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Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

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Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

We're finally going to take the kids to Seattle this summer! We plan on purchasing the City Pass so we can see all the sights, in addition to going to the Ballard Locks, Mariners game, etc.

Our boys are 10 and 12 and they're looking forward to flying on a plane and going to a "big city". They love seafood, don't mind museums (of any kind) and they love animals (sealife and wildlife).

I do want some relaxation time, as I don't think the kids will be able to go all day long without some down time.

First question: Is 4 nights, 5 days enough time? Too long?

Second question: Which would be better to stay at: the Holiday Inn Express at Seattle Center or Crowne Plaza downtown. Seems that the CP has a better location, but the HI Express has a pool and breakfast. We would be using hotel points to pay for our hotel stay for we're limited to Intercontinnental brands.

I look forward to your responses!

Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Make sure you get to the Museum of Flight. It's wonderful. I have always been very comfortable at the HIX, but you do have to cross a number of streets in a not too pedestrian friendly area to get there. It's about 20 minutes from Pike's Place Market, 15 to the main downtown area. Summer days are very long here, so you would be walking to and from the HIX in daylight; this means it would be safe and easy if you don't mind the walk.

Everett, Washington
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2. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Stayed at HI Express a few years ago. It was nicer than most of that chain. Rooms on West side face Seattle Center and Space Needle. Walking over there is not super convenient due to busy Aurora Ave. (old US-99) dropping into tunnel right there so no good way to cross without going several blocks out of the way. Still not bad. Once at Seattle Center you can take monorail to downtown and the free bus zone there. HI-Express like all the Seattle downtown area hotels charges for parking but does not use valet method so coming and going is faster. Breakfast there was good. Crowne Plaza might be nicer so tradeoff would be pool.

Out and about from Seattle for boys that age if you go to Mt. Rainier stop at NW Trek Wildlife Park on the way to/from. Also in Tacoma the Zoo and Aquarium at Point Defiance are top notch and feature North Pacific critters. Even has a petting pool for touching things like starfish or octopus.

http://www.pdza.org/

Four days should be OK for most of the basics but won't leave a lot of relaxation time. One fun for the kids but leasurely thing to do would be take ferry (as walk-on passengers) from downtown to Bremerton. Takes about an hour each way so sit back and enjoy Puget Sound. At Bermerton the boys might enjpy touring the cold war era Destroyer USS Turner Joy which is parked close to the ferry dock. http://ussturnerjoy.org/

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

I would rent a car for at least part of the trip - parking is only $10 at either the HI Express or the Holiday Inn (adjacent, but facing a quieter street.) I wouldn't especially recommend the Crowne Plaza if staying with kids.

The car would speed things up, especially if you want to visit the Museum of Flight (www.museumofflight.org) or the Boeing wide-body assembly plant in Everett (www.futureofflight.org) - both of which would be dynamite for your kids.

By all means also plan on taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island, or the King County Water Taxi from downtown to West Seattle, where you can rent bikes and ride along the waterfront with some of the best views imaginable. Or there are canoes for rent at the University of Washington, or boat rentals on Lake Union.

When are you coming? There are a number of great events where the kids (and parents) would have a grand time - 4th of July fireworks over Lake Union, hydroplane races and an air show (including the Blue Angels) on Aug. 5-7, or the fabulous Bumbershoot music/arts festival on Labor Day weekend. Tons of things to do; 4 or 5 days is barely enough.

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4. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

I would say that you are staying for just about the right anount of time to "see the city". For your children I would recommend the Pacific Science Center, it has lots of very cool exhibits which kids tend to enjoy and from it you can take the Monorail to Westlake Center Mall for shopping and food if you wish. Visiting Pike Place Market and the Space Needle are musts as they are icons of Seattle. The Seattle Underground (a tour of the fire that hurt an area of Seattle) is a very cool historic tour of an old part of the city. The different areas of Seattle are also very cool to visit such as Belltown, Ballard, Capital Hill, and Downtown. All though not of all of the areas would be perfect for kids and there isn't tons to interest them there. Finally, EMP (Experience Music Project) near the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center would be great with kids. It is located in a really oddly shaped building and is home to roatating exhibits on music and its legends. It also has an area for trying out and playing on a lot of different instruments. EMP is also home SFM (Science Fiction Museum) which is home to various exhibits from classic sci-fyi shows and movies such as Star Trek and Star Wars. Enjoy your trip to Seattle and hope the advice helps! :)

United States
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5. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Water taxi to west seattle would be more fun than a pool! Be sure to walk down to Olympic Sculpture park. Free & Fun. There is an old spaghetti factory near there if you'd like some budget dining w/ kids.

Brier, WA
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6. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Check out the Crab Pot for a fun seafood dinner! The woodland park zoo is one of the best in the country! The Pacific Science Center has lots of things to do for kids and adults alike. Safeco field is a great experience for a baseball game. If you like soccer, the Seattle Sounders games are amazing but tickets can be hard to come by. Benihana is a fun dining experience. Lots of things to do in Seattle!!

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7. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Thank you for all your replies! I just booked our flights next week. We'll be staying at the Crowne Plaza from Saturday to Wednesday in Mid-July. We decided on the convenience of being downtown in the middle of everything, rather than the more kid-friendly HIEX.

As I mentioned in my original post, I do plan purchasing the City Pass and plan to do most of the activities that the pass covers. I've already called the Museum of Flight and they do have luggage storage, so we'll do that on our way to the airport on the last day of our trip (we have a late flight out). Other things that we plan to do: tour of Safeco, Ballard Locks, Pioneer Square, International District, Alki Beach

We have a Spaghetti Factory and Bennihana locally ~ so not my first choice for vacation dining. The Crab Pot sounds fun! Any more suggestions for kid-friendly eats?

Washington
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8. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Remember, to make the City Pass pay out, you do have to go to several of the attractions. There is a change in City Pass coming March 1, after that date visitors have the option of Musuem of Flight OR the Zoo.

If you are a member, Costco used to sell the City Pass at a discounted price, but now has switched to the 7-day Go Seattle Card, which is significantly more expensive than the City Pass, but offers significantly more attractions. Again, you have see if the savings will work for you.

Directly through the Go Seattle site, you have the option of a 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 day card. The deal with the Go Seattle card is you have to use it for admission between 9am and 5:30pm.

There are also free discount coupons available online that will save you a few dollars. Again, decide which is option best for you, and what you will realistically do during your visit.

Davie, Florida
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9. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

perhaps your kids like trains......

http://www.trainmuseum.org/

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10. Re: Family Vacation in Seattle - A few questions

Ahhhh, no wonder I couldn't find the City Pass at Costco.com anymore :(

I will check to see if the Go Card fits our needs. They do offer a 5 day pass that might make sense ~ I do the math to check.

IslandGrl ~ Do you know if the pass offers the same attractions and the only change is Museum of Flight OR Zoo? I'd be ok if that was the only change, because I wasn't sure if we were going to get out to the zoo anyway.

Thank you Katzgar for the train museum suggestion. I will look into it.