If you want to immerse yourself in Seattle’s vibrant spirit and natural beauty, nothing beats renting a boat on Lake Union, the 580-acre aquatic playground just northeast of the Space Needle and downtown core. Rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, then glide past the colorful houseboats from Sleepless in Seattle. On the north shore towers Gas Works Park, where the world’s last remaining synthetic-gas plant has been transformed into a fascinating postindustrial monument. The Northwest Outdoor Center has two great competitors—Moss Bay (mossbay.co) and the pricier Agua Verde Paddle Club (aguaverde.com)—but remains a local favorite for its parking, bathrooms, storage area, waterproof-bag loans, and friendly, knowledgeable staff.
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