Sep 1, 2010

Visiting Seattle Without a Car

We are noticing that more of our guests are choosing not to rent a car when they stay with us. It is a way of saving money and being more “green.” A car does offer convenience, and we do have plentiful free on street parking in front of our B&B. However, we are blessed with an excellent public transportation system here in Seattle with a combination of the Metro city bus and our new Light Rail. Having a car is a nice option, but certainly not a necessity.

We are located about 5 miles from downtown, and we are within walking distance to many restaurants as well as lovely Green Lake Park, which is a destination of its own! Our guests who want to go downtown can travel on either the #16 or the #358 bus without having to transfer. To get to the University of Washington, the #48 will take you almost door to door.

The main challenge for using public transportation is in taking day trips, but we have some ideas on that, too! Several of the local tour companies will pick you up right at our front door!
Here is a possible itinerary for visiting Seattle easily without a car at the Greenlake Guest House:

Arrival Day: Arrive from SeaTac Airport! Easiest option with luggage: follow signs to the taxi stand (cab is about $50-$60 to Greenlake Guest House). 2nd easiest option: Walk across the sky bridge to get into a commuter van with “Shuttle Express” with stop at Greenlake Guest House (cost is about $40-$45 for 2 people). If you don’t have a lot of luggage, consider taking the $2 light rail from SeaTac Airport to the Westlake Center downtown. From Westlake, transfer to the #16 bus. Get off the bus at 80th & Wallingford Ave, then walk 4 short blocks to Greenlake Guest House. After check in, relax with a cup of tea or a complimentary soda and our fresh baked cookies! Walk to dinner at one of our neighborhood restaurants like Duke’s Chowder House, Nell’s, Greenlake Bar & Grill, or Rosita’s. Finish off the day with a walk around Green Lake and a stop at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Day 1: Overview of Seattle! Take a 4 hour tour of Seattle with “Let’s Tour Seattle”. This tour will pick you up at 9AM here at the Guest House, and hit the major highlights of Seattle, allowing you to quickly get the lay of the land with stops at Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Ballard Locks & Fish Ladder, Waterfront, Floating Bridges, and much more, including time for a lunch stop at Fisherman’s Terminal, home of the “Deadliest Catch” boats.
After the tour, ask the guides to drop you off at the downtown location of your choice for more shopping or browsing. Consider spending more time at Pike Place Market, historic Pioneer Square, the ultra modern Central Library, the Waterfront, or visiting the original Nordstrom & Starbucks. Walk on the Bainbridge Island Ferry or a Seattle Harbor Cruise for a view of the lovely Seattle skyline. Have an amazing dinner at one of our favorite downtown restaurants: Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood, Campagne, Purple Café, or Wild Ginger. At the end of your day, catch the #16 bus home ($2.25 per person) or a cab (about $20

Day 2: Seattle Center! Take the #16 bus to Seattle Center and ride up to the top of the Space Needle to check out the view from the observation deck. Note: The $16 ride is complimentary if you have lunch or dinner at the revolving restaurant. Explore some of the other attractions at Seattle Center, including the Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, and the Science Fiction Museum. Have lunch at the food court, or bring your lunch outside to eat by the International Fountain. You might also consider purchasing tickets to one of the many sports and theater groups based out of Seattle Center. Some of our favorites include the Seattle Storm (women’s professional basketball), Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theater, and Seattle Children’s Theater, to name just a few! Still want to explore? Take the 1 mile historic “monorail” from Seattle Center to Westlake Center for more downtown shopping, or walk to the brand new Olympic Sculpture Park.

Day 3: Take a local food tour or day trip! Did you know that Washington State produces more wine than any state but California? Consider a day trip to Woodinville wine country with “Bon Vivant Wine Tours.” They will pick you up and bring you back at our front door for an unforgettable full day of exploring the local wine country just 40 minutes away. . For even more adventures, consider a day trip with “Evergreen Escapes” which might involve kayaking, snow shoeing, Mt Rainier, or even a trip to Twilight Country on the Olympic Peninsula! Evergreen Escapes will also do a complimentary pick up and drop off at our B&B.
Or, take the #16 bus downtown for an in-depth look at the local coffee culture with the “Seattle Coffee Crawl,” which is a downtown walking tour put on by Seattle by Foot. Another popular option is the #1 rated “Savor Seattle Food Tour” of the Pike Place Market, which is a meal in itself with stops at over 20 local food vendors. Both of these tours meet at a local coffee shop located near the Pike Place Market.

Day 4: Spend the day around Green Lake! Walk or take a quick cab ride to the award winning Woodland Park Zoo near Green Lake. In the afternoon, consider renting a paddle boat or canoe at the park, or borrow one of our beach towels to relax with a good book or take a swim at the lake. Walk to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner.

Day 5: Take the #48 bus to the beautiful University of Washington. Explore the “quad”, Red Square, the Rose Garden (with views of Mt Rainier), and historic Suzzallo library.
Check out Pacific Northwest Indian history at the Burke Museum, and visit the Henry Art Gallery on campus. Rent a canoe or rowboat at the UW Waterfront Activities Center behind Husky stadium. Do some shopping on the funky “Ave” and check out the huge University Book Store. Enjoy a locally made beer and pub cuisine at the Big Time Brewery on the Ave.

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