I gave my wife a bit of a challenge planning our November excursion--no rental car, everything had to be accessible by public transit or not cost an arm & leg if we took a taxi. This caused her tons of frustration, but in the end, she nailed it. Our destination? Seattle and Vancouver. We flew into Seattle via Southwest (quick shoutout--their Companion Pass incentive can't be beat) arriving on Friday afternoon. We checked in early at TownePlace Suites in Renton, chosen because they offered an airport shuttle and were convenient to the Tukwila International Link Light Rail station. We found the hotel staff very polite and the room clean. It was a bit dated, but considering we spent less than 4 waking hours there--it was perfect.
We had Uber take us to the station and headed downtown. We spent the afternoon and evening exploring downtown Seattle. We have both been before so while the experience wasn't new to us, we certainly do believe exploring on foot versus a car, as we've done in the past, gave us a very different perspective and unfortunately, not all good.
The next morning we left the hotel at 5:30 and had a taxi take us to the magnificent King Street Station where we caught the Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver. That experience was the all around best travel transportation experience we've ever had. Friends told us we'd be just fine booking coach seats and they were right--big leather seats, clean cars, over the top customer service and the views? My wife, a professional photojournalist, was like a kid on Christmas morning.
We arrived in Vancouver that afternoon, took a taxi to the Residence Inn downtown, checked in early and took in our surroundings. I have absolutely nothing but positive things to say about this hotel and the location. Efficient staff, modern amenities and stylish decor (my wife's description). We selected the Residence Inn over the Vancouver Marriott, because I like to cook and after a three week stretch out of town staying mostly in Courtyards, I really wanted a place where I could whip up some scrambled eggs or grilled cheese sandwich. (I would stay in Residence Inn more when I traveled if I got the same reward points--hint, hint)
That afternoon and all of the next day were spent exploring Vancouver on foot and water taxi. We found the city to be clean, friendly and worthy of the title, "The most expensive city in North America".
On Monday morning we took a taxi back to the train station for our return trip to Seattle arriving around noon. We grabbed a bite downtown, took the Link Light Rail back to the airport and got home to Austin late that night. It was an exhausting weekend, but well worth it. In all, we utilized the following modes of transportation in addition to getting around on foot: plane, train, Uber, taxi, water taxi and light rail. I have to give it to my wife--she took the challenge and ran with it.
See more pics from the trip on my wife's Flickr page found here.
Man, that's some superb planning, way to go Mrs. dth61. Like IAH, I think those are great cities and I really enjoy the water taxis. Next time I go (warm weather), I'm planning on visiting the San Juan Islands and Victoria Island and your wife's planning has inspired me. It appears you guys had nice crisp weather as well. Thanks for sharing. Good stuff.
"Those aren't pillows"
You're killing me, what a mind to come up with all you do.......OUTSTANDING!!! LOL
That trip, along with avoiding rental cars, has been on my To Do list for a couple of years. Probably 2015 or 2016, since I plan to do a travel package with Southwest in Jan 2015 and get a Companion Pass for my wife. My last trip to Vancouver I used points on US Air and the "fees" ended up over $700! From now on I will fly to Seattle and take Amtrak. If you want another interesting trip without rental cars, try Portland OR. They have great public transportation and it is a very interesting town to walk around. We did a long weekend there that started with light rail from the airport to the heart of downtown Portland. Another very fun form of "public transportation" is the Segway. We take a Segway tour in just about every town that we visit.
curiousone you and your family will love the Companion Pass. Taking that into account and the fact that I use Marriott points for our hotels and SW points for my ticket, we spent very little on our long weekend all things considered. Amtrak RT for 2 ran us less than $150, Uber was free (coupon), taxis and food.
Next long weekend is planned out and we'll take off again in 2 months. Rental car this time, which rewards will cover, and the challenge? Stay within easy access of San Fran with no parking fees. She used this forum to locate a place across the bay and I'll share how it all turned out when we get back.
Seattle is a great walker city. If you get back that way and are looking for something a little different but amazingly yummy the Buenos Aires Grill downtown is a good option. I've been to the city a bunch over the years, its always something fun and exciting there
In San Fran, if you are looking for a slightly upscale dinner with great views, the Palomino is great. Also something a little more local hole in the wall, typically with a wait down the block, the House of Nanking was pretty good. Have fun and we'll look forward to more great pictures