What’s the Seattle Ice Cream Cruise
The Seattle Ice Cream Cruise (also called the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise) is a little boat ride offered by the Seattle Ferry Service. The captain narrates this Seattle Lake Union cruise to explain a bit about the history of Seattle and the sights you’ll see. When he’s not talking, you’ll jam out to oldies music! It’s a short boat ride on a small boat perfect for exploring Seattle with kids!
Where is the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise Located?
They are next to the Museum of History and Industry clock at South Lake Union Park. You’ll see a sandwich board sign with balloons on it. That’s where you’ll line up to board.
When Can I Go?
The Seattle Ice Cream Cruise is available year-round on Sundays on the hour from 11am-5pm. Yes, even during rain/snow. Personally, you can’t beat cruising around Seattle in the summer, but I think it would be fun to do it in the fall/winter and sip hot chocolate!
How Long is this Seattle Boat Ride?
The Sunday Ice Cream Cruise in Seattle is about 45-50 minutes long, which is perfect for families with little kids.
What Will I See?
This Seattle boat ride takes you past Gasworks Park, Dale Chihuly’s glass studio, Ivar’s Salmon House, Seattle floating homes (including the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat), and more. Plus, you can see seaplanes, kayaks, and lots of other boats!
How Much Does it Cost?
The Sunday Ice Cream Cruise in Seattle is cash/check only.
- Adults: $12
- Seniors: $11
- Kids 5-13: $8
- Kids under 5: $3
What’s the Seating Situation Onboard?
On the top deck, there is bench seating. We also saw a few chairs scattered around. There are some adorable painted chairs inside, if you want to be indoors.
What Type of Ice Cream is Available?
When we were there in August 2018, they had Haagen-Daz bars, ice cream sandwiches, traditional root beer floats, chocolate root beer floats, orange Crush floats, and Strawberry soda floats. They were $2-5 each.
Do They Have Anything Besides Ice Cream?
They have chips, coffee, soda, and hot chocolate available. They might have other items available in cooler weather.
What if it Rains?
There’s an indoor space inside the Seattle boat that is set up with chessboards, checkers, and other fun games. Plus, you can still grab a treat and look out the window! Or, wear a rain jacket and enjoy the views from the top deck!
Where Should I Park?
Parking on Sundays is FREE! So, you can try your luck at any of the street parking nearby. There were quite a few spots available in the lot West of South Lake Union Park. Just check to see if the pedestrian bridge is down, or you’ll need to walk around the long way.
Seattle Ice Cream Cruise Tips for Families
SHOW UP EARLY
The boat seating is limited to 45 people, I believe. Since you don’t book your tickets ahead of time, it’s first come first served. Arriving 20 minutes early would be good. For our cruise in August, they turned a few people away who had to wait for the next cruise.
There are 2 restrooms on board. They have an electric foot pedal to flush and the Captain stated that kids have a hard time with them. So, you might go potty before you go (there are restrooms at the Cafe nearby.)
They don’t have credit card machines, so you’ll need to pay cash or check for your tickets and any treats you’d like. Check to make sure you have enough before boarding, especially if you’ve promised your kids ice cream!
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU ORDER
The line for ice cream gets long and it takes awhile to make the orders (especially the floats.) Don’t be the person who holds up the line debating what you want to order. It helps them if you already know what you want so they aren’t standing there waiting. And the people behind you in line will appreciate it!
BRING WET WIPES
Maybe it’s just my kids, but the second they start eating ice cream, it’s all over their hands, faces, hair, clothes, etc. Bring lots of wet wipes to thoroughly scrub them down after their treats. They have garbage cans on board. This will be a lot easier than taking them to the restroom.
The stairs to get up to the top deck are steep. We had our kids turn around and go down them like a ladder. This felt a lot safer.
What Else to Do at Lake Union Park
Lake Union Park is in an awesome location just to hang around with kids. There’s a little beach where you can play in the water. Plus, lots of grassy area to run around! We love watching the seaplanes take off and land. And of course, watching the boats!
My kids have been obsessed with the little toy boats since they played with them at Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris last year. We were THRILLED to discover that the Center for Wooden Boats has them available to borrow for a $5 suggested donation at the pond right at South Lake Union Park. Find out more about the pond boat sailing here.
MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND INDUSTRY
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) has been at their Lake Union location for a few years now. It’s focused a lot on Seattle history, from the pioneer days until today! This is where you’ll find the famous Rainier “R” sign, a Boeing B-1 plane, and more! Kids ages 14 and under are free and MOHAI is free every first Thursday of the month.
Their next traveling exhibit is all about World War I in America (September 1, 2018 – February 10, 2019.) And if you are a genealogy nut like me, you can access their on-site research library to discover photos, books, movies, newspaper clippings, etc.
CHECK OUT OTHER BOATS
The Center for Wooden Boats offers free boat rides every Sunday. It’s also based on a first come first served system. Sign-ups start at 10am. When we arrived at 10:30am, the line wrapped around the building. They can only accommodate 200 people total, so if you’d like to do this, plan to arrive early to get in line. Or at least, drop off one person to wait in line to sign up. You can find out more here.
If you go in the summer, bring a change of clothes and play a bit at their splash pad! It’s basically just water shooting up from the concrete, but it’s the perfect way to cool off in the summer heat!
Fun with Kids in Seattle
Riding The Sounder Train to Seattle’s International District for a Play Date
Take a Seattle Argosy Cruise to Kid-Friendly Tillicum Excursion
Spend the Day at Pier 57 in Seattle with Kids
6 Reasons Your Kid Should Ride Seattle’s Monorail
6 Tips for Enjoying the Pacific Science Center with Toddlers