Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Seattle hotel/rental: Downtown v. other neighborhoods

Seattle hotel/rental: Downtown v. other neighborhoods

Jan 21st, 2011, 11:55 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Seattle hotel/rental: Downtown v. other neighborhoods

DH and I are going to Seattle the first weekend in May for a wedding on Whidbey Island. It will be our first time in the area, and we would like to stay in Seattle. We arrive on Thurs., leave on Tues. I have been scouring vrbo.com for cheap rentals and have found several promising ones for $100/nt or less. We don't plan to be involved in "nightlife," as far as bars, clubs, etc.; we would rather stay somewhere it will be quiet and peaceful (relatively) at night. We would rather not have to rent a car the entire time we are there (but we are open to it, esp for getting out to the ferry for the wedding, and for daytrips to ONP & Victoria, maybe). So, if I don't want to rent a car, do we need to stay in downtown? Or could we branch out to a different neighborhood?

I have found a rental I like in Ballard. It looks like such a neat community, with its own unique personality. I understand from the owner that we can take a bus into downtown area, that will take about 20-30 min to get into town. I think I'm ok with that, but not having been there before, what do you experienced people think?

Another one I've found says it's in the Wallingford/Fremont area. Fremont's eclectic vibe appeals to me. (Can you tell I'm interested in local character? I really don't want to eat or shop at a single chain place while I'm there.) Yet another is in a "quiet neighborhood in Capitol Hill," and another in Ravenna. I would appreciate any advice on this.

We also considered booking a couple nights in Langley (on Whidbey) at a little house on the beach, but didn't know if we would be unhappy being so far removed from the attractions of the city, since we only have a few days all in all.
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 12:06 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,369
Ballard is a wonderful residential area, with lots of it's own fun restaurants and shops. I wouldn't normally recommend it for a tourist, but sounds like this is what you are looking for. Wallingford/Fremont is fine and a little bit closer in than Ballard. Ravenna is beautiful but a bit more inconvenient still, with not as many bus routes and a further distance to downtown.

Do you have an address on Capitol Hill? That's the closest neighborhood to downtown (depending exactly where it's no more than 1-2 miles so walkable to downtown or a short bus ride).

I think you need a car for your Whidbey part of the trip, but not for the Seattle part as long as you are willing to use Metro bus to get around.

best, suze
suze is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 12:14 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Thanks suze. I really want to stay in Ballard; just wanted someone to tell me it was do-able and not crazy-far.

I knew someone would ask the address for the CH rental; no, I don't have an address. Here's what I do have: "A 10 mn walk for shopping on the 15th or Broadway or even the Asian Museum on Capitol Hill, a 10 mn drive to get to the center (downtown, farmers market...) or Space needle (SciFi Museum & Music Experience)... " That comes from one of the reviews of this place, which incidentally are all good and say pretty much the same thing: quiet neighborhood and walking distance to downtown stuff.

I guess I need to look into renting a car on Whidbey. Thanks for that.
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 12:21 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,369
I'm asking about Capitol Hill because that's where I live. I'm just off 15th and can walk to Broadway in 7 mins. I'm a few blocks from Volunteer Park (where the Asian Art Museum is located).

The thing about Ballard is, well think of it like a peninsula, it's not really "on the way" to anywhere. You first have to get ON/OFFF Ballard, then to downtown, or whereever. That said, as long as you're OK using Metro to get around, I think it's an OK idea.

Yes absolutely you need a car to make Whidbey Island practical. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
suze is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 05:41 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,519
all these neighborhoods are great. Ballard has a Scandinavian/urban funk vibe. Ravenna is a bit residential, but has good bus service to downtown: ##71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79. Capitol Hill is the closest to downtown. Fremont is very funky. the exact addresses would make a difference.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 06:18 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
OK, I'm looking into exact addresses. Thanks for the info!
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:30 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
I live in Langley. There is a free bus service on the island, but just on the main routes. Where is the cabin located ... walkable to Langley? You'd love the town: a great coffee shop, art galleries, restos, cool old movie theater and it's right on the water. Should be beautiful in May with all the flowers in bloom. Plus there is one cab company or you can rent scooters in Langley. I write a blog about the island, you can get a feel for Whidbey here: http://blog.seattlepi.com/whidbey. Have fun!
suefrause is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:32 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Thanks Sue! I will def look at your blog. The Langley house is actually 4 mi north of Langley, on Bells Beach, it says. Maybe if we did this, we could look into the scooter rental thing; that sounds fun. Seems like in another thread I read that one of the side trips from Seattle lent itself to coming back via Whidbey Island. Any thoughts on combining a day trip somewhere with coming back to stay in this place near Langley?
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:32 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Thanks Sue! I will def look at your blog. The Langley house is actually 4 mi north of Langley, on Bells Beach, it says. Maybe if we did this, we could look into the scooter rental thing; that sounds fun. Seems like in another thread I read that one of the side trips from Seattle lent itself to coming back via Whidbey Island. Any thoughts on combining a day trip somewhere with coming back to stay in this place near Langley?
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:33 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Sorry, my computer did something weird and posted my reply twice!
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:17 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 10
You will want to go to Pike Street Market, right in downtown Seattle. If you want a wonderful salmon chowder, go to Emmett Watson's in the Market. I like to stay at the Paramont Hotel because you can walk to everything. Sometimes they have great deals.Is there more to the name of Emmett's place? You can nosh your way through the market--love it!
auni42 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 05:56 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Thanks auni, sounds great. I'm sure we'd love the Paramount, but I don't think we can afford it, even with a special. Pretty sure we're going to stay in Ballard at this point. Will probably make my reservation tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be haunting other Seattle threads for more advice for months to come! Thanks again to all.
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 05:59 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,369
"Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar" is the official name, and it's GREAT! One of the hidden gems in the Pike Place Market.
suze is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 04:37 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,456
While I know all these neighborhoods, and generally assure that each has pretty good bus service on what is a very good bus system relative to most towns Seattle's size, I still think that to stay in the center of the city (for a first visit) is most ideal.

You could easily reach each of these neighborhoods from downtown, and you could use PRICELINE.COM to get competitive rates for downtown 4-star hotels.

If indeed you opt to stick with Ballard or another outlying community, you'll manage OK. When it comes time to go to Whidbey, maybe rent your car on Friday (after a bus trip into mid-town from Ballard)... then drive to Ballard to pick-up your belongings from your hotel, and drive off to Whidbey for the Saturday wedding.

The reasonable proximity between hotel and major car rental agencies is another plus for staying downtown.

Seattle has so much to see in the downtown area that the local communities are perhaps best saved for a second visit someday.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 11:56 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Thanks for the advice, esp on the logistics of getting to Whidbey, NWMale. I really do see your point; having traveled a lot in Europe, that's the philosophy I've lived by. However I've just stumbled across a place in Ballard that was recommended to me by a friend that's going to cost $45/night! I've already read good reviews of the place, and it's a block from a bus stop for downtown Seattle. For this price, I think we're going to just do it, and deal with the transit into the city. Not sure yet whether we're going to spend a night on Whidbey or not; we may just head out there for the day of the wedding and return at night. (Still not sure if wedding is afternoon or evening; that'd be helpful for planning!)
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 12:09 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,369
I think it's fine to stay in Ballard. It's a fun area! Hotels in downtown Seattle are very expensive. From my perspective you'll get a much better impression of the city staying in one of the residential neighborhoods with its own personality, rather than in the impersonal downtown business core.
suze is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 01:28 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,125
Well I live in Ravenna so I'm partial.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 25th, 2011, 02:55 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 104
I think you'd love Ballard. Its Scandanavian fishing roots are getting a bit dated but still very much alive. Be sure to visit the Hiram M Chittenden Locks to watch everything from small pleasure boats to huge tugs navigate between Puget Sound (saltwater) and Salmon Bay (freshwater). The park surrounding the locks is full of exotic plants and flowers. Nice fish ladder to watch salmon too. Enjoy a seafood lunch or dinner at Ray's Boathouse along Shilshole Avenue. It's a Seattle seafood institution. The Scandanavian Bakery at 85th and 15th is worth a special trip too. City buses go by all these places.
roundthebend is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 05:20 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 186
Great. I'm feeling good about the reservation! Thanks for the Ballard ideas, roundthebend. So is Ray's worth the splurge? Looks to be expensive. We will def hit up the Scandinavian bakery; we're all about European-type pastries. I still can't believe I found this B&B for $45/night. I get inordinately excited about cheap lodgings with good reviews!
saraallison11 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 06:07 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,369
You could always just stop into Ray's for a drink and the view, or lunch, or some food in the bar, instead of a full dinner in the dining room.
suze is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:43 PM.