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BPritchard
06-25-2009, 09:07 PM
My wife and I are planning a trip to the Seattle area next year. We are thinking that the end of June and first week of July would be a good time. We want to avoid any park closures due to late snow.

We go on a two week vacation every year. This year was Grand Canyon/Zion/Bryce Canyon/Sedona area.

My wife loves to do all the research about the areas we are visiting.

We will fly in and out of Seattle and plan to rent a car to get around. We have a GPS, which has been real helpful.

How is the driving in Seattle? Not too crazy I hope.

We aren't that sure about any of the trips we've seen to the San Juan Islands. Living here in the Tampa Bay area, we have seen a lot of seaside areas. Three years ago we toured Portland and the Oregon coast.

We will be visiting Victoria, BC. Not sure if we will have enough time for Vancouver.

As a programmer, a trip to the Microsoft campus in Redmond is planned.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

timothy
06-25-2009, 11:26 PM
Parking in Seattle isn't the greatest (not as bad as Manhattan or many other places, though), but driving itself is not too bad, as cities go, around the city proper. When you do park, note that Seattle has some possibly confusing factors: 1) parking meters have been replaced, at least in most places, with pay-and-sticker machines; you print from a machine on the street a slip of paper which you then afix to the inside of your car's window, and 2) in the neighborhoods, especially (i.e., not downtown), much of the parking is zoned, such that non-residents (with no zone sticker) can park for a while, like 2 hours, but not longer. Read the signs carefully anywhere you park; the parking enforcement here is not quite as bad as in Philadelphia, but it is what can be politely deemed zealous.

The streets can be confusing; the GPS is a good idea.

I-5 is the main N/S corridor, and it runs near but east of downtown). Avoid I-5 as much as possible at rush hour. It is a logjam then! Some of the exits are a bit tricky, too, so watch signs and listen to your GPS. (When I use I-5, I try to do it at odd times, and have some audiobooks along.) Seattle is constrained by water, and the land is mostly lived for living on, so street throughput is tricky. There are ongoing transportation projects involving light rail, but as a visitor (if you're staying in the city proper) might make little difference to you except in adding to construction delays.

June / July: excellent time to visit, esp. if you're put off by the thought that Seattle is a rainy place. It does rain (less in volume than many other cities!, blah blah blah, a gentle soothing mist!, blah blah blah :)), but seldom in the summer -- most summers are about like this one has been: mostly glorious blue skies, sun glinting on water, good weather for biking, picnicking, walking around, admiring flowers. There are great fireworks, too -- not sure what's happening this year or next, but on the rare occasions I've been here at the right time, I've see *two* excellent displays from the same vantage point on Capitol Hill.

This is a good town for food -- I think it's great, in fact! (I'm a fairly low-brow eater, though not 100 percent -- once in a while, I like to get delicious sushi; my favorite place -- with great vegan options, if that matters to you -- is Mashiko, on California Street in West Seattle. West Seattle's a slight pain to reach from the rest of Seattle, but not so bad with a car. It's also the home of the quite nice little in-city Alki Beach.) The Bihn factory is between West Seattle and the downtown, if you're there one of the days open to the public.

If you are an omnivore, I recommend Pho (Vietnamese soup) as being a local favorite -- Than Bros. is my favorite (for the food, not the service), and they have several locations. The "large" bowl (I usually get a #1, or #2 from the menu, rather than the ones with beef tripe, tendon, etc) is nearly impossible for one human to comfortably finish. Vietnamese coffee is a thing unto itself -- sweet, strong, electrifying. Plus, Than Bros. serves you a cream puff as a sort of micro-dessert. Seattle also has some great Indian restaurants, and quite a few Ethiopian ones. If you like dim sum, there are many options in the International District (which everyone calls the I.D. -- and C.D. is "Central District," where many of the Ethiopian restaurants are). Korean, Thai, and other Asian cuisines in glorious profusion; besides the coffee stands, one of my favorite things to discover here is the popularity of teriyaki -- along with Pho, a local cheap-lunch staple. I don't much like eating from styrofoam containers, though, which is one reason I order less teriyaki than I otherwise would.

And there really is coffee everywhere; since I first moved to Washington state, I have been hypnotized by the smell of coffee everywhere. Instead of kids starting lemonade stands, here it's adults starting coffee huts, most of them with punny names to put hair salons to shame. A great coffee table book would just be a collection of photos of these coffee vendors, which come in all sizes, shapes, colors. If you are a coffee drinker (even if not) there are even walking tours of the city based on visiting various coffee shops, which is an interesting lens on the city. In fact -- this is true -- many of the highway rest stations offer free coffee; I've driven several times across the U.S. and don't recall seeing that anywhere else.

If you take a ferry to Bainbridge or Vashon Island, you can have a pleasant time walking or biking around the quaint, but real, downtowns. (Driving is fine, too -- and the ferry fee may be as cheap as most commercial parking options). It's a great little cruise for just a few bucks, too -- a windbreaker / sweater was definitely in order when I went to Vashon 2 weeks ago, though the view is good from inside the ferry, too. Great views of the Bay and of Seattle's skyline, from the water; look to the south from the deck of the ferry, and you'll see the beach at Alki. Port Townsend is a little bit farther to get to, but beautiful. I have not yet been to Bremerton or most of the other ferry destinations, but want to see more of them.

kcee's advice (below) to see the locks is great -- be sure to watch the salmon going up the fish ladder, too!

My personal favorite city-guide books are those of the Insight Guide series -- great photos, somewhat discursive essays, rather than just bullet-pointed lists of places to go and to see. For some friends, they like anything but the Insight Guides for the same reason -- tastes vary.

If you get to Volunteer Park, there's a great Art Deco building that was formerly the city's main art museum, now the Asian Art Museum. Discovery Park is huge -- that's the largest of the city's parks, and (since you'll have a car) worth navigating towards.

A few things I just sent in an email to a cousin visiting later this month, edited for clarity and slightly expanded:

- Pike Place Market; cliche, but enjoyable. The most obvious arcade of shops (beneath the "Public Market" signs) is only one part -- there are bakeries, fruit stands, shops, etc. surrounding that part of it both at the same level and in the layers below. The number one Starbucks (well ... sort of, but close enough) is in one of these surrounding buildings; they sell merchandise specific to there, too.

- The central library, at 4th and Madison. It's a book town :) This library's architecture inspires love-or-hate, but I'm in favor. Walk inside, be conveyed upwards within ... look at the high-tech book-return system. Librarians in Seattle are highly educated and well paid; there's even an action figure available of one of them (Nancy Pearl -- see nancypearl.com). Aside: the system here is a little different than in most places I've lived; people do a lot of their book "shopping" online, and have books sent out to their neighborhood branches, a bit like picking up a pizza you've called in to order. Until living here, I thought of the library more as a place to go and *browse* for books. Not that it doesn't happen here, the ratio is just different.

- Uwajimaya: This is a giant Japanese grocery store in the International district. Worth it for the sheer scale, and a good place to buy a few snacks (there's a sort of cantina in here as well, as well as some small restaurants attached). Wander a few aisles at least. You'll want to see the I.D. anyhow.

- Pioneer Square area, if you're staying downtown, is a fun place to wander. Notably, home of Elliot Bay Books (housed in one of the city's oldest buildings -- a fire in the 1890s wiped out much of what then existed). Though it's not scary like Detroit or New York circa 1978, this is an area I'd advise for daytime; much of the city's homeless population is here. There's a great little park, technically called Pioneer Park Place, but which everyone calls Pioneer Square anyhow. (This city is big on parks, big and little, as you can tell! Not sure about any of the others, but Volunteer Park at least was designed by the sons -- Olmstead is the last name -- of the Olmstead who designed Central Park in NYC and the Columbia Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.)

- Great park along the waterfront, a bit north of downtown -- worth a people-, bird-, and sculpture-walking stroll. Dedicated bike vs. pedestrian lanes, which I like.

The mass transit is mostly in the form of buses, and they're quite good (though the usual case w/ buses, transfers sometimes all seem to go through downtown -- if you're *staying* near downtown, that's not a problem at all); there's also a friendly help line who can tell you by phone which bus to take to any destination in the city.

Great views: go up Queen Anne hill, by foot, bus, taxi, or however you want, and look down toward downtown. Likewise, Gasworks park (on Lake Union) and Volunteer Park (Capitol Hill). I'm sure other people can name other great ones. Along with San Francisco, I think this town has some of the best views in the world. Not that there aren't great things to see all over the world, but we've all got favorites.

I know there are more I should remember and describe here, but that's my short list. Seattle is moderately hilly (it used to be *much* hillier; late in 19th century, a series of regradings made it more level -- I'd like to see bumper stickers advocating a resteepening), so walking shoes are important; a hat and UV-blocking sunglasses also advised. Since rain is rare in the summer, but cool nights are not, a light shell with some water resistance is a good compromise garment to bring.

People tend to be polite and helpful, but may not seem overfriendly. So I've heard, at least -- in the years I've spent here, I've found them as friendly as anywhere else, but Hey, that's the reputation. Most Seattleites seem pleased to be here ;) Since you're flying in, consider a stop at the airport information booth (on the baggage claim level). I usually take a bus from the airport, but even if you're getting your rental there, you can pick up a Washington State travel guide there; WA's is the best I've seen besides Texas's.

Hope some of this is helpful -- it's a great city, and I've only scratched the surface.

timothy

kcee
06-26-2009, 12:01 PM
i always recommend people from out of town come to ballard and see the locks.

http://www.seattle.gov/tour/locks.htm

its a real cool setup lots of stuff to see.
and at that time of the year the flowers and scenery would look really nice !

plus you could stroll down market street and check out the shops.

kcee
07-08-2009, 02:10 PM
if you dont mind getting out of the city and heading north, i would recommend checking out chuckanut drive.
lot of places to pull off and check stuff out, and a very scenic drive.
i have taken quite a few people up there for a nice trip outside of the city.

some links :

http://www.experiencewa.com/scenic-byways/chuckanut-drive.aspx
http://chuckanutdrive.com/
http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2579/stories/67281

aiethabell
07-09-2009, 12:17 PM
If you like planes, there are two must-sees up here: Boeing Everett Plant Tour (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/tours/index.html), and The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (http://www.museumofflight.org), where you can not only check out an older Air Force One but also a Concorde. There's a lot to do there.

A note: if you are planning on spending a couple days in Seattle itself, you might decide to get your rental car only after branching out to other areas. The downtown hotels charge a steep parking fee, and the public transit is pretty good up here. Link light rail will be running into the city from the airport by that time, so instead of a day's car rental and parking fees you'll just be out $2.50 each for the rail if you plan to just check in and see the local sights your first day.

Have fun!

BPritchard
07-09-2009, 02:22 PM
If you like planes, there are two must-sees up here: Boeing Everett Plant Tour (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/tours/index.html), and The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (http://www.museumofflight.org), where you can not only check out an older Air Force One but also a Concorde. There's a lot to do there.

A note: if you are planning on spending a couple days in Seattle itself, you might decide to get your rental car only after branching out to other areas. The downtown hotels charge a steep parking fee, and the public transit is pretty good up here. Link light rail will be running into the city from the airport by that time, so instead of a day's car rental and parking fees you'll just be out $2.50 each for the rail if you plan to just check in and see the local sights your first day.

Have fun!

Thanks for the info. It's usually cheaper to rent a car for a two week period even if I have to leave it parked for a couple of days. We will most likely stay outside of Seattle since we plan to visit areas around Seattle; Microsoft Campus at Redmond for instance.

When we went on our California trip, we stayed in San Francisco for 4 days. It was cheaper to keep the car in the hotel parking area and pay the fee ($8 a day) when renting the car for two weeks. Breaking up the rental into pieces turned out to be more money at the time.

pretzelb
07-17-2009, 03:43 PM
I'm not sure a tour of MSFT will be that fun. I had a few trips to the campus for work and there wasn't much out of the ordinary. They did have a small museum that was kind of interesting but not sure what they have for the public.

I wasn't that impressed with the music experience museum. I skipped the nearby science fiction one so I can't comment on that.

When we did the tourist thing near the market, we had a Fodor's book that listed a few restaurants that were very hidden and hard to find but were really good. You might want to look for food reviews.

I didn't go to a game but the stadium in the city looks impressive. If possible it might be fun.

If you are into beer at all the area is crawling with brewpubs, probably because of the hops that grow well in that area. I had fun touring a few of these since brewpubs aren't around my area.

Related to brewpubs, we did a trip to Snoqualmie Falls which wasn't too far away and had a nice view of the falls from the TV show Twin Peaks. There was a train museum of sorts near there too I think.

BPritchard
08-10-2009, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the info. It's usually cheaper to rent a car for a two week period even if I have to leave it parked for a couple of days. We will most likely stay outside of Seattle since we plan to visit areas around Seattle; Microsoft Campus at Redmond for instance.

When we went on our California trip, we stayed in San Francisco for 4 days. It was cheaper to keep the car in the hotel parking area and pay the fee ($8 a day) when renting the car for two weeks. Breaking up the rental into pieces turned out to be more money at the time.

My error! I just realized we picked up and returned the car at Oakland airport. Before we visited San Francisco, we toured the Wine Country.
It was cheaper to rent the card the whole time, rather than split it up when we stayed in San Francisco.

I think what we will do is stay first in Seattle and visit without a car. We don't mind walking and I'll have my Ego to keep light jackets, ponchos, etc.

My wife mentioned a book called "Seattle City Walks". Requesting comments concerning the value of this book.
Thanks.

BPritchard
08-17-2009, 07:40 AM
.... Seattle is moderately hilly (it used to be *much* hillier; late in 19th century, a series of regradings made it more level ...timothy

We will be doing walking tours so the question is: how does Seattle compare to San Francisco? I'm assuming not as extreme.

BPritchard
08-17-2009, 07:49 AM
My wife mentioned a book called "Seattle City Walks". Requesting comments concerning the value of this book.
Thanks.

I found the following at Barnes and Noble - Moon Metro Seattle.
Laminated street map divided into city sections. We will use this to plan our city walking tours.
Will keep the guide in my Ego for reference.

BigMikeD.
08-17-2009, 01:33 PM
We will be doing walking tours so the question is: how does Seattle compare to San Francisco? I'm assuming not as extreme.
Some hills are about the same pitch, but not nearly as long, as those in S.F. Walking the waterfront and climbing the hill to Pike's Market is easy enough. The rest of the time you will want to either rent a car or take the local buses; the distance is far t0o great to walk comfortably.

The Microsoft Campus in Redmond will take you maybe 30 minutes (45 minutes if you stop at the new company/public store) to tour in it's entirety. The campus looks like every other business park in America; trees, parking lots, and nondescript buildings. Several buses can take you from downtown Seattle to the Overlake Transit Center in the heart of the campus. The Sound Transit Route 545 (http://www.soundtransit.org/Riding-Sound-Transit/Schedules-and-Facilities/ST-Express-Bus/545-Route-Map.xml) is a nice ride across the 520 freeway's floating bridge with a scenic view of Lake Washington thrown in for good measure.

In other words, don't rent a car just to drive to Microsoft. :D:D

BPritchard
08-17-2009, 03:42 PM
Thanks BigMikeD, very helpful.

We probably will visit Redmond when we leave Seattle for the rest of our trip. We'll have a car by then. Touring Seattle by car would be a headache.

BPritchard
09-22-2009, 07:15 PM
What do the natives use?
Umbrellas,ponchos,raincoats, or run like hell?

Here in Florida, when it rains, it is torrential most of the time.:eek:

Darcy
09-23-2009, 03:19 PM
What do the natives use?
Umbrellas,ponchos,raincoats, or run like hell?

Here in Florida, when it rains, it is torrential most of the time.:eek:

It seems like the rain is mostly drizzly here. I prefer a raincoat to an umbrella.

BPritchard
09-23-2009, 06:48 PM
Thanks Darcy,

We are planning to visit around the end of June and first week of July. Shouldn't be too much rain.

Next important question, what type of raincoat do you use? My wife and I have seen some in catalogs. Should it be as long as a trench coat?

Should we wait until we arrive to shop around?

We do have waterproof windbreakers. Don't know if that is enough.

Morfydd
09-24-2009, 07:57 AM
...is really more a gently falling mist. Most of the time. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was always confused by the concepts of "raincoat" and "umbrella".

Any reasonably water-resistant coat will keep you comfortable. Even a tight wool fabric will be fine - hence the flannels of the 1990s. Wear layers, as it could be 40 degrees or 80 degrees in early June, and one of those layers should probably involve a hood.

Besides, you'll be popping in and out of restaurants/shops/museums. The only time you really need to *worry* about being wet is if you're hiking -> can't stay warm -> risk of hypothermia.

Mind you, Murphy's Law now says that you'll get torrential rain for days when you visit. In that case, pick up a cheap umbrella when you arrive.

Darcy
09-24-2009, 10:29 AM
Excellent advice, Morfydd.

Speaking of wool - you might want to visit Filson (http://www.filson.com/home/index.jsp) while you're south of downtown visiting us - our factories/shops are blocks apart.

Darcy
09-24-2009, 10:43 AM
Next important question, what type of raincoat do you use? My wife and I have seen some in catalogs. Should it be as long as a trench coat?

Should we wait until we arrive to shop around?

We do have waterproof windbreakers. Don't know if that is enough.

I think Morfydd answered this, but your windbreakers will be sufficient. I wear a Patagonia raincoat - mainly for hiking.

Katy
10-20-2009, 04:11 PM
We aren't that sure about any of the trips we've seen to the San Juan Islands. Living here in the Tampa Bay area, we have seen a lot of seaside areas. Three years ago we toured Portland and the Oregon coast.

We will be visiting Victoria, BC. Not sure if we will have enough time for Vancouver.

If you are interested in seeing whales the San Juans are a nice place to visit. There is plenty of hiking to do and there is even a park where you can sometimes see whales from land. I would go to Victoria over the San Juans, there is a lot more to do that is not worth missing. Butchart Gardens is a very interesting sight in Victoria as well as the Fairmont Empress. Victoria is a very easy city to walk in, most attractions are within walking distance of the ferry terminals. Butchart Gardens is around 18-20 miles or so outside of Victoria. Depending on how interested you would be in the gardens there is a tour bus that will drop you off at the gardens that allows plenty of flexibility. The tour bus departs from the Fairmont Empress and unlike the city bus drops you off right at the entrance of the gardens. You can stay the standard two hours in the gardens or more or less if you prefer since the tour company also has shuttles that departs from the gardens. There are also whale watch tours that leave out of Victoria that go toward San Juan Island that would provide you at least the opportunity to see the islands and some whales. Victoria is also home to a wonderful museum, The Royal B.C. Museum, which is a must see if you like museums.

To get from Seattle to Victoria B.C. you can take the Victoria Clipper, which could seem pricey but it is about a 3 hour boat ride and drops you off right in the heart of Victoria.

maverick
10-20-2009, 04:20 PM
Butchart Gardens is a very interesting sight in Victoria

buchart gardens is one of the few things i remember from my trip to victoria island in the late 1980's. we took the ferry up from seattle to victoria (or perhaps from vancouver to victoria) and stayed there for two days. i also remember we had very good pizza. it was different, perhaps greek, but very yummy! everything in victoria was very pretty - a great experience altogether.

it's funny what you remember after so many years. i was probably 15 then...

BPritchard
10-23-2009, 07:55 AM
Thanks Katy and Maverick.

Butchart Gardens is on our agenda for our day at Victoria.

We will be in the Olympic Coast area and will travel to Victoria for the day via Port Angeles.

I don't see a need to bring the rental car over since there seems to be plenty of transit to the gardens.

My wife and I enjoy walking and the downtown area is what we are interested in.

Katy
10-23-2009, 08:51 AM
We will be in the Olympic Coast area and will travel to Victoria for the day via Port Angeles.

I don't see a need to bring the rental car over since there seems to be plenty of transit to the gardens.

My wife and I enjoy walking and the downtown area is what we are interested in.

I used to work for the passenger only ferry that travels from Port Angeles to Victoria. I would definitely recommend it. They can get you set up for everything you want to do in Victoria. You can purchase your round trip ferry tickets, your butchart gardens tour, entrance to the museum and IMAX and even whale watching all at one place. It's a small company owned by a very nice family. The owners Jack and Terri are the sweetest people you will ever meet. Jack will go out of his way to make sure you have a great trip. They even serve cocktails on board! Just make sure your passports are current and give them a call around the end of may when their season begins or you can make your ferry reservation online and call them to make the arrangements for butchart gardens etc. victoriaexpress.com and if you take the morning ferry the butchart gardens bus leaves directly from the terminal when you arrive in Victoria! Let them know what hotel you're staying at in Port Angeles and they will pick you up in the morning free of charge, saving you a few bucks on parking for a day (parking prices keep going up!)

Also, while in Port Angeles don't miss Hurricane Ridge! It is absolutely beautiful and if on a clear day provides the most amazing view of the strait. I've even come pretty close to some deer while up there! Though it seems overrated with all of the twilight stuff I would recommend eating at Bella Italia in Port Angeles if you will be in town during dinner time. They have a huge wine selection, great bruschetta and awesome food! I had their manicotti and it was the best I have had in washington. Their deserts are also great as well. I always get the chocolate moose but their tiramisu is great as well! If you want to eat there make sure to call for a reservation, since twilight it has gotten insanely busy.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me!

BPritchard
11-09-2009, 10:26 PM
I appreciate all the suggestions! Thank you very much.
As we get closer to launch date, I may have more questions.

BPritchard
12-01-2009, 07:43 PM
We'll be staying at the Red Lion on Fifth avenue. Our AAA rep got us rates at $118.00 per night, Jun 19 - 25.

We looked at places outside the city which are cheaper. However, we would rather pay extra to be downtown than transit in during the day.

Plus, we can return to the room and rest up before we go back out at night.

Looking forward to using my new TB bags.

Just got back from a mini vacation to Savannah Ga. We drove.

My EGO contained the my electronics, mini 9, and other items. The Ruck Sac was my camera equipment bag and to hold a light windbreaker or other items.
The Medium cafe bag held maps, books and other items. Both worked together quite well.

BPritchard
05-05-2010, 09:41 PM
Our trip to Northen Washington State is next month. Can't wait.

Arrive in Seattle June 16th. Staying at the Red Lion on Fifth Ave in downtown. Very close to Pike's and the waterfront. Getting a rental car on the 20th to tour some outer areas of Seattle. Being a programmer, a visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond is a must.

The 22nd to the 25th we will be staying in a cottage on Whidbey Island. Has a washer/dryer, so we can pack less clothes. We will tour San Juan Island during this stay. We will be renting a car on San Juan for the day. About the same price as ferry passage for the rental car. Plus, easier to ferry over as a passenger without the worry of time constraints for car passage

The 25th to the 29th finds us in Port Angeles at the Olympic lodge. One day will be a trip to Victoria, B.C. The rest is the Olympic peninsula.

We have a red-eye flight back to Tampa at 10:30PM. This gives us time to tour areas on the way back to the airport.

aiethabell
05-07-2010, 04:16 PM
Just a fast heads-up on transit: on June 11th, all the Puget Sound bus schedules will change. Many routes are going to bite the big one due to lack of money to keep them operating. If buses aren't cut altogether, they'll certainly run less often.

If you made notations on buses to get you to local sights and attractions from your hotel, make sure to do it again just before you leave, or you might be standing at a bus stop in vain. http://metro.kingcounty.gov// for King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit is http://www.soundtransit.org/

Bus schedules the first week after a change are few and far between, even on the buses, so keep a notebook with either web page printouts or jotted times with you.

If you're going to do the touristy sights (Space Needle, Harbor Cruise, etc.), look into a City Pass at the first major site you go to. It saves you a lot of money if you were going to see everything anyway.

globug
05-11-2010, 02:23 PM
we just got back from a week-long trip to the area in April. We flew into Sea-Tac and then rented a car to drive out to the Port Angeles/Sequim area. We spent a few days touring/hiking the Olympic National Forest, then ditched the car. Ferry over to Victoria where we only rented a car one day to get way out of the city limits - else walking or public trans was just fine. From there we spent the last few days in Seattle. We were going to take the Victoria Clipper ferry, but due to timing in the off season, we chose to fly back on Kenmore right near downtown seattle at Lake Union. From there we used public transportation and walking as our primary means to see the city. It was great! The lightrail even has a stop just a short walking distance to the Tom Bihn store - and if they are open you can stop by! We had a great time seeing the sights and used a car less than 50% of the time.

Enjoy! Summer will be fabulous weather!

flitcraft
05-14-2010, 09:40 AM
I don't think I'd worry much about major bus changes post June 11th. Most of the major changes are in the suburban bus routes outside of the city proper. But those are unlikely to affect most tourists. The route changes that I could find for Seattle busses seem to be pretty minor on the whole, and I couldn't find any changes at all for the bus service to the most popular tourist destinations.

One thing to be aware of is that our so-called Waterfront Trolley is now a bus rather than a trolley. But it's free! So are any rides within the downtown core--which for tourists means that any bus trips between Belltown on the north side--good restaurants and bars--and Pioneer Square on the south side--again, restaurants, bars, shops, the Underground Tour, historic old buildings, etc.--are free of charge.

Katy
05-14-2010, 10:55 AM
Our trip to Northen Washington State is next month. Can't wait.

Arrive in Seattle June 16th. Staying at the Red Lion on Fifth Ave in downtown. Very close to Pike's and the waterfront. Getting a rental car on the 20th to tour some outer areas of Seattle. Being a programmer, a visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond is a must.

The 25th to the 29th finds us in Port Angeles at the Olympic lodge. One day will be a trip to Victoria, B.C. The rest is the Olympic peninsula.
.

Perfect timing! The showroom will be open June 19th from 12pm - 4pm :D

Side note: The Olympic Lodge is beautiful and has a great golf course as its back yard :)

RedBeard
05-14-2010, 12:53 PM
One day will be a trip to Victoria, B.C. The rest is the Olympic peninsula.
When in Victoria, you should try to make the High Tea at The Empress Hotel (http://www.fairmont.com/empress/GuestServices/Restaurants/AfternoonTea.htm). You are expected to dress for tea so some planning is needed, but the meal is delicious and it is a unique chance to experience a classic British ritual.

BPritchard
05-16-2010, 08:43 PM
Thanks RedBeard,
We had considered this, however, the price is too much.
Not sure what you mean by "dress for tea". I assume that eliminates our tourist wear of jeans.

Heidi Jill
05-19-2010, 10:13 AM
Thanks Darcy,

We are planning to visit around the end of June and first week of July. Shouldn't be too much rain.

Next important question, what type of raincoat do you use? My wife and I have seen some in catalogs. Should it be as long as a trench coat?

Should we wait until we arrive to shop around?

We do have waterproof windbreakers. Don't know if that is enough.

You should be fine with your windbreakers and chances are strong that you will never need them!

BPritchard
06-08-2010, 08:00 PM
One more week and we start our trip to Seattle and the Olympic coast - the 16th.

We are looking forward to some cooler weather.

For carry-ons, I'll be using my new Aeronaut and my wife will have her new 21" wheeled bag. She needs to use a wheeled carry-on. I have a strap that I will use to attach the Aeronaut to the extended handle.

I'll be using the Ruc-Sac and Large Cafe bag for camera and other things while touring.

I'm also taking my Swift to use when we visit Pike's Market. The Swift is my utility tote.

On the 17th, we will take a city tour by mini-bus. We wanted to get a quick overview and note any areas to go back to.

In my wife's research for the trip, we will avoid the Pioneer Square area due to drug trafficking and aggressive panhandlers.

We had hoped to visit Mount Ranier, but it appears to be snowed in.

BPritchard
06-10-2010, 09:04 PM
10 Day forecast is looking real good!!!!

Katy
06-11-2010, 10:05 AM
Woohoo!! :cool:

aiethabell
06-11-2010, 01:30 PM
One more week and we start our trip to Seattle and the Olympic coast - the 16th.

In my wife's research for the trip, we will avoid the Pioneer Square area due to drug trafficking and aggressive panhandlers.

We had hoped to visit Mount Ranier, but it appears to be snowed in.

Pioneer Square is safe during the daytime - if you wanted to see the Klondike Museum or the Underground Tour, I'd do it. Alas, Pioneer Square isn't the only place with drugs. There are places I don't go in Seattle, and I live here. But that's usually at night. Daytime, in a pair, if you're in places the tour books mention you should be okay. There's a new statute re aggressive panhandlers that's helping.

Mt. Rainier is open year-round; I've been there for the 4th of July and seen snow on the ground at Paradise some years. Did you go to the Park Service site at http://www.nps.gov/mora/ or somewhere else? The picnic sites are closed until June 25th, but you can get into the visitor centers. There is more than one entrance, and they don't open the same time every year. If you have limited time the best and only choice is the main entrance to Paradise.

Use the Plan Your Trip/Operating Hours page for the latest info, and click on the page's Road Status link to see the road conditions to Paradise. If you want to go to the Longmire Museum and the new Visitor's Center at Paradise, you need to check two things: Nisqually Entrance to Longmire, then Longmire to Paradise. The Park Service gives directions and travel tips on the Directions page. Print them out before you go.

If you are driving a car with a small gas tank, be very sure to gas up before you get all the way to the park! Gas in that area is expensive. I would pack snacks + water, too. The Park Service may have both, but you'll pay for the privilege (unless you want to consider eating in one of the restaurants as a part of the trip). You can always eat in the car, since the picnic tables will be off-limits.

If you've ever been to Switzerland, you will remember the alpine views once you pull in and park at Paradise! But Tahoma (the tribal name for the mountain) is too beautiful to miss if you have the time. Please don't.

BPritchard
06-12-2010, 07:24 PM
aiethabell,

Thanks for the information. The webcam's however show snow, not a meadow.
But it is early in the season and this year's winter was harsh.

We had the same problem when we toured Oregon and went to Mt Hood.

Katy
06-15-2010, 11:14 AM
Tomorrow is the big day!! Are you coming to the showroom opening? :).

BPritchard
07-03-2010, 02:50 PM
Back in the Florida blast furnace.

We had incredible weather since we arrived on the 16TH. We knew that
Seattle and the surrounding area could be cloudy and raining, but we only had two days that were rainy:
The next day where we went on a tour.
A day to Redmond, Snoqualmie Falls and some wineries.

Most of the time it would be cloudy in the morning, followed by a nice sunny or partly cloudy day.
Anytime it rained, it was mainly a drizzle for a while, then stopped.

Didn't get a chance to get the Saturday store opening. We were in Bainbridge Island.

Our stay at the Red Lion at Pike and 5TH was real convenient to Pike's Market, Waterfront, Music experience, ScFi museum, and other areas.
Our best meals were at Assiago's, Etta's, and Palimino. We also ate at the Crab Pot on the waterfront. We got the pot of crabs,clams,mussels, etc that was dumped on the the table. The pot was put on the floor to throw shells into.

We really enjoyed our cottage at Penn Cove in Coupeville on Whidbey Island (http://www.whidbey.com/penncovecottage/)
From this locale we visited San Juan Island where we rented a car on the island rather than take our rental car over. Was easier as a passenger on the ferry. Cost was about the same as 1 passenger and 1 car.

The Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles was very good. From this location we toured the Olympic National Park.
Went to Hoh Rain forest, Forks, and to second beach on the coast at La Push.
One day was spent in Victoria, BC via the Victoria Express. There was pickup and return to the lodge.

The worst part of the trip was our Delta flight into LAX and transfer to Alaska Airlines.:mad: We had to hump our bags down stairs to the tarmac, get on a mini-bus to travel to the Alaska airline terminal. Then hump our bags up two more flights of stairs. If you are disabled you are SOL.
:eek:This was a major security risk. Anyone could easily slip on the bus with a weapon or explosives.

I had a problem carrying the Aeronaut. Even using the absolute strap or backpack straps, the bag was too heavy.
I ended up carrying it on my wife's wheeled bag which was uncomfortable to handle.
Next time I will take my little cart. I've used it before and it folds down to fit underneath the plane seat.