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One week in Vancouver area, side trip to Seattle, May 2012

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We're doing an Alaska cruise in May of next year, and we have a week to play with at the end of the cruise. We are ending the trip in Vancouver, flying home from there.

My husband has never been to Vancouver, I know it reasonably well. We want to spend several days in the city itself--I favour the West End, because of its charm, quiet and proximity to Stanley Park. But open to suggestions there, and for side-trips. Definitely will want to do the Anthropological Museum out at UBC, stroll around Kitsilano, perhaps Grouse Mountain,...

We also will have a day in Victoria during our cruise, so probably won't go back there.

We will spend several days in and around Seattle as well. Have friends north of Seattle. They have suggested we take Amtrak from Vancouver--there's a station near them. Not sure about this yet, since we also have a friend in Seattle who may or may not be available during our trip--if so, we might want to rent a car instead. The great attraction of the train is the ease of getting across the border. We would have to find somewhere in Vancouver to store our large cruise luggage, however, since I understand luggage space on the train is limited.

But I'm thinking we have a day or two for side trips from Vancouver--perhaps not worth going to the island in that brief time, but perhaps a drive up the Sunshine Coast, or into the mountains? Or maybe a day on one of the Gulf Islands? Alternately, I've never spent any time in Seattle, so we could stay there for a couple of nights.

Thinking of all these possibilities, 1 week doesn't seem very long at all. Any ideas or suggestions? I have lots of time to plan, but I love this part.

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