Lake Union, Washington, USA

Also known as:  Meman Hartshu, Small Lake, Tenass Chuck, Little Water

Surrounded by four vibrant urban neighborhoods, Lake Union sits in the heart of Seattle, Washington. From orcas playing in Puget Sound to sea kayakers paddling inland waterways, Seattle is closely tied to the sea and lakes with Lake Union uniting the two. Whether you choose to live on the lakefront, bicycle through neighborhood parks or paddle your way to a new urban adventure, Lake Union is central to it all. – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Union! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Union cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Union! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Union cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Union

Lake Locations: USA - West - Washington - Seattle & Puget Sound -

Surrounded by four vibrant urban neighborhoods, Lake Union sits in the heart of Seattle, Washington. From orcas playing in Puget Sound to sea kayakers paddling inland waterways, Seattle is closely tied to the sea and lakes with Lake Union uniting the two. Whether you choose to live on the lakefront, bicycle through neighborhood parks or paddle your way to a new urban adventure, Lake Union is central to it all.

Lake Union was formed about 15,000 years ago when glaciers retreated from the Pacific Northwest, leaving scenic lakes and hillsides that would become Seattle’s landscape. Attracted to fertile land and excellent fisheries, the Lake Union and Puget Sound areas were originally inhabited by people of the Duwamish tribe who called the lake Meman Hartshu (“small lake”) or Tenass Chuck (“little water”) in Chinook. Set between Lake Washington and Puget Sound, the tribe’s prime location brought them into contact with fur traders and loggers of the 1800s. By the mid-1800s settlers were beginning to establish homes, and industry was reaching the shore of Lake Union. It was during this time that Thomas Mercer gave Lake Union its name, believing that one day the lake would unite neighboring Lake Washington and Puget Sound. By 1934 Mercer’s prediction came true.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal began in 1911, and upon completion in 1934 connected Lake Washington to Puget Sound. The construction of the Ship Canal and early industrial use of Lake Union significantly altered the lake from its original size and water flow. The current 580 acre lake is about one-third smaller than its original size. The natural inflow from Cedar and Sammamish Rivers was diverted, and opening of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks on the Ship Canal now introduces saltwater into Lake Union while it controls the lake’s water level. Moving from east to west, boat traffic can now move from Lake Washington through Union Bay and Montlake Cut into Portage Bay which is the new source of inflow into Lake Union. Outflow from Lake Union now passes through Fremont Cut, Salmon Bay and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks before entering Shilshole Bay on Puget Sound. With the completion of the Ship Canal, goods could be easily transported from Lake Union’s growing industries to international ports. Except for park land, the estimated four-mile Lake Union shoreline is completely developed with house boats, dry docks, marinas, and other commercial businesses. Among the major companies finding its origins on the shores of Lake Union were the Boeing Company and Kenworth Motor Truck Company. Today, the mix of industry, medical centers, museums, parks and neighborhoods make Lake Union an exciting place to live and work.

Home to the first Boeing Company assembly plant, the Eastlake neighborhood has changed its identity over the decades. Residents now come home to a diverse collection of boat launches, swimming beaches, parks, a dry dock, NOAA Pacific Marine Center, floating homes and small protected coves where you will find waterside retreats and wildlife habitats. Eastlake has been a residential neighborhood since the 1890s. With a delightful mix of vintage homes, new developments and house boats, Eastlake is attracting a growing number of residents and renters to Lake Union.

Residents of the South Lake Union neighborhood actively work to preserve Seattle’s maritime and cultural history. Home to the Center for Wooden Boats and new 12-acre South Lake Union Seaport Park, residents have access to recreational and educational activities including the Historic Ships Wharf and future collaborations with United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, Northwest Native Canoe Center, and the Museum of History and Industry. South Lake Union is also a wonderful place to work and live. With the neighborhood becoming home to numerous medical and life science research facilities, new apartments, condominiums and real estate properties are in demand by fortunate residents of South Lake Union.

Westlake neighborhood lies on a narrow strip of land bordering Lake Union’s western shore. Home to Kenmore Air Harbor seaplane terminal and beautiful lakefront scenery, water is at the heart of Westlake. This neighborhood extends on to floating homes, one of which served as the setting for the film “Sleepless in Seattle.” Whether Westlake residents live in high-rise condominiums, apartments, or house boats, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, biking and hiking Lake Union are activities right at their front door.

Home to a large ship yard and scenic views of boats cruising the Ship Canal, Northlake neighborhood is a mix of contrasts. Originally the site of a 1906 gas plant, Gas Works Park sits on the northern shore of Lake Union. A popular destination for all Seattle residents, the city park offers residents “a picnic shelter with tables, fire grills and an open area. The former exhauster-compressor building, now a children’s play barn, features a maze of brightly painted machinery.” Fishing urban lakes is a popular pastime in Seattle, and Gas Works Park is the perfect place to cast your line. Found in the lake’s 50-foot depth and 34-foot average depth are smallmouth bass, salmon, trout, whitefish, sunfish, perch and an occasional flounder. Be sure to check fishing regulations and fish consumption advisories for Lake Union at the links provided. In Seattle’s tradition of reusing and repurposing land, 27 miles of abandoned railroad tracks now form the Burke-GilmanTrail. A portion of this trail crosses the University of Washington campus before heading west into Northlake. This wonderful mix of industry, residential neighborhoods and recreational facilities is called home to steelworkers and students alike.

When clouds break over Lake Union, the view of Mount Rainier’s snowy peaks remind residents that water is only part of the beauty found in the Pacific Northwest. A two-hour drive southeast of Seattle will take you into Mount Rainier National Park where hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling awaits. With an amazing mix of climates, Olympic National Park sits to the west of Puget Sound. A designated World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, the Olympic Peninsula includes a mountain wilderness, dense temperate rainforest, subalpine meadows and sandy Pacific beaches where you can explore nature at its best.

Soon to connect the businesses, parks, and four Lake Union neighborhoods is the 6.2-mile Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. This multi-use trail will encircle neighborhoods rich in diversity, progressive in their planning and forever tied to the water. Whether you prefer Eastlake, South Lake Union, Westlake or Northlake, choose from the exciting selection of vacation rentals and residential real estate properties and begin to call Lake Union home.

Things to Do at Lake Union

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • City Park
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Lake Union

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Perch
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

All About Lake Union

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Union

The Lake Union map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Lake Union Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Union Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Lake Union Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Union Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Union lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 580 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 16 feet

Average Depth: 34 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 20,000 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 52 times per year

Lake Area-Population: 3,000

Drainage Area: 571 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Lake Union news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Lake Union forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Lake Union photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Lake Union article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Lake Union? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Lake Union forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Lake Union vacation rental or local business.

The former Lake Union forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Lake Union photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Union article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Lake Union vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Lake Union forum group? Click Here

New Lake Union photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi