The wife and I have never been, so we'd like to know about how long we should stay in each city. Suggestions on what to do would be appreciated as well! So far, I have an idea what I'd like to do in Seattle... somewhat. Tops on the list for me are:
Thinking of a 1 or 2 night trip to Victoria Island as well.
Oregon is a little more of an unknown for me, but one of my groomsmen lives in Portland, and is half the reason why we're going, so I'm going to heavily rely on his expertise.
Property help would be appreciated as well! Particularly, is it better to stay in the Marriott Waterfront or the Ren Seattle?
You'll love Portland and Seattle - two of our favorite cities! Here's previous posts you might find helpful:
We usually fly into Portland, enjoy the area - especially the drive out Columbia River Gorge, as shown in some of the photos, out to Hood River, then south toward Mt. Hood, and up to Timberline Lodge for dinner, before returning to Portland via the country road. Also, the drive to Canon Beach, West of Portland,and the coastal drive down as far as Eugene,is quite scenic.
Afterward, we drive to Seattle and either stay downtown (Renaissance,or if you've got plenty of points or money, the Marriott on waterfront), or in Bellevue area (east of Seattle). A drive East, out to Snolqualmie - lunch or dinner at Salish Lodge is delightful - is another adventuresome day.
Then, if you have time, drive to Mulkiteo, take the car ferry to Whidbey Island, tour the area, and drive North over Deception Pass, back out to I-5, and north to Vancouver for yet another great place to visit.
You can see some of these sites on photo pages I posted.
Hope this is helpful!
Message was edited by: Fred Schumpert
Fantastic photos & info! Thanks for sharing! Yes, the Waterfront looks great, but is quite expensive. Though I've been noticing the Ren isn't all that different. We aren't within the booking window for our planed trip time next year, so I'm using 2014 dates to approximate prices, but still. About how long would you say we'd need to spend in Portland & Seattle?
How long to stay in each place? Hmmm, matter of preference, I suppose. If you only have a few days I'd make two trips - perhaps a third to take in Vancouver, B.C., if you've never been there.
Both Portland and Seattle are what I'd call "scenic cities" (areas) with many places to visit and food to enjoy. The inland part of Portland is just as attractive as the coastal, although the coastal is more a driving experience. By contrast, the inland (East) Portland visit might include stops at the Rooster's Nest, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, maybe even overnight at Mt. Hood, even Bend, then drive West through the Three Sisters Wilderness area and stay overnight at Eugene before heading back to Portland. For the more adventurous, try a helicopter ride down into Mt. St. Helens.
You can take the I-5 route North to Seattle, or another way would be to drive out the Columbia River Gorge, cross over to north side of the river at Hood River, and go North to Toppenish and have lunch in this western town before traveling onto to Yakima and end up in Snolqualmie Falls area of Washington.
As mentioned, Seattle is more of a coastal town, with many areas to visit - Port Townsend and Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge (6764 ft) in Olympic National Forest, ferry ride over to Victoria, Whidbey Island, Mt. Rainier, Snoqualmie, shopping in Bellevue.
Thanks fschumpert! I was thinking 2 weeks total including transit times, but the hotels are so expensive, so we'll see. The helicopter ride into Mt St Helens sounds interesting... not sure if the wife would go for that, but just in case, is there a specific operator you'd recommend?
You've got a good start on the list for Seattle. The idea of hitting Victoria is great. The high speed ferry drops you off right at the Inner Harbor. Even one night in Victoria allows for a fair amount of sightseeing.
Olympic NP will require a bit more time. It looks close to Seattle but it takes a while to get there. Rainier could be a day trip. Based on your list, I'd say at least 4 days in Seattle alone. You could easily stretch it to a week. You can do a lot of Seattle without a car, but ranging farther out you'll want one.
From Seattle to Portland, I recommend taking the Amtrak Cascades. There are multiple trains daily (4 I think) and the scenery is great (including the Tacoma Narrows). It's about a 4 hour train ride (and I know you love trains). There is plenty to do in Portland. I would add a trip to the Oregon coast, someplace like Tillamook (for the cheese), or Astoria (end point of the Lewis & Clark expedition).
I have no doubt you'll get a bunch of great suggestions.
Thanks for the tips! The Amtrak Cascades sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'll have to convince the wife on that one. 2 hours in a car/bus vs 4 hours in a train? We'll see
I've been debating renting a car specifically for the longer range stuff, as the parking prices at the Seattle properties are killer! It's just as bad as Honolulu!
I forgot about Tillamook too... haha. I do need to balance the sightseeing/history stuff with the "fun" stuff, though, as the wife doesn't care too much for the "boring" stuff
Victoria island is kind of a debate. We've been there before over 10 years ago, but that was with school. Would love to go back, but I think that'll be a "if time & budget permits" haha
Do what my son and his wife do when they visit SEA and PDX. Take the rail system from the airport to downtown and then when you want to rent a car for a day rent if from the hotel or downtown locations. No outrageous parking rates and then you don't have to feel like every day you need to drive someplace, although there are many spots to visit.
I"d take about four days in each location, that way if you want to take in the Oregon Coast you can add a day and have three in town vs two at the coast.
IAHFLYR, thanks for the great tip! I'll probably do rail or Uber to/from the hotels. Depends how bad our bag load is since Mrs. Harada can't travel light if her life depended on it... and she'll likely bring the whole states of WA and OR back with her
But Uber doesn't seem so bad. On the low end, it'll cost $20-something to $30-something to/from SEA. Unfortunately, they don't operate in the PDX area yet But perhaps I can convince my friend to give us a ride? lol
Your SEA list is good, but the underground is a must see.
fschumpert and bejacob are on the money with their ideas. Snoqualmie Falls which is about an hour drive east of SEA if you are going other than winter time. In the winter Snoqualmie Pass Ski Area is fun for an afternoon drive as they get a huge amount of snow. Also, add Woodinville to your list and check out some of the Washington Wineries, they're pretty darn good. For the best location and staying at a Marriott property it for us and a few others like pluto77 and jerrycoin the Seattle Waterfront Hotels | Seattle Marriott Waterfront is tough to beat.
Oregon both of the gents mentioned above have excellent ideas. The Oregon Coast is a must and I'd say from around Lincoln City south to at least Newport is so very beautiful and where I am most familiar, ya can't go wrong.
Good stuff! If I make it to Woodinville, I think Chateau St. Michelle vineyards will be a definite visit
The Marriott Waterfront does look fantastic, but it's also quite expensive I think once the booking window opens up, I'll just do a points reservation without ordering the e-certs and a cash reservation... Just to hold it while I decide. The Marriott in PDX is just as expensive! But, then again, is staying at a CY worth it if it means giving up lounge access, etc?
I'll have to respectfully disagree with ya Fred. The City Center is the joint, located on the rail line, excellent dining in the Pearl District and other parts of town, just down the street to the famous food carts and they are awesome. Last time we stayed at the Waterfront it was very much needing a remodeling at that time was pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
Either way, PDX is a fun place to visit and enjoy all it has to offer.
I do apologize for taking so long to reply. You have received many good tips and ideas here from folks in the know. I could add more, but it would just probably make it harder for you (too many choices.) Well, I'll limit it to one, you might want to consider the Columbia Tower over the Space Needle. Taller (you will look down on the Space Needle from the 73rd floor observation deck of the tower) and less expensive to ride the elevator to the top. Well, I'll add one more thing related specifically to Seattle: get yourself on a ferry (say to Bainbridge or Bremerton) so you can look back from the water at the Seattle skyline from out on Elliott Bay. It's spectacular. With your mad photog skills, you will be able to get some great cityscape shots. Another idea would be to drive (15 minutes) out (or take a water taxi) to West Seattle (Alki Beach). At the tip of the peninsula (top), you'll have a superb view across Elliott Bay of the cityscape, where you can shoot photos (on firm land.)
Two questions: what time of year are you interested in and for how many days? Numerous places have been mentioned here, all worthy: Portland area, Mt. Hood, Columbia Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Oregon coast (wonderful lighthouses), all of Seattle/Tacoma and it's multitude of offerings (even more than what's been mentioned already even), Mt. Ranier, Snowqualmie, Whidbey Island and San Juan Islands, Vancouver and Victoria. Whew. That's easily 4 week long trips to my mind. Perhaps consider breaking it up into areas, and plan a trip for each area.
As far as Seattle Waterfront Marriott, depending on time of year, some good deals can be had. I snagged my recent stay for $125/night (advance purchase on Cyber Monday, and they didn't charge my card until after the stay), and they upgraded me to perhaps the best suite in the house! It was at the tail end of winter. So it pays to keep checking.
Thanks for the great info! I've never even heard of the Columbia Tower! Alki Beach is a grew idea too. Multnomah Falls is a definite visit, though I need to make sure I balance everything lest the wife gets board and complains!
I'm looking at going next September on the recommendation of my buddy in PDX, though I'd likely go in the 2nd half of the month... Can't miss the annual family Labor Day Aulani stay after all
I'll just have to keep checking rates once they become available! Hopefully I can be upgraded to a great room too, though I believe I'll be falling back to gold... perhaps I'll make another bid for Plat, but we'll see.