- British Columbia,
- Cannon Beach,
- North America,
- United States,
Seattle to vancouver is a family trip in July 2010. we will be going to Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and Portland. We will appreciate to recommend how we plan our trip and if there is any suggestions what to see and do in those cities.
See + Do
Hood River, Oregon
Not so long ago, Hood River was just another rustic waterside town tucked along the edge of the Columbia Gorge. Then, in the 1980s, it became known as the windsurfing capital of the world. A whole slew of diversions followed in the wake of its development as an outdoor recreation mecca. Big Winds and Hood River Waterplay are just two of the outfitters ready to help get visitors out on the water with a range of offerings that include both rentals and lessons. Those not ready to test their skills with a board and sail will find plenty of other options. Outdoorsy types can go river rafting (on the Salmon River), skiing on Mount Hood, fishing, or hiking. Those taking a more leisurely approach to their vacation can play golf or savor a leisurely lunch overlooking the river (try the gorgeously manicured Columbia Gorge Hotel). The overall vibe is distinctly laid-back and youthful. Yes, you'll find some elegant places to have lunch, but it's really about enjoying the brew-pubs (Full Sail is located here), watching the windsurfers and kite-boarders, and taking in the great outdoors.
See + Do
Forest Park, Oregon
Forest Park, Oregon 503 823 7529
At 5,000 acres, it's the country's largest urban wilderness. What that means for you is that a taste of the Pacific Northwest's gorgeous natural scenery is just a stone's throw from downtown. Miles of trails serve bikers, hikers, and casual strollers. One of the most popular hikes is the portion of the Leif Erikson trail that begins at the end of N.W. Thurman Street. A wide, leafy fire trail with a gradual uphill grade, it's an easy way to get a taste of this forest without even having to put on sneakers. It's particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves change. A more strenuous option takes you from the Upper MacLeay parking lot (located just off Cornell) one mile uphill along a narrow, forested trail to Pittock Mansion, which has panoramic city views, with snowcapped Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens in the distance. But these are just the tip of the icebergor forest, in this case. Those interested in hooking up with local hikers or learning about other trails should check out the website of local hiking group the Mazamas at www.mazamas.org. Forest Park is also home to a variety of attractions, including the Oregon Zoo, the arboretum, the Rose Garden, an amphitheatre that hosts free concerts and plays in the summer, and numerous other attractions.
See + Do
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is the most appealing of Oregon's many coastal towns, in part because it is the closest to Portland. A mere hour and a half away (compared to upwards of two or three hours to towns further south) along mostly scenic roads, Cannon Beach is also one of the prettiest. The town consists of a long strip of tastefully weathered shingle buildings, housing a typical beach-town mix of art galleries and ice cream shops, pubs and pizzerias, bike rentals, and a good number of inns. While this makes for a pleasant stroll, the wide sandy beach, with its crashing waves and the well-known Haystack Rock, is the real point of making the trek out here. On the right day, when the sun is shining and the wind isn't blowing, it offers a near-perfect beach experience (August and September are good bets, though the weather is notoriously unpredictable). Another scenic vantage point is Ecola State Park, on the northern edge of town, whose wide, grassy viewpoint is sprinkled with picnic tables (plan ahead) with beautiful ocean vistas. Book a room at the cozy Stephanie Inn bed and breakfast.
See + Do
Gas Works Park was once a belching natural gas production plant. Remnants of the site's industrial past remain (a tangle of towers, pipes, and catwalks), but the main attraction is a gigantic grassy hill, typically covered with kite-flyers and picnickers enjoying one of the city's best water views (N. Northlake Way at Meridian Ave.). Discovery Park is a local favorite in the charming neighborhood of Magnolia. At 534 acres, it is Seattle's largest preserve, with nine miles of footpaths, two miles of beach trail, great bird-watching, a lighthouse, and sweeping views of the sound (3801 W. Government Way at 36th Ave. W.; 206-386-4236). Washington Park Arboretum is home to an internationally renowned collection of trees and plants from the Pacific Northwest (N. of Madison St. on Lake Washington Blvd. E.; 206-543-8800). Volunteer Park is in the heart of Capitol Hill. This is a true neighborhood park but it's also home to the striking Seattle Asian Art Museum. In addition, there's a small conservatory, and an observation deck in an old water tower from which you can see the water and the Space Needle (1247 15th Ave E.; 206-684-4555).
See + Do
Northern Neighborhoods, Washington
Fremont is probably the best known of the northern neighborhoods, and while its days as a haunt for starving artists and all members of the counterculture from hippies to bikers may be drawing to a close, it's still extremely laid-back and quirky. Exploring the shops along N. 36th Street and up Fremont Avenue makes for an immensely enjoyable afternoon. West of Fremont is Ballard, which used to belong mostly to Scandinavian fisherfolk, but is now the domain of hipsters. Ballard Avenue has an almost European or Old New York vibe, and great shops, pubs, and restaurants. On weekends, a mellow farmers' market pops up on one of the empty lots. Wallingford, east of Fremont, has a spate of specialty shops along N. 45th Street: Nowhere else in the city can you pick up gourmet Belgian beers, handmade stationery, an authentic aloha shirt, and a racy cake from the resident erotic bakery all within a few blocks. North of Fremont and Wallingford, Green Lake's main draw is its namesake, a beautiful lake whose ring road is thronged with joggers, bikers, in-line skaters, and happy dogs. The cozy triangle around N. 56th Street and Kenwood Place (off the southeast corner of the lake) has the best eateries, namely the excellent Eva Restaurant & Wine Bar and Zoka Coffee.
See + Do
Puget Sound has a string of gorgeous islands, all easy day trips from the city, and all with their own distinct personalities. Washington State Ferries runs trips to all islands; note that spots on popular car-ferry routes can fill up quickly during high season (206-464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries).
The easiest island to pop over to is Bainbridge Island. The ferry ride (35 minutes) to and from the island is an attraction in itself, as you get unparalleled views of the skyline, with Mount Rainier looming to the south. Bainbridge is something of an exclusive bedroom community, so it's not as bucolic as some of the other islands, but it's lovely in its own right and has everything from cute little ice cream shops to its own winery. There are two state parks (one on either end of the island) and several other protected areas and gardens, including the Bloedel Reserve, which shouldn't be missed; reservations are required to visit (206-842-7631; www.bloedelreserve.org).
Vashon Island (15 to 35 minutes by ferry, depending on which dock you depart from) is only 12 miles long; you could easily bike the whole thing in a day. Expect to find organic farm stands, galleries, and at least a few old-school hippies. Walks along the beach are a favorite activity out here, as each shore provides views of either the city and the Cascade Range or the Olympic Mountains.
Above Puget Sound in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca is the massive San Juan archipelago. Though many people come to the San Juans to relax, even more come to kayak, hike, play golf, or go whale-watching. The San Juans are extremely popular tourist destinations, so expect lines for the ferries and crowds at B&Bs and restaurants in the summer. San Juan Island is the place to go to book a whale-watching tour or charter a boat; Frday Harbor, the island's main town, is also the commercial hub for the archipelago. Orcas Island is the most spectacular of all the islands. Moran State Park has tons of trails that include everything from lakeside ambles to summit hikes. Orcas also has quite a few pricey inns and resorts perfect for a romantic overnight trip, with Rosario Resort & Spa, in a converted seaside mansion, being the most luxurious (360-376-2222; www.rosarioresort.com). Washington State Ferries to the San Juan Islands leave from Anacortes (one and a half hours north of Seattle); if you want to leave directly from Seattle, the Victoria Clipper has limited service to Friday Harbor (206-448-5000; www.victoriaclipper.com).
See + Do
Experience Music Project, Washington
Tel: 206 367 5483 or 877 367 5483
This multicolored blobular building, a 140,000-square-foot rock-and-roll museum designed by Frank Gehry, is home to the world's largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia—hand-scrawled lyrics, audio mixing boards, and psychedelic pantsuits among them. Adjacent galleries showcase guitars once owned by Bob Dylan and Hank Williams, and the interactive Sound Lab (complete with state-of-the-art instruments and recording equipment) will, for better or worse, bring out the rock star in even the most tone-deaf dad.
See + Do
In the summer, Seattle's meandering shorelines are full of sunbathers. People come in droves to Alki Beach Park to swim in relatively warm, shallow salt water. On evenings and cool days, fire pits draw groups to roast marshmallows while watching ferries roll out from Fauntleroy Terminal. Just above the two-and-a-half-mile beach is a bustling bike path and narrow Alki Avenue, lined with restaurants and cafés that open onto the street (702 Alki Ave. S.W.; 206-684-4075). To the north, Ballard's Golden Gardens is 88 acres of forest, fields, and restored wetlands, lined by a rugged shore with both rocky and sandy beaches. Brisk winds off the sound lure kite-flyers, sailors, and windsurfers (8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.; 206-684-4075). For swimming, most people prefer freshwater Lake Washington, which warms considerably in the summer while Puget Sound stays cold. Many of the nicest beaches are in Bellevue and Mercer Island, across the lake from Seattle. Among them, Newcastle Beach offers a 300-foot dock, grass playfield, and shallow swimming areas that extend far into the lake (4400 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E., Bellevue; 425-452-6881).
See + Do
Space Needle, Washington
Tel: 206 905 2100
This iconic Seattle structure was built for the 1962 World's Fair. At the time, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. That's no longer the case, but it still boasts the best views in the city from its circular observation deck, 520 feet up. Free high-powered telescopes and colorful, detailed maps help you pinpoint all the sights. Insider's tip: Lines for the observation deck are shorter before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
See + Do
Wing Luke Asian Museum, Washington
Seattle, Washington 98104
Tel: 206 623 5124
Seattle's diffuse and rapidly gentrifying International District has a powerful touchstone in this newly expanded museum. Exhibits include works by local Asian and Pacific Islander artists, as well as poignant artifacts from the Northwest immigrant experience (a baby bottle carried by a Korean woman as she journeyed here from Seoul as a child; furniture made from salvaged scrap wood by Japanese refugees in the World War IIera internment camps). Two second-floor light-filled landings between the galleries provide serene spots for reflection, and for appreciating the distressed-wood walls and floors that are remnants of the building's previous life as social hub for the community.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5 pm, first Thursday and third Saturday of each month 10 am to 8 pm.
See + Do
Bard on the Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 3J9, Canada
Tel: 604 739 0559
This annual June-September festival of Shakespeare en plein air—or in open tents, anyhow—has a backdrop no set designer could compete with: a waterfront park in the Kitsilano neighborhood surrounded by ocean, sky, and mountains. The festival runs alternating performances of four different Shakespeare plays with two evening performances Tuesdays through Fridays and two afternoon and two evening shows most weekends. Seating is by general admission, so arrive early to "select and sticker" your seat. Cushions are recommended, as are comfortable layers for when the temperature drops quickly after sunset. Tickets are about $30 each. Look out for the special festival spin-offs, from Bard-B-Q and wine tastings to auctions and opera recitals.
See + Do
Capilano Suspension Bridge, British Columbia, Canada
North Vancouver, British Columbia V7R 4J1, Canada
Tel: 604 985 7474
This 450-foot-long pedestrian suspension bridge, which gently (terrifyingly?) sways 230 feet above the tree-lined Capilano River Canyon, is the world's longest. The Treetops Adventure attraction, opened in 2004, added an additional 650 feet of bridge linking eight Douglas fir trees up to 100 feet above the forest floor. The bridge gained some notoriety in 1999, when a 17-month-old infant fell from her mother's arms and survived a 154-foot plunge into the trees below. But it's safe, really—though even mild acrophobics should stay far, far away.
Although shorter than the Capilano bridge, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is every bit as breathtaking—and it's free. Swinging 20 stories above Lynn Creek in North Vancouver, the bridge offers views of the steep cliffs and tree-lined edges of the canyon (open daily at 7 am; closing times vary by season; 3663 Park Rd.; 604-990-3755).—Kasey Wilson
Capilano bridge open daily except Christmas; hours vary by season.
See + Do
Kitsilano, British Columbia, Canada
The Vancouver equivalent of Haight-Ashbury, this '60s hippie community across False Creek from downtown Vancouver is now a laid-back family neighborhood of beachfront parks and streets lined with historic wooden homes, bookstores, and cafés. The main drag, West Fourth Avenue, is known for its trendy shops, though lately the selection seems to lean heavily toward maternity and baby wear, yoga gear, kitchen items, and other housewares. Sophie's Cosmic Café is a great spot for breakfast, which is available all day (2095 W. Fourth Ave.; 604-732-6810).
See + Do
Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Tel: 604 257 8400
Described as a "1,000-acre therapeutic couch" of majestic evergreens, formal gardens, hiking trails, and kids' activities, Stanley Park is the third largest public park in North America. Set at the northwest corner of Downtown, it occupies a bulb-shaped peninsula that juts out into English Bay and Burrard Inlet. The park's summit, Prospect Point, is at its northern edge and has sweeping views of the inlet, North Vancouver, and the Lions Gate Bridge. Looking straight down from the point, you'll see the parade of walkers, bikers, and in-line skaters plying the park's prize attraction, the 5.5-mile seawall path that runs along the perimeter.
The entire park can be walked in two and a half hours at a brisk pace, but if you're pressed for time or have little ones in tow, you can also drive through the park and hit some of its high points—like the eight soaring totem poles carved by the Squamish people near Brockton Point. Bring your camera and in the evenings, maybe your earplugs: Nearby is the Nine O' Clock gun, an old English sea cannon placed in the park more than 100 years ago and fired nightly. The most developed area of the park includes the Vancouver Aquarium; the nearby Miniature Train, a delight for kids of all ages; and the Children's Farmyard, a petting zoo with barns full of sheep, goats, and pot-bellied pigs (and one grouchy llama).
In December 2006, hurricane-force storms uprooted and damaged some 10,000 trees in the park. All the roads and hiking trails have been cleared of debris and are again open to the public, along with the seawall. But Stanley Park is so beloved by locals that any change to the natural landscape is an issue of study and contention. Even an offer of a free concert by hometown hero Bryan Adams was turned down, as was a request from Jaguar to use the seawall as a backdrop for the unveiling of its snazzy coupes. That said, numerous annual events are held in Stanley Park; call the Parks and Recreation Board office for information and maps.—Kasey Wilson
See + Do
Yaletown, British Columbia, Canada
This downtown district, once a maze of railyards and dilapidated warehouses, has been getting trendier ever since it was cleaned up for the 1986 World's Fair. These days, swanky residential lofts, chichi boutiques, and upscale restaurants occupy the old buildings. Most of the action is centered on Mainland and Hamilton streets. Be sure to check out Fine Finds, which stocks an eclectic mix of mostly Vancouver- and Canada-made items, like Barefoot Venus bath and body-care products, Matt & Natt and Ga Ya handbags, and fashions by Peel Designs (1014 Mainland St.; 604-669-8325). The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery is one of the best places to view and buy contemporary First Nations art (1024 Mainland St.; 604-685-9298).