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Seattle Itinerary???

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    Seattle Itinerary???

    So.....my big 50 is around the corner. Hubby asked me if I'd like to go to New Orleans, San Francisco, or Seattle. It was a really difficult decision because I LOVE New Orleans food! But, since I've been to both NO and SF before, I picked Seattle. My question is what are the "must sees?" We will be leaving Wednesday night (Sept 24 right after work, so I'll be having my actual birthday dinner in Seattle). We will be there until Sunday.

    I've been told that I must see Pikes Place, the Needle, Puget Sound and Vancouver. Wednesday we will be flying into Seattle and having dinner, so we have Thursday, Friday and Saturday all day, and until early pm on Sunday. I saw that there will be an artisanal cheese festival that weekend (hubby and I are both foodies). San Diego is home to the world famous Zoo, wild animal park, and sea world, so I don't think we'll be looking to visit any of those types of venues. And, as much as I adore my TB, I don't know if I'll be able to get DH to go out of out of his way to visit a luggage factory (unless it's really close to where we are staying and I can sneak out for a visit)!

    For Residents and frequent visitors, what are the truly must sees in Seattle (also, we will be renting a car to get around and will be staying at a 5-star hotel downtown)

    ETA: I do NOT eat seafood/shellfish or fish, so what are the best cuisines/restaurants to head for?

    ETA2: I LOVE roller coasters! The higher, the faster, the better! Any thrill ride parks in Seattle or nearby?
    Last edited by Melissa; 08-19-2014, 06:32 PM.

    Hi Melissa! Native Seattle-ite here, and I'm happy to tell you that the TB factory is only about 10 minutes south of Pike Place, so you should be able to squeeze that in.

    If at all possible, hit Pike Place Market & the Space Needle on a weekday to avoid the worst of the crowds. "Puget Sound" is pretty generic, because there's a lot to see and do along and across the Sound. If you just want a general tour, there is a 2-hour or so cruise from the waterfront that loops around and does a guided tour. Even as a local I enjoy that one. If you want to do that, look into picking up a City Pass, which covers Argosy Cruises, the Space Needle, the Aquarium (we have a good one) and a few other things.

    If I'm thinking of the same cheese festival, it is a sprawling, drive-around open-house style festival, so the rental car will come in handy. Allow extra time to get places, because we do love our traffic jams around here.

    If you're staying in true downtown (some places call themselves "downtown" when they're miles away) you should be able to walk to Pike Place & the waterfront, and take the historic Monorail from Westlake Center to the Space Needle/Seattle Center/EMP.

    Vancouver (BC) is a few hours north in Canada, so getting there is at least a full day there & back, possibly even overnight. You could drive, or I think there is still an express ferry off the waterfront - although I might be thinking of the Victoria Clipper.

    I'm definitely not a foodie so I can't recommend specific restaurants, but we have a lot of non-seafood options around. Friends rave about Gordon Biersch, there's a Ruth Chris steakhouse, and quite a few local/independent places. Hit up neighborhoods like Fremont, Ballard, Belltown, and Capitol Hill for a lot of options. Bonus: Fremont and Ballard are great little pockets of culture tucked away to themselves within the city.

    Two things not on your list would be the Boeing Museum of Flight, and EMP aka Experience Music Project. The museum is about 10-15 minutes south of downtown via car, and EMP is below the Space Needle.

    Oh, and if you're a sports fan, check to see if the Mariners (baseball) Seahawks (football) or Sounders (soccer) have a home game - they're all doing pretty well this year, and the Seahawks are worth watching just for the fans. (I'm not a big sports fan so some of those might be out of season.) Even if you're not a fan, a home game will have a MAJOR impact on downtown traffic so it's worth knowing to plan your drives around that.

    I hope that's helpful, and enjoy your visit!
    Rambling On. . . . .


      Hi Melissa! I'm not a native Seattle-ite, but have visited many times to visit family. One of my favorite parts of the city isn't actually in the city itself: the San Juan Islands. Bainbridge Island is a quick ferry ride from Seattle, and has some of the loveliest gardens I've ever seen. And the ferry ride is gorgeous. Also, if you're the kayaking type, you can rent kayaks and explore all the inlets and cool houseboats on Lake Union.

      Seattle is a great food town. Canlis is a great (if pricey) steakhouse with quite a local history, and I remember really enjoying a summer feast at a place called The Pink Door. Also, drinks on the terrace at the Elliot Hotel, shopping in Fremont and Ballard, great coffee shops in Queen Anne and Capitol Hill, and strolling through the fish and flower markets at Pike Place Market.

      I'm sure folks who live in or near Seattle will have much more advice to give you, as well. I hope you have a wonderful trip in one of my favorite cities, and happy birthday!!
      "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


        I'm glad to see this post so I can get some ideas myself! I've only lived in Seattle a few months and I feel like I'm probably missing some cool stuff. I did go visit the Asian Art Museum, though -- I highly recommend going when you visit! They have a Art Deco exhibit going on until October 19th featuring the Japanese Art Deco movement between 1920–1945. There was some seriously cool stuff, and it's not an expensive museum ticket, either.

        There's also an awesome, kind of creepy old water tower right outside the museum you can climb to the top! We took some awesome pictures from there.

        I highly recommend a visit to Vancouver, too! Even just for the food alone. Same for Pike Place; I love visiting there every weekend, but it's definitely a madhouse unless you go on a weekday.


          Experience music project (EMP) at Seattle Center

          Chihuly glass museum (Seattle Center)

          Monorail between Westlake Center and Seattle Center

          Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island (without car as it is expensive with car. See WA DOT web site for schedule and fares.). Walk to restaurants in downtown Winslow.

          Museum of Flight in south Seattle

          Theo's Chocolate Factory ( interesting tour, free samples of fabulous chocolate)

          The Big Wheel (ferris wheel) on the waterfront

          Aquarium on waterfront

          Restaurants downtown:
          Matt's in the Market
          Wild ginger
          Etta's (serves seafood and lots of other things. Chevk menu)
          Many wonderful restaurants in the International District

          Golden Beetle (ballard)

          Also any of restaurants on Open Table. Worth joining and downloading app. You can make reservations, locate the restaurants, view menus. You will noy go wrong with any of restaurants on the app.
          The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.


            Another fun way to combine your love of food and seeing downtown areas like Pike Place Market is to go on one of the Seattle food tours. There are several good ones where your get to sample goodies at several of the local places, mainly traveling on foot over a couple of hours or so. Tripadvisor should have current ratings on those, and that was definitely one of my highlights as I was getting to know the city.
            "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
            "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller



              Congratulations on your 50th!

              I live in B.C. but have been a tourist in Seattle many times, going back to about the early '70s. I don't know all the sights, but a few that I've enjoyed are.....

              > The Museum of Flight - it's on the south end, not too far from SeaTac so you'll be driving right past it when you drive to your hotel from the airport. I'd suggest leaving at least four hours for that, as there's a lot to see.

              > Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and sights in that area - I find that part of Seattle a wonderfully interesting and vibrant area.

              > Seattle Underground tour - it's been awhile since I did that tour, but I found it to be interesting.

              I've also enjoyed the Seattle Zoo (which is just off Aurora/Hwy. 99), but if you're from San Diego I can understand why that wouldn't be much of an attraction.

              If you wanted to stop by the TB factory on your way into town, it's also located south of Seattle so it's on your way from the airport. It's in an industrial area and a bit challenging to find but with a good map or GPS you should be fine.

              Regarding a trip to Vancouver, I'd suggest leaving that for another trip and making it a visit of its own. From Seattle it's going to be at least three hours each way, and could be longer depending on the border waits at the Peach Arch crossing. Depending on time-of-day and other factors, it's not uncommon to have one hour or more waits just to cross the border. Once you're through the border, you've got another 45 minutes or so driving through Surrey and other cities to actually get to city of Vancouver. It's not ideal as a day trip from Seattle, as it wouldn't allow time to take the Grouse Mountain Lift, have a relaxing day in Stanley Park or walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. On a Vancouver trip you could also take a day trip to the posh Whistler resort and try the Peak-to-Peak Gondola.

              Unfortunately I can't remember any of the good restaurants I've visited, especially in the downtown area. I'm sure the staff at your hotel will have some good suggestions or check Trip Advisor.

              Hope you have a great time in Seattle!


                Happy birthday, Melissa! Having just been in Seattle. I whole-heartedly second @monkeylady's suggestions of Chihuly and EMP. And my aunt did a Segway tour that she enjoyed very much.
                "Inside everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born."
                -- David Whyte


                  It's been far too long since I've been home to the PNW (just ask my mom), and especially Seattle, but on the top of my restaurant to-do list for my next trip is Canlis (I'm so with @blackbird on this one). Besides being a really special special-occasion restaurant, the setting is dashing. Now would not be too early to reserve a table.

                  If I was in Capitol Hill I would certainly go to Needle and Thread for cocktails (reservations needed). And Canon in the central district for their aged/kegged cocktails but not their old fashioned, which is too f'd around with to be called an old fashioned. I believe both of these places serve food, too. Have fun!


                    This thread is giving me lots of good reasons and ideas with which to update my evolving (and out of date, esp. as the time grows since I've lived there) personal suggestions list, but for what it's worth:



                      Originally posted by Meglet View Post
                      If you're staying in true downtown (some places call themselves "downtown" when they're miles away) you should be able to walk to Pike Place & the waterfront, and take the historic Monorail from Westlake Center to the Space Needle/Seattle Center/EMP.
                      We will be staying at the Olympic Fairmont. Is that "true downtown? How far away will we be from Tom Bihn?


                        That's a great location - just up the street from Pike place, the Seattle Art Museum, waterfront, and more. You should be able to walk to most of that. You'll be about a 10 minute drive from Tom Bihn, maybe less, and could easily stop there on your way in or out of the city from the airport.
                        Rambling On. . . . .