South Lake Union, WA

South Lake Union featuring a lake or waterhole and a marina
One of Seattle’s most scenic neighborhoods, this district houses fascinating museums along the tree-lined banks of its beautiful lake.

South Lake Union is named after the beautiful body of water it borders, a lake that has played a key role in the history of the neighborhood. Head to the shoreline for some of the district’s most interesting attractions and for views of boats bobbing up and down on the water. Discover museums celebrating tradition and innovation and seize your chance to go boating yourself.

Because of the neighborhood’s easy access to waterways out of Seattle, South Lake Union was initially populated by workers who hauled building materials off the boats. As such, the neighborhood played a big role in the city’s growth. After these traditional industries declined, the arrival of tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon in the late 20th century brought the area back to life.

Learn about the history of the region in the South Lake Union Discovery Center, a multipurpose venue with an informative museum inside. Study an interactive model of the area to get a better understanding of the neighborhood.

Enjoy a quieter pace of life in Lake Union Park, a green outcrop that stretches into the lake. The park hosts the Museum of History and Industry, an expansive network of galleries telling the story of Seattle. See original models by Boeing and Ford and look to the future of innovation.

Next to the park is the Center for Wooden Boats, an interactive museum dedicated to traditional sailing vessels. Take part in a workshop where you bend steel and carve wood or hire a boat to paddle out onto Lake Union.

Away from the lakeside, find slick restaurants that serve the nearby offices of companies like Amazon. South Lake Union borders other popular Seattle sights such as the Space Needle and Chihuly Glass and Gardens.

The neighborhood is best reached by streetcars and buses that leave regularly from the city center, although drivers will be able to find parking by the museums. As it is close to Downtown Seattle but removed from its constant hustle and bustle, South Lake Union makes a great base from which to explore the rest of the city’s sights.

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