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Old 06-06-2015, 01:04 PM   #1
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Visiting Seattle and Vancouver with a visit to Escape

Good morning,

Longtime lurker, first time poster from Denver. We took advantage of the Southwest sale and booked a 9 day trip to Seattle later this summer. We're both foodies and I'm a coffee geek, so we want to experience Seattle as first time visitors. We also want to visit the Escape facility during our stay and thought that a side trip to Vancouver might make sense as part of that excursion.
We'll probably stay close to downtown in Seattle, and only rent a car for the trip to Vancouver/ Chilliwack and possibly a wine tour. I have read some horror stories about the drive and border crossing from Seattle, so any suggestions on how to incorporate this excursion will be greatly appreciated. We're thinking maybe 2 nights in Vancouver but not carved in stone.
If you have any "don't miss" suggestions for the area, please chime in as well.
Thanks in advance.
As a side note, our weather in Denver this spring has seemed more like what I consider Seattle to be with all the rain. We're ready for some sunshine!

Chuck
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Old 06-06-2015, 02:13 PM   #2
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Lots to do in the Seattle area and you'll probably want a rental car for some of it.

Pike Place Market (which gets very crowded, esp on summer weekends - I avoid it like the plague during that time); the original Starbucks store is there or something like that and hordes of tourists will wait outside - why, I don't know (can't stand coffee; but I also hate long lines)

Pioneer Square - if you love mystery books, very good store down there - Seattle Mystery Bookshop

WA State Ferries - walk on to wherever you want; Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, elsewhere - lots of nice viewing opportunities

Seattle Center - nice going up the Space Needle if the weather is good. I've not been there since they put in this glass museum, but I've heard it's nice. The International Water Fountain is fun to watch, esp when people start going through it.

There is a bunch of construction going on downtown due to the new tunnel, tearing down of the Alaska Way viaduct and building of the new seawall. I don't drive down there often, so could not tell you what all exactly is going on. I usually take our light rail from the airport to downtown (you can do the same when you arrive) - great trip, but the seats are complete butt killers!

Walk along the waterfront area - again, not sure what all is going on down there. Some places were shut down during the seawall construction. I just read in the Seattle Times that Ye Old Curiosity Shop will be re-opening soon. Very funky store - gotta see it as you can't really describe it completely to strangers and they look at you weirdly when you tell them it has shrunken heads on display, along with a "unicorn" (narwhal) horn and a mummy. Like I said, funky!

Some of the restaurants were closed, such as Ivar's; not sure when they're re-opening. The Seattle Aquarium is nice if you like aquariums.

Others could tell you if the huge ferris wheel is worthwhile - I've never gone up nor will I as I'm terrified of stuff like that. so much so that I can't even remember the name of it! HA!


Need a car for visiting:
Mt Rainier and/or Mt St Helens

Ballard Locks (aka Hiram Chittenham locks; I think I spelled that correctly) - lots of great boats going through the locks and lovely grounds for wandering around

Ballard - funky store in Archie McPhee

Snoqualmie Falls - after spring runoff is the best time to visit as tons of water going over, but we didn't get much snow this year, so it won't be as great. But, still fabulous to see whenever. Higher than Niagara Falls

Woodland Park Zoo if you're into zoos. Our elephants just got relocated (very touchy subject there, to say the least).

Alki Beach - great views of Seattle from the other side of Puget Sound. Lots of restaurants (our favorite is Cactus). Parking can be a first class PITA, esp on a sunny weekend. Used to be a HUGE party area, but that's really gone by the wayside with the tearing down of the funky houses and condos put up instead.

Tacoma, which is south of Seattle by appx 30 mins (depending on traffic, as it is with anything anywhere these days) - not toured them, but heard they're nice: glass museum and a car museum (blanking on both their names, but google should be your friend). Nearby is Point Defiance park which we just went around last weekend and it's really nice. Viewpoints of Vashon Island, Tacoma Narrows Bridge and other areas. From there you could catch the ferry to Vashon and drive through the island, which is pretty. Then catch the ferry at the other end to West Seattle.

However, if you're coming soon you'll want to avoid the area as the US Open (golf) will be coming to a golf course in Tacoma.


Can't help you out with Vancouver, though, as it's been years since we've been there.

You shouldn't have any problems crossing the border, especially in a car. Just make sure the rental car can go to Canada, which is usually fine for most rental places around here, but double check, just in case. Carry your proof of insurance and current passports. I've not been across in a car in years, but the waits can be very long, so make sure you hit the restroom before you get there and carry snacks with you. And reading material for those that get impatient at long lines (not that I know anything about that!).

Have fun!
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Old 06-06-2015, 02:17 PM   #3
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Wow - thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge! Can't wait.

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Old 06-06-2015, 02:21 PM   #4
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Thank you. We will be there in July picking up The Home. Have not ever visited the Seattle area in spite of two trips each to Alaska, Bandon and Chilliwack.
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Old 06-06-2015, 02:46 PM   #5
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Serious foodies make this a world-class destination:

Fine Dining at The Willows Inn by Chef Blaine Wetzel

Chef Blaine Wetzel just won the James Beard award for best chef northwest:

Blaine Wetzel Wins James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest - Slog - The Stranger
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenH View Post
Serious foodies make this a world-class destination:

Fine Dining at The Willows Inn by Chef Blaine Wetzel

Chef Blaine Wetzel just won the James Beard award for best chef northwest:

Blaine Wetzel Wins James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest - Slog - The Stranger
Sounds wonderful!
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