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Two full days in Seattle

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Ulladulla, Australia
posts: 33
reviews: 5
Two full days in Seattle

My wife and I will be flying into Seattle early evening on 22nd June 2014 and hiring a car and driving to Vancouver on the 25th. We are in our mid-60's, reasonably fit and interested in photography, sight-seeing, food and geocaching.

When in Seattle, we plan to visit geocaching world HQ and the only time available will be mid-afternoon on Tuesday 24th. We will be staying in an as-yet undetermined hotel in downtown Seattle. GCHQ is on N 34th Street, between Aurora and Freemont Avenues, just North of the river. This raises a few questions:

1. What is the best way to get from downtown to GCHQ? We won't have hired the car at that point, so we would expect to use public transport. Is there some sort of hop-on hop-off bus which would take us there, making it part of a tour of the Northern part of the city? Alternatively, is there anything else in that general area which would make an afternoon of it?

2. That effectively leaves a day and a morning to explore. We aren't really interested in zoos or aquariums, given our comparatively short trip. We would prefer to see things more uniquely Seattle. What are the essential must-see things for our first, and probably only, trip to Seattle?

I've looked at the Top question on the 128 things to do and will study that in detail but personal advice will always help.

Cheers

Tony

5 replies to this topic
seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 14,647
reviews: 84
1. Re: Two full days in Seattle

Hi, this yr a new HOHO bus started called Emerald City Trolley. It has a stop in Fremont and the location you list is right in the heart of Fremont so you could use the bus to get there. I think you'd be ok just using the city bus as its easy to get to where you want to go. If you follow on top right 'one day itinerary without a car' you will see a lot of the highlights.

not sure what your doing in Vancouver however taking the train is easy, much more scenic, and avoids the delays at the border. A car in either city is sometimes more of a hinderance than a help

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 1,606
reviews: 89
2. Re: Two full days in Seattle

There are a couple of inexpensive and easy public bus routes that go to the Fremont neighborhood including the 40 and the 26. Fremont is a great characteristic city neighborhood. There is interesting public art, some fun restaurants, breweries, pubs and coffee houses and small indie shops. Close by is Gasworks Park, an innovative park centered around the architecturally interesting remains of an old gasworks and the hill has big views over Lake Union to the city skyline. You can see houseboats and floatplanes taking off on lake union (and many many boats). You can also continue on a Rt. 40 to Ballard (about 5-10 minutes from Fremont) which has a historic district, fun bars, breweries, shops, coffee houses, restaurants etc., plus the Ballard locks separating Puget Sound from the ship canal (along with a visitor center/museum, small gardens and salmon ladder) and an interesting Nordic Heritage Museum.

One other thing to think about. About that time every year Fremont hosts one of the biggest festivals of the year, the Fremont Festival and Solistice Parade an alternative and sometimes bawdy Mardi Gras like celebration of the summer solstice and other things indie and weird about Seattle and Fremont including one of the biggest nude bike rides I am sure in the world. The fair has live music and other fun activities. You may miss the parade which might be on the solstice itself this year (which will be Saturday 6/21) but you could catch some of the fair on the 22nd. http://fremontfair.org/

Ulladulla, Australia
posts: 33
reviews: 5
3. Re: Two full days in Seattle

Thanks to you both for the advice so far.

I've had a look at the HOHO bus schedule and it only goes to Fremont on Fridays - Sundays, so I'll have to take the public bus. Is there a bus map available online? It might be useful to pick a hotel close to the 40 or 26 bus route. I had planned to stay at the renaissance as it is close to where we pick up our car - but that may not be as important.

The Fremont area sounds fun. We will miss the main parade, but I'll definitely try to spend most of the day there.

We plan to spend a full day on the drive to Vancouver, going on the ferry to Whidbey Island and meandering slowly up there. We pick the car up in the morning and drop it off in the afternoon, so we won't be stuck with the car at either end. It is all part of a 6-week holiday starting in Vancouver, cruising Alaska and ending in Calgary for the stampede.

Thanks again for the help so far

Cheers

Tony

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 1,606
reviews: 89
4. Re: Two full days in Seattle

The Rt. 26 map

metro.kingcounty.gov/schedules/026/map.html

The Rt. 40 map

metro.kingcounty.gov/schedules/040/map.html

You can see that both cut through the middle of downtown so most downtown hotels will be convenient to either bus. If you are staying at the Renaissance you just have to walk down Madison from like 5th or 6th to 3rd to catch either bus. They depart from the same stop.

Google Maps public transit directions are pretty solid. You can also use the King County Metro trip planner.

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 1,606
reviews: 89
5. Re: Two full days in Seattle

I didn't pay attention to the fact that you are arriving early evening on the 22nd and going to Fremont on the 24th so you are going to miss the Fremont Fair. Sorry.

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