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Have any other great ideas for a day or two for a solo older female in Seattle?

Have any other great ideas for a day or two for a solo older female in Seattle?

Old Apr 11th, 2024, 06:38 AM
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Have any other great ideas for a day or two for a solo older female in Seattle?

In early May I will be attending a week-end family event in Tacoma. Many years ago we visited other locales in the area but didn't make it to Seattle or Tacoma, so Seattle is brand new to me.

I am contemplating adding a night or two in Seattle either before or after the Tacoma week-end. But, frankly, nothing about Seattle is truly jumping out at me making me say to myself that this is a must-do destination city. I am very well-traveled having visited 40 to 50 countries, so maybe I have become jaded.

I am older but have no physical impairments; I can easily roam around a city (something I love to do when it's an interesting place), walking ten miles a day. I love to bike (assuming hills are minimal) and find this a great way to explore a city. I am not at all interested in shopping or bars or coffee shops or nights out on the town. I enjoy interesting architecture, waterfront parks, nature, observing real neighborhoods, nice gardens (but I spent 2 weeks in Japan in November so Japanese gardens aren't all that special for me right now), history, good museums.

I have read a guidebook on Seattle, and thus far this is what I think interests me--a visit to Pike Place Market, taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and maybe the Olympic Sculpture Park. Somewhere I read that staying in the Capitol Hill area rather than downtown is a nice option for someone who likes to just walk and observe a neighborhood with quaint architecture. I know that typically renting a car is a huge hassle when visiting a city, but if it would improve my visit I would rent one (and I am used to driving in a comparable size metro area).

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for me? Thanks much.

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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 06:58 AM
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I recommend you rent a bike and ride the 19-mile Burke-Gilman Trail which is an iconic rail-trail that provides a variety of scenery and viewscapes. https://www.letsgobiking.net/interme...e-gilman-trai/ You might also check out the Washington Park Arboretum which has miles of trails.https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/...park-arboretum
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 07:03 AM
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Alright, so Seattle might not be the most thrilling city for a solo traveler, but it's got its moments. If you enjoy nature, Discovery Park is a must-see. It's a huge park with trails, beaches, cliffs... you name it. Way more interesting than just sticking to the downtown area.

Ballard is another cool neighborhood with a unique history as a Scandinavian fishing village. Explore the historic district, check out the Locks, and maybe enjoy some fish and chips.

With your interests, I'd recommend skipping the car and using public transportation or ride-sharing services. Parking can be a headache, and the city is quite walkable.

Hope this gives you some ideas!
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 08:57 AM
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Thanks much.

So, assuming I don't have a car, which is the best area to stay? How would I get to places like Discovery Park or the bike trail?
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 09:49 AM
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Couple of things...

First, the hills can be minimal or... not. Seattle had cable cars like San Francisco's back when; some of our hills are very comparable to SF's. Between the hills and waterways (lakes, inlets, the Lake Washington Ship Canal) touring by bike can be very rewarding or very tiring, possibly both. I'd also say that early May can still be a rainy time - maybe, maybe not; do you feel lucky?

Because May is now included in the summer cruise season, accommodation prices will be high and going up - bigly. You don't mention budget, but even the likes of Airbnb lodgings can get steep then. Capitol Hill is certainly a good area in which to base but recognize that most of the main city attractions will be a bus ride away (or a fast downhill bike ride and an uphill slog returning.)

Let me pose a couple of alternatives where a couple days' car rental might be useful. Google the places on these maps.

1. Kitsap/Bainbridge loop. Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/VszVxbfeE3XzpjXw5

This loop includes picturesque Port Gamble, reached by ferry from the pleasant suburban town of Edmonds. It then includes Poulsbo, fiercely proud of its Norwegian heritage, and the evocative grave of Chief Seattle, the city's namesake, in the Native American village of Suquamish. You'd then cross the Agate Pass bridge to Bainbridge Island for a visit to the Bloedel Reserve, one of the most highly regarded botanical gardens in the country. Finish with a meal and/or adult beverage overlooking Eagle Harbor, followed by a very scenic ferry ride back to downtown Seattle.

2. Whidbey loop. Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/mkxadFTytrbsC8wn8

This loop includes three very picturesque waterfront villages in La Conner, Coupeville and Langley, as well as two very scenic state parks, Deception Pass and Fort Casey. If interested, it also includes Meerkerk Gardens on Whidbey Island, world reknown for its rhododendron displays. You finish with a short ferry ride back to Mukilteo on the mainland (with its very pretty wee lighthouse) and a drive back to Seattle which passes the Boeing Everett plant, home of the big jets and the biggest building in the world.

3. Tacoma/Vashon loop. Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/w8Kei8czUHtCYRbz7

This includes the (free) Chihuly Bridge of Glass next to the (fee) Museum of Glass in downtown Tacoma, then the marvelous Fort Nisqually "living museum" in Tacoma's wonderful Point Defiance Park. You'd then ride the state ferry to the south end of Vashon Island, the very rural and very beautiful island that sits in Puget Sound between Tacoma and Seattle. Stop at picturesque Burton, then visit the lighthouse and park at Port Robinson, hopefully with drop-dead views of Mount Rainier across the water. Then take the ferry from the north end of Vashon to West Seattle, drive up to Alki Beach with its views of passing ferries, the Olympic mountains, and our own wee Statue of Liberty, and end up at Marination Ma Kai, a very fun Korean/Hawaiian cafe with a fabulous cocktail terrace with superb views of the city skyline.

4. Twin Peaks, Snoqualmie Falls and the Snoqualmie Valley. Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/mLiDw5fpKkAsuFSz5

This is an easy half-day trip that includes Twede's Cafe and the Salish Lodge, both featured prominently in the Twin Peaks TV series from back when. The Salish Lodge overlooks Snoqualmie Falls, which in the spring will be very impressive with runoff from melting mountain snow. There are good views from the top of the falls and from the river below, with a nice (downhill) walk through the woods between the two. Then drive north through the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley to Carnation Farms, home of the Carnation company, then back to Seattle, possibly via the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

Any of these drives would expose you to some of the terrific variety in our local region. All are highly recommended.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 10:25 AM
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Yes, I did just check out Seattle hotel prices. And they are quite a lot of money for not very exciting hotels.

Now I am wondering about skipping Seattle altogether. Gardyloo mentioned Tacoma as a possible alternative. We will be staying in Tacoma at the Silver Cloud Hotel at Point Ruston waterfront area. It's seeming like I could get my dose of waterfront activities right there without even going into Seattle. It's right next too Fort Defiance. And, would I really miss out on a lot if I didn't go to Pike Place market? I have been to many super interesting markets all over the world. Maybe I don't really need to see Seattle, and Tacoma would give me the general feel for the area.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 10:25 AM
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Last year we stayed at the McMenamin's Elk Temple, it's a cool Beaux-Arts building from over 100 years ago. We also did the fascinating LaMay car museum and the Boeing Museum of Flight. In Seattle a few years ago we were based around the Space Needle and enjoyed the amazing Chihuly Gardens, the Museum of Pop Culture, and loved the Toulouse Kitchen & Lounge.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by julies
Yes, And, would I really miss out on a lot if I didn't go to Pike Place market? I have been to many super interesting markets all over the world. Maybe I don't really need to see Seattle, and Tacoma would give me the general feel for the area.
I found Pike Place to be underwhelming. Olympia is only 35 minutes away by car and an enjoyable town.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 02:58 PM
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I can help. I live on Capitol Hill and am a solo female person Honestly I can think of many suggestions for a great trip, but it kinda sounds like you really aren't that interested from your post about being jaded and nothing jumping out at you, etc. and later post you are perhaps over it entirely -haha.

Never really works to talk someone into something in my experience.

OK backing up if you decide to do want to visit, come to my neighborhood. On Capitol Hill look at https://www.sbmansion.com/ or https://www.seattlegaslightinn.com/

For a downtown Seattle hotel look at The Mayflower Park, Hotel Andra, The Warwick, Hotel Max, Inn at the Market, Alexis.

I moved here decades ago from 'back east' to try it out for a year and never left. I absolutely adore Seattle. But it's not for everyone's taste. And I have never thought it particularly shined as a "tourist" city. But it's an awful nice place to live.

suze




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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 03:00 PM
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I *LOVE* the Pike Place Market. It is historic, quirky, interesting, but you need to spend a bit of time there to see the various buildings, levels, etc. Same as The Underground Tour in Pioneer Square historic district.

And no Tacoma has nothing to do with Seattle as far as giving you a feel for anything.

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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 03:03 PM
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Maybe I don't really need to see Seattle, and Tacoma would give me the general feel for the area.

I'm sorry but I just can't think of a less true statement I've read on this forum in ages. The two cities have pretty much nothing to do with each other.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 03:25 PM
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{Olympia is only 35 minutes away by car and an enjoyable town.}

You mean from Tacoma?

Last edited by suze; Apr 11th, 2024 at 03:27 PM.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 04:46 PM
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For me, a relatively recent transplant, Seattle, set in a waterworld, has a distinctive feel with its intersection of farming, arts and crafts, aerospace/technological, university, and indigenous cultures. There’s a creative spirit up here that’s very appealing.
A few of my favorite experiences: Early on my younger son and I enjoyed the Argosy cruise through the Ballard locks, https://www.argosycruises.com/argosy...locks-cruise-2, and last May a day trip to Bainbridge Island. On a clear day the view of Mt Rainier will take your breath away.
There’s a terrific Calder exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum donated by a local philanthropic family that will still be here during your visit, https://calder.site.seattleartmuseum.org. In the nearby Seattle Central Library you peer through its glass skin to the sky and skyscrapers above, https://www.veranda.com/travel/g2840...world/?slide=2, https://www.doublestonesteel.com/blo...library-by-oma.
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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 05:22 PM
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{Pike Place Market, ferry to Bainbridge Island, Olympic Sculpture Park. Somewhere I read that staying in the Capitol Hill area}

If you have only one day, those three things would fill your time. You can get in from the airport on LightRail public transportation or taxi/uber/lyft. Capitol Hill is great but there aren't hotels, you'd have to go the B&B or AirBnB/VRBO route.

If you want to stay another day you could add a few from this list: Seattle Art Museum downtown or Asian SAM on Capitol Hill. Other museums are The Frye, Wing Luke, The Henry. There is the Chihuly Glass Garden, MoPop. The Underground Tour, Waterfall Garden Park, Klondike Museum, Smith Tower are in Pioneer Square Historic District. Sky View Observatory to go up for the view. Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Myrtle Edwards park (waterfront). Argosy Cruise if you didn't take the ferry ride. There are Streetcars, the Monorail, Metro bus, LightRail for transportation. No need to rent a car.

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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by julies
Thanks much.

So, assuming I don't have a car, which is the best area to stay? How would I get to places like Discovery Park or the bike trail?
Seattle has a good public transportation system. See: https://visitseattle.org/visitor-inf...etting-around/
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 08:23 AM
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I am still thinking this through and trying to coordinate timing with the family gathering and flight times.

Now I am wondering about just taking a flight that would get me into SEA at 9:00 am and making a daytrip to downtown. This would give me 8 hours before everyone else comes in at 5pm. I could stash my carry-on suitcase at the airport and take the light rail downtown. I could visit the market and walk around Pioneer Square and maybe the Capitol Hill area; I assume I could just walk to all of these areas without needing an Uber. If the weather is good, I could take the Bainbridge ferry back and forth. Then, the light rail back to the airport where I would pick up my suitcase and meet everyone else who is flying in. I would have a taste of Seattle.

I would then see the Tacoma places over the weekend with family members.

Does this work with my time frame? Doable or dumb? Thanks.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by julies
Does this work with my time frame? Doable or dumb? Thanks.
Completely doable and a decent solution.

I know Suze and others are big proponents of Capitol Hill, but with your timing I'd suggest you start at the Pike Place market, then head down the hill (stairs or elevator) to the central waterfront and take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. You mentioned in your OP that you enjoy strolling around, architecture, museums... so I'd highly recommend visiting the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, reached in a short walk from the ferry terminal. Admission is free, the collections are interesting, and the building's architecture is very interesting. There are plenty of places to browse and nosh along Winslow Way, the village's main drag. Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (biartmuseum.org)

Come back and make your way to Uwajimaya, Seattle's iconic pan-Asian supermarket and department store. Play "name that vegetable" and maybe load up on some cool Japanese snacks for the coming weekend. Uwajimaya is a block from the International District light rail station (thence the airport.)


Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/8Tm6XeNsYWQY5DP7A
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 08:50 AM
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I have always enjoyed an Argosy Cruise. There is a waterfront cruise and its nice to see the city from the water. There is quite a bit of city history provided.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 08:54 AM
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I know Suze and others are big proponents of Capitol Hill,

Not really Gardyloo I only mentioned it here because the OP specifically asked about it and I happen to live here -haha. I think a downtown hotel is much more convenient for a short stay.

Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill would be a VERY LONG walk!!! What you just listed is way too much for only one day between 9am to 5pm.


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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 09:03 AM
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I'll attempt to outline my best timing guesstimates, but using your ideas for the day:

Land, deplane, find place to store luggage, exit airport take LightRail downtown - I'd allow 2 hours right there
Visit the Pike Plae Market - 1 or 2 hours
Walk around Pioneer Square - 2 hours includes a walk there from the Market (it's about one mile)
Capitol Hill area - from Pioneer Square is approx 3 miles and is an UPHILL 1-hour walk
Time on Capitol Hill - 2 hours depending what you want to do
Bainbridge ferry back and forth - 3+ hours (if you do this, do it when you are downtown not from Cap Hill)
LightRail back to the airport - 10 minutes to wait for a train, 40 minutes for the ride, 10 minutes to walk to the terminal - 1+ hour

So I'm seeing more than 12 hours of plans squeezed into an 8 hour time frame suze

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