Chihuly Featured Glass Ceiling

Visit Seattle for the Weekend

Seattle Washington, is a great option for a weekend visit with a lively restaurant, bar and coffee-shop scene and plenty of options to fill your day. For example, the Chihuly Gardens and Glass is a unique experience and the waterfront is vibrant and fun to wander around and people watch. In fact, you could easily fill a couple of weekend visits in Seattle and Washington State and not run out of activities.

Friday Night

Mount Ranier in the background

For Canadians, a great option is to travel to Vancouver and then take the Amtrak train down the coast to Seattle. Above all, the scenery is amazing and it’s a relaxing few hours to read up on the city before you arrive.

Seattle’s a great place to visit in the summer. As one resident told us, there’s not much rain in the summer, it’s just there for the rest of the year! Arriving Friday night after the four and a half hour train ride we decided to get a cab to the hotel from the station and then find a nice restaurant to have a bite to eat before settling in for the night.

We chose the Renaissance Seattle Hotel at 515 Madison Street.  It’s on a hill with a view of the harbour and Seattle Needle. The lobby’s memorable with shelves of books with colour coded book jackets to make a statement. The concierge was able to supply us with maps of the city to help us navigate our way around. If arriving by air, there’s a Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail into the city taking about 35 minutes.  This is the best option for this hotel from the airport as University Street station is only a 7 minute walk, assuming you don’t have too much luggage with you. Ticket prices are very reasonable.


Pike Place and the Waterfront

There’s so much to do in the centre of Seattle that there’s no need for a car as everything you want to visit is within walking distance. The city stretches up a hill from the waterfront so, consequently, expect to get some exercise in during the day. Hopefully you can store up on energy from the hotel breakfast, if not there are great coffee shops to grab a bite.

A first outing is to walk along the waterfront and watch all the people. Along the north side of the waterfront is the famous Pike Place Market established in 1907. The market showcases over 200 local artisans, 70 eateries, street musicians and includes the location of the first Starbucks. Here you can partake in some guided food tours. Therefore, this is a great place for souvenirs, or wait for the gift shop at Chihuly’s. The nicest places to eat are at the far end of the waterfront, and you pass the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 and the aquarium at Pier 59.  Both are great options for stops.

Seattle Needle and the Big Wheel

Olympic Sculpture Park and Space Needle

There are great views of Elliott Bay after an interesting walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park that’s an extension of the Seattle Art Museum.

TIP: A relaxing break is to sit on the metallic chairs and contemplate the changing colours of Puget Sound.

From here, it’s a short walk to the Space Needle. A 43-second elevator ride gives you great views of the Cascade Mountains and even Mount Rainier. There’s also the world’s only rotating glass floor.  You can buy a combined ticket for the Space Needle and the Chihuly Gardens for $49 and senior pricing is available.  If you have the aquarium on your list of things to do then look out for the City Pass.

It’s so nice to stroll around the city and find unexpected things. As we were relaxing in the Olympic Sculpture Park, we could see a group of people enjoying an outdoor fitness class.

Overlooking Elliott Bay

Chihuly Garden and Glass

A highlight to visit in Seattle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass gallery. We recommend a few hours here to marvel at the glass works and watch the video of Dale Chihuly’s life.  Part of the time is spent out in the gardens viewing the glass installations among the plants and overseen by the Space Needle. I managed to choose a souvenir from the shop – there’s so much choice!

TIP: An hour spent having lunch at the garden restaurant is a relaxing break before finishing the tour.

Also built for the 1962 World Fair, catching the monorail takes you back into the centre of town though a landscape of skyscrapers and a view of the Amazon offices. Head back down to the waterfront to one of the patios and watch the cruise lines depart and all the yachts and parasailing on the harbour. We ate at the Six-Seven Restaurant in the Edgewater Hotel where the flatbreads were excellent.  After dinner, a stroll back through the city and up the hill to our hotel. There was also a stop at Macy’s for a bit of shopping.

Chihuly Garden and Glass


Union Lake

Pioneer Square and Lake Union

TIP: You can extend the glassmaking theme of the trip by stopping at one of the many glassmakers to see a workshop and admire the diversity of glass wares. It’s hot on a summer day, but an interesting pastime.

To cool down wander to Pioneer Square and do a tour of the original buildings in the underground city, remnants of the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. Then a visit to the Waterfall Garden to have a peaceful respite from the city noise.

From here you can catch the streetcar out to Lake Union and have a meal on the patio at the Portage Bay Café and watch the take-off and landings of the Seaplanes and the close encounters with all the swimmers and other water sports.

Puget Sound

Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island

Alternatively, a quick walk takes you to the Washington State Ferry terminal at Pier 52 to catch a ferry across the Puget Sound to one of the neighbouring islands, such as Bainbridge Island. The ferries give amazing views of Seattle and the sounds. You can get on one of the commuter/tourist buses to take a tour around the communities. One place to visit is Bloedel Reserve for the gardens, or stay in Winslow for art galleries and bistros.

If you have time, stop at one of the attractions and carry on your journey with the next bus. Otherwise, do the round trip and hopefully you will be on the same bus as someone returning home and listen to some local stories. Or spend the time walking around the township and eating at one of the restaurants before the ferry trip back.

Then it’s back to the hotel to pick up luggage and head back to the airport for a bittersweet ending to a lovely Seattle visit.

Things to do when visiting Seattle

Best Seattle Photo Spots

Inspirations for your Seattle Visit

When to Visit Seattle

July to September is mainly warm with little rain with sunset around 9 or 10 p.m. Temperatures reaching into the mid-70s to 80s.

Events of note:

May / June – Seattle International Film Festival
July – Seattle International Beer Fest
July – Bite of Seattle
July-August – Seafair
September – Northwest Chocolate Festival
September – Bumbershoot music festival

Bixby Bridge at sunset

5 Day Road Trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Travelling the Pacific Coast Highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a once in a lifetime journey. We rented a convertible to make the most of the stunning scenery along the coast. It’s a 250 mile (400km) drive and in this post we describe a 5 day road trip.

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