Seattle and Vancouver with kids

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FB01
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:36 am

Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by FB01 »

Hi,

I will be flying to Seattle and then staying there for 2 days, 3rd day driving to Vancouver and then staying 2 days in Vancouver with 5 and 7 year old kids. 6th day will be driving back to Seattle.

My question, what are things I can do in Seattle (apart from Space Needle) and Vancouver in 2 days.

Also, where should I get the hotel? Should I get it near Airpot in Seattle and in Downtown Vancouver?

Any suggestion would be helpful?

Thanks,
FB
Thanks, | JR
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peterinjapan
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by peterinjapan »

I just had a lovely time in Seattle at a convention. We had great fun walking around the downtown and sampling the cult of coffee that's everywhere.

Things you can do:

a) visit the first Starbucks on Pike Ave

b) visit the "gum wall" (it's gross)

c) find that technology museum and go see Steve Job's personal Apple I

d) Visit the the Starbuck's Roastery, kind of like the Coca Cola Experience but for coffee http://roastery.starbucks.com/
harrychan
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by harrychan »

My wife and I did that exact same trip late last year but w/o our kids. If you will have a car the entire time then I would recommend staying at Bellevue during your stay in Seattle. There may be traffic going into Seattle during rush hours but a late start wouldn't be a problem. I would recommend the Future of Flight Boeing tour. It was an amazing experience watching the planes being built. You can also look up a hike for the family.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
freebeer
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Location: Seattle area USA

Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by freebeer »

I live in Seattle area and love Vancouver and to my taste 2 days in each city is way not enough because you would be spending 1/3 of your vacation driving and may well experience bad traffic / delays at the border. Especially with two young kids who might not enjoy multi-hour car rides I would either skip Seattle and drive right on through from Seatac to VAN (hopefully timing it to avoid rush hours), or even better skip VAN = skip the driving since your trip is only 6 days.

I don't recommend any of peterinjapan's things in Seattle only because your kids are too young to appreciate EMP. I recommend instead Pacific Science Center and the Aquarium. Maybe walk on the ferry to Bainbridge Island (a cheap outing since you only pay one way) and have lunch there (there is also a Kids Museum and a - free -
Art Museum next door so the pro tip is to tag team parents in the Kids Museum while the other enjoys the art museum or, even better, the brew pub also next door or the wine tasting across the street).

There are some hotels with indoor heated pools in Mt. Vernon / Burlington and we've had some nice trips north stopping there. If timing works out you could drive from seatac there in an hour+, then spend the night and the next day an hour+ to Vancouver, and hit Seattle the next visit. Stop for lunch at a brewery or cafe in Bellingham en route to experience Pacific Northwest culture (more canonically than Seattle in many ways - certainly more so than Starbucks Roastery which is about as authentic as Olive Garden). On the way back stop for dim sum at Fishermans Terrace in Richmond BC to experience Hong Kong culture (that suburb of Vancouver is more Asian than some places in Asia!). Little kids love ordering plate by plate from passing servers.
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Silly Wabbit
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by Silly Wabbit »

Because you've only got 2 days, it's hard to fit in some of the wonderful outdoor activities. I'd look to see if there are some good stops at national parks along your route to Vancouver.

I'm in Seattle and when people visit my go to places are..
- pike place market (gum wall, pig, urban garden)
- art museum - close to like place market as well
- sculpture park
- chihuly glass exhibit at Seattle center
- aquarium
- underground tour in pioneer square - ghost themed. Pre-fire city
- Columbia tower - tallest building in Seattle. Observation deck has better views than the space Needle
- stroll around downtown if the city is a new experience. Westlake center, convention center
- the tours on the water are nice. See the city from the water
Topic Author
FB01
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:36 am

Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by FB01 »

Thank so far for the replies.

This is what I am planning based on reading from google. Not sure...if I will be to do with kids but below is the plan

Seattle :
Space Needle/chihuly glass
Ferris Wheel on Seattle Waterfront
First Starbucks on Pike Ave
Pacific Science Center and the Aquarium
Downton

Vancouver:
Lynn Canyon Susp Bridge or Capilano Susp Bridge
Stanley Park
Grouse Mountain
Whistler
Kitsilano Beach

Planning to stay in Vancouver Downtow and still debating where to stay in Seattle after flying in.

People who have been to these cities with kids..would appreciate their suggestion or other pointers.

-FB
Thanks, | JR
donflamenco
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by donflamenco »

For hotels, there is a Comfort Suites right next to Renton Fun Center that could be fun with the kids. The Comfort Suites should have a free shuttle to the airport.

If you don't have a car, take the light rail up into Downtown Seattle. This will save you time sitting in traffic and you won't need to rent a car and try to find parking.

From the lightrail, exit at the westlake station. Go to the top of westlake mall and take the monorail to the Seattle Center. Its a short trip but pretty fun for kids.

At the Seattle Center there is a Seattle Children's Theater that could be a blast for your kids. Though you'd have to check the schedule for shows. The Armory (center of Seattle Center) has been updated with some new restaurants/food court which should be good for lunch with kids.

Pacific Science Center, IMAX, and the Seattle Storm (WNBA) are all things you could do at Seattle Center. Space Needle.

You could also walk to the free Sculpture Park from Seattle Center. Walk up to Dick's for burgers and shake (Seattle's version of cheap burgers, ala In-and-out, but not as good/more greasy.)

I'd also recommend a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island. Its a short ride, but pretty cool if you haven't been on it before. Walking on is doable, since Winslow is walking distance from the ferry terminal. If you have a car, then Bainbridge beaches are pretty fun to explore. There's a new pizza place that got a good write up on Seattle Times. http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-d ... erry-ride/ Someone else has already mentioned the kids museum also near the terminal. Check times on it.

I personally would skip Pike Place with kids. Granville Island in Vancouver is a better version of Pike Place. 8-)
The waterfront (wheel, aquarium) is kind of meh for me. There is also a ton of construction going on there right now. I'd avoid it.

If you want ultra tourist mode, I'd Ride The Duck, which is a bus tour that ends with the bus turning amphibious on Lake Union. It's operating again after one of their vehicles killed some people last year. You can catch this on the street level of Westlake Mall.

Baseball game? If the Mariners are in town.
Woodland Park Zoo!
If your kids can stand a long drive, my absolute favorite drive is up to the top of Whidbey Island. Go to Bowman Bay, walk out to Rosario Head. http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/dece ... -headlands Go south over Deception Pass Bridge (worth a stop and walk over.) Deception Pass State park is nice also. There is great fish&chips at the gas station near the entrance of the main part of the park. After that, drive down Whidbey Island and check out Fort Casey. http://parks.state.wa.us/505/Fort-Casey Continue south and ride the the ferry back to Mukilteo and then go home. That's a long day though. You should be able to buy a day pass for the parks at Deception Pass entrance.
Discovery Park?

Have fun!
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jjunk
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by jjunk »

Another Seattlite here. I'd see the Space Needle but then go to Columbia Tower for views. The Fremont Troll is a fun thing to see and is very Seattle (plus Fremont is my favorite area of the city). Pike Place is a must if you havent been here. The waterfront is nice but I dont think our aquarium is very good so I'd do the Vancouver Aquarium instead, bonus there, your kids will see Chester :happy.

In Vancouver, Granville Market is a cool place to hang out and Stanley Park is incredible (the Aquarium is in the park).
BC_Doc
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by BC_Doc »

For Vancouver, I'd say yes to staying downtown-- not too far from Stanley Park. Walk the Stanley Park sea wall-- you can easily rent bikes too. There's a great playground and outdoor pool at Second Beach. Take your kids to the aquarium (also in Stanley Park). My kids liked the science museum when they were younger (short train ride). +1 to Granville Island suggestion. Water taxis are fun for kids too. Skip Whistler if you only have two days-- it's too much driving. Good luck!
jodydavis
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by jodydavis »

Former Seattlite here, with kids. Lots of good recommendations. For kids, I think especially:

1. Ferry ride to Bainbridge, if weather is nice. Beautiful views of Seattle. Novelty of being on a large ferry. Can also walk along the harbor, maybe ride the big ferris wheel.

2. Aquarium, Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo - all very kid friendly.

3. Space Needle + Chihuly museum.

4. Museum of flight, if the kids like airplanes.

Have fun!
J.D.
Topic Author
FB01
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by FB01 »

BC_Doc wrote:For Vancouver, I'd say yes to staying downtown-- not too far from Stanley Park. Walk the Stanley Park sea wall-- you can easily rent bikes too. There's a great playground and outdoor pool at Second Beach. Take your kids to the aquarium (also in Stanley Park). My kids liked the science museum when they were younger (short train ride). +1 to Granville Island suggestion. Water taxis are fun for kids too. Skip Whistler if you only have two days-- it's too much driving. Good luck!

Thanks BC_Doc for your suggestions.

The water taxis you mentioned are in Granville island? Also, is Grouse Mountain worth it as you said Whistler is too much driving, I will skip it.

I was planning to cover below on 1st day:

Lynn Canyon Susp Bridge or Capilano Susp Bridge
Stanley Park
Grouse Mountain

2nd Day:
Granville island (will skip Whistler)
Kitsilano Beach

Does this look okay? Anything else you recommend or want me to change as I am not sure about distance other logistics?
Thanks, | JR
random_walker_77
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by random_walker_77 »

When are you going? The Ballard locks has a fish ladder with underwater viewing of the salmon returning to spawn. It's also kind of interesting to see how they move boats between the lake and the sound (which are at different heights)

http://www.myballard.com/ballard-locks-seattle/
http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/act ... llard.aspx

I'd also add another vote for the Bainbridge ferry.

One of the big draws is the natural beauty and tall trees. Consider taking a walk at Seward park, or visiting Snoqualmie Falls:
https://mylittlenomads.com/things-to-wi ... ttle-hikes

If you're more into hiking, look into the rainforests of Olympic National Park. There's also the option of visiting Mt Rainier, or Mt St Helens (the one that blew up in the 80's), though all of these are a full day trip after driving.

The shore at Pt Defiance is nice, especially if you time your visit for low tide. The beach is rocky, but kids will probably enjoy investigating tide pools.
texasdiver
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by texasdiver »

Some good suggestions here but some of the museums are probably not going to be too engaging for kids that young. The aquarium, Pike Place Market, ferris wheel, waterfront boat tour, the Ballard Locks, and the Seattle Science Center are all good suggestions. Although the science center is somewhat dated and not up to quite the same level as some of the newer science museums around the country like the Perot Museum in Dallas. Also fun is the Smith Tower which is the oldest skyscraper in Seattle. They have an observation deck and an old fashioned elevator with an elevator operator (at least they did years ago last time I did it). Good cheaper alternative to the Space Needle. http://www.smithtower.com/

My go-to hotel for Seattle is the Silver Cloud hotel on Lake Union. https://www.silvercloud.com/seattlelakeunion/ Good location on South Lake Union within walking distance of downtown and right next to the South Lake Union Trolley that you can take to downtown and the Pike Place Market area. Silver Cloud is a small Seattle-area business class hotel chain and highly recommended. They have several other locations in the Seattle area but Lake Union is my favorite. What makes this hotel better than many other downtown area hotels is that they have free parking in their garage (most downtown hotels will charge $20-30/day for vallet parking) and they also have good free continental breakfast. Most of the downtown hotels have restaurants and room service so they charge for breakfast.
barnaclebob
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by barnaclebob »

Theo chocolate factory tour. Make advanced reservations.
mm100
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by mm100 »

This was the best part of our Seattle trip couple of years ago.

https://crystalmountainresort.com/activ ... r-gondola/

You do not have to stay at the resort; just take the gondola up to the Summit House restaurant and enjoy fabulous Mt. Rainier views while eating.
PNW1
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by PNW1 »

random_walker_77 wrote:When are you going? The Ballard locks has a fish ladder with underwater viewing of the salmon returning to spawn. It's also kind of interesting to see how they move boats between the lake and the sound (which are at different heights)

http://www.myballard.com/ballard-locks-seattle/
http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/act ... llard.aspx

I'd also add another vote for the Bainbridge ferry.

One of the big draws is the natural beauty and tall trees. Consider taking a walk at Seward park, or visiting Snoqualmie Falls:
https://mylittlenomads.com/things-to-wi ... ttle-hikes

If you're more into hiking, look into the rainforests of Olympic National Park. There's also the option of visiting Mt Rainier, or Mt St Helens (the one that blew up in the 80's), though all of these are a full day trip after driving.

The shore at Pt Defiance is nice, especially if you time your visit for low tide. The beach is rocky, but kids will probably enjoy investigating tide pools.
Bingo. I was going to call out the Ballard Locks and the Washington State Ferry System too. They're close to downtown and are things that I take for granted growing up here, but that are relatively unique.

I suppose it depends on what the kids like, but to me these are the kinds of things that really define the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is a nice enough city, but it's just a city. donflamenco also mentioned a longer car trip that includes Fort Casey. The three forts (Casey, Flagler, and Worden) are giant concrete forts built more than a century ago to defend Puget Sound from naval invasion. They're parks now, and I have wonderful memories of running around them as a child. The interiors are somewhat mazelike and pitch black. Bring a flashlight, and maybe some breadcrumbs. ;)

If you happen to drive on I-90 or WA-520 between Bellevue and Seattle, point out that as you cross Lake Washington you're driving across a bridge with no central supports; a literal floating bridge. They are the two longest floating bridges in the world, and you can see them from each other. It's been almost 30 years since any part of them sank!
davewi
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by davewi »

If you are an active family here are a couple of other ideas:
1. Lake Union electric boat rental: https://theelectricboatco.com/
2. Lake Washington ship canal kayak rental: http://aguaverde.com/ Rent two double kayaks, with a kid in the front and an adult in the back. It's a very safe and fun way to get out on the water, see the houseboats, etc. The Mexican restaurant attached to it is very good, too. You can see a museum in any city, but this is pretty unique.
iamlucky13
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Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by iamlucky13 »

Having never needed to stay in a hotel in Seattle, I will have to leave suggestions for that to others, but I would say probably not near the airport unless you need to stick to a careful budget.

I was fascinated by airplanes even by the age of 5. Had I done a trip like this at that age, the Museum of Flight (very large number of restored aircraft on static display in Seattle, south of downtown), or the Future of Flight factory tour (where Boeing widebodies are built - probably takes a little over 2 hours total, about 30 minutes north of Seattle in good traffic) would have absolutely been the highlight of the trip for me.

But that's just me. If either of these sound appealing to you and your family, I'd suggest doing the Museum of Flight if you have half a day or more to burn during your two days in Seattle. Otherwise, I'd suggest fitting time in on your driving day to do the Future of Flight tour - it's just 5 miles or so off I-5, which is your route to BC anyways. I consider it best on weekdays when the factory is bustling.

If you visit Pike Place Market, a few blocks south is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, a sort of Ripley's Believe it Or Not type of novelty store. The kids might find that amusing enough to be worth the walk to.

Perhaps you can find some picnic food to carry with you to either Gasworks Park or Lake Union Park and watch for sea planes taking off and landing while you have lunch. Gasworks is more popular, but Lake Union Park is closer to downtown, the Space Needle, etc.

For just a nice place in general to walk around and relax, I second the Ballard Locks suggestion.

Snoqualmie Falls is a great sight, and very accessible as far as waterfalls in the area go, but it does take a bit of time to get out of town and then head back afterwards - probably a little under 45 minutes from downtown in good traffic, but even if you avoid rush hour good traffic is not guaranteed. If you do go, there's also a little railway museum nearby that I like, plus numerous places near Snoqualmie to pull off and explore the river (not for swimming though - it's cold and depending on the time of year, can be fast moving).

The Crystal Mountain gondola was suggested, and I would normally concur with any suggestion involving great views of Mt. Rainier, but I think that's a bit too far from Seattle for such a short trip. You have to make your way through a lot of suburbia before you get to the scenic part of the drive, so it is usually more than the 2 hours each way that it should take.

For your drive to Vancouver, one route I'd suggest, especially if you do the Future of Flight tour, which you would drive right past, is to take the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry to Whidbey Island. Depending on your schedule, you might be able to fit in Fort Casey and Admiralty Head Lighthouse, but more importantly, give yourself some time to enjoy Deception Pass State Park.
random_walker_77
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Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by random_walker_77 »

PNW1 wrote:
random_walker_77 wrote:When are you going? The Ballard locks has a fish ladder with underwater viewing of the salmon returning to spawn. It's also kind of interesting to see how they move boats between the lake and the sound (which are at different heights)

http://www.myballard.com/ballard-locks-seattle/
http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/act ... llard.aspx

I'd also add another vote for the Bainbridge ferry.

One of the big draws is the natural beauty and tall trees. Consider taking a walk at Seward park, or visiting Snoqualmie Falls:
https://mylittlenomads.com/things-to-wi ... ttle-hikes

If you're more into hiking, look into the rainforests of Olympic National Park. There's also the option of visiting Mt Rainier, or Mt St Helens (the one that blew up in the 80's), though all of these are a full day trip after driving.

The shore at Pt Defiance is nice, especially if you time your visit for low tide. The beach is rocky, but kids will probably enjoy investigating tide pools.
Bingo. I was going to call out the Ballard Locks and the Washington State Ferry System too. They're close to downtown and are things that I take for granted growing up here, but that are relatively unique.

I suppose it depends on what the kids like, but to me these are the kinds of things that really define the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is a nice enough city, but it's just a city. donflamenco also mentioned a longer car trip that includes Fort Casey. The three forts (Casey, Flagler, and Worden) are giant concrete forts built more than a century ago to defend Puget Sound from naval invasion. They're parks now, and I have wonderful memories of running around them as a child. The interiors are somewhat mazelike and pitch black. Bring a flashlight, and maybe some breadcrumbs. ;)

If you happen to drive on I-90 or WA-520 between Bellevue and Seattle, point out that as you cross Lake Washington you're driving across a bridge with no central supports; a literal floating bridge. They are the two longest floating bridges in the world, and you can see them from each other. It's been almost 30 years since any part of them sank!
Heh, I was debating whether to mention the floating bridges. Specifically, the bike path on the side of the I-90 floating bridge is safely separated and a very nice and unique experience. But visiting as a tourist with 5 & 7 year olds, probably not.
freebeer
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Location: Seattle area USA

Re: Seattle and Vancouver with kids

Post by freebeer »

davewi wrote:If you are an active family here are a couple of other ideas:
1. Lake Union electric boat rental: https://theelectricboatco.com/
2. Lake Washington ship canal kayak rental: http://aguaverde.com/ Rent two double kayaks, with a kid in the front and an adult in the back. It's a very safe and fun way to get out on the water, see the houseboats, etc. The Mexican restaurant attached to it is very good, too. You can see a museum in any city, but this is pretty unique.
Yes these are good ideas. And, nearby Agua Verde the UW rents rowboats and canoes and a single rowboat could make sense and be more affordable than 2 double kayaks: https://www.washington.edu/ima/waterfro ... t-rentals/ . Note that technically this area is NOT the ship canal which starts at the other side of Lake Union, nor even really the Montlake Cut which is the proper name for the canal nearer by (you *can* paddle through that from Agua Verde but it can get a bit bumpy with reflected waves) but something called Union Bay which is an inlet of Lake Washington. With very young kids exploring Union Bay would be enough. If you really want to kayak on Lake Union proper there is another place, NWOC, that rents from Westlake Ave .
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