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Where to stay when attending PNB performancesHotels in Seattle


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#16 pherank

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Sandy, I will most likely stay in the vicinity of Seattle Center if everything works out.

#17 Helene

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

One of the good things about being in the Seattle Center area is that it's one of the few areas within public transport striking distance of many major areas:

Belltown--lot's of restaurants, the neighborhood just north of downtown
Downtown--Pike Place Market, and just south of that, Pioneer Square
International District--great Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in general, and one of the best Japanese restaurants
Ballard--good restaurants, at the western end, the Locks
Capitol Hill--A single bus goes from the Seattle Center area

Bus service can vary depending on the time of day, especially on the weekends. If you have a car, I wouldn't suggest driving it downtown -- you can take the Monorail there -- because parking isn't easy and you have to go way downtown to make a left turn on many streets, and it can be a warren down there -- but Ballard and Capitol Hill are great places if you have wheels, too.

From Seattle Center to downtown or lower Belltown, the monorail from Seattle Center is fast and efficient: it goes over the city, and you can wave to traffic.

Oh, and if people refer to the "Center House," they're talking about the building through which you can get to the Monorail,has now reverted back to "The Armory."

In 1941, Duke Ellington played on stage for the University of Washington's Junior Prom.



#18 pherank

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

  • MarQueen Hotel. I've stayed here and got upgraded, since it was a slow November weekend, and my room was like a movie set. About two blocks away.
Taxis are easy enough to arrange to get there, because the hotel will call, but getting back is a real pain. It's not like San Francisco where you can sign up for one at War Memorial and the taxis show up in droves, or like NYC where they're always there. There's no rank nearby -- there are only a handful in Seattle anywhere -- and while sometimes an occasional cab will drive by after a performance, you can't count on it. My car was stolen before the 2005 Seattle Ring, and I had my pre-arranged taxi take the first person who flagged it down several times, especially since it's not an easy place to connect to one. It's not worth it, in my opinion.


FYI: I decided upon the MarQueen - very close to McCaw Hall, and since they have refrigeration in the rooms, I can always bring food to the room, which I like. They also have a new Tin Lizzie lounge which provides food most of the day.

I decided to make a mini-vacation out of it (since I'm going to the trouble of flying to Seattle). I'm going to take the ferry to Victoria and spend a couple of days there as well. Is a taxi the best way to go getting from SEA-TAC to the MarQueen?

#19 Helene

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:40 PM

The MarQueen is within two blocks of one of the best supermarkets in Seattle, Metropolitan Market, and there's also a Safeway about three blocks away in the opposite direction. Plus the kitchens are good if you eat out and need to reheat the leftovers. It's within half a block of a slew of restaurants of every price range, but most of them affordable.

If you're traveling light and have the time, you can take light rail from the airport to the other end stop at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle, and either take the Monorail to Seattle Center and walk 10 minutes through the Center to the MarQueen, or you can transfer to one of the buses that goes from 3rd Avenue to Seattle Center West to Mercer Street and walk around the corner to the Marqueen. (It would be the stop on Mercer Street after Republican, which is by the Key Arena.)

If you take a taxi from the airport -- somewhere between $40-$50 with tip -- unless the driver objects because there's construction (probably on 99), have him (most likely) or her take 509 to 518 to 99 (Aurora) instead of I-5. I used to live ten minutes north of Seattle Center, and taking that route, I'd made it to Seatac in less than 30 minutes.

There isn't a ferry directly from Seattle to Victoria, but there is the Victoria Clipper which runs from from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria. From the MarQueen, it's a short (10-15) minute taxi ride or a short bus ride plus a two block walk downhill from the MarQueen. After clearing customs at the Clipper terminal in Victoria, you'd be a five-minute walk from at least a dozen hotels and a 10-minute walk from the heart of downtown (the Empress Hotel, BC Legislature, BC Museum, etc.). The Butchart Gardens is the biggest draw in all of Victoria. You can get there as part of a tour, by taxi (it's a 25-minute ride from downtown), or by city bus (about 45-50 minutes). Coming back to Seattle, it would be a short bus or taxi ride from the Clipper terminal (after passing customs) to Westlake to catch light rail to the airport, unless you want to take a taxi.

The ferry itself leaves from Anacortes, WA -- a 1.5-2 hour car ride from Seattle or 2.75-3 hours by shuttle bus (in good traffic) -- and sails to to Sidney, BC, about 45 minutes north of Victoria. I looked up shuttle info from downtown Seattle to Anacortes, and found one company with rates of $29OW/$50.50 RT (or $29 from downtown Seattle to Anacortes plus $31 from Anacortes to Seatac airport if you're heading directly home), plus $18 each way for the ferry, plus $5.00RT if you take the public bus from Sidney, BC to downtown Victoria, but you can get an discounted 7-day advance purchase ticket on the Clipper for $146 (non-weekend trip from May until the third week of June). It's 40% more expensive, but it takes about half the amount of time. The Clipper takes about three hours. The shuttle is 2 hours 45 minutes to Anacortes, the ferry ride itself is 2 hours 20 minutes, and then it's another 45 minutes from Sidney to Victoria, not including waiting times in between.

During winter hours, the only ferry from Anacortes to Sidney leave at 8:30am, and the early (6:25am) shuttle doesn't get to Anacortes until 8:45am, after the daily ferry leaves. (The spring/summer schedule from WA State Ferries might not be up for a few months.) There may be at least one other ferry during summer hours from Anacortes to Sidney, but chances are, you'd end up on a shuttle that got you there with a few hours to kill before the next ferry left for BC. The only other option without a car rental would be to shuttle up to Anacortes the night before taking the ferry, staying there overnight, and then getting from town to the ferry terminal, by taxi or shuttle.

The downside of the Victoria Clipper is that they hawk their food (breakfast baskets), duty free, souvenirs, and tours during the entire trip. It's good to have headphones. During the summer, they tend to be full, and it's easier to find some quiet space on the big ferries. But with just a few days, I'm not sure you'd want to chance the traffic and spend so much time in transit to save ~$50, and headphones help, especially the noise canceling kinds. You're going to need that time to stand on line at Red Fish-Blue Fish to get the best fish and chips and fish tacos around (unless you don't like fish).

Victoria rocks: most of what is there to see is within a reasonable walk, with the exception of the Gardens. I used to go a few times a year when I lived in Seattle. It's the number one place that people who visit me in either Seattle or Vancouver want to see. I even like it in winter, and plan to head there in January.

#20 pherank

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

All great info, Helene. I am taking the Victoria Clipper - they have good hotel rates in the package deals, better than Orbitz actually. And it appears that they get a block of rooms set aside for them so it is a way to get into a hotel that is otherwise unavailable (as I discovered). I'll be going in early June, so I'm sure the ferry will be packed, but I just want a good view of the channel, and a reasonably fast journey. I'll definitely have earplugs with me - it's the only way to travel!

#21 sandik

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

I second Helene's opinion -- the Clipper is fast and simple from Seattle -- the only downside is that you leave pretty early in the morning. I also love Victoria, very walkable and friendly to tourists. In June there will likely be street entertainers along the pier in the Inner Harbor (at night they sometimes have fire jugglers). The Royal BC Museum is absolutely worth the admission, even if they don't have a special exhibit on.

#22 pherank

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:46 PM

I second Helene's opinion -- the Clipper is fast and simple from Seattle -- the only downside is that you leave pretty early in the morning. I also love Victoria, very walkable and friendly to tourists. In June there will likely be street entertainers along the pier in the Inner Harbor (at night they sometimes have fire jugglers). The Royal BC Museum is absolutely worth the admission, even if they don't have a special exhibit on.


I was actually able to get 3pm departures on the Clipper, so perhaps they've changed their departure time options recently. I prefer the leisurely departure myself - gives me extra time for a nice lunch in Seattle. ;)
I'll most probably take in the BC Museum while in Victoria.

#23 Helene

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:16 PM

I'm glad you found the Clipper packages -- they have lots of good summer deals. During the summer months, they have extra boats, and your 3pm boat might be less crowded, since a lot of people do a day trip or an overnight and try to maximize their time by taking the early boat in and the last boat (early evening) home.

The BC Museum is one of my favorite places in Victoria. There are also free tours of the legislature. You can pick up a ticket from an outdoor desk to the left of the stairs, and the tour is less than an hour.

I'm a softy for Miniature World, with its displays of the railroad and the settling of the western part of Canada. It's right by the Empress Hotel.

A warning about High Tea at the Empress: it's a big room, pretty noisy unless it's late lunch on a rainy winter day and there aren't many people. I'd call it "Corporate Tea." (The version at the Fairmont in Ottawa is a lot cosier.) We didn't try tea at Butchart Gardens, because it was too late, but another one that came highly recommended was the White Heather Tea Room, which looks like a bit of a hike from downtown, but when I looked at the menu, a nice long walk after the meal might be in order. We were going to go, but just couldn't fit it into the rest of our day, since by the time we called (a few days before for the weekend), there was only one time slot left.

#24 pherank

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:30 PM

I'm a softy for Miniature World, with its displays of the railroad and the settling of the western part of Canada. It's right by the Empress Hotel.

A warning about High Tea at the Empress: it's a big room, pretty noisy unless it's late lunch on a rainy winter day and there aren't many people. I'd call it "Corporate Tea." (The version at the Fairmont in Ottawa is a lot cosier.) We didn't try tea at Butchart Gardens, because it was too late, but another one that came highly recommended was the White Heather Tea Room, which looks like a bit of a hike from downtown, but when I looked at the menu, a nice long walk after the meal might be in order. We were going to go, but just couldn't fit it into the rest of our day, since by the time we called (a few days before for the weekend), there was only one time slot left.


Miniature World sounds great! I could go for that too. I had thought of Tea at the Empress, actually, but I'm not sure if I want to brave the big crowds by myself. That will be a 'wait and see' idea...

#25 Jayne

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:28 PM

FYI if you're staying at the MarQueen, you are right next door to a bus stop for the RapidRide bus. It costs $2.25 - 2.50 each ride, and takes you directly downtown with fewer stops than regular buses. The line that goes from downtown Seattle through Queen Anne and on to Ballard is called the "D" line. During the day it runs every 10-20 minutes. Save a little money and use it on a nice restaurant. :)

Most of the restaurants are pretty good in Lower Queen Anne, but there are a couple to avoid. I'll make a list for you tomorrow when I have a little more time.

#26 Helene

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:46 PM

If you like Thai food, you're in luck: there are at least four really good Thai places between a two- and a ten-block walk. There's also vegetarian Chinese food that's quite good and a wonderful Vietnamese pho+ restuarant also about 10 blocks away, and for an extra four blocks, you can have wonderful crepes at Citizen. There's a pricey but excellent sushi restaurant called Shiki about two or three blocks away. One Queen Anne Avenue a couple of blocks away there's a solid Greek restaurant that makes a fantastic spicy cheese appetizer next to a good Indian restaurant where we just ate tonight, which I think is called Roti across from Uptown, a great place to get coffee.

I loved the food at Petit Toulouse -- it is small plates -- but weekend brunch tends to be reserved out months in advance. Your PNB ticket envelope should have a 20% off voucher on the back flap for Ten Mercer, if you want to splurge before or after the performance: they server food seven days a week from 4:30pm-10:30. Doug Fullington gives a pre-performance lecture which starts an hour before the performance, and if you can catch one, you won't be disappointed. There's also a Q&A after each performance with at least one dancer, and then tend to run about 40-50 minutes after the performance ends, so you'd have time to get a drink and at least a snack at Ten Mercer before or after one of these. This is the grown-up restaurant in the area, and it's very close to the hotel.

Next weekend is the closing weekend of the Seattle International Film Festival, and three of the screens are a few blocks away from the hotel. Restaurants closer to Queen Anne Avenue tend to be fuller during the Festival than those down Roy closer to McCaw Hall, but there are so many of them, and many serious movie goers rarely have time for a slice of pizza between their 73rd and 74th movie.

#27 pherank

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:49 PM

FYI if you're staying at the MarQueen, you are right next door to a bus stop for the RapidRide bus. It costs $2.25 - 2.50 each ride, and takes you directly downtown with fewer stops than regular buses. The line that goes from downtown Seattle through Queen Anne and on to Ballard is called the "D" line. During the day it runs every 10-20 minutes. Save a little money and use it on a nice restaurant. Posted Image

Most of the restaurants are pretty good in Lower Queen Anne, but there are a couple to avoid. I'll make a list for you tomorrow when I have a little more time.


Thank you, Jayne - I'll definitely take your advice regarding the RapidRide bus.

#28 pherank

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 10:08 PM

If you like Thai food, you're in luck: there are at least four really good Thai places between a two- and a ten-block walk. There's also vegetarian Chinese food that's quite good and a wonderful Vietnamese pho+ restuarant also about 10 blocks away, and for an extra four blocks, you can have wonderful crepes at Citizen. There's a pricey but excellent sushi restaurant called Shiki about two or three blocks away. One Queen Anne Avenue a couple of blocks away there's a solid Greek restaurant that makes a fantastic spicy cheese appetizer next to a good Indian restaurant where we just ate tonight, which I think is called Roti across from Uptown, a great place to get coffee.

I loved the food at Petit Toulouse -- it is small plates -- but weekend brunch tends to be reserved out months in advance. Your PNB ticket envelope should have a 20% off voucher on the back flap for Ten Mercer, if you want to splurge before or after the performance: they server food seven days a week from 4:30pm-10:30. Doug Fullington gives a pre-performance lecture which starts an hour before the performance, and if you can catch one, you won't be disappointed. There's also a Q&A after each performance with at least one dancer, and then tend to run about 40-50 minutes after the performance ends, so you'd have time to get a drink and at least a snack at Ten Mercer before or after one of these. This is the grown-up restaurant in the area, and it's very close to the hotel.

Next weekend is the closing weekend of the Seattle International Film Festival, and three of the screens are a few blocks away from the hotel. Restaurants closer to Queen Anne Avenue tend to be fuller during the Festival than those down Roy closer to McCaw Hall, but there are so many of them, and many serious movie goers rarely have time for a slice of pizza between their 73rd and 74th movie.


And thanks to you, Helene, for the restaurant suggestions. I was already thinking about trying Shiki, and possibly Ten Mercer (especially if I go to the pre-performance talk). I'll just have to play things by ear though.

#29 Helene

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 10:16 PM

I just found a ticket envelope, and the 20% off at Ten Mercer is for entrees. That's still a good deal. I've always had wonderful food there.


#30 sandik

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 10:54 PM

There is also a restaurant in the theater -- the menu isn't as broad as other places, but they are very good at making sure you get finished with your meal in time for the curtain!


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