Seattle was the ending point of my Coast Starlight Train Ride, so I decided to take two days to explore this beautiful west coast seaport city. There are so many things to do here, you can definitely find enough budget activities to keep you busy for a two-day, $200 vacation!
A popular Seattle site is the Pike Place Market. Originally established in 1907, it continues to be open 365 days a year. You can wander the stalls and know any purchases you make go to support local farmers, craftspeople, and small business owners.
Cost: FREE to visit, shopping is up to your budget
From there, it’s just a 10 minute (0.4 miles) walk to the waterfront, where you can find Miner’s Landing at Pier 57, a touristy spot with restaurants and shopping. I’ve recently taken a liking to riding the local Ferris Wheels when I travel, and Seattle’s Great Wheel didn’t disappoint. I was lucky enough to get a gondola to myself and had a fantastic view of the Seattle skyline and across the bay to Bainbridge Island.
Cost: $14 for a ride on Seattle Great Wheel
Seattle has a monorail that runs between Downtown and the Seattle Center, making it easy and inexpensive to get around. But do take note: the Monorail, the Light Rail, and Buses do not work on the same system, so tickets are NOT interchangeable. You need to purchase specific tickets for whichever you are riding.
Cost: Monorail Westlake Center Mall to Seattle Center $2.25
The Seattle Center was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair. An epicenter of arts, education, tourism, and entertainment, it is home to over 30 entities and stages over 16,000 events a year! It is home to the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, Mercer Arena, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Children’s Museum, Center Theater, Pacific Science Center and much, much more.
One thing I was especially excited to visit was the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit. I’ve been seeing more and more of his work on my trips (most recently in my trip to San Antonio), so was very interested to see an entire exhibit of his work in one place. There were also movies that showed interviews with him, some of his work in progress, and exhibits around the world. It was beautiful and fascinating, with exhibits both inside and out.
Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit: $24
Less than a 10-minute walk (0.3 miles) from the Seattle Center will bring you back to the waterfront and a gorgeous sculpture garden! Part of the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park is free and open to the public every day of the year. The colors on this crisp fall day were absolutely beautiful! In addition to the art, I also sat for a moment to enjoy the views of the city and the waterfront.
If you feel like getting a little closer to nature, without leaving the city, be sure to check out the Washington Park Arboretum Botanical Garden. Easily accessible by public transportation (or, there’s parking if you drive), you can walk thru its 230 acres from dawn to dusk, daily.
Seattle Bus from Downtown to Arboretum: $2.50 ($5/RT)
At the south end of the Arboretum is the Seattle Japanese Garden. This beautifully kept sanctuary originally opened in 1960 and is designed as a ‘stroll garden’ – stroll along its winding path to experience the varied landscapes of Japan. You will find both traditional Japanese and native Pacific Northwest plants intermingling here.
Seattle Japanese Garden: $8
The easiest way to get to/from the airport is the Light Rail. Depending on your destination, a one-way ticket should cost around $3. It’s very easy to use and has many stops central to most things you might want to see during your visit.
Light Rail: approximately $3/ride ($6/RT)
Here are my itinerary and budget for my trip:
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