Part 1 of my trip report (Seattle portion):
We spent a day and a half in Seattle as part of an 11 trip to WA/OR. Wow, what an incredible area of the country! We stayed at the Best Western Loyal Inn near Seattle Center. In order to save money I decided to try the Light Link and Monorail. I was a bit leary of doing the transfer at Westlake after reading posts here on the forum. All went smooth thanks to this youtube video I found. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulih7KNdoFE I watched the video 2 times before I left and when I was at the airport had no troubles finding our way. We had 3 of us, myself, husband and 11 year old daughter. 3 rolling bags and 2 carry/shoulder bags. Then I had found a contact person's e-mail here on Tripadvisor for the monorail. So I sent an e-mail asking for very detailed instructions on how to get from the Light Link to the Monorail at Westlake, explaining that I had heard from travelers on this forum that it was confusing and that the signage wasn't great. Here is the response I got (thanks, Megan):
When you exit the light rail you have two options:
1. You can look for signage in the Transit Tunnel that will direct you up an escalator one floor toward the Monorail. Once you go up the escalator, you will see an elevator with a sign that says 'MONORAIL' with arrows pointing upward as well as a staircase with our route map and information. Take the elevator up to the 3rd floor (it says Monorail next to the button) and when you exit you will see a Monorail ticket booth where you can purchase tickets. Please keep in the mind we do not accept credit cards.
2. You can exit the Transit Tunnel to street level and walk to 'Westlake Center' which is the mall that is located on 5th Avenue and Pine Street. Go inside the mall (either through the mail door, or if the mall is closed, you can enter from the elevator on 5th Avenue on the side of the mall). Go up to the third floor of the mall where the Monorail platform is located.
I literally printed these instructions and had them in hand. If you are thinking about using public transit to get from SeaTac to Seattle Center I would definately recommend it. The walk from there to our hotel was bearly 2 blocks.
After checking into the hotel we headed straight for the Duck Tour. It was fun and relaxing and a nice way to get the lay of the land. I think it's nice for kids too, because even if they aren't interested in the histroy or they don't get the jokes it's fun to go into Lake Union and the music and driver are fun. Next we went up to the top of the Space Needle. Great views! the sun was shining with barely a cloud in the sky and we could see Mt. Rainier too!
The next morning we walked down to the Olympic Sculpture Park, which was very nice. Although beware you aren't supposed to touch the art. There are security cameras and my daughter was touching a sclupture and we heard over a loud speaker "do not touch the art". Shame on her :-) This gave us something to tease her about throughout the trip. We walked along the waterfront, up to Pike Place Market (starbucks, gum wall, rachel the pig), which was all very enjoyable. We ate lunch at Pike Brewery which was good. My husband loved the beer. Afterwards we walked to Pioneer Square. We loved this area. We hung out at a park (forgot the name) but they have something looking like a leg warmer around the trunks of the trees and other fabric looking netting in some of the trees...very cool. We then went over to the Waterfall Garden (which I found out about from this forum) and hung out for a while. We loved this too. A very calm place in the middle of the city. We then took the underground tour, which was very informative and interesting. After a long day we walked all the way back to our hotel for a pizza in our room.
Thank you to all of the experts here for all of your advice and opinions you constantly give. Your advice was very valuable. Our entire vacation was wonderful thanks in part to the information that I obtained from the forums.