Things to do/ Where to eat in Seattle and Vancouver?

We're vacationing in the Pacific Northwest next week. WE have hotel reservations in Seattle for 4 nights and Vancouver for 3, but will have a car so we're excited to explore the area. Any recommendations for fun things to do/great places to eat? Thanks.

  • Posted by: drbabs
  • September 3, 2012


Sam1148 September 6, 2012
drbabs September 5, 2012
Thank you all so much for your wonderful recommendations! we're so looking forward to our trip!
Sam1148 September 6, 2012
If you're a movie buff. The Seattle Cinerama is one of the few restored Cinerama theaters in America. A Huge screen..that wraps around you---unlike the "IMAX" screen it's more lateral, which is the way your eyes work instead of up/down and head movements for taking in a move without headaches.

A 70MM movie opens the screen out to it's full glory. (the early three print process is a bit distracting IMHO as there are three projectors and fuzzy bits to stich in the projections). But now, some movies are being made in 70MM, which have no seams. Some early movies like 2001 where filmed in 70MM for those screens. A superwide screen.
SeaJambon September 5, 2012
Hi Cranberry -- all excellent ideas. Note that the Westlake Daiso is no longer there -- they had to move to make way for the Nordstrom Rack.
cranberry September 5, 2012
One of our recent faves is Staple & Fancy in Ballard. Splurge and get the chef's tasting menu - it is a surprise each time, and delish.
Ray's Boathouse never disappoints and the view is awesome. Ray's Cafe upstairs has some similar dishes on the menu but it can be a bit inconsistent. We still go there regularly though. An alternative is Salty's on Alki - good seafood and the views are of downtown and fabulous too.
Tom Douglas' restaurants are all good. Dahlia Lounge is probably my favorite, followed by Etta's.
Try Paseo for Cuban sandwiches and be prepared for some sauce to drip on your shirt. Red Mill for great burgers - near the Ballard Locks so you can brown bag it to the park there, or eat in. There are a bunch of good wine bars/small plates places that are good - lately I like In the Red on Greenwood b/c it's clearly a neighborhood hangout and it's not pricey.
Canlis is divine as mentioned above, but be prepared to pay for that divinity.
Sarah, Seattle has Daiso too - there is one in Westlake Center, Alderwood, International District and elsewhere.
Skip Seattle's International District if you are going to Vancouver. Their places are better.
There are several good exhibitions here currently - a quilting one at the Bellevue Arts Museum, King Tut at the Pac Sci Ctr, Indian art at the SAM. Ferry to Bainbridge is a great idea and there are quaint shops and restaurants there. I'd also walk the neighborhoods like Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont and hike in Carkeek Park down to the beach, or Discovery Park. Museum of Flight is good if you are into that and you can tour Boeing on Saturdays I think. You can rent kayaks, canoes or paddle boards on Lake Union. Kerry Park in Queen Anne is a great photo spot of the downtown view with Mt Rainier in the background - it's the view on many postcards.
Your 4 days will be packed full - there are a lot of options here and it is a lovely region to visit!
SeaJambon September 4, 2012
Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, you might want to check out our food truck culture...
Summer O. September 4, 2012
drbabs- It's been a few years but I had a great meal at the Flying Fish in Seattle. I also had a fabulous breakfast at Lowell's in Pike Place Market. I also took a boat out to Orcas Island in the San Juans which I enjoyed. We also went to a Mariner's game - we made the mistake of eating beforehand, expecting Turner Field food but, wow, that stadium had fabulous looking food.
cookinginvictoria September 4, 2012
Hi drbabs, I hope that you have a wonderful trip. I love Vancouver and Seattle. We just got back a few weeks ago from spending a few days in Seattle. I highly recommend Pike Market for just some fun foodie sightseeing and strolling around. I also would suggest visiting the Crumpet Shop. A&M make reference to it here: You must go early -- they sell out very quickly. World Spice Merchants is also a fabulous spice store. It's not gourmet at all, but my seven year old daughter and I loved Top Pot Doughnuts. Macrina Bakery is wonderful -- it's a lovely spot to go for lunch. Tom Douglas's Dahlia Bakery also has some yummy treats. BlueKaleRoad introduced me to a an amazing cookbook store on Fremont Avenue called The Book Larder ( I could easily spend a whole afternoon there.

Speaking of cookbook stores, Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks in Vancouver is also well worth a visit. As far as Vancouver restaurants go, if you love Indian food, you must go to Vij's ( There are always long lines but it's worth it. Granville Island and Stanley Park are both wonderful places to stroll around while in Vancouver.
Reiney September 4, 2012
Books to Cooks is a great suggestion - a short walk from Granville Island, and next to Les Amis du Fromage which is a great cheesemonger. Try the Salt Spring Island Blue Juliette cheese - delicious. Also, depending on your timing Andrea Nguyen (of VietWorldKitchen and a new tofu book) is doing a lot of master classes at Books to Cooks. Might be worth checking the schedule as I'm sad to be missing her.

Vij's - if you go, head there early (like 5 or 5:30). You'll have a bit of a wait regardless, but in their lounge they serve up little snacks. Have the jackfruit curry, you won't be disappointed!
babytiger September 4, 2012
Pike Market is definitely a good place to spend some time and just nibble through the small eateries. Chocolate Box, not far from Pike, has great chocolate and chocolate drinks. I love the salted caramel frozen hot chocolate. BOKA at the Hotel 1000 has great happy hour.
pamelalee September 3, 2012
We also love Serious Pie and Dahlia Lounge (Tom Douglas). Other favorites include: Tilth in Wallingford and Poppy in Capitol Hill. If you like to hike, you must go to Mt Rainier! Our favorite hike (3.2 miles) is Naches Loop. About a 2 hour drive from Seattle.
Esther P. September 3, 2012
Yes! Serious Pie! They have an excellent happy hour... Then it's a quick walk to the Tom Douglas cake shop the name of which escapes me. I know it's very touristy, but I like the piroshki from Piroshki Piroshki - very good for something to eat on the ferry over to Bainbridge island!

I second the train option... Here in the UK, the old advert used to be "let the train take the strain" it holds true for Amtrak services- comfy, spacious seating, generally efficient services (depending on the line... Californian Zephyr ran very late for us) great views - some that you wouldn't see any other way, and pretty friendly staff too!
Woodside September 3, 2012
Macrina Bakery downtown for breakfast or lunch; Serious Pie (pizza) downtown lunch; and Canlis may be the finest dining experience I've had.
SKK September 3, 2012
Still in Seattle - The Lark, an award winning restaurant on Capitol Hill and The Herbfarm in Woodinville
SKK September 3, 2012
Oh, I forgot about wine tasting in Woodinville, which is about a 30 - 45 minute drive northeast of downtown.

Our live music scene is very good, check out The Triple Door to see if there is anything you like. The Triple Door is downtown
SKK September 3, 2012
You may also enjoy going to the Ballard Locks. The salmon are still jumping, beautiful gardens, many boats Ray's, The Walrus and the Carpenter are all in Ballard.
SKK September 3, 2012
Don't know how you are planning to travel to Vancouver, but I highly recommend going by train. The tracks follow the water most of the way, really a beautiful ride. Much better than flying or driving. And if you go by train get the business seats - not much more but worth it.

I often take the train because it is so much easier than waiting at the border to go through customs.

You probably know this, you will need your passport to go into Canada.
healthierkitchen September 4, 2012
going back many years, but, my husband and I took a car ferry from Seattle to Victoria Island through the Straight of Juan de Fuca. It was a beautiful way to travel. Not sure, though, if there is service directly to Vancouver. We stayed on Victoria for a couple of days then went on to Vancouver. Have a great trip!
Diana B. September 3, 2012
You just have to eat in the Pike Place Market! You can find a list of the restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner here: And you didn't ask, but definitely take the underground tour in Seattle:
SKK September 3, 2012
I live in Seattle, drbabs. You are coming into some gorgeous weather! Things to do - The Olympic Sculpture Park - it connects with Puget Sound.
The Great Wheel just opened on the waterfront - gorgeous views
If you want a close up of our beautiful house boats on Lake Union, rent an electric boat
If you are into blown glass, Dale Chihuly has a wonderful museum right under the Space Needle.
For restaurants, Tom Douglas is great. Also a lot of other great places. The Wild Ginger, Ray's Boathouse - eat outside on the deck looking out over Puget Sound to the Olympics
We have quite a few award winning restaurants - - The Walrus and the Carpenter for our amazing oysters, for example.
If you want to take a ferry over to Winslow or Bainbridge there are amazing gardens and great restaurants.
Send me a message if you want more information. Love to let you know more about the city!
Reiney September 3, 2012
Oh - if you do happen to make it to Richmond, the Aberdeen Mall is where Fisherman Terrace is and while you're waiting for a table you can go shopping at Daiso:

Tons of extremely cheap Asian dinner ware - little bowls, spoons, lacquer, trays, etc (among other things).

There's also an electronic toilet store there for a small taste of Japanese technology!
Reiney September 3, 2012
I just moved to Seattle from Vancouver, so can give you better tips on the latter than the former but here goes:

Seattle: I really like Sitka & Spruce ( in the Melrose Market building. If the place you're staying in has a kitchen, this market has a great butcher, cheesemonger & wine shop too, and is next to Taylor Shellfish. Obviously Pike Market is great, and there's a large Spanish shop underneath the market called The Spanish Table ( There's also a great spice merchant across from The Spanish Table called World Spice ( Lecosho ( is a nice place downtown to eat, not far from the Pike Market.

Vancouver: The most iconic things to eat in Vancouver is Chinese (especially dim sum) and Japanese (izakaya and/or ramen). Great Dim Sum is found at Kirin and Sun Sui Wah nearer the city, or you can go to Richmond to Fisherman Terrace or another giant shopping mall-based banquet hall style dim sum place. Izakayas, Japanese bar style eating, are everywhere but the Hapa or Guu chains are both great. Ramen can be found on Robson near Denman street, and the favourites are Santouka (go early or face a huge line) or Kintaro.

Surprisingly Western seafood is pretty poorly represented, but YEW is a solid option and I think still has 50% off the wine list on Sundays. ( Favourite fine dining is Fraiche in West Van - great view - and The Pear Tree in Burnaby. Both are taxi rides away. L'Abbatoir in Gastown is also good.

Granville Island is less impressive than Pike Market as far as food markets go, but has an artsy bent to it and is worth a trip.

Best coffee: Revolver at Cambie & Hastings
Best beer: The Alibi Room at Alexander & Main (your hotel may warn you off going here but it's perfectly safe)
Best cocktails: L'Abbatoir or Diamond in Gastown. Refinery on Granville Street is also good.

A new restaurant has opened on Cambie & Hastings called Wildebeest. The interior is gorgeous but they're still working the kinks out as far as service goes.

Happy to provide more recommendations if you're looking for something specific! Enjoy the trip, I love the Pacific NW.
pierino September 3, 2012
Any of the Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle would be great, like Lola for example.
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