father daughter trip to Seattle in mid-March

Old Feb 19th, 2020, 04:02 PM
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father daughter trip to Seattle in mid-March

My 18 year old and I are going to be in Seattle for 2 days and travel up to Vancouver for 2 days. I have read some ideas for Seattle but still have questions/looking for suggestions? Looking to keep us busy but exploring the city by foot is not off the table, weather permitting.

I have been and found Seattle to be great walking city to explore. Thinking about Chihuly gardens, Pike Place (food tour deal?), and some of the other main attractions. Maybe Museum of Pop. Can we drive to Rainer this time of year? Not sure if I will want need car until drive to Vancouver. As you can see nothing is set in stone, so looking for guidance.

Also suggestion on downtown hotel that would be around $150-$200.

Also, any moderately priced sushi places to try (or other restaurants). I tried a sushi place at U of W that looked like a former short order diner a concierge suggested. It was excellent and cheap. Cannot recall name.

Finally, I am going to ask in Canada forum but is whale watching worth it (seems a bit early except for orcas?). And how long wait in customs typically.

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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 04:34 PM
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Yes, a food tour in Pike Place Market is an excellent idea. Savour Seattle does a great job. We took my mom when she came to visit and we all loved it.

Mt Rainier is not accessible right now and may not be before you arrive. There was a big slide in Ashford, just before the entrance, and it is still closed and they are hoping to have it open by the end of March, but that might be optimistic. Besides, with a rental car you need to have chains (they will check) and chains are not allowed on rentals. You may not need the chains, but they are required to enter the gate.

The Mayflower Park Hotel is excellent and is in your price range for March. Ask for a room with two bathrooms and your daughter can have her own

Take a look at the Argosy Cruises. The locks cruise is really good, better than the harbor cruise, IMO.

I don't do sushi so can't help with that.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 04:46 PM
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If you can't drive out to Mt. Rainier NP due to snow, try driving out to Olympic NP. Olympic NP is mostly a rain forest that rarely gets snow.
For the trip to Vancouver I suggest either the morning train or one of several Amtrak buses from King St. station. King St. station is at the south end of Seattle not far from CenturyLink stadium where the Seahawks play.
If you are looking for lodging in Seattle under $100, there is a HI hostel east of the train station (Former American Hotel).
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 06:27 PM
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Another vote for the Argosy Cruise Line- there are several tours -we did the city tour and we did the Tillicum Village Tour- enjoyed both. If you have never done any ferry travel- you could take a ferry over to Bainbridge Island or drive up to Edmonds and take a ferry to Kingston for lunch. I think the Seattle Underground Tour is pretty interesting.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 05:49 AM
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Looks like your first post; welcome to Fodor's!

Two days in mid-March isn't a lot of time, and as you might surmise, the weather can be iffy. Visiting Mount Rainier requires you carry tire chains, which rental car companies don't allow, and to be frank, the chances of everything being socked in are too high anyway. And the nearest point in Olympic National Park is roughly four hours from Seattle, so not a very good use of your time.

There's plenty to see and do in central Seattle - Pike Place, Seattle Center, a couple of fun museums, harbor or locks cruises (or just an excursion to Bainbridge Island on the state ferry.) If you want to rent a car for a day (say because the weather's uncooperative) you could use it to visit some sights or neighborhoods that are inconvenient by public transport. For example, Fishermen's Terminal, located on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, is a fascinating place to walk around, have a good meal at a couple of terrific restaurants overlooking the Seattle (and a big part of the Alaska) fishing fleet. The Ballard Locks are nearby, also worth a walk-around. Or if you wanted a fairly thrilling glimpse of nature hereabouts, Snoqualmie Falls (roughly 45 minutes from downtown) is usually spectacular - sometimes to the point of scary - in the late winter or early spring, and would provide a fascinating outing for half a day.

I also think the Mayflower is a good downtown choice, but most hotels will fall into your price range (their prices will become lunar once the Alaska cruise season starts.) One advantage of the Mayflower is that it's steps from the Westlake light rail station, with service to the airport in one direction and the University of Washington (lovely in the spring - IF it's springlike) in the other.

Here's a map showing a few local destinations you might consider for outings. https://goo.gl/maps/MSXraCyVK9xE7Q3h8

Here's a list of good sushi places. I can attest to a couple of them, but they're all pretty good. https://seattle.eater.com/maps/best-...urants-seattle

It sounds like you might be considering driving to Vancouver rather than taking a bus or the train, and in mid-March I would highly endorse this, because it would give you the chance to turn this otherwise-boring trip into one that's pretty spectacular. By mid-March the daffodils will be in bloom in the Skagit Valley, roughly an hour north of Seattle, and the migratory snow geese, which spend the winter on the valley floor, will also still be around. This can make for a terrific day of car touring, even better if you get a day when you can see Mount Baker looming over everything.





Here's a map - google the places on it. https://goo.gl/maps/8fmfrsm2JfSM7Vnw8

Again, welcome to Fodor's!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lessworkmoretravel View Post
My 18 year old and I are going to be in Seattle for 2 days and travel up to Vancouver for 2 days. I have read some ideas for Seattle but still have questions/looking for suggestions? Looking to keep us busy but exploring the city by foot is not off the table, weather permitting.

I have been and found Seattle to be great walking city to explore. Thinking about Chihuly gardens, Pike Place (food tour deal?), and some of the other main attractions. Maybe Museum of Pop. Can we drive to Rainer this time of year? Not sure if I will want need car until drive to Vancouver. As you can see nothing is set in stone, so looking for guidance.

Also suggestion on downtown hotel that would be around $150-$200.

Also, any moderately priced sushi places to try (or other restaurants). I tried a sushi place at U of W that looked like a former short order diner a concierge suggested. It was excellent and cheap. Cannot recall name.

Finally, I am going to ask in Canada forum but is whale watching worth it (seems a bit early except for orcas?). And how long wait in customs typically.

With TWO days in each spot, you really don't need to do anything other than roam around on foot or by bus, without a car.

With that said, you could almost opt for the train from Seattle to Vancouver.

Where IF there was more time, you'd have options for side-trips/ scenic routes... that are counterproductive in this scenario.


Lodging costs are such that, even if you DO rent a vehicle, tiz best to wait and do so in downtown Seattle, late on your last of the 2 days there. (parking costs at hotels add a chunk)

Vancouver is so compact, with water on three sides, that there is plenty to see and do on foot... certainly enough to last two days worth.

The specifics of your arrival and departure would better determine whether and when to rent your vehicle.

It may be travel cost-effective to rent the car late on one evening and depart AFTER Seattle's paralyzing rush hour... to the north... and heck, if you have the stamina for it... getting into Canada before stopping for the night.

You just don't want to spend any significant part of four days delayed for any reason.

The border crossing coming back into the USA can take forever (ROUGHLY an hour on the two main BC-TO-Washington State crossings right now, at 2:30pm on a random Saturday in the middle of winter).

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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 02:06 PM
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"Olympic NP is mostly a rain forest that rarely gets snow."

Tomfuller. there are no trains in or even close to ONP....maybe that is why you have it so wrong. ONP is HUGE and, taken as a whole, is mountainous. There are two rain forests...the Hoh and the Lake Quinault...and they form a tiny percentage of the total acreage of the park. You are correct in that the areas of ONP served by US-101, the only highway, are at or close to sea level and get little to no snow. Snow enthusiasts drive 45 minutes up from Port Angeles to visit Hurricane Ridge and play in the snow....but that is about it for snow that is accessible to visitors without back-country permits.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 06:35 AM
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Thank y'all very much. Exactly why I posted. Yes, this is my first post, but I used to lurk when I was travelling a lot for business. Always found Foders to be the most reliable and helpful site... and insight in this thread confirms (like the rental car may be more trouble than worth). Solid info.
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Old Mar 5th, 2020, 03:57 PM
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Any locals want to provide me with an update. Concerned everything we want to see is shutting down in Seattle and I want to revisit plans (Of course a earful of folks telling me to cancel trip). I hope everyone is doing okay under the circumstances.
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Old Mar 5th, 2020, 04:05 PM
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It's growing fast, by the day. So if you come, expect some places to be pretty quiet or closed. I was out with a friend today in our suburb on the east side and it was dead. We were both commenting how different it was from any other normal time. Several large companies in Seattle have asked workers to work from home. Our daughters company first banned all travel and in person meetings, and then went straight to work from home. Our sons company is supposed to be making an announcement along the same lines today or tomorrow. So it is a big deal here. If this were my trip, I would cancel.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 12:05 AM
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I was at Southcenter mall today. It wasn't all that quiet. I did, however, attend a hotel convention that was much slower than usual. I-5 Traffic seemed pretty normal for a weekend. Maybe faster than normal, but itís hard to tell.

I think experience depends on your demographic, location, etc. if, say, you run a coffee shop near Amazon or UW, your business will be hit hard, and you could very well come away with an impression that itís very different. I donít have any family or friends working for the big tech companies. my perspective is solely based on what I see or hear. Most of what Iíve heard is about school closures or event cancellations.

I will say I think thereís a sort of unease permeating the area. Lots of cleaning, stores sold out of masks, signs reminding you to wash your hands. Lots of hand sanitizer.

all that said, I honestly donít think itís going to impact your experience as tourists much at all. If anything, itíll be good for you. People will be glad to see you. Discounts, better hotel rates, lower crowds than usual, etc.

Caveat: a lot of community stuff has been shut down. So, for example, if you had your heart set on attending a festival or concert or something, I wouldnít count on it. Also, if you are in some way health compromised, I wouldnít travel. Not just to Seattleóanywhere.


Last edited by marvelousmouse; Mar 9th, 2020 at 12:15 AM.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 05:29 AM
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marvelopusmouse--We were at Alderwood Mall yesterday and the parking lot was packed. That really surprised us! Thankfully the two stores we went to are on the outside, so we never stepped foot inside the mall. REI was bustling, but that was mostly because people were shopping with their dividends that were just issued. The Apple Store was dead though. They had way more employees than customers. We too saw hand sanitizer everywhere, where it normally is not. Traffic was definite light for this area though.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
I think experience depends on your demographic, location, etc. if, say, you run a coffee shop near Amazon or UW, your business will be hit hard, and you could very well come away with an impression that itís very different.
We had breakfast at Voula's yesterday and Voula told me there was only a slight falloff in customers despite the UW halting on-campus classes. The place certainly was full. The cook said he's been trying to get more Purell to have at the tables or at the entrance, but the town is completely out of supplies. https://voulasoffshore.com/
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 07:22 AM
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Traffic felt light to me too, and fast, but people naturally made up for it by being insane. So it wasnít an ďeasyĒ drive, which Iíd been hoping for!

Thatís funny about the apple store! The one at Southcenter wasnít crowded, but the kids playground was packed. Struck me as odd, as I know what Iíd cut if Iíd had kids. Iíd planned to stop at alder wood and the premium outlets, but when I saw the parking lots, I decided no. Southcenter was enough for me. I just donít like malls.

Might have to try Voulaís. It looks interesting!
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 08:19 AM
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MmóI hate malls too. At Alderwood I only go to the stores that are outside and 99% of the time avoid weekends. Thankful people were driving nicely yesterday
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 10:55 AM
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Reporting from right in Seattle: Things are open, traffic is less than usual, and I even see on-street parking available here and there. If things continue as is, this would be a fine time to visit. It sounds like things on the Eastside are more impacted than things right in Seattle.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 08:46 PM
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So far, there is zero reason to listen to the alarmists.

As of 9pm Monday night Seattle time, there have been a total of 28 deaths from coronavirus in all of 'The Americas' from Tierra del Fuego to the top of Greenland.

20 of those at one nursing home.

There are more than a billion people in The Americas.


Seattle daily life is almost normal... and today I even saw a man at Safeway carrying toilet tissue around the store (assuring it was there to be found in stock).


Of course you should monitor the trajectory of the virus as/IF it spreads in North America while your trip approaches.

But there is zero reason to alter plans as of March 9.



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Old Mar 12th, 2020, 07:34 PM
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I thought Iíd update thisó as of March 12th, SAM locations, MoPop, aquarium, all closed. Pacific Science Center, closed. All libraries and community centers closed. Museum of Flight as well.

check the Stranger for a running list but Iíd assume more is to come. And if anyone has theater/ballet tickets before April, check those as wellóthose cancellations and postponements are too numerous to list.

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Old Mar 12th, 2020, 07:45 PM
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"So far, there is zero reason to listen to the alarmists"

Care to modify that???
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Old Mar 12th, 2020, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
"So far, there is zero reason to listen to the alarmists"

Care to modify that???
howís California, Janisj? Thatís where you are, right? I heard DL was closing for only the 4th time, which is pretty incredible.
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