Ride Guide: Lake Union Loop

We’re back with another favorite Seattle bike route packed with destinations along the way! Last time, our Pike Place Market Ride Guide offered an urban ride with the promise of tasty treats awaiting you at the end.

This relatively effortless ride presents a complete loop around Lake Union, a prominent fixture among Seattle’s landscape, with no shortage of parks, bridges, trails, and local eats dotted throughout.

While you can set out on this route from any point along the 10-mile Lake Union Loop, and may choose to travel either clockwise or counterclockwise, we’re going to kick off from the Montlake Bicycle Shop doorstep and work our way counterclockwise.

Prepare to see the city through fresh eyes as you embrace your inner urban explorer, grab your bike (or rent one for the day), and hit the road!

1. From Montlake Bicycle Shop, work your way north along 24th Ave E.

2. Just past E Louisa St, your path will veer slightly left into E Montlake Pl E, which then becomes Montlake Blvd E as you travel toward the Montlake Bridge. Continue to follow Montlake Blvd E until reaching NE Pacific St, where you’ll take a left and ride parallel to the Burke-Gilman Trail and UW Medical Center. Follow this until you merge with the Burke-Gilman Trail near University Way NE. Continue through the University District toward the Ship Canal Bridge.

3. When you reach the Ship Canal Bridge, it’s time for your first minor detour. Take in lakeside views at North Passage Point Park, then move west toward Ivar’s Salmon House for a classic Seattle-style chowder or fish and chips lunch.

4. Rejoin the Burke-Gilman Trail as it turns into the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. You’ll ride parallel to N Northlake Way along the waterfront, passing through the south end of Wallingford. Don’t miss unprecedented south-facing skyline views at the top of Kite Hill in Gas Works Park.

5. Continue to follow the trail, then join N 34th St at Stone Way N. Pass under the Aurora Bridge, then upon reaching Fremont Ave N, ride toward the colorful blue and orange Fremont Bridge. If you wish, spend some time alongside the peaceful water passage at Fremont Canal Park before crossing back to the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop section that runs parallel to Westlake Ave N.

6. You’ll ride by the marina as you approach the South Lake Union neighborhood. To the west on 8th Ave N, Hopvine Patch is a great place to pick up a bottle or can of your favorite local beer to enjoy as a refreshing reward at the end of your ride.

7. The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop will eventually pass through Lake Union Park. History buffs with an hour or so to spare will appreciate the chance to wander the collections at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). At the east end of the park, you’ll then make your way north along the loop before joining Fairview Avenue.

8. You’re now in the Eastlake area, and Fairview will become Fuhrman Ave E as you pass back under the Ship Canal Bridge toward Portage Bay. Follow this road as it turns into Boyer Ave E and intersects with the 520 Bridge near Montlake.

9. Once you reach the intersection of Boyer and E Lynn St, you’re in the home stretch! As you arrive back at Montlake Bicycle Shop, you’ll have your pick of neighborhood eateries to satisfy the appetite you’ve worked up. In the mood to carbo-load on fresh pasta, wood-fired pizza, and other Italian favorites? Try Cafe Lago just across the street. You may also choose to press onward to local treasure Montlake Boulevard Market just a few blocks north of the shop to pick up some deli eats or fresh ingredients to go with your Hopvine selection from earlier.