Last Friday my little man Dek took me out on a date. His brother Ty was the third wheel.
As if we all hadn’t had enough time together in Europe, we decided to go out and do a little something we hadn’t done in over a month; we played tourist in our own town.
Thanks to Cloud9 Living, an experiential gift company specializing in unique regional tours, we headed downtown to hop on a boat with Argosy Cruises to explore the Seattle Locks. Our tour would take us around Lake Union, through the Ballard locks, across Puget Sound and finally dock in Elliot Bay on Seattle’s waterfront.
I was a bit skeptical about how this would all play out with Dek. He is only 3 and it was a 2.5 hour cruise. I’m not even sure I could handle a boat for 2+ hours. I won’t even get into how I thought Ty would do on this voyage.
Ty, mercifully, slept the entire trip strapped to my chest; as well he should since he was up half the night.
We stayed on the open deck, passing houseboats, fishing boats, tug boats, Gasworks Park, bridges, and of course, the Ballard Locks, an engineering marvel that impressed the pants off of my tech loving toddler.
We stared in awe as our boat sank down, watching the gates close behind us to keep in the fresh waters of Lake Union only to rush in the salty waters of Shilshole Bay.
Our tour guide on the boat was a native Seattleites and certainly knew her stuff. Even I, a local playing tourist, learned a few things I had never even heard.
Here’s a little snippet of what you might takeaway from your own cruise through Seattle’s waters.
- One of our favorite neighborhoods, Ballard used to be its own city. Legend says that the city of Seattle wanted to annex it, but every year Ballard voted this idea down. Then one year a dead horse showed up in the Ballard water supply. Naturally they turned to their neighbors in Seattle for help. Well you can guess how that all turned out.
- I found out exactly where the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is located. They leave Christmas lights up year round so they always look like the house in the movie. There were a few other fun facts about the filming of the movie, but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own journey.
- The Locks don’t physically bring you down; you actually sink until you are at sea level due to the water coming out of the locks. It’s very similar to pulling the plug on a bathtub, or so our guide said.
After we passed through the locks, we headed inside to warm up. This is when Dek started to lose interest.
The typical cool Seattle drizzle swept down over the Olympic mountains as we headed west into Puget Sound. It wasn’t the best time of year to be on a boat in open water, but the benefit was that there were only about 30 people onboard. No spot was too crowded to snap a few pictures and fill our eyes with the cities wonders.
My “date” with Dek included a few bites of a peanut butter sandwich as we watched the Sound pass by and the rain pour down with increasing speed.
I lured Dek out a few times so we could spot the Space Needle as we pulled into our dock, but he was pretty much finished. Just when we were both about to really go bonkers we were able to disembark and head home.
We’d had an impressive mommy/sons afternoon out of the house; a first for us in over a week as we recovered from jet lag. With each passing day we are getting our energy back. Soon it will be time to dive into all of the Christmas magic popping up around the city. I hear Argosy has a Christmas boat. We may just be on it next month.
Know Before You Go
- Argosy Cruises, Pier 56 on Alaska Way in downtown Seattle
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Hours vary by season. Check website for details. No cruises on Christmas Day, 1:00pm Locks Cruise available on Thanksgiving Day
- Cost: $40.25 Adults/ $13.00 Children (ages 4-12)/ Children 3 and under ride free
- Parking: Available across the street and in local garages. You will need to park at least 3.5 hours for the cruise.
- What to wear? Dress for the season. If you take a ride anytime outside of summer you will want a little rain gear.
- Strollers? Not necessary. Parking is available right across the street, so little legs don’t have far to go.
- Restrooms? Yes! There are restrooms at the back of the boat and on the bus that takes you to South Lake Union.
Cloud 9 Living provided our Argosy Seattle Locks cruise, but as always every opinion is my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of those links I will receive a small commission.