Our Vacation to Vancouver, Mt. Rainier, and Seattle!
We just returned from a FANTASTIC vaca out West and I can’t wait to share what we did! If you are planning on traveling to the Pacific Northwest any time soon, check out some fun stuff we did and maybe add it to your itinerary!
We flew into Seattle, rented a car, and immediately drove to Vancouver. It’s about a three hour drive (remember your passport!) and a really nice way to see some of Washington. We stayed at Hotel Blu and really liked it. It was clean, modern, and the front desk staff were super friendly. The best thing about it was the location. We walked everywhere.
We didn’t have much of a plan for our first full day there. We got ready and left the hotel early to grab some breakfast. When we walked out of our hotel, this is what we saw:
A massive crowd of people! MASSIVE. I had never seen anything like it. We had no idea what it was for, but we didn’t have any plans, so we started walking with thousands of other people to an unknown destination 🤣 From listening to conversations, we picked up that it was the Walk for Reconciliation. Over 50,000 people were marching for the Indigenous People of Canada, and the loss of their lands. Namwayut, meaning “we are all one” was on a ton of shirts and banners. This was definitely a cause we could get behind.
We walked a loooong way until we got to a beautiful grassy area with live music, food trucks, vendors, etc. Mike and I both bought shirts that say Namwayut! We took a different route home and got to see a ton of the city. I think sometimes the best way to explore a city is to just start walking and see where you end up!
The next day we drove to the Capilano Suspension Bridge (about 25 minutes away from our hotel). We went here on the recommendation of a friend and it did not disappoint. I will say, if you are at all afraid of heights, this might not be your cup of tea. The main attraction IS a suspension bridge. They do have other fun things to do, but you really need to cross the main bridge to see the rest of the park.
To be totally honest, I didn’t think I was afraid of heights, but I took one step on that wobbly bridge with 100+ other people on it and my legs turned to Jell-O. Can you see why it’s a little freaky? 😱
Once you’re across the bridge, they have smaller bridges that go from tree-to-tree and it’s really beautiful. These were more my style 😜
That’s a looooooong way down!
After leaving the park, we ended the night by hanging out on the beach. I was surprised by how beautiful the beaches there are.
On our last day, we rented bikes! I LOVE riding bikes and Vancouver is really bike-friendly. They have bikes all over that you can rent using an app on your phone and you can return them to any rental station (and they are everywhere!). We found a path along the coast that we rode for a couple of hours. Vancouver is breathtaking. And I don’t mean just for the water and trees, the actual city and the buildings are beautiful.
The water and the trees are nice too, though! That’s me riding with the helmet on – safety first, right!?
After bikes, we drove to Granville Island Public Market where we ate dinner and did some shopping. Granville Island has a great website with a list of shops and food vendors – helpful for planning!
The next morning, we woke up super early, checked out of our hotel and started driving to Mount Rainier. Full disclosure: we had no intention of going to Mt. Rainier when we planned this trip. However, when we saw it from the plane, we decided we HAD to go. It was so pretty that it didn’t look real.
It was a two hour drive from Vancouver to Mt. Rainier National Park. There was traffic getting into the park but mostly cleared up after the main entrance. Once you’re inside the park, there’s a never ending supply of places to pull over and take a picture. Everywhere you look is picture worthy. Like this waterfall, for example:
The real draw though, of course, is Mt. Rainier itself. I cannot put into words how incredibly stunning it is. It’s truly jaw-dropping. They have a great lodge at the summit where we ate lunch and saw tons of wildlife. There are a few different paths up the mountain. We picked one and started off. This is at the base of the trail we chose:
We walked for about two hours until we came to a nice landing spot to take pictures. This was definitely a slow pace as we frequently stopped to take it all in. The trail was relatively easy. There were some steep areas, but for the most part not too strenuous. After I took a zillion pictures we headed back down. See a small sample of said zillion pictures below:
We drove another two hours to Seattle, checked into our hotel, and passed out! We stayed at the Kimpton Palladian Hotel. It has a vintage, hip vibe that was fun. Location was the best. We were within walking distance to everything we wanted to see. The one major bummer was the water pressure in the shower. It was so bad that it was hard to rinse shampoo out.
The next day, we decided to go to the Space Needle. It was one of those things we felt like we had to do because it’s such an iconic Seattle thing, and I’m happy we did, but I don’t need to go again. It was a great view of the city, but once you’re up there for 5 minutes and you’ve looked around, it’s kind of like, “OK, we can go now”. It may not have helped that there were only about 10 other people there with us. Going to a big tourist destination and it being a ghost town was just weird. It was also expensive!
I had way more fun walking around the infamous Seattle Public Market and seeing the guys at the fish stand throw fish around! We also saw the first Starbucks, which had a humungous line of people trying to get in!
The whole catalyst for this vacation was the Seattle Sounders. Neither of us are huge soccer fans, but we had heard the games were incredibly fun. SO TRUE.
We researched and read that a lot of fans meet in a designated location before the game to walk to the stadium alongside the Seattle Sounders band, SoundWave. What a way to get pumped up for the game!! The band was unreal. Everyone is upbeat, dancing, showing off their personalities, and having a great time. It’s also clear they’re all passionate about playing music. They walk all the way to the stadium where they continue to perform until game time. Then they sit in the stands and perform during the game!
The game was the best sporting event I’ve ever attended. Seattle Sounders fans are NO JOKE. They had all these long, clever chants, cheers, and even songs that seemingly everyone knew every word to! Mike and I felt left out that we didn’t know them! If we ever get the chance to go to another game, we’re definitely in!
That wraps it up! Back home to the good ole Midwest. I think we’ll go to California next time we’re out West! Or maybe Arizona to see the Grand Canyon? We’ll have to see!