Seattle travel tips, whale watching recs

<p>We are hoping to take a trip to Seattle to celebrate son's graduation. </p>

<p>Although we will do some touristy things like the Space Needle and hopefully go to Microsoft and Nintendo, my son and I love nature and would really like to do some whale watching.</p>

<p>I've seen a couple of companies online and would like to hear recs, good or bad, on ones you may have had experience with. Since you may not feel comfortable mentioning specific ones publicly, and I don't know if CC would allow it, please feel free to PM me.</p>

<p>My husband hates to fly, so seaplane from Seattle to San Juan Islands is out, though my son and I would love to do this, would really like to get some help with the logistics of getting to the island, since it seems ferries are involved and you can't just cross a bridge to get to the whale watching charters. I know there's a big fast boat that goes from Seattle to the islands for whale watching, but we would like to go on a boat that we can stand out on a deck and watch the sites go by.</p>

<p>We only have five days up there, so will want to do the whale watching trip in one day, but willing to commit the whole day to it. Will have a rental car and willing to move hotels outside of downtown for the whale watching, Microsoft, Nintendo, Boeing sightseeing. I know whales are not guaranteed, will be happy if we see them, but will be happy just to see the water, the mountains, seals, dolphins, bald eagles. We are NOT INTERESTED in shopping at San Juan, just want to go for the nature. </p>

<p>I've been told there have been posts on this before, so if anyone can give me a link, I'd appreciate it. And any new info would be most appreciated. </p>

<p>Thanks so much!</p>

<p>We've done a whale watching trip from Anacortes, which is about 90 minutes north of Seattle . Here's one company's link:
Whale</a> Watching in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound, Washington State
Don't remember if this is the one we took. The advantage of driving up to Anacortes is that driving is much much faster than a boat, (from Seattle, for example), and you don't have to catch a ferry (though taking a ferry sometime during your visit might be nice). Anacortes is an interesting town and area in its own right.</p>

<p>I see this tour company leaves from both Anacortes and Everett. Everett is a lot closer to Seattle than Anacortes. </p>

<p>There are two ways to get to Anacortes--straight up I-5 or going through Whidbey Island. You take the ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island. It's only about a 20-minute ferry. Whidbey is really pretty. We have a vacation house there and we have lots of eagles! At the northern tip of Whidbey is Deception Pass with an amazing bridge that crosses over to the next island, where Anacortes is.</p>

<p>Maybe you could stay one night on Whidbey or in Anacortes, combined with your whale watching tour? If you and your S like nature, you'll like it over there, more than Seattle, I think.</p>

<p>Do they do tours at Microsoft and Nintendo? I should know that, since I live here. The Boeing tour is very interesting. Is that at the Everett location? That is right near Mukilteo.</p>

<p>Forget Microsoft, do the Boeing tour! It is absolutely amazing. The guides take you to see the real assembly lines. Future</a> of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour</p>

<p>Whale watching - here is the tour company that partners with Kenmore Air (you can get there via ferries since youprefer not to fly): San</a> Juan Island Whale Watching: Whale Watching from Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, Near Seattle With San Juan Safaris</p>

<p>My H has worked at Boeing for 25 years- I haven't been on a tour, but I did go to the rollout of 787.
( I have also been to an open house when D was small)
I think the Museum of Flight might be more interesting.</p>

<p>It's not clear is your son graduating from UW?</p>

<p>Seattle</a> Guide | Seattle Times Newspaper</p>

<p>Seattle</a> Visitors Guide, from seattlepi.com | Seattle Post-Intelligencer</p>

<p>Personally, if you want to see nature- I would spend the day here.
Seattle</a> Virtual Tour, Visiting Seattle, the Official Site of the City of Seattle</p>

<p>No, my son is not graduating from UW. He will be a freshman at Bama. He hopes to go to grad school for biomedical engineering and who knows, may apply to Udub. We've just always wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest. We're from Louisiana, so no mountains here. Mountains and water and whales, sounds like heaven. </p>

<p>As for the Boeing and Museum of Flight, hey, we might do both!</p>

<p>Have no idea what's available at Microsoft or Nintendo, haven't gotten that far. The males in the house piped up that they want to go there. </p>

<p>We all want to go to the Space Needle. I'd love to go to the flying fish at Pike Place, since I went to a seminar with a fish speaker and thought it was so much fun. Son will get a kick out of it. And since he's a big Iron Chef fan, he'll be interested in the marketplace as well.</p>

<p>I know, we really need months and months to do all we want to do, and we'll have to prioritize as we make our final itinerary, so really appreciate everyone's input.</p>

<p>I took a group of high schoolers out on the whale watching boat dadx3 recommends (out of Anacortes). They were wonderful. </p>

<p>It is a TIRING day even though all you do is sit on a boat. </p>

<p>Museum of Flight is fun (especially if you eat in the Cafe on weekends, when all the hobbyists are taking their little planes out for the day). The 747 Boeing plant tour is also good. </p>

<p>Microsoft is really boring. (And DH used to work there, too.)</p>

<p>Taking the ferry to Friday Harbor from Anacortes is a lovely day trip and only takes an hour on the water. You could then take a whale watching boat from Friday Harbor.</p>

<p>Not clear where you're coming from, but if you're not familiar with the Washington State Ferries, they are not like east coast ferries. It's very easy to take your car on and drive off. Most people do. You don't need a reservation years in advance like you do for Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. On Friday afternoons in the summer the lines can get long.</p>

<p>I would suggest that you spend at least a day and a half on your whale watching if you want to see the San Juans at all... You could drive to Anacortes (90 mins) around noon--ferry to Friday Harbor, spend the night, whale watch the next day, spend the night, early ferry back to Anacortes.</p>

<p>Or just go to Anacortes early in the AM and catch your whale watch boat there and go back to Anacortes and back to Seattle.</p>

<p>then go to Mt Rainier, Stevens Pass, Mt Baker if you've never been to mountains. goog: washington skiing</p>

<p>Washington's clams, oysters, crabs are huge when compared to Atlantic/Gulf shellfish</p>

<p>Bookiemom, thanks for the Everett tip. Unfortunately, we will be going too late for that. </p>

<p>Dmd-I was initially looking at your suggestion, but would rather this trip not have to worry about the ferry and finding rooms on the island, and the Anacortes departure appeals to me for that reason.</p>

<p>I've got a Fairfield booked in Burlington that is close to Anacortes so we don't have too far a drive back to the hotel after the day on the water. I know we will be tired after the trip.</p>

<p>I really don't want to miss the place with the Concorde and Air Force One, though, as we wanted to do the Dulles air museum when we went to DC a couple of years back and could never get there. </p>

<p>If anyone can give me a tip on where to call to get info on tours for Nintendo and Microsoft, please let me know. If we can do both of those in a day, that would be great. </p>

<p>Is the Boeing, Museum of Flight, the same thing, or at least close to each other, where we could do both in one and a half days or less?</p>

<p>Also, can anyone recommend a good guide book, Fodors or the other one, and should I get one just on Seattle, or one on the Pacific Northwest, since we're interested in the whale watching? </p>

<p>Thanks so much, everyone, for all your help!</p>

<p>If the whale watching doesn't work out, or if you just want more water-front activity, the Water Taxi to West Seattle is my favorite cheap alternative to tour boats.
West</a> Seattle Route</p>

<p>It takes you from the Seattle downtown waterfront (down the hill/stairs from the Pike Place Market) to West Seattle and Alki beaches. Alki was the first place settlers tried before heading into the more protected area that is now Seattle. You get a wonderful view back across the bay toward the Seattle skyline and experience the shipyards and docks. Once you get off on the other side there are free buses or a nice long walk along the water to Alki beach and some great Fish and Chips places. One of the few sandy beaches in the area.... </p>

<p>I second the idea to drive up into the mountains.</p>

<p>We live in the region and on our island, we tend to only see the Orcas in late July or August. Have never seen them before then and they are closely monitored so you can probably check out some 3rd party data on this. Others might correct me, but I'm not sure if you will get much viewing earlier on and I wasn't sure exactly when you were going.</p>

<p>Okay more optimistic than I thought about the J pod (the ones in the region):</p>

<p><a href="http://www.orcanetwork.org/sightings/archives.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.orcanetwork.org/sightings/archives.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Microsoft</a> Visitor Center</p>

<p>Nintendo</a> of America Inc - Redmond, WA</p>

<p>Thanks, starbright. We are going June 12 to 19th. I have forewarned son and husband that there's a good possibility we won't see whales. I did a lot of field work in college and know all too well how fickle wildlife can be. But we will enjoy seeing the water and the mountains. Thank you for the link!</p>

<p>Thanks, bookiemom, too, for the links.</p>

<p>You guys are awesome!</p>

<p>While many people think that the Boeing Tour and Museum of Flight are near each other, they are in fact 30-35 miles away and the Boeing Tour is next to another Aviation Museum, well actually 3 if you count Paul Allen's collection and the Museum of Flight's restoration center.</p>

<p>South Seattle/Tukwila: Museum of Flight (Concorde, Air Force One, 1st 747, and 1st 707 (the Dash-8), among other things). It's currently surrounded by a Boeing plant (Plant 2), but not one that gives tours or builds aircraft.</p>

<p>Everett/Mukilteo: Future of Flight Aviation Center, Boeing Tour Center, Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection. The Boeing plant here is home to 747/767/777/787 production.</p>

<p>Washington State Ferries are actually public transportation (couldn't/wouldn't build bridges like those near NOLA). Many of my hs teachers commuted via ferries to get my hs on the mainland. Whidbey Island is a popular place to live.</p>

<p>Have done 3 vacation trips to Seattle area, one around a decade ago the other two in past months. Skip the Space Needle- if you want the views from high up there is a bank in downtown- a local probably knows which one. The Music Experience/Fantasy Science Fiction Museum is great. The Boeing factory and museum are both grreat- but at opposite ends of the area. Mt Rainier in the summer is worth a day trip. Whale watching also. Mt St Helen's another good trip. The Olympic Peninsula is great- the climb to Hurricane Ridge and the rain forest also- but too great a distance to attempt both the same day. Skip Microsoft- their museum is pathetic (as of last Oct). Some like "Seattle Underground"- we didn't bother with the tour. Pike Place is a definite must. Downtown Seattle is a series of steep hills- malls for shopping would be easier if that is on your to do list. Seeing the fish ladders is nice. If you have AAA their list of attractions is good. We have stayed at inexpensive hotels near the Seatac airport the night before leaving. PM me for good hotel ideas, et al. Ivers has nice seafood- the Lake Washington restaurant near UW as well as the fast food mall place in Tukwilla/Renton area (south, somewhat near airport). Traffic is heavy- need plenty of time to get places. Hopefully your public library has Moon, Lonely Planet as well as Fodors and Frommers books on the region.</p>

<p>"Skip the Space Needle" - Last time in Seattle we got that three attractions ticket that included the Sci-fi, the Experience and a trip up the Needle for the price of the first two. It's in the same complex so why not? </p>

<p>Regarding the Boeing museum does anyone know if there is a Rosie the Riveter themed exhibit there? I do know there is such a museum in So. Cal., but my late mother had a Rosie gig with Boeing during WWII...</p>

<p>Thanks also for the tip on hills. My husband and I are almost 50, and my knees are not too good, so I'm not going to be able to do a lot of hill climbing. The Space Needle is a must, though, as the guys want to do the restaurant on top. I know some things will be expensive and touristy, but will want to see. Also thanks for the heads up on the proximity/lack of for the aviation tours. May want to do the Concorde when we're in the city, and then the Everett one on the way up or down. I did book a hotel close to the airport for the day before our flight, as we have to leave early in the morning and don't want to catch traffic. I know it will be tough packing and repacking, but will try to just live out the suitcases for the trip. The nice thing about our air travel is that we got a flight with two stops, but no plane change, so we won't have to miss a connection. It is still seven hours on the plane, though, so we'll be basket cases when we land. It will be two o'clock in Seattle, but will feel like four for us. We'll be hungry and tired and will no doubt crash.</p>

<p>Can anyone recommend a nontiring, sightseeing thing to do on Saturday evening, when we first get in? We'll be staying in the Lake Union area, and even though we'll have a rental car, won't mind taking a taxi to an evening tour, maybe a cruise? Any recommendations?</p>

<p>We'll get a good night's sleep Saturday and head out early Sunday. Maybe Pike's Place?</p>

<p>Thanks for the tour guide recs. I've got a Borders coupon and a gift card put aside just for that.</p>

<p>Dudedad, off topic, but the World War II museum in New Orleans had some Rosie the Riveter stuff when we went there after it first opened. If you're in the NO areas, you may want to check it out. Haven't been there since Katrina, but I know it's still open and has even more exhibits now than when we first attended.</p>

<p>On the pass topic, we had done the CityPass for Chicago and I was thinking of doing it for Seattle. Are the lines long without it? We also are Triple A members, so we may get the same savings with that. But if we can get through lines quicker, it may be worth to get the CityPass. </p>

<p>How do we get that three attraction ticket?</p>

<p>Thanks Montegut. Can't remember the details of the three attraction ticket just the savings, but we are AAA too, so that could have helped. Missed the NO WWII on the Tulane visit, maybe next time.</p>

<p>are you staying on eastlake?</p>

<p>You can ridethe s.l.u.t.</p>

<p>You will be in town for SIFF
( last day is 13th)
2010</a> Seattle International Film Festival</p>

<p>Fremont is around the bend from Eastlake and while they have a Sunday Market every Sunday, the weekend of the 19th-20th is their fair, and you can't miss the Solstice Parade.
<a href="http://www.fremontfair.org/parade/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.fremontfair.org/parade/&lt;/a>
This was probably the pass
CityPass®</a> save up to 50%: New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Southern California, Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Hollywood</p>