Suze and others for Seattle

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Nov 30th, 2018, 12:38 PM
  #1
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Suze and others for Seattle

We are sailing on the Bliss next summer with our family for our 50th anniversary celebration. We have been to Seattle before, but the rest of our family has not.

Arriving noonish on July 4th. Staying at the Mayflower Park Hotel. Not sure about the rest of the family, as they are planning slackers (compared to me!!).

What I have in mind: The Market, of course, Space Needle, Chihuly, Dimitreaus Jazz Alley, (Thanks, Debit), maybe Boeing tours for the guys. Have seen a tour to The Snoqualmie Falls and a winery.

We will not have a car.

Questions: Where to see fireworks from downtown. Suggestions for kids (12,10,7, girls), The whole family does not have to do excursions or sightseeing together.

Is there a place for the 10 of us to have dinner day prior to boarding (Saturday night)? Seafood not the best choice for kids and 2 of the adults. We would eat early.

I feel the pressure of planning the trip for this herd of cats, even though it is MY celebration!!
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Nov 30th, 2018, 12:52 PM
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The Underground Seattle tour was fun, very interesting. And in Doc Maynard's, they were making really good bloody marys.

UNDERGROUND TOUR - A Tour of Seattle's Under Ground
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Nov 30th, 2018, 01:13 PM
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You did good on the Mayflower Park Hotel😊 The rest of your family really should book ASAP as rates go through the roof during cruise season here.

The Boeing tour is excellent but they would also most likely enjoy the Museum of Flight as well.

IME the best thing for all ages is an Argosy Cruise, especially the Tillicum Excursion. This was the standard 4th grade field trip for WA state history when our kids were young, but they still enjoy it even in their mid 20ís now, to give you an idea.

Snoqualmie falls is nice, but is not that impressive in the summer IME. What about a day at Mt Rainier?
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Nov 30th, 2018, 01:13 PM
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For the fireworks head to gasworks park.

You might consider renting kayaks or doing a tour with them. Lots of fun!

Also the Savour Seattle food tours are excellent.
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Nov 30th, 2018, 05:12 PM
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MMS: we stayed at Mayflower Park last time. I could spend an Hour in the bar watching the crowd pass by. The rooms are so spacious.
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Nov 30th, 2018, 07:45 PM
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Iíd add the pop culture museum. Maybe the Wing Luke as well, if you have an interest in Chinatown. My younger cousins all liked the bookstore inside Uwajimayas. It has a lot of cute stuff. Ballard/Fremont neighborhoods are fun as well.


I agree about kayaks and Rainier.

Food wise, I love Lola. I also like Whale Wins, which is, despite name, not a seafood restaurant. Or pink door. Or place pigalle. Although if youíre thinking Dinner, it would depend on your comfort level.

Enjoy your cruise! Thatís so exciting!
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Dec 1st, 2018, 09:09 AM
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Seattle Duck Tour can be fun for a group...it departs near the pop museum...
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Dec 1st, 2018, 09:15 AM
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marvelousmouse--I agree, Fremont and Ballard are great! The Ballard locks are a sure see, IMO. The locks cruise with Argosy is also great (not a fan of the lake union cruise).

Gary--I am not a fan of the Duck tour. When our kids were young, even they were not thrilled with it, but then in light of the major accidents they have had here in recent years, I just cannot recommend them.
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Dec 1st, 2018, 11:04 AM
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Let’s deconstruct this a little.

Thurs. July 4. The fireworks are over the north end of Lake Union, and start around 10:30 pm. Don’t know if you’re coming from another time zone, but might be worth considering. The best way for you to see them from the Mayflower is to walk a block to the Westlake terminus of the South Lake Union Streetcar - https://seattlestreetcar.org/how-to-...ke-union-line/ - and take it through the Amazon (office) jungle to Lake Union Park at the south end of the lake, from which you’ll have a good view of the show. OR, if you’re okay with the expense, you can take an Argosy Cruise boat into the lake; they’ll anchor right below the fireworks (which are shot off from a barge in the lake near Gas Works Park) for a spectacular view. The 4th of July cruises aren’t yet listed on Argosy’s website - https://www.argosycruises.com/ - but they’ll show up sometime during the spring. It’s a fabulous show, well worth the money. Book early as they sell out quickly.

Fri. July 5. If you want to do the Space Needle/Chihuly thing, this is the day. However I personally find the Space Needle to be seriously overpriced, and of course you can’t see the Space Needle when you’re IN the Space Needle. Seattle has a ton of terrific free viewpoints, and I’d give strong consideration to taking the many dollars you’d use for the Space Needle and using them for Ubers or cabs (or buses if willing) to see other (much less crowded) things and activities.

Such as: Head to the ferry terminal at the foot of Marion Street and take the West Seattle Water Taxi over to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. This is a very scenic 15 min. ride across Elliott Bay, and the views from the pier are fabulous. There’s a terrific little cafť/bar on the dock, Marination Ma Kai, offering great Hawaiian/Korean fusion food (Kalbi tacos, Loco Moco, etc.) as well as great drinks served on their waterfront patio with the same view. From the pier you can walk, rent bikes, or take a free shuttle bus around Duwamish Head to Alki Beach, with our own wee Statue of Liberty, views of passing ferries and the Olympic mountains, and numerous other cafes and bars.







Or head north from downtown to Fishermen’s Terminal, the home of the Seattle and much of the Alaska fishing fleet (including the big Alaska crab boats.) There are a couple of good restaurants/cafes/pubs right in the main building, and you can walk off the carbs along the piers and finger floats. It’s a VERY “Seattle” thing, not well known to out-of-town visitors.



Close to Fishermen’s Terminal are the Ballard Locks, where you might be able to see migrating salmon through underwater windows as they make their way toward their spawning grounds on various rivers feeding Lake Washington.

The Boeing factory tour is 25 miles or so north of Seattle and will require a full half-day tour if you don’t want to rent a car. It’s also a bit pricey, and on a holiday weekend things will be fairly quiet, but it IS the biggest building in the world and it’s pretty awesome. However, for the aviation buffs I’d recommend the Museum of Flight instead - Home | The Museum of Flight . This is a couple of miles south of downtown and is easily reached by bus or Uber. It’s not as good as the Smithsonian in Washington, but it’s damn good, and well worth a couple of hours. Good little cafť (and fabulous gift shop) on site, too.

Saturday, July 6. You said you didn’t want to rent a car, but if at all possible I’d consider getting one for Saturday. There are several rental offices (Avis, National, Alamo, Enterprise) within a block or two of the Mayflower, so you wouldn’t have to pay for parking overnight.

What I’d do with the car is head over to Vashon Island, a large and very rural island reached by ferry from West Seattle in the north, and from Tacoma at the south end. Vashon feels like another world – farm stands, a couple of tiny towns, and some terrific beaches with views of the mountains. It’s like a crash course in Puget Sound geography and well worth the effort. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/b9EmyJtndXN2

Point Robinson lighthouse, Vashon



Mt. Rainier from Vashon



At the south end of the island the ferry will take you to the Ruston district of Tacoma. From there it’s a short (and quite scenic) ride along Commencement Bay to downtown Tacoma and the Museum of Glass and (free) Chihuly Bridge of Glass. https://www.museumofglass.org/ If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for the Chihuly Ego Garden at Seattle Center, the MoG is a fascinating alternative, and the bridge (free) is terrific. Just a thought.



Then head back to town (45 min. on I-5) and lose the car. For your dinner, assuming the rest of your party is also staying downtown, I’d pick someplace in the Pike Place market area, such as the Athenian Inn (famous from Sleepless in Seattle) which has a menu with plenty of non-seafood dishes for those that don’t want them. Seafood Restaurant | Seattle, WA Or (book way ahead) you could go to the Pink Door (Italian) which has a nice outdoor patio overlooking the market. https://www.thepinkdoor.net/ With 10 you really need to book in advance. If you don’t mind a taxi or Uber, another option is Ivar’s Salmon House on the north end of Lake Union, which also has non-fish items on the menu, as well as spectacular views back toward the city. https://www.ivars.com/locations/salmon-house

Sunday, July 7. I’d visit the Pike Place market as early in the morning as you can manage. Have breakfast at the Athenian or at Lowells - Lowell's Restaurant Seattle | Almost Classy Since 1957 - then wander around the market, but try to be gone by 10:00 or 10:30, after which the market becomes insanely crowded. Buy some flowers for your cabin on the boat, then beat it back to the hotel and get ready to go to Pier 66. Note the Norwegian Bliss is humongous, so I wouldn’t get there too early as they’ll probably have just gotten rid of the arriving passengers and the congestion will still be a factor, complicated (probably) by some congestion along the central waterfront following the closure and demolition of the elevated freeway that’s currently there (replaced by a tunnel.) Again, I’d use an Uber to the pier (or if there’s a big group, book a van way, way in advance.) It’s just a short distance from the hotel, but I wouldn’t walk it as it’s a fair hike on crowded city streets.

Hope this makes some sense. Happy anniversary!

Last edited by Gardyloo; Dec 1st, 2018 at 11:09 AM.
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Dec 1st, 2018, 02:04 PM
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Gardyloo, you are a travel Rock Star. Thank you so much. This why I love Fodors!

Will research all of your suggestions, especially the fireworks from Argosy
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Dec 1st, 2018, 02:06 PM
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Quick check shows Argosy July fireworks cruise is adults only?? Why?? My Granddaughters love fireworks?
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Dec 1st, 2018, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rncheryl View Post
Quick check shows Argosy July fireworks cruise is adults only?? Why?? My Granddaughters love fireworks?
it says 21+, not 18+ so Iím going to assume itís more party boat atmosphere. There are similar things that youíd think would be great for kids at NYE, but are more party vibe than family vibe.

BUT I know for sure there have been family friendly argosy cruises in the past, so it could just be that as gardyloo says weíre too far out to see it posted. You could call argosy, and ask, or just check back.

Last edited by marvelousmouse; Dec 1st, 2018 at 03:18 PM.
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Dec 1st, 2018, 05:08 PM
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Also consider taking the kids through a working pedestrian tunnel. There is one in the downtown area. It was raining and a clerk at a department store clued us in. This article refers to it as the Pacific Passage. My children loved it when they were young.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattles-under-cover-world-these-hidden-passageways-might-save-you-some-time/
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Dec 2nd, 2018, 10:17 AM
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And even if you do skip the Space Needle, I'd highly recommend the Chiluly Museum (which is at the Space Needle park). It's like nothing else I've ever seen:

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Dec 2nd, 2018, 10:27 AM
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Wow you guys are amazing. Don't know how I missed this thread earlier!! And they've done far better than I ever could but let me see what I could add:

https://cutterscrabhouse.com/menu.php?id=Dinner I like Cutter's for a family restaurant. Don't be afraid of the seafood, there's steaks, hamburgers, chicken, pasta, etc. as well. Also a separate kids menu for 12 and under. It's at the north end of the Pike Place Market but right on the water so great views of the working waterfront.

I think the Snoqualmie Falls tour might be fun, if it works with the schedule (doesn't take up too much time). I've only ever done it driving myself. But I've been many times and really enjoy seeing it and the quick hike/walk down. Gift shops and snack bar are nice there too. There's also the more high end dining at the Salish Lodge and Spa there. If anyone needs a fancy massage, that's the place -haha.

The Boeing stuff is so far out of the way, I guess for that I'd say depends how interested the guys are in doing that specifically.

I think the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square historic district is very fun. It's a comic version of Seattle's wacky history. The guides are great. Nearby and free is Waterfall Garden Park (a 3 mins. stop) and the Klondike Museum, which is actually designated a national park with interactive exhibits about the Gold Rush days.
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Dec 3rd, 2018, 05:42 PM
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wow! i think most of these posts are trying to pack way too much in based on your timing. especially without a car. if you are "Arriving noonish on July 4th." that's thursday (i will assume by plane) and if you are" boarding (Saturday night)", this means you will have from approximately 2-3pm on thursday until about 2 hours before your boarding time. i am not familiar with the cruse ship schedules but let's guesstimate that it leaves at 4pm. so if the boarding process takes an hour+- checkin would be 2pm. so all in all less than 48 hours. with this schedule:
-forget Boeing tour and Mt Rainier
-forget Vashon/Tacoma. especially on the day your cruise departs. don't need any boat or weather issues to delay your boarding the ship. and car cost, rental, and return time are a waste for one day.
-Snoqualmie Falls might be doable as a guided daytrip but it will be time consuming
-the Tillicum excursion is a waste of money. for salmon, just pick a recommended restaurant in downtown core(Cutter's would work) and have it at dinner
-exploring the Seattle Center would be possibly worthwhile depending on your interests. the Science Center, MOPOP, and Chihuly are good spots.this can take a good chunk of the day. but avoid the cost of actually going up in the Space Needle
-IMO Underground tour is poor tourist trap
-Woodland Park Zoo is nice and the waterfront Aquarium was recently updated.
-many folks have told me they did enjoy Museum of Flight after our visit. slightly out of the way but not like some of these other suggestions
-the Duck Tour is to be avoided for many reasons
-Chinatown and Uwajimaya are worthwhile if that is of interest
-a run out to Ballard and the Locks is doable and nice in good weather
-so is the Water Taxi over to Alki Point.
-AVOID going into Gasworks to see the fireworks unless you want to return to your hotel pretty damn late. from downtown, finding a place to watch in the South Lake Union area is a much better plan
-unless you can't live without it, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley is overrated
-seems to me, key is pick things in a reasonably close radius to your hotel and the waterfront so as to avoid traffic as much as possible and keep from being delayed accessing your ship.roads and crowds will be excessive those days.
things like getting downtown from the airport, hotel checkin/checkout, eating out, rounding up fellow travelers, waiting for your mode of transportation are all time consuming and need to be accounted for.
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Dec 3rd, 2018, 06:50 PM
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The ship sails Sunday evening.
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Dec 4th, 2018, 11:53 AM
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Ballard and Woodland Park Zoo don't make sense to me if you/they are trying to economize on time. I agree with what you said later in the post about keeping things closer to your hotel/waterfront area.
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Dec 4th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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I think Iíd recommend the underground tour over the water taxi to alki.

your list doesnít make any more sense than what everyone else is saying imo. Itís about priorities, and what they really want to see. I mean, for example, woodland park is nice, and I like zoos, but itís not unique, and I wouldnít waste the time. Whereas Mt Rainier is something that might interest them if they really like hiking or NPs.

(Iím not arguing with your point about sticking close to the waterfront. Iím just saying sometimes a day trip makes more sense according to their interests. Although no car makes day trips more time consuming)

Last edited by marvelousmouse; Dec 4th, 2018 at 03:53 PM.
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Dec 4th, 2018, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
Ballard and Woodland Park Zoo don't make sense to me if you/they are trying to economize on time. I agree with what you said later in the post about keeping things closer to your hotel/waterfront area.
ballard is simple bus/uber from downtown through interbay. and zoo is straight from ballard up market at the top of the hill.then from zoo straight down 99 to downtown. easy peezy and much less time consuming than many of the ideas presented.
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