Seattle is surrounded by water, with Lake Washington, Lake Union, Puget Sound, and several bays all around. And what better way to celebrate this quirk of geography than to throw a party on the water, or at least right next to it?
Read on for some of the best party venues in Seattle that are near — or better yet, on — the water. These venues all provide some or all of what you need to throw a great party, namely good food, drinks, and maybe some extra entertainment.
Where to throw a private Seattle party on or near the water
1. MV Skansonia
A former passenger ferry, the MV Skansonia is now permanently docked on North Lake Union. One of the top party venues in Seattle, the views of Seattle and the lake are just breathtaking. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are available, along with full bar service and catering. Opt for the all-inclusive package, and everything you need to throw a great party for up to 200 guests will be provided.
For a high-end party with fine dining and amazing views, consider Canlis in Queen Anne. This landmark restaurant offers three private rooms for rent. The Penthouse is the largest and has room for 100 of your closest friends. The room also includes a grand piano, lounge, projector, screen, and stunning views of Seattle, Lake Union, and the Cascade Mountains. There’s also a full bar and a huge wine list.
3. On the Hiyu
Party on the water with the “little ferry that could.” Enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and the Seattle skyline as the renovated 165-foot ferry sails around Lake Union and Lake Washington. There’s room for 200 seated or 300 standing, a state-of-the-art sound and light system, plus the ability to add on entertainment. There are two themed bars on board, and food can be arranged by the in-house culinary team or through preferred vendors.
4. Palisade Restaurant
Overlooking picturesque Elliot Bay, Palisade combines fine dining with sweeping views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and Seattle. There are three private rooms and a courtyard terrace that can seat 40, 80, 130, and 200. Two of the rooms also offer outdoor space. The menu features elegant Pacific Northwest seafood dishes and can be personalized for private parties.
5. The Center for Wooden Boats
Located in South Lake Union, the Center for Wooden Boats is a non-profit maritime museum with two great rentable spaces for parties. The floating boathouse and deck is surrounded by historical vessels and offers stunning water and city views. There’s room for up to 75 guests. For a larger party, the center’s new education center can accommodate up to 200 for a reception and more than 90 seated.
6. Edgewater Hotel
The name says it all. Located on Pier 67, the Edgewater Hotel is Seattle’s iconic over-water hotel. The hotel offers 10 event spaces, plus a grand ballroom and terrace that can be booked for private parties. Forget about driving anywhere after the party and book a room to stay the night. You’ll be in good company, as the Beatles, Pearl Jam, and the Foo Fighters have all stayed here.
7. College Club Seattle
Book this beautiful boathouse for your next party, and you’ll have access to both an intimate banquet room with a river rock fireplace and a spacious floating dock. Make a statement and arrive in style by boat or seaplane. Stunning panoramic views of the city, full bar, catering by preferred vendors, and a complete A/V setup makes College Club an ideal venue for many different types of parties.
8. Seattle Aquarium
For a truly memorable experience, book your private party at the Seattle Aquarium. One of the most unique, full-service party venues in Seattle, the aquarium on the edge of Puget Sound offers several indoor and outdoor spaces that can accommodate up to 800 guests. Food, drinks, and complete A/V setup are available, along with access to exhibits, docents, and even a mammal feeding experience.
9. Emerald City Party Boats
Plan the ultimate DJ party, dance party, or theme party on the water. Emerald City Party Boats offers two private yacht charter options: the Islander with room for 200 and the Spirit of 76 with room for 150. Full bar service and catering are available, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the floating party as you cruise the calm waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. Cruises last for three and a half hours.
10. Ray’s Boathouse
This iconic dockside restaurant serves up delicious Pacific Northwest seafood with incredible views of Shilshole Bay. And located just steps away, the Northwest Room can be booked for private parties for groups from 10 to 225. Indoors and outdoors mesh seamlessly, and the deck area can be tented. This Seattle party venue even features a built-in dance floor so you can dance the night away.
Planning the Perfect Party
The first step to planning a perfect party will be picking a venue. The 10 Seattle party spaces listed above are all great options and a good starting point. All of the venues host private events regularly, and many have teams that can help you plan and execute the whole event, whether it's a birthday party, office holiday party, or other celebration. Some will allow outside vendors for food, drinks, and/or entertainment, but many will insist on providing everything in-house. Be sure to discuss all the details before you finalize plans for your epic party in Seattle.
*Post contributed by peer travel writer, Gillian Walton.*