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the waterfront on a vancouver to seattle weekend itinerary

Visiting Seattle from Vancouver: Exploring the Emerald City’s Charms

Looking to head to Seattle from Vancouver for a quick getaway?

Seattle is a city that perfectly blends urban excitement with natural beauty. From iconic landmarks to quirky neighbourhoods, there’s something for everyone.

Get ready to embark on a journey of exploration and discover the top things to do on a Vancouver to Seattle weekend getaway.

Seattle From Vancouver Day Trip

Embarking on a journey to Seattle from Vancouver offers an exciting blend of urban exploration and natural beauty, all within a few hours’ drive. This bustling city, just a stone’s throw away from Vancouver, promises an array of unforgettable experiences.

From the iconic Space Needle to the vibrant Pike Place Market, Seattle is a treasure trove of sights and sounds waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a foodie, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Seattle’s diverse attractions ensure there’s something for everyone.

Let’s dive into how to make the journey and what makes the Emerald City the perfect quick getaway from Vancouver.

Crossing the Border: A Journey from Vancouver to Seattle

Leaving the city behind, we embark on our journey from Vancouver to Seattle, just 2-3 hours away by car. Don’t have a vehicle? Don’t worry; you’ll have a number of excellent transportation options available.

  • Vancouver to Seattle Bus: A 4-5 hour journey from Pacific Central Station to King Street Station in Seattle’s International District.
  • The Amtrak Cascades: A comfortable and scenic intercity train that connects Vancouver to Seattle and Portland.
  • Seattle Seaplane: A breathtaking journey between Coal Harbour and the Kenmore Air Seaplane Base on Lake Union

As you cross the border into the United States, just be sure to keep your passport handy and prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Seattle. For more information on each option, check out our article on how to get from Vancouver to Seattle.

Not looking to cross the border? Check out our list of the 16 Top Day Trips from Vancouver.

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Things to do in Seattle

the seattle citypass, a valuable tool for a trip from vancouver to seattle

Take Advantage of the Seattle CityPASS

Before we get started, I’d highly recommend that you take advantage of the remarkable Seattle CityPASS® during your upcoming journey. This extraordinary pass allows you to save 44% on prepaid admission to 5 must-see attractions.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

So if you’re looking at doing some serious sightseeing, this is a great way to save some coin. Each pass includes:

  • The Space Needle: Admission (day/night) to Seattle’s most famous attraction – includes two visits in 24 hours.
  • The Seattle Aquarium: General admission to all major exhibits and events.

You’ll also get to choose between 3 of the following attractions:

  • Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP): General admission
  • Woodland Park Zoo: General admission
  • Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour: 1-hour narrated Harbor Tour by boat
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass: General admission & complimentary smartphone audio tour

Does that sound great, or what? With one handy ticket, you’ll experience five of the city’s most popular attractions for a fraction of the usual price. To take advantage, click the button below:

a view of puget sound with the space needle in the foreground

Visit the Iconic Space Needle

Make sure to visit the iconic Space Needle during your time in Seattle. Take an elevator ride to the top of this architectural marvel and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes.

Enjoy a meal at the rotating SkyCity Restaurant, savouring delicious cuisine while taking in the stunning vistas. Capture the perfect Instagram-worthy photo from the observation deck before descending back to the ground.

the exterior of chihuly garden and glass in seattle

Chihuly Garden and Glass: Artistic Splendor

Step into a world of breathtaking glass art at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. Marvel at the dazzling and intricate sculptures created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

The combination of vibrant colours and unique designs will leave you in awe of the artistic splendour on display. Plus, it’s right next door to the Space Needle! So you can purchase Chihuly Garden tickets separately or pair your visit together in one convenient package.

t-mobile field in seattle

Sports Fanatics: Root for Seattle’s Teams

For sports enthusiasts, Seattle offers plenty of opportunities to cheer for the home teams. Join the passionate fans at a Seattle Seahawks football game or catch a Seattle Mariners baseball game at T-Mobile Park.

Since our city lacks these sports, sneaking in a game is very popular for those visiting Seattle from Vancouver. You can immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere and become a part of Seattle’s sports culture. Just don’t cheer for the Sounders FC or the Kraken while you’re there!

a hop on hop off bus in seattle's chinatown

Take the Sightseeing Seattle Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Wanna explore all the awesome sights and neighbourhoods of Seattle without any hassle or parking nightmares? Well, hop on board the amazing hop-on hop-off Seattle bus tour with 1- or 2-day tickets! Trust me; it’s the way to go!

Picture this: you’ll be cruising around on a cool double-decker, open-top bus, soaking in the breathtaking views. And here’s the best part – whenever you feel like it, you can hop off the bus and dive right into the action. And with tickets starting at just $54, it also provides great value!

the entrance to seattle's legendary pike place market

Visit Pike Place Market: A Culinary Delight

No trip to Seattle would be complete without experiencing the culinary delights of Pike Place Market. This historic market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of fresh produce, local seafood, and artisanal products.

Take a moment to watch the famous fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market as they toss fish with incredible skill. Sample delicious treats like clam chowder, smoked salmon, and the city’s beloved coffee at the original Starbucks store.

a sculpture in seattle's olympic sculpture park

The Olympic Sculpture Park: Where Art and Nature Converge

Indulge in the beauty of art and nature at the Olympic Sculpture Park, an open-air museum with stunning waterfront views. Take a leisurely stroll along the park’s paths adorned with monumental sculptures and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

With its integration of art, landscape, and breathtaking vistas, the park provides a serene escape from the bustling city.

the museum of pop culture in seattle

The Museum of Pop Culture: Where Art Meets Pop Culture

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of pop culture at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, this innovative museum features exhibits dedicated to music, film, video games, and science fiction.

Marvel at the extensive collection of memorabilia, interact with hands-on installations and explore the various galleries showcasing iconic artifacts.

a pod a of orca's on a seattle whale watching tour

Embark on a Seattle Whale Watching Tour

Forget about trekking to the San Juan Islands just to catch a glimpse of those majestic whales in their natural habitat. This amazing tour has got you covered right from Pier 69 in downtown Seattle! Hop on board a fantastic whale-watching cruise that’ll have you oohing and aahing for 4 to 6 awesome hours.

So, get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. We’re talking about hanging out with whales, cruising through the waves, and soaking up the beauty of nature. And hey, who knows what other surprises the ocean has in store for you?

the lighthouse in seattle's discovery park

Hiking in Discovery Park: Unleashing Your Adventurous Spirit

Escape the urban jungle and embark on an outdoor adventure at Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest public park. With over 500 acres of diverse landscapes, including forests, meadows, and rocky beaches, this oasis offers an array of hiking trails to suit every level of fitness.

Don’t forget to visit the historic West Point Lighthouse and soak in the sweeping views of the majestic Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

historic pioneer square in seattle's downtown

Visit Pioneer Square: Seattle’s Most Historic Neighborhood

Step back in time and explore Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighbourhood. Wander through its charming cobblestone streets, marvel at the well-preserved Victorian architecture, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

You can also delve into Seattle’s intriguing history with the Seattle Underground Tour. Led by knowledgeable guides, this unique experience takes you beneath the streets of Pioneer Square to the forgotten remnants of the city’s early days.

the great wheel on seattle's waterfront

The Seattle Great Wheel: A Whirlwind of Fun

Experience the thrill of riding the Seattle Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel located on the scenic waterfront. Hop into one of the climate-controlled gondolas and be lifted 175 feet above the ground. As you ascend, marvel at the stunning vistas of the city skyline, Elliot Bay, and the distant mountains.

The Great Wheel is particularly enchanting during sunset, as the sky transforms into a tapestry of colours. And better yet, it’s just a short stroll from Pike Place Market, making for a great afternoon pairing.

the seattle aquarium on the city's waterfront

Seattle Aquarium: A Window to Marine Life

While we’re on the waterfront, why not dive into the wonders of the underwater world at the Seattle Aquarium, nestled on Pier 59? Encounter fascinating marine creatures, including otters, sea lions, and mesmerizing jellyfish.

Don’t miss the daily feeding sessions and engaging educational presentations highlighting the importance of marine conservation.

an argosy cruise sails around the seattle waterfront

Argosy Cruises: Sailing Through Seattle’s Scenic Waterways

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Seattle’s scenic waterways with Argosy Cruises. Choose from a variety of cruises, including the popular Harbor Tour, which takes you past iconic landmarks such as the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle, and the majestic Mt. Rainier.

Learn about the city’s rich history and take in the breathtaking views from the comfort of a luxurious vessel.

a sample of the exhibits at seattle's museum of flight

Museum of Flight: Where Aviation Takes Flight

As the home of Boeing, Seattle has a rich aviation history. You can take to the skies without leaving the ground at the Museum of Flight, a paradise for aviation enthusiasts. Explore a vast collection of aircraft, from historic planes to cutting-edge jets, and learn about the evolution of flight through interactive exhibits.

Don’t miss the opportunity to step inside the legendary Air Force One, which once transported presidents and world leaders.

Seattle from Vancouver FAQs

Seattle’s temperate climate makes it a year-round destination, but the summer months (June to September) offer the most pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

However, visiting during the fall or winter can also be enchanting if you’re a fan of cozy coffee shop vibes and drizzly days. Many Vancouverites also trek down for concerts or NHL, NBA, MLS, and MLB games.

The distance between Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle, United States, is approximately 140 miles (225 kilometres). The travel time can vary depending on traffic conditions and the chosen mode of transportation.

There are several transportation options available for traveling from Vancouver to Seattle. These include driving, taking a bus, flying, or travelling by train. Each option offers its own advantages in terms of cost, convenience, and travel time.

Yes, there are several attractions worth exploring along the route between Vancouver and Seattle. Some popular stops include Bellingham, with its charming waterfront and historic Fairhaven district, and Mount Vernon, known for its beautiful tulip fields (seasonal). Additionally, you can consider visiting the Skagit Valley, which offers stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities.

Seattle offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions. Some of the best things to do in Seattle include visiting Pike Place Market, exploring the Space Needle, taking a harbour cruise, visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass, and enjoying the Museum of Pop Culture.

To see the top attractions and get a good sense of the city, spending at least 3 to 4 days in Seattle is recommended. This will allow you to explore the key highlights, experience the local culture, and have enough time to discover hidden gems and indulge in the city’s vibrant food scene.

However, many people travel from Vancouver to Seattle on overnight or day trips if heading down for a specific event.

All set for your trip to Seattle from Vancouver?

Well, that’s our Seattle weekend itinerary done and dusted. I hope you’ve found enough activities for a fun-filled trip to the Emerald City.

If you need any transportation tips for your journey, don’t be afraid to hit us up in the comments below.

But until then, enjoy your trip from Vancouver to Seattle.

Safe travels 🙂


I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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