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Old 11-30-2012, 06:59 AM
 
20 posts, read 23,180 times
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Hi all,

Arriving in your fair city on Dec. 7th and leaving Dec. 15th. I'm coming to visit friends and explore a possible move to Seattle from Burlington, VT sometime in 2013. My plan is to take a chunk of every day to explore a different neighborhood to get a sense of where I may want to live. On the list so far is: Ballard, Fremont (staying there with a friend), Capitol Hill, Belltown.

I've reserved a rental car, but upon research I'm wondering if that's the wisest way to spend my time and money, given: Seattle seems to have the reputation of being tough to navigate for newcomers (i won't have gps); it sounds like parking is difficult and expensive. But mass transit does not seem particularly comprehensive. Do I lump it and deal with the frustrations of driving in an unfamiliar and confusing streetscape, and the expense of having a car? Or do I slow everything down and explore more street level by walking/bussing?

Any advice on the above (and anything else I may find useful. Such as who makes the best dry cappuccino in the city? etc.) would be appreciated. Thanks, in advance.

Brian

PS Recently bought a new raincoat given the weather you seem to be having lately.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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I think you should definitely use the rental car. You're not going to just be downtown for a week. This area will make you want to drive all around, cross the lake, take a ferry to Bainbridge Island, have lunch in Poulsbo, go north to Whidbey Island and cross Deception Pass, etc. If it's a vacation, you're going to want to do those things and staying downtown because you don't have a car will be really limiting.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:32 AM
 
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As walkable as downtown Ballard is, some of the nearby parks (Ballard Locks, Golden Gardens) would make for a lousy walk there in December.

Also, now that most people have smart phones, GPS units are redundant. The navigation function in iOS 6 is just as usable as my old Garmin. Odds are someone you know has an old unused portable GPS gathering dust - find it and use it if your phone doesn't have navigation.

Aside from downtown, most neighborhoods have free parking 1-2 blocks off the major commercial streets. I rarely if ever pay in Fremont or Ballard and infrequently on Capitol Hill unless I need to be near something. Belltown is a little tighter - I usually just pay in that area. Street and lot parking is more expensive than a lot of other cities and it varies by neighborhood so make sure to read the meter. The good news is if you're out during the day it's not nearly as bad finding open spots as it is at the end of the commute hours.

Last edited by mkarch; 11-30-2012 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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Thanks all. Good information. I don't have a smartphone as I've not yet found that I need one, though this is probably a good example of when one would come in handy. I do have a nexus 7 tablet which I believe I can use for offline navigation, though there are no audio directions.

I have thought about getting out of town a couple of times during my stay and the suggestions above are appreciated. Any other nooks and crannies I should make sure to see would also be appreciated: restaurants (more adventure than fine dining), interesting neighborhood bars, arts locales, day trips, etc. The Space Needle is probably the only obvious thing I'm interested in, as I love the birds-eye view.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Seattle area
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Parking in the downtown area is $4-5 per hour, but if you go north to Space Needle, it goes down to 1.50 or even 1 per hour. Also parking on Sundays and holidays is always free.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:10 AM
 
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You might check out the Underground Tour, it's an easy walk to Pioneer Square and gives you some Seattle history. Seattle's quirky personality is in its DNA. UNDERGROUND TOUR
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,651 posts, read 2,770,329 times
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I highly recommend Snoqualmie Falls - it's fairly close, it'll give you a little taste of the mountains, and it's the best time of year to go (IMO).

When you're in Cap Hill, stop by B&O Esspresso. It's the oldest coffee shop on the hill. Others would argue that Bauhaus or Victrola have better coffee though. You'll have to decide for yourself.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
1,522 posts, read 1,851,382 times
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Free parking in numerous parts of Bellevue, including downtown. You can park for free all day at Bellevue Square lots, Crossroads Mall lots and Factoria Mall lots among many other places such as parks and smaller shopping plazas.

Free all-day street parking in Seattle is available depending on area. Often, it will be next to people's homes.

In this weather, definitely good idea to get the rental car. If you have a smartphone, you can use its GPS. I can never explore a new city without GPS. Also, on the smartphone, download the free/cheap parking locations app and current traffic app.

Before you check the space needle view, go to the top of the water tower in Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill, and Kerry Park in Queen Anne. Make sure to drive up a few blocks from Kerry Park to get a very cool view of a totally different area, that most people miss.


Edit: Just saw your later comment about the smartphone:-(
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:12 PM
 
21,989 posts, read 15,635,349 times
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For the holidays there's also the Argosy Christmas Ships: 2012 Seattle Christmas Ship Festival Schedule : Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship
Leavenworth: Christmas Lighting - Leavenworth WA

And I almost hesitate to mention it but the wineries and Red Hook in Woodinville: Woodinville Wine Country | Welcome to Woodinville Wine Country! - Woodinville Wine Country
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:07 PM
 
20 posts, read 23,180 times
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Thanks again, all. Doing a little research I've found that my tablet will function as a pretty solid navigational tool, especially if I pony up some money for the sygic or navigon app. Which I'll probably do. Google maps and nav seem ok, only not so useful without a continual internet connection. The sygic will work as a complete gps device through downloaded maps.

I'm lovin' the advice on places to see and things to do. Keep 'em coming.

Brian
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