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Seeking recommendations: hotels, restaurants and sights in Vancouver and Seattle?
Kate and I have decided that this fall's vacation is going to be to the Pacific Northwest -- several days in Vancouver, and then a couple in Seattle. Neither of us has ever been to Vancouver, so we're particularly interested in getting recommendations there. (Especially because we'll be there for our anniversary, so will be looking for a good restaurant.)

So -- anybody have recommendations? We've looked through the guidebooks, but always prefer to hear what friends have to say...

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If you can, I strongly recommend spending some time in Victoria. I took a day trip there when I spent a week in Seattle and I loved it. I enjoyed Seattle quite a bit, but if I had it to do over again I'd reverse the ratio, or at least even it out.

Interesting -- it's not necessarily convenient, but not impossible. Anything in particular you'd recommend seeing there?

I never made it more than three blocks from the harbor (I came in by ferry). There was a ton of stuff to do, but my main recollection was of how absolutely lovely it was. The harbor is carved out of a cliff so that there's a giant U shape that looks down on the water and ships from quite a distance up and that's where the main city is.

The harbor area is positively littered with small, interesting little things to do for an hour or two at a time in addition to just walking around and taking it in. There was a small wax museum, a small aquarium inside a submarine with a glass bottom, a small insect museum that was hands on, a little place inside the main hotel there (I can't remember its name but it's right at the top of the harbor area at the base of the U) that did really cool themed diaramas of various sorts and sizes, and a few more that weren't as memorable. The British Columbia Museum (their main history/natural history museum) is also a block or two from the harbor. I'm sure there are also water-based attractions if you don't travel in by ferry and want to take a ride.

There were also a lot of things I didn't have time to do that looked interesting but were further away, most of which I don't remember (my trip was in 2006 - I probably should have mentioned that before). The only one I specifically remember is Butchart Gardens which appears to be a west coast version of Longwood Gardens (my inference) and lots of folks on my ferry home loved. There were also a whole bunch of potentially interesting building tours of various sorts - I think one was a transplanted castle.

Hope this helps!

Sounds neat -- we'll see whether we can squeeze in a daytrip there. Thanks!

I was going to suggest the same thing, having gone to an academic conference at U.Victoria a number of years ago. As I recall, I flew into SEA-TAC and then transferred to a 10-15-seat seaplane that flew low enough to see the scenery and "landed" at Victoria harbor: it costs a bit more, but it would be a nice, romantic flourish.

And I don't remember much about Victoria except that it was generally beautiful.

Oh, for Seattle I enjoyed the underground tour a lot - the city sidewalks were a storey down at one point; folks actually had to climb up and back down at each corner. The tour goes through a couple of blocks of excavated storefronts (it was not accessible when I went if that matters to you).  The nearby Smith Tower is very cool too; it's essentially a smaller Empire State Building - I got a discount for going the same day as the underground tour. I was disappointed in both the Science Fiction Museum (not awful but not great) and the co-located Jimi Hendrix Experience (pretty awful). If you're willing to travel a bit (I got around by bus) the Boeing Aviation Museum was very nice and you could climb into a decommissioned Air Force One and a Concorde but it was a bit of a hike from everything else. If you're willing to go even further afield the glass museum in Tacoma was very nice and they had live glass blowing demos. There was also a history museum next to the glass museum that was decent but not spectacular and a beautiful Dale Chiluly "glass bridge" connecting the two (I was disappointed the bridge itself is not made of glass but rather displays it). The maritime museum (back in Seattle proper) is decent but small and the Space Needle is nice if you like tall buildings - if you go I recommend going a while before sunset then staying until it's dark; once you're up there you can stay as long as you like.

That's what I can remember off the top of my head :)

the best part of vancouver - the flagshif Fluvog store

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