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Forums Other Destination advice Pacific Northwest – Seattle & Vancouver

  • caland 6 posts

    Hi all, hopefully will be flying to Seattle with Virgin end of May/early June and was hoping to hear any recommendations whether hotels, restaurants or things to do.

    My only rough plan at the moment was to start in Seattle and stay for a few days, then get the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. A couple or so days on Vancouver Island before getting the ferry to Vancouver and spending some time in the city and surrounding area before getting the Amtrak train back to Seattle before our flight.

    It’s 2 weeks in total and we probably won’t have a car the whole time but might rent one for a few days.

    • This topic was modified 54 years, 5 months ago by .
    JenT 156 posts

    Can’t help on Seattle but for Vancouver:

    Taking a flight in a seaplane is great. Even if you can’t go on one, it’s still cool watching them arrive and depart while walking along the paved walkways, and a good bit of trivia is that the ATC tower there is the highest tower in the world!

    My number one recommendation is Granville Island: fantastic little food places, shops, etc – all independent and a great place to have a few hours of wandering with snacks along the way. The doughnuts at Lee’s are definitely worth the calories.

    A good few hours can be spent wandering around Stanley Park – nice scenery, totem poles, etc. You can cycle around it (they have the equivalent of Boris bikes there) in a single direction or walk in either direction. Essentially, if you are going to cycle you need to prepare to do the whole lot!

    Two good areas for good food and drink (especially craft beer) is Main Street and the surrounding side streets and Commercial Drive. Aside from those areas, we ate at Brewhall one night which had a lively atmosphere, sports on TV, good food and drinks.

    Public transport is excellent and easy to use – we use the Citymapper app most of the time we travel and it worked well for us in Vancouver.

    masaccio 746 posts

    Visit the Olympic National Park if you can. You will need to hire a car but it’s totally doable from Seattle even if you don’t get as far west as Forks. The rainforest is totally trippy. If you like American history, the Olympia State Capitol is a good one and is sort of on the way back.

    • This reply was modified 54 years, 5 months ago by .
    Will in SJC 25 posts

    I have stayed at far too many Seattle hotels due to work. Personal favorite is the Thompson. The Kimpton Palladian would be second best (care: there are three Kimpton’s- the Monaco isn’t bad either but rooms more tired). That’s on the basis that the Four Seasons is crazy money when you are in town. The Fairmont is also popular but I am not a fan.

    Seattle in the summer months is lovely. In winter its just like the UK.

    It is a lot smaller than you expect. Pike Market good for a wander, the waterfront and Olympic Park are nice. I quite like Capitol Hill area of a bit of a change to get our of the downtown area. I think you can Kayak in the bays around. Boeing factory tour or the museum at Boeing Field are very good.

    I’d also spend time on Bainbridge Island (ferry from Seattle) and try to visit the San Juan Islands- they are meant to be stunning.I have colleagues who go to San Juan regularly and love it. In fact, I’d seriously consider staying there after Seattle.

    If I am brutally honest with you, I wouldn’t spend that long in Seattle- 2 nights. It is super important to realize that whilst the UK and other parts of the US are fully re-opened, Seattle (and San Francisco) really are still locked down at the moment. All the tech co’s are still WFH (not been back since Mar 20) and that has had an impact on downtown. It is a ghost town apart from a lot of homeless people.

    Majority of restaurants, shops and hotels are closed. It comes to something when brands like Tiffany have closed their store. I was in Seattle in December for work and it was almost spooky. If restaurants are open, they are only doing dinner service and typically not on Mon/Tues- so do research and make reservations. Those that are open are super popular.

    In short, don’t spend too long in Seattle. Head out to explore the absolute stunning islands, state and national parks in WA.

    davefl 1,385 posts

    +1 on the San Juan Islands visit. You may even get to see whales from the shore.

    Dale Chihuli exhibit is also a must

    Tariq 78 posts

    Don’t suppose anyone has an email address for the Renaissance Seattle please?

    Very elusive on Google and guesswork hasn’t been successful either.

    conspicuous-capybara 18 posts

    I lived in Vancouver for a year and agree with everything @JenT said – seconding Main Street and Commercial Drive as many people make the mistake of basically only visiting the downtown bits.

    Additional specific recommendations:
    – Fritz European Fry House and La Belle Patate for authentic Montreal-style poutine; Belgian Fries for creative toppings and large portions
    – There’s fantastic east Asian food downtown, specifically the western stretch of Robson Street will have many fantastic Korean and Japanese options. Ramen Danbo is worth the queues.
    – The Museum of Anthropology is a bit of a trek away but absolutely worth it. They’re fortunately extending the Skytrain west towards it, but for now, get the 99 B-line express bus outside of rush hour and you should get there fairly quickly.
    – If you enjoy hikes, North Vancouver has many that’s worth it and accessible from downtown with public transport (cheap but slow) or a fairly inexpensive Uber/Lyft. Of note: Lighthouse Park / Lynn Loop / Capilano Trail (easy), Norvan Falls / Baden-Powell / Brothers Creek (medium), BCMC / Grouse Grind (hard). That said, I’m sure you’ll have many more outdoors opportunities on Vancouver Island, which I haven’t gotten to visit yet!

    For your Amtrak to Seattle, try to get seats on the starboard side of the train for Pacific Ocean views, and make sure to budget in an extra hour or two for delays. It’s a gorgeous route but prone to frequent delays because freight trains have priority on large stretches of the route.

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