Hi my husband and I will be traveling to Vancouver on July 2, 2018 and have a place to stay for 2 nights in the Vancouver downtown area. We visited Gastown, Stanley Park 15 years ago but I am sure the place has changed dramatically and would not mind visiting these places again. We did go to Victoria Island and visited the Butchart Gardens. We would not be driving a car but will use cabs or public transportation. Is Uber or Lyft being used there? Any suggestions where to go? We plan to stay 2-3 nights then take a ferry to Seattle. We will fly out from Seattle on July 11. We will make use of Uber, cabs or public transportation while in Seattle. We visited Pike Place Market, Space needle 10 years ago but do not mind revisiting these places. Any suggestions for Seattle for just a few days and places to stay. Will appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.
Struggling a little bit to follow your itinerary.
I think it sounds as if you are planning 2 nights in Downtown Vancouver, 2-3 nights in Victoria, and
the remainder of the nights in Seattle.
Two options between Vancouver and Victoria. 1st option is to take a bus/ferry combination on BC ferries
Here is a link for info
2nd option is a fairly expensive high speed catamaran https://www.v2vvacations.com
There are bus links out to Butchart Gardens from downtown Victoria, but you can also catch a tour bus from in front of the Empress Hotel that might make this a little easier.
Only direct Victoria to Seattle ferry is the Victoria Clipper: https://www.clippervacations.com
I won't reinvent the wheel here...guidebooks and the Vancouver website (https://www.tourismvancouver.com) all the best attractions. I want to put it a special plug for the Museum of Anthropology, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden - they are all excellent. It's really easy to get around just by foot or their metro/bus system (even from the airport). Everything is quite compact downtown and the bridges are walkable too (say, to Granville Island or Kitsilano). Actually Stanley Park blissfully hasn't changed all that much (maybe just the restaurants in the park or adjacent)...it's still one of my favorite places. It doesn't sound like you have much time there...only 2 nights?
I went to Seattle and Vancouver last year and initially planned on spending much more time in Seattle. But with the exchange rate, Vancouver was a much, much better value (plus I have to admit, it's more beautiful than Seattle).
VERY busy time in Seattle you better book your accommodation soon.
You can't take a ferry from Vancouver City to Seattle directly.
There's no substitute for a guidebook. But I'll share a few of my favorite places in Seattle:
There's also a new restaurant that has incredible buzz. I haven't been yet, but I've heard it's amazing. They don't take reservations, and people I know said they waited two hours and it was absolutely worth it. It recently won the James Beard award for best new restaurant in the United States:
Hello and welcome in advance to Victoria-Vancouver! No Uber or Lyft here unfortunately. Looks like you are arriving one day too late for our Canada Day celebrations. Note that the beautiful city of Victoria is on Vancouver Island (not Victoria Island) - a 90 min ferry ride away. The Tsawwassen ferry terminal is easy to reach from downtown Vancouver by public transportation if you are light packers, and the suggestion of the BC Ferry connector bus is a good one if you aren't. The Victoria Clipper high speed catamaran will take you direct from Victoria harbour to Seattle harbour. Lots to see and do in Victoria, where I live - PM me if you would like some ideas...
As a Seattle resident, I have to say that I think the Underground Tour is pretty much a scam. I went on this years ago and it was mostly just a guided tour through basements, pretty scruffy and unimpressive. I recall having to step over fresh vomit a couple times while following the group (admittedly, in Seattle nowadays, you'll probably need to step over worse things while walking around the city, so maybe the practice will be useful). I found one or two things interesting, and it was good to hear about the fire and how the city adapted (by adjusting "ground level"). But overall...I did not feel it was worth the time or money and felt afterwards like I had been taken. Just my impressions.
As a Seattle resident, I have to say that I think the Underground Tour is pretty much a scam.
No doubt it's not for everyone. I've been on it 5 times (first time as a visitor to Seattle, last 4 as a resident with guests). I don't agree with David's assessment, but there's room for many differing opinions around here. All of my guests I've brought on the tour seemed to enjoy it quite a lot.
Google "Japanese Gardens Seattle" and see if it is of interest. Very beautiful and meticulously maintained.
I really enjoyed both the Chihuly Glass Museum (expensive, but fantastic and colorful) and Ballard/ Ballard Locks in Seattle. I took an Express Bus D, I believe, from my hotel in Queen Anne to Ballard and it was easy, quick, and inexpensive. Like Vancouver, Seattle has a great city website with plenty of ideas. I would start looking there.
Ah, you may experience proper summertime sunshine and bluebird skies since you are not timing your Seattle visit to include the 4th of July. A native Seattleite, web-toed and moss-backed, I have spent too-numerous-to-count summer holidays (Memorial Day - I know, not technically summer - , 4th of July, Labor Day) huddled around a heat source or beneath a blue tarp attempting to stay warm or dry or heaven forbid, both at the same time. Numerous accommodation options like any good sized city of 700,000+ (fun fact, Seattle has added 100,000 people to its population tally since 2009) (not so fun fact, traffic/congestion/homelessness are all considerably worse than in the past and solutions, while being worked on, have not kept pace with the troubles) You could stay in the heart of the retail area downtown at a property like The Paramount and walk, walk, walk everywhere or opt for a neighborhood close by, say Queen Anne and book a room at The MarQueen. Lots of city outdoor options which if you can go with the possibly damp flow, i.e. good footwear and an umbrella, you should greatly enjoy visiting/exploring Pike Place Market, Olympic Sculpture Park, the waterfront, Seattle Aquarium, Pioneer Square, International District. Personally, I am a fan of the Underground Tour and even like the Ride the Ducks of Seattle, too. The Space Needle is in terrific shape, with brand spanking new floor-to-ceiling glass windows at the Observation Deck as well as a glass floor, though admittedly, the view of what is below you once you're 500 feet up at the top is a complete meh compared to the 360º view out you can see on a clear day. Hope you have a great trip to both B.C. and Seattle.
Another vote for Chihuly -- I had seen travelling exhibitions in San Francisco and Jerusalem, but this is permanent and beautiful!
Yes, I should have include Chihuly Garden and Glass in my short list. It's just great. But do be prepared to pay: $29 per person ($24 if you're over 65), and it's a fairly small museum.
Thank you for all travel suggestions. My husband and I had a great time. 😀
It's great to hear that you had such a wonderful time in the Vancouver area. Hopefully you'll come back soon for another visit.
For future reference, Uber or Lyft are not legally allowed to operate in B.C. at this time. There have been a few scofflaws that were hoping to "fly under the radar" and provide the service before it was legal, but the government found a lot of them and slapped them with a $2000 fine! Hopefully they've got the message! As we have a provincial auto insurance monopoly, not paying the fine is not an option, as they wouldn't be able to renew their driver's license or car insurance.
The provincial government is currently drafting the legislation to allow ride sharing / ride hailing services, but there's no definite date on when that will be ready. I've seen a draft copy of the legislation, but I expect the final version will be much different. I've heard some estimates of "sometime this fall" but it could very well be winter. One of the main concerns is that there's a "level playing field" with respect to the taxi industry. I suspect the government wants to do its "due diligence" and have well thought out rules that are fair to all parties.
Thanks for the update on Uber/Lyft Ken.
An update on Uber / Lyft operating in BC......
According to a news report today, the legislation for ride hailing / sharing may be introduced this fall, and these services won't be able to begin operating until Fall 2019. In the meantime, the government is licensing an additional 500 Taxis province-wide. The official message is, "we want a made-in-BC solution and we want to get this right."
And there you have it.....
So how did you end up spending your time in the two places?
We spend several days in Vancouver in 2016 and loved the city. We spend a week there prior to taking a Canadian Rockies four day bus tour from Key West Tours. That was wonderful.
Here is my review of that trip, which also includes an Alaskan cruise.
Alaska, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies
Also, we visited Seattle for two nights after a transpacific cruise from Australia. A hotel in downtown Seattle will be very expensive. You probably can't find one for less than $300. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport for half the price. We took a city tour as well as a wonderful tour of the Boeing Factory. Also, the Air Museum there is great.