Held twice annually in January and September, the Boats Afloat Show in Seattle is one of the highlights of the Pacific Northwest cruising scene for both owners and those looking for their perfect yacht. This year’s event takes place across January 24th through February 1st and is set to feature over 1,000 boats and yachts in two different Seattle locations along with 400-plus exhibitors and more than 200 free seminars and paid training classes.
In keeping with previous years, the in-water section of the show will be hosted at South Lake Union which will be open to visitors from 11 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 5 pm on weekends. This venue will be connected to the indoor exhibits at CenturyLink Field Event Centre via a free shuttle running continuously during the show opening hours. CenturyLink will host the yachting gadgets and gear, technology solutions and other indoor exhibits with slightly longer opening hours throughout the show. From Monday to Thursday, the center will open from 11 am to 8 pm, on Friday from 11 am to 9 pm, on Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm, and on Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
2020 Boats Afloat Show
As well as the great selection of yachts on display, visitors can enjoy a wide range of fun events ranging from wine tastings, a celebration of craft beer and a special women’s day. Uncorked kicks off the show’s opening night on January 24th with a selection of top Washington State and California wines available for visitors to sip while browsing for their next yacht or this season’s must-have gadget. On Monday 27th it’s the turn of Women’s Day when women can attend the show for free and attend a fascinating series of seminars specifically tailored for female boaters. Sails & Ales is another popular event which returns this year on January 31st, offering visitors the chance to taste local craft beers while touring the show.
Tickets for Boats Afloat cost $17 per adult and can be purchased online. Kids aged 17 and under get free entry and you can also purchase a 9-day pass for $30 if you intend to visit the show several times. Those who buy their tickets online can also buy a $3 daily parking pass to park at Mariners Garage at T-Mobile Park (301 Edgar Martinez Dr. S.) or 300 Yale Ave. N. Garage near South Lake Union on weekends. There’s also a special $15 off purchases of $100 and over at West Marine Seattle for online ticket buyers and a complimentary cup of chowder at Duke’s Seafood Restaurant.
Take a look at our 2020 Seattle Boat Show Event Guide for further details.
Boats to See
The largest yacht at the show will be the 117ft (35.6m) Crescent, which was built in British Columbia and completed in December 2019. Crescent will make her worldwide debut at the Seattle show and comes with a price tag of $13,500,000. Her roomy interiors can accommodate up to 10 overnight guests and a crew of four.
Don’t miss as well some of the more unusual watercraft on display, such as the Barletta pontoon boat which can unfold like an accordion to give you extra space to host friends or store gear. At just the touch of a button, this clever vessel can expand in width from 8.6 feet to 14.1 feet. Other pioneering exhibits include the first all-electric Nautique towboat which combines quiet cruising with authentic eco-credentials.
Where to Stay
Elegant with a modern edge, Hotel Sorrento is a great option right in the heart of Seattle’s downtown. The hotel property first opened its doors in 1909 to the throngs of prospectors, entrepreneurs and tourists who ventured to the western part of the country to attend the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. Over the intervening century or so the hotel has continued to evolve along with the city, maintaining an authentic, original air while boasting all the latest mod cons. Each of the 75 rooms is uniquely designed, ensuring that every time you visit you’ll enjoy a different experience.
Take a look at our Seattle Hotel Guide for an expanded list of options across the city.
Where to Dine
Seattle is packed with exquisite dining options, but one of our perennial favorites is the family-owned Canlis restaurant which offers magnificent views of the Cascade Mountains from an iconic Northwest-inspired modernist building. Having been around for more than 60 years, Canlis is considered one of Seattle’s classic dining destinations with an eclectic offering of classic dishes that straddle the line between contemporary and old-fashioned.
Be sure to check out our Seattle Restaurant Guide for the most memorable culinary experiences in town.
With its artsy and bohemian vibe, Seattle truly offers something for everyone, whether it be hipster coffee hangouts, exceptional seafood joints or great shopping opportunities. Downtown Seattle is a bustling urban center with a wealth of fascinating museums and rich music legacy. In true Seattle fashion, there’s a big emphasis on all things local and organic, as epitomized by Pike Place Market which is one of the oldest continuously-operating farmers markets anywhere in the United States. For those who like to get out of town, the surrounding countryside and dramatic coastline offer excellent hiking trails, kayaking, cycling and whale-watching.