $7 cash fee.

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.