Vancouver v. Seattle

Old Sep 11th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Vancouver v. Seattle

Hello all. Taking my wife and two daughters (10 & 5) to Whistler, BC for some skiing the week of 1/19/08. Using FF miles to fly from East Coast to either Seattle or Vancouver. Planning on staying over in Seattle or Vancouver for a night or two before renting a car and driving to Whistler.

I realize that Vancouver is a shorter and easier drive and this is big with two smaller kids. As far as sightseeing I know the typical Seattle area sights: Spaceneedle, Boeing Factory Tour, etc. but I am clueless when it comes to Vancouver. Never having been to the PNW is there as much to do and see in Vancouver than in Seattle? I am leaning towards Vancouver because of convenience to Whistler but I am having regrets about not seeing Seattle.

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Old Sep 11th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Hi, I live in Seattle, and visit Vancouver frequently.

With kids 10 and 5, I wouldn't even hesitate to use the convenience factor as your first incentive to go Vancouver-only.

First of all, Vancouver is a far more appealing destination than Seattle. (Gotta be a reason why just one North American city, Vancouver landed on the list of "The 20 most livable cities on earth&quot

Vancouver has it all, with a 'foreignness' you can understand (even at age 10, and often 5 too).

Not only that, but on the chance that one of Seattle's two-ish snowy periods (of anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days each) per winter happens at that point on the calendar, you wouldn't want to be committed to flying here needlessly.

Vancouver is awesome... see if you can stomach the cost of Grousse Mountain for an amazing view... then tour the downtown area of a city that somehow has NORMAL people walking the streets all night long. By day there is Stanley Park and the Vanc. Aquarium, along with Chinatown. The path between Vancouver and Whistler can be amazing for views and things... but gloomy, grey weather might render that less than spectacular.

Anyway, don't even think twice about flying into Vancouver!

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Old Sep 11th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Ditto Vancouver but wtih an additional reason. The border crossing is getting brutal. They are doing construction and lanes will be constricted, adding possibly hours to the crossing time. Don't waste your time.

In Vancouver, check out the Acquarium and other sights in Stanley Park. Also, enjoy the Science Museum and Planetarium with the kids. Granville Island is fun and has a great market that is open year round. Others can chime in on other kid things to do.

I'd skip Grouse Mt. as you'll be at Whistler anyways. And Chinatown is in a marginal area. There are some fun areas to hang out in, including Yaletown, though I'm not sure the kids would like that. If you can drag them to the Vancouver Art Museum, there may be some good exhibits there.

I'll be interested in reading others' posts in response to yours. February is not the best time for weather for Vancouver or Seattle, so most of the things you will want to do are indoors.
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Old Sep 12th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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I've never been to Seattle, but can comment on Vancouver, and say, I think there are tons of fun things for your kids to do in the Vancouver area. From suspension bridges to cable cars to beaches to the Museum of Anthropology (terrific look at Pacific Northwest First Nations culture) to temperate rain forest to Science World to Stanley Park, your daughters will not be bored and nor will you (and nor was I). The predominating Asian influence there (last I read, 25% of the population) also gives the city a different feel than most North American cities. From the East Coast, I truly felt like I was in a "Gateway to Asia" (curiously more than even SF) if you will in Vancouver. A great city, you'll wish you'd spent more than a night or two; I spent four full days and was sad to leave.
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Old Sep 12th, 2007, 05:17 PM
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Thanks guys for all the help and suggestions. We have booked our flights to Vancouver and look forward to sightseeing and then skiing Whistler!
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Old Sep 12th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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For suspension bridges, go to the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver (as opposed to the $30 per person rip off called Capilano).

Stanley Park is a must. 1000 acres of parkland with beaches and temperate rainforest (and gardens, and a small petting zoo, and a miniature train ride, etc).

As long as you're not expecting a massive Sea World, the Vancouver Aquarium is great. (I state this because the only people disappointed were those who have San Diego expectations).

Science World for hands on science exhibits, the entire place is aimed at kids.

The Planetarium aka: the MacMillan Space Centre - has hands on activities for kids in addition to its show under the dome.

Chinatown I doubt would be interesting for kids, and definitely not a good idea to be in the evening. However, I loved Chinatown as a kid because I loved the paper kites and the different paper toys... so who's to say.

Granville Island has Kids Only Market which, as a kid, was my favourite place. Lots of unique shops and markets located in dozens of different buildings, all within a contained walkable area. A must see while in Vancouver.

This is only the beginning of course, but I'd argue that Vancouver is by far more family-friendly than Seattle.

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Old Sep 17th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Carmanah - you can't argue unless you can find someone to argue against your position!! (LOL - and I live in Seattle)

Kids at ages 5 and 10 are at various great stages of opening their eyes to the rest of society. Just the curiosity in their heads as they stand at the gas station in front of the candy counter in Canada is hard to duplicate. All of these new-seeming candy names in various packages, along with familiar names in weird-seeming wrappers. Can't beat it - and dad might be able to get out of there for a $5 bill (***gas, unfortunately not included!!).

And as for Chinatown in Vancouver... to go there and walk around on a Saturday afternoon amid the hustle and bustle of shopping by the locals, is an experience you just can't simulate for kids of 5 and 10 in most North American cities.

No, don't go there after dark... and don't spend too much time dawdling in some adjacent areas... but Chinatown itself will be perfectly harmless.

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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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.......rather than going to the downtown Chinatown you might enjoy taking the kids to Richmond and gong to
the Chinese malls on #3 Road. Following the mall trolling it would be
v. interesting to visit the huge and
lavish Bhuddist temple in Steveston.
It's a very fascinating cultural experience for non-Asians and the people there are v. welcoming. I would
think kids would love the wonderful colours and drama of the temple.

The village of Steveston has a museum
relating to the fishing industry that
flourished there for most of the last
century. Steveston also has a v. cool
marina w/a great fish and chip stand
on the dock.

If my info is sketchy it's b/c I'm just
writing from the top of my head (and it's quite hollow, lol!).
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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A great way to get around in Vancouver is via the Granville Island Ferry -, and it would be an adventure for you and your kids. These little ferries run in False Creek (right downtown) and you can get from Yaletown to Granville Island to Science World to the Vancouver Museum. Just an idea.
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