Top 5 Seattle and Vancouver road trip attractions22 April 2013
Visiting Seattle for the first time, I couldn't imagine a more beautiful Northwestern city. Nearly everywhere you look, you're surrounded by snow-covered mountains, vast bodies of waters and easy-going folks eating up all of it. And even after breathlessly climbing every hill in Emerald City, the views only get better. All around us lay incredibly beautiful parks, endless recreation, unique Seattle attractions, fish-filled Northwest dives and stunningly vibrant greenery. It couldn't possibly get better.
1. Granville Island v. Pike Place: One of our favorite explorations was to the Granville Island market. Comparable to one of Seattle's top attractions, Pike Place Market, Granville is a great spot for homemade products, fresh foods and waterfront dining. Tucked below a major overpass, we traveled over and under a bridge to get to the market. Once we arrived, Holly and I jetted off in search of our trademark ornament purchases while H hunted down foodie treasures to take home. Unlike Pike Place, Granville Island market has many more shops, rather than farm goods and seafood.
Aquabus for about $8 USD a pop. Although longer in duration, the more economical transportation offered a rather scenic alternative to a taxi ride. Somewhat similar to Seattle's $4 downtown water taxis, the Vancouver Aquabuses move tourists to various hot spots along the city's beautiful waterfront. With the Aquabus, visitors can easily reach the Vancouver Aquarium, Hornby Street, Yaletown, Spyglass Place and more. We loved how much they resembled mini tugboats! Seattle water taxis are really only good for getting from Downtown to West Seattle, yet another great neighborhood of the city. But I love how Aquabuses are little more scenic, with many stops at popular Vancouver attractions.
Stanley Park, we saved the best for last and bicycled for nearly three hours throughout the 400-hectacre Canadian National Historic Site. It's a real gem, and I urge you to take at least half a day to explore the park. There's just so much to see!
Seattle boasts many outstanding parks, in fact I don't think you can truly get to know Seattle without exploring its many parks. Most tourists are drawn to Discovery Park, the city's largest park spanning 534 acres. Similar to Stanley Park, the Seattle attraction offers tourists and locals a tranquil sanctuary amidst the bustle of a major city. Both offer an outdoor oasis, complete with open greenery, waterfront paths, biking and hiking, and historic landmarks. Discovery Park and Stanley Park are just what the doctor ordered for those of us looking for budget-friendly activities and an outdoor escape within city limits.
4. Totem Park v. Seattle totem poles: We traded a few loonies (Canadian cash) for sets of wheels at Spokes Bicycle Rentals. Spokes' crew loaded us up with hybrid bikes, helmets, locks, baskets and more before we ventured into Stanley Park. Most importantly on my list of places to visit was the Totem Park. Growing up in Wisconsin, my sister's and I had a giant totem pole in our back yard (strange, I know). It always interested me to learn more about this Native American custom and having taken a college course on Native American history, culture and migration, I nerdily awaited our stop to check out various preserved totem poles at Totem Park.