Ferry from Seattle to Vancouver

Aug 9th, 2004, 08:29 AM
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Ferry from Seattle to Vancouver

I want to drive to Vancouver from Portland, OR. What is the best route, the ferry from Seattle or driving on the highway? Also any reccomendations on eclectic-bang-for-buck-restaurants? How about similar pubs/bars? I plan on comming up for the weekend of September 3rd.

Bogeyman is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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There is no ferry from Seattle to Vancouver because both cities are on the mainland (much like Portland and Seattle), and while they're both on the coast, there's no Vancouver to Seattle boat service. However, you can take a walk-on (no car) passenger ferry from Seattle to Vancouver *Island*, and then take the BC ferries (larger 400+ vehical vessel) across from Vancouver Island to the Vancouver area, but it's out of the way and the first ferry doesn't take cars, which hinders your plan. If you're just trying to get to Vancover, you can go along some of the side highways or scenic roads (ie: from La Conner to Bellingham along Chuckanut Drive), but there's really no fast alternate route without going extremely out of the way. The drive from Portland to Seattle is about 3-4 hours along I-5, then it's another 2 hours from Seattle to the border, then another 45 minute - hour drive from the border to downtown Vancouver. I've driven from Vancouver to Portland in about 6 hours.

The best bang for buck restaurants, when comparing them to elsewhere in North America, are all over Vancouver - especially Japanese restaurants, where it's some of the best, but cheapest in the world. I find that elsewhere Japanese restaurants are fine dining events and the prices are costly, but in Vancouver, you get tons of quality food for extremely small prices.

Have fun!
Carmanah is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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I think one fo the best places to eat, very causually, in Vancouver, is at the Granville Island market. there are restaurants there, too, but you can buy various fgood, including smoked salmon, cream cheese, buns and bread, fresh fruit, and lots of other things, and make yourself a picnic to eat outside, watching the boats.

BAK is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the quick and indepth info! I think I'll point my car north on I-5 and follow the signs for Vancouver. The picnic idea is great! Here's a follow up question: When is a good time and a bad time to arrive in downtown VC on a Friday. I want to avoid rush hour traffic, and am staying downtown for the weekend.
Bogeyman is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:13 PM
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On a Friday I guess the Vancouver rush hour begins about 3 p.m. (The old saying goes that head office in Toronto closes at 2:30 p.m. Vancouver time, so it's okay for people in Vancouver to leave the office any time after that.)

I guess most traffic will be going *out* of Vancouver, not into it, so you'll be driving against the flow.

I'm a bus person myself, so can't give much practical advice on driving into and out of Vancouver, but other posters may have suggestions. On the few occasions that I do drive, I usually find that following Cambie Street northwards all the way from Marine Drive to the Cambie Street Bridge (which leads directly onto Smithe Street) is the fastest route downtown.
Vorkuta is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Thanks Vorkuta!
Bogeyman is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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I second that! Once you reach the border, I-5 turns into Hwy 99. Back in the 70's Vancouver put in a city law that there were to be no freeways built within the city limits, therefore, when Hwy 99 crosses the Oak Street Bridge into Vancouver, it ceases to be the speedy Hwy 99, but the stop & go of Oak Street. Oak Street is probably the least inspiring road to get into downtown Vancouver, although it is a major road. I'd take Cambie instead.

To do that, you would just stay in the right lane over the Oak Street Bridge and take the Marine Drive (City Centre) *east* exit. This exit is narrow and might be easy to miss, but it's the first exit and it merges right onto SW Marine Drive. Move over to the far left lane and you'll find yourself, about 2 minutes later, in the left hand turning lane to Cambie. Cambie leads right into the heart of downtown.

Alternately, you can take Granville Street into the heart of downtown which is probably the most scenic road, but it's slower because it has more intersections, but the views from W 16th and over the Granville Street Bridge into downtown are beautiful.
Carmanah is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Than you Carmanah, I appreciate your advice.
Bogeyman is offline  
Aug 9th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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The only warning I'd have about traffic is the Deas Island tunnel under the Fraser River in the Ladner area south of Vancouver. If you hit it in evening rush hour heading north it could be pretty jammed. There's a lane reversal scheme on that'll favour the southbound traffic. One lane north, coupled with the possibility of traffic from a recently-arrived ferry, means a long slow shuffle to the tunnel entrance.
Try to time it so that you hit this after 6 pm.
taggie is offline  

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