27 July 2013

Portland, Seattle, Vancouver Help

Hola, friends!
Husband and I are excited to have a Northwest adventure in August! :)  It's been one year since we've been on a vacation (which is the longest I think we've gone!) -- okay, that's a lie, I've been on two vacations since, but husband hasn't!  And that one vacation a year ago, was really a vacation for me since it was in Miami and a work trip for him....  SO, he's excited!

{ He totally should be a student / nurse / work for himself, there is a lot more time to vacation for me than he ;) }

I have Portland and Seattle planned, including reservations for dinner in the Space Needle's restaurant -- cheesey?  Maybe.  But it includes free admission to the observation deck -- meal + observation deck = no cheese for me!

Vancouver is harder to plan, and therefore I refuse to do it.  I really wanted to go to Vancouver Island, but it is apparently so far away that we'd have to rent a car and make it an over night trip, boo.

SO, if you all have any recommendations for things to do in Vancouver in August (as well as Portland and Seattle) -- let us know!  I've been once and loved it.  So I know we'll be doing the Capilano suspension bridge.  We'll be staying for 5 nights and are in need of ideas!


We are foodies (hence Portland!), we like being outdoors, and history and culture.  We don't care for shopping or art galleries.  We aren't partiers, either.  If there's something picture-worthy, I need to hear about it.  Fortunately, husband is used to waiting on me to get that perfect shot -- and he will even recommend a shot angle for me.

I N   P O R T L A N D / O R E G A N:
  • Food recommendations?
  • Locations for getting a great photography shot?
  • Must see spots / must do attractions
  • What vineyard do you recommend?
  • Do you recommend the drive to a beach?
  • Tips

I N   S E A T T L E / W A S H I N G T O N :

  • Food recommendations?
  • Locations for getting a great photography shot?
  • Must see spots / must do attractions
  • Mount Ranier or Mount St. Helens?
  • Tips
  • Best way to get to Vancouver from Seattle (we'd rather not rent a car and drive, we've heard there is transportation options, but don't want to make a lot of stops -- we just want to go from Seattle to Vancouver)
  • Is Forks, WA worth it? ;)  We have a history with the Twilight series but are in no way Twihards (or is it Twihearts?)  -- our first date was to see the first movie so it has a place in our hearts a wee bit.
I N   V A N C O U V E R :
  • Food recommendations?
  • Locations for getting a great photography shot?
  • Must see spots / must do attractions?
  • Day trip ideas?
  • Things to know about BC
  • Tips
If you live in any of these locations and want to meet up, let me know!  My husband has to check in with work occasionally, so I'd be available to meet at a coffee shop!  I mean, in Seattle - I have to check out the original Starbucks & Seattle's Best!



  1. I'm so jealous of your upcoming vacation!! Have fun!!

  2. I went to Whistler, BC a few Augusts ago with my parents and we also spent a day walking around Vancouver. We went to Stanley Park, and it was really pretty! (:

  3. I live about an hour north of Seattle and let me say...I've been wanting to do the Forks thing, but it's not as close as you think it is. It's about 3+ hours away from Seattle still, so if transportation is an issue I'd skip it. There are more exciting things to see! If you wanna do all the fun "tourist" stuff you can get those CityPass tickets that will give you a great discount on a lot of Seattle stuff- like the Space Needle! http://www.citypass.com/seattle

  4. In Portland I highly recommend that you go to the waterfront and if you want an amazing breakfast either Mother's Cafe or Pine State Biscuits {both are amazing} and I would definitely go to Multnomah Falls if you want some amazing pictures. The drive to the beach is gorgeous and Cannon Beach, Seaside/Astoria are both gorgeous. In Cannon you can have Mo's for lunch or dinner and it is 100% worth it. The best clam chowder there is! If you want to go the other direction to the beach you could go to Rockaway which is tiny but super cute and stop by Tillamook Cheese Factory which is always fun + the cheese and ice cream are totally worth it. There are so many winery's in Oregon it's hard to choose but Naked Winery is so fun and their wine is delicious, it's in Hood River. Oh and if you can check out one of the many McMennamin's around the area I'd say either Edgefield {Troutdale, OR} or Kennedy School {Portland} or Grand Lodge {Forest Grove, OR} they have The Ruby beer which is the best berry beer you'll ever have and great cheeseburgers and sandwiches. There is so much to do and so much to see it's hard to tell you everything. But I hope this helps :)

    1. P.S. If you love pastries you have to try VooDoo Donuts + St. Cupcake. They're both amazing and VooDoo is just plain something interesting to see.

  5. Being a native Washingtonian (born in Tacoma, now live in Yelm--all near Seattle), I can recommend going to Pike Place Market. Certainly worth it! If you get to go on a cruise on the Sound, it is so worth it! And if you are an arts person, check out the Freemont historic tour! We loved it!!

    Where to eat? I'm not too big on that. I love the Seattle Science Center. I prefer the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma--I grew up just down the road. If you love the outdoors, you will love Point Defiance Park in general. If you like visiting special shops, be sure to check out the Proctor shopping district in the North End of Tacoma. It is a wonderful experience.

    Mt. Rainier is much closer than Mt. St. Helens, and there is much more to do. So check it out! It is gorgeous in the summertime! I could probably spend a lot of time telling you what to check out in the area, but those are the highlights.

  6. Hi! I live in Seattle and absolutely love it so I totally have lots of tips! Seattle is so beautiful in the summer and there are so many wonderful places to visit (and yes the space needle totally is worth it, it's obviously over priced, but you are paying for the experience and the wonderful view). Pike place market is an obvious must, the first Starbucks, the gum wall, those guys throwing fish, total Seattle experience. It's a lot of fun to canoe around the arboretum at lake Washington when it is sunny, and if you are looking for night life capital hill is the best way to go in my opinion. I think mt.rainier is far more exciting than mt.st.helens because everything is black and dead whereas on mt.rainier it is lush and green and full of life.

    Restaurant Reccomendations:
    Seafood-Cutter's, Anthony's
    Sushi-Wasabi (it's near downtown and it is delicious, my boyfriend and I go as often as possible)
    Italian-The Pink Door (in pike place market, they have trapeze performers and the food is great)
    Foodies love the Tom Douglas restaraunts although I've only been to one of them. I also highly Reccomend checking out Queen Mary's for a super fun lunch/high tea experience.
    As for forks, it's pretty far away and to be honest it's just a regular small town with some twilight stuff now...I'd say not worth it. Also the drive to Vancouver is a bit far but it's a beautiful city and you can also take the grey hound from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver for pretty inexpensive I think (I've never taken it all the way to Vancouver but to cities in northern Washington).

    I hope you have a great trip!

    1. Sorry one more thing! If you want a fun little beach day I totally alki beach in west Seattle or golden gardens in north Seattle.

  7. Sounds fun! lucky for you I grew up all around Washington State and now live in Portland Oregon! So here are my recommendations!

    I N P O R T L A N D / O R E G O N:

    Food recommendations?
    **Take I-84 East to McMinamens Edgefield. Its exit 16 if coming off the freeway in the East Direction.
    Locations for getting a great photography shot?
    **Take I-84 East after stopping off at Edgefield and go up to Vista House-it is the entry way of The Columbia River Gorge and a beautiful view overlooking the gorge and the vista house is a free museum. Check the hours before going but,the view is still open.
    Must see spots / must do attractions-
    ** Voodoo doughnuts like the other gal said. There are two locations. The first one is downtown portland but always packed. Voodoo Too is off of Sandy Blvd. and EASY to get to after your trip to The vista house.
    What vineyard do you recommend? Edgefield! :)
    Do you recommend the drive to a beach?
    Yes, but if your cramming all the fun in to a few days id pass on the beach and opt for taking 101 North to get to Seattle. It is a bit longer of a drive but you ride against the Ocean. Beautiful views and photo opps too. If ya'll decide to go to the beach go to Lincoln City,Oregon. Its relatively "close" compared to going to Newport.
    Take your time,don't get in a rush. Portland is busy. The people here are lovely. Take a drive in the Hawthorne District, lots of neat shops and eateries. Visit Powells Books off of Burnside in Downtown Portland. Park at Lloyd center Mall in the pay to park area (parking meter) and ride MAX (Train) $4.75/each for an all day pass. Burnside isn't that far of a walk from 10th and Yamhill stop. You could even take the Street car if you don't mind standing for a minute or two. It will drop you off very close to Powell's Books (which is NOT on Powell Blvd :) )
    The street food carts are heavenly! I recommend a Gyro car which is closer to the river front on 7th I believe.
    The Saturday market is also something fun to do. Lots of Artisans and great vibes.
    If you go anywhere in Downtown Portland. Park somewhere either at the Rose Garden and pay at the meter (free on Sundays) or Park at Lloyd and ride MAX. Its the best thing to do if your site and adventure seeking.

    1. I N S E A T T L E / W A S H I N G T O N :

      Food recommendations? Any of the resturants off of Pier 57 (waterfront) If you like Seafood there is Ivars its off of Pier 57 it is DELISH! (Coupon in the Entertainment Book)
      Locations for getting a great photography shot?-Pier 57 there is a HUGE farriswheel you can take on the pier for fun its $15 after taxes its spendy but the photo opp is fantastic. No coupon in the entertainment book for that. Pikes Place Market of course!!! DONT PASS IT UP! great little shops,vendors and the atmosphere is fantastic! Go to Ghost Ally! To the GUM WALL! it smells like juicy fruit but, its a big time tourist attraction. My husband and I went to Seattle for our Honeymoon and of course placed our gum on the wall ;-) Starbucks is fun-the line is LONG 20 minute wait at the longest. Its a small little thing. I opt for Tullys-another Seattle based company and less busy and BETTER coffee (my opinion) 4th street near Pike has a lot of shops and things to do. There is a coupon for the Art Museum too. Take the MONORAIL FROM Pioneer Mall -you have to go up to the food court- it costs $2.75 ONE WAY but,will take you to the Space needle and it is a VIEW nice photo opp! its fun. IT was built for the worlds fair. The space needle is OVER RATED I don't recommend. The Music Museum (Music Experience I think?) that is the last and ONLY stop from the mall on the mono rail is awesome! worth the money.
      Must see spots / must do attractions- Pikes Market for sure,Mono Rail, Waterfront (Pier 57).
      Mount Ranier or Mount St. Helens? Mount Ranier if you are going to Forks. Forks-not worth it. Its a long drive from Seattle and "meh" but,thats just me. St.Helens is pretty and it is more of an all day drive/trip. Take a picnic. Make sure you fuel before you make the drive.
      Tips- GO to the Entertainment BOOK website! Buy the SEATTLE edition of the book. IT will cost you $20 but SAVE you $$$ My husband and I just got back from a trip to Seattle and we bought the book,rush delivered it to our home and saved a lot by using the coupons.
      Best way to get to Vancouver from Seattle - You may be able to take a bus, im hazy on that one.
      Is Forks, WA worth it? ;) No,not really. My oldest brother lives in Port Angeles, not far from Forks and its been over rated- lots of shops in Port Angeles were used in the movies too... too spendy,too much gas..
      I N V A N C O U V E R : (there is also a Vancouver,Washington...) ;-)

      I have never been to BC..so,that is a hazy one..my husband has been but, he doesn't have suggestions.


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xo, amy