Should not be a problem. It’s a good idea! Seattle is pretty cool and if you are in for a little bit longer drive you should definetly also check out portland oregon. It is one of the most left wing artsy liberal citys that I am aware of in the states. Lots of fun stuff going on there all the time.
You should just make sure that you and all of you friends have passports, or at least birth certificates and another piece of picture ID before you leave, and double check before you arrive at the border crossing, because you really do not want to tick off a surly border guard. Some of them are really nice, some are really strict, so just see who you get and play along with him/her. I’ve gone down accross the peace arch crossing many times without incedent. It is a good idea though to check on the lineups (I think there’s a webpage and a webcam there) if it looks like it’s going to be really busy you could also go to aldergrove or another smaller crossing that is near by.
I think that just about covers it. Give the border guards lots of respect, bring passports and/or lots of other forms of ID, have fun! Let me know if I didn’t answer your question!
Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about public trasnsportation, because we won’t have a vehicle during our stay there. I know about the Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver and back once a day, but I couldn’t find one that went the other way around.
joie de vivre
Hundred Acre Wood
Amtrak is my prefered way between Seattle and Vancouver because you don’t have to sit waiting to get over the border — it’s done much more efficiently on the train.
The area around the Vancouver train station is where you can see whores strung out on heroin. I just kept walking briskly with my two children past them.
As for public transportation in Seattle — the area downtown is free, including where the train station is in Seattle. So you can go to downtown destinations (Chinatown, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Aquarium, Art Museum etc.) for free on the bus. The north border of the ride free zone is Broad, which is within walking distance of the Seattle Center, which has more places you might be interested in going, like EMP.
unfortunately that is one place where my knowledge is lacking. I have never taken public transportation into the states. However they should have the information about trains going the other way (what goes down, must come up), if you can’t find it on their webpage my best suggestion would be to find contact information on their webpage and call/e-mail them to find out about the northbound trains.
I did the trip back in 2000 – but only for one day. I had a rental car and it took me approx. 2h from Seattle to Vancouver. But it was absolutely worth it.
This summer I visited Vancouver again for 2 days – would have loved to go to Seattle. If you are into tech and sightseeing when in Seattle, try to hop on a bus and go to Richmond and visit the Microsoft Campus. It’s awesome. Also nintendo is right around the corner and pretty cool.
Enjoy your trip.
seattle is totally cool and worth the trip! i suggest taking amtrack once a day train. theres also a greyhound bus i think they leave every two hours. getting over the border you just need picture ID and proof of citizenship. they make you fill out this little form. when you get to seattle the bus system is pretty effective and most of the downtown area is a fareless square so you can get on any bus for free. Make sure to check out pike market on 2nd and the EMP (experience music project) on 5th.
Once you get to Seattle, you can use this to plan bus trips:
You put in your current address and your destination address and it tells you what buses to take.
Definitely feasible! I did this while I was in Vancouver – got a bus that left at 8.00am, was in Seattle by 12 and then got a bus back at 8.00pm. I decided to do it because Seattle isn’t a place I’d fly to specially to visit, and being so close I thought I might as well visit it this time. I had enough time to visit the Space Needle and wander around Pike Place market and the seafront before getting the bus back. So if you have the time, it’s worth doing.
I’ve lived in the Seattle area my whole life. The transit system here outside of the Ride Free Area is a bit convoluted – it’s designed for commuters, not for tourists. Avoid buses with 3-digit numbers, as these are almost entirely long-distance commuter buses with very few stops… unless you want to see Seattle’s “lovely” industrial sector. Yippy. ;)
Getting to Seattle, Amtrak and Greyhound both have service from Vancouver. Amtrak gets you right downtown – across the street from Qwest Field – whereas the Greyhound station is a few blocks away on Seventh. I’ve never taken public transport over the US-Canada border – I’ve always done it by car – so I don’t know which is better, though I know that the Greyhound from Vancouver is almost always late getting into Seattle.
For a one-day trip, make sure to hit the Seattle Center, the Space Needle (part of the Center), Pike Place Market, and the Waterfront. Within the Market, places of note are the first-ever Starbucks, one of the oldest continuously-operating farmer’s markets on the West Coast, and the ever-popular fish tossing, which is right under the giant “Public Market” sign (if memory serves me). The Seattle Arts Museum is a few blocks from the Market. The Seattle Center includes the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, McCaw Hall, and the International Fountain (better in the summer than the winter).
If you have time, try to visit Fremont (Wikipedia article). It’s home to many of Seattle’s most famous works of art (the Fremont Troll, a statue of Lenin, and “Waiting for the Interurban”, to name a few) and one of the most popular parks in Seattle, Gasworks Park. If you want to experience Seattle, you cannot miss Fremont.
Anyway, I hope you have a fun trip!
I have no idea about the whole Amtrak thing & yet I would probably still recommend it for you, especially as you say you’d like to spend “a day” in Seattle. I’ve done the greyhound thing all over America & some of Canada, including between Seattle & Vancouver. Although the trip between those two was probably one of the more direct routes I’ve been on…. greyhound is always an experience in & of itself & there would be little day left. I like taking the bus (and have met some pretty interesting characters – had a few pick-up offers @ Seattle, in fact, which is a pretty slimy depot last I was there) but it’s not a quick way to get anywhere. Count on a good 5 hr trip IF the border crossing goes smoothly! (And take these people to heart when they say DO NOTMESS with the border patrol. I have spent a LOT of time hung up at borders & it is NO fun.
I agree with everyone above… a totally feasible and worthwhile trip – for a day or overnight. I’m not sure how much Amtrak is, but if there are a few of you it may be cheaper to rent a car (although parking downtown Seattle can be expensive). In Vancouver, Discount Car Rentals (they have a downtown location on the 1100-block of Georgia St) has really good rates.
If you do drive, leave early in the morning (or after 6pm if going overnight) to beat the line up at the Peace Arch border crossing, and traffic on the I-5.
I also agree with the above that Portland is worth the drive. It’s a beautiful lush green city with great beer and wine, and only 5-6 hours from Vancouver depending on traffic.
Be sure to have a pint or two of Mac and Jacks African Amber Ale – only available in Washington and Oregon I believe.
And watch out for the American border guards. They lack the capacity to smile, and have zero tolerance for humour or personal enjoyment.
Have a good trip!
I live in the Vancouver area and my best day trips have been to Seattle, and the surrounding areas.
Whidbey Island and LaConner, Washington are great sites on the way down if you have a few days.
Portland is totally worth a trip down the I-5 highway… so much to see and do in Portland and the transportation is wonderful, even free parking in the downtown core if you have an electric car. A clean and environmentally friendly place…and the beer is great.
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