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Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

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Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

We will arrive to Seattle on the first week of July. We are two families with 3 kids each. Would you recommend staying in the city center (if so, where would be best?), or maybe in a suite hotel in Redmond/Bellevue and travel to the city every day? (Prices in Redmond and Bellevue are obviously a bit lower + free parking+ pool).

This would be our first visit in Seattle and we will all continue to an RV trip in the Rockies afterwards.

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Gal

Renton, WA
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1. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

Unless you have a reason to stay on the east side of the lake (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland), don't do it. The traffic on the floating bridges (and the toll on the 520 bridge) will soon make you regret your choice.

These maps will help: visitseattle.org/Visitors/…Seattle-Maps.aspx

My recommendation would be to stay in the vicinity of Seattle Center (which is not in the center of Seattle) because of the many kid-oriented facilities at the Center and because it is easy to get from that area into downtown.

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2. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

Many thanks. It helps a lot. I'll look for suite hotels around Seattle Center.

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

I couldn't agree with Bobmrg more. Many posters inquire about staying outside Seattle in order to save money. Without fail, all of us respond that this is a big mistake. If you want to visit Seattle, visit Seattle, not Redmond, Sea-Tac, or any of the surrounding towns. Traffic can be absolutely awful in the region, and traveling for an hour or so each way in order to reach downtown can be really rough on the kids. I have been very comfortable staying at either the Holiday Inn or the Holiday Inn Express in Seattle Center. They both have convenient suites at reasonable prices.

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

Well, I'll just be a skunk at the party I guess.

I don't see any compelling reason to stay downtown with that big a group. Traffic from the 'burbs is bad if you're commuting at commuting hours, but with every trip eligible for the HOV lanes it's far less an issue than (IMO) people are making it out to be. Two families with a total of 8 people isn't exactly a fun time on the city buses, and depending on the ages of the kids, the wait in traffic is nothing compared to waiting for a bus.

In the first week of July they'll be hitting the absolute peak of cruise season, so "affordable" accommodations in the downtown, Lake Union or Seattle Center areas are going to be very scarce.

For example, the Residence Inn on Lake Union has 2-bedroom units available the first week in July for $339 per night, plus whatever parking costs (I think around $20). Meanwhile, the Residence Inn in Bellevue is $219 and free parking (same unit types) and the one in Lynnwood is $179. Do we really think that they're going to spend $120 or $160 per family per day in parking charges if they bring the car into the city?

From the Bellevue RI, using the HOV lanes on I-405 and I-90, they're maybe 20 min. from downtown; from Lynnwood using the HOV and express lanes on I-5, maybe 25 tops. How long does it take to get from the Holiday Inn on Aurora to the Pike Market if you're using public transportation? My guess is that any time savings isn't worth a Benjamin.

Just my view.

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5. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

What are you planning to do or see in Seattle? Do you have non-Seattle activities on your itinerary?

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6. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

Thank you all for your responses. Price is obviously an important factor, as well as time, especially with kids. We plan to visit Seattle only, focus in the city and what it has to offer, as afterwards we'll head up to a pure-nature trip in the Canadian Rockies.

We haven't planned our visit in Seattle yet. Kids ages of both families are 15 down to 6 year old, so we may need to adapt some activities to the older and younger kids.

Regarding the hotel.. I'm a bit confused after reading all advices. I think the hotel free parking is also a main cost issue.

I'll invest additional thought and will look at more hotel offers.

Thanks.

Port Angeles, WA
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7. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

If you are planning to drive into the city each day, keep the following in mind. Traffic ranges from bearable to dreadful. Tourists sites attract crowds in the summer. Parking can be hard to find and is almost always expensive. Some of the roads have tolls.

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8. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

Hi Gal E,

Let me help. I tend somewhat to agree with ibgardyloo, but also know it's nice to stay in the city.

There are options. Often when traveling with larger groups it's nice to have transportation and larger hotel rooms with some benefits (i.e.; free parking, breakfast, swimming pool, etc.). Do you plan to pick up a car at the airport or not? When and where are you picking up the RV? For the suburbs, I would not stay in Redmond (too far out) or Lynnwood. Some people find staying in the Tukwila area (near SEATAC and the airport) convenient because you can hop the light rail to downtown. That said, I find that a dismal choice. Of any of the suburbs, I like Bellevue, because it's relatively close to Seattle, express bus options (if you like), and plenty of dining options. If you do decide to stay in Bellevue, however, you do need a car.

For Seattle,

Of the suite hotels, I very much like the Residence Inn on Lake Union because it includes a nice free breakfast, very nice indoor pool for the kiddos, but you have to pay for parking if you have a vehicle. And getting from the airport to the Lake Union area involves multiple steps, which you may or may not want to do with a gaggle of kids. Parking $25/night. The location, though not in downtown is near the Lake Union Park, Center for Wooden Boats, MOHI, and close walking distance to the Seattle Center area.

Right in downtown, with an excellent location, - easy to access from the airport Light Rail is the Homewood Suites. Breakfast and an outdoor pool, plus convenient location make it a winner. Parking, if you have a car is expensive ($34/night).

At the Seattle Center, Hyatt Place is a relatively new hotel, with larger rooms with a divider, not true "suites" but they do offer multiple sleeping areas and a little more privacy. Breakfast included. parking $20/night.

Have you considered a vacation rental? There are some downtown vacation rentals in Condo building which might work well. You might find a large unit or two smaller units that would be cheaper than hotel rooms. Start here:

http://www.seatoskyrentals.com/

For Bellevue:

The Marriott Residence Inn is located right next to I-405. A very nice property BUT not walking distance to anything. You will want a car, even just to take the kids for dinner because downtown Bellevue is about 1 mile + away.

There are several less expensive hotels in Bellevue along I-90 at Eastgate, with an Embassy Suites, Hyatt House, Silver Cloud, Days Inn, etc. Again, if you stay there, you'll have to drive to get meals.

Downtown Bellevue Hotels, which would allow you to walk to restaurants, parks in Bellevue, are generally more expensive, sometimes as much as Seattle, and often charge for parking. One very inexpensive, no frills, value hotel with a great location (and free parking) right in downtown Bellevue is called La Residence. It's a suite hotel and generally runs about $123-$135/night. http://www.bellevuelodging.com

Renton, WA
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9. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

I was thinking monorail to get into the downtown/waterfront area. I would never suggest that a tourist bring a car into downtown for any reason.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Staying in Seattle with kids - center or outside?

I guess my take is that the monorail is $2 a head each way, so for a family of five that's twenty bucks per trip. That pays for a lot of parking, even around the Pike Market or central waterfront. And of course the monorail doesn't go to the Ballard Locks, the ferry terminal, Pioneer Square, the Museum of Flight, the Sculpture Garden, Alki Beach, Fremont, the Smith Tower, MOHAI....

And as IslandGirl mentions, how about getting to a downtown hotel in the first place? Light rail with three kids, followed by a cab?

My sense is that there are times when a car makes more sense from a convenience and budget viewpoint, even if one is going into big cities. Seattle's downtown isn't super car-friendly (in fact IMO the town really has a big attitude problem with respect to cars - part of our Scandinavian puritanism methinks) but it's FAR from the worst. (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I travel to New York and Philly regularly and usually rent a car in Philly, and sometimes in NYC, owing having to go to various parts of each city where public transit is scarce or scary.)

Anyway, I think this might be a case where a car - from the airport to accommodations, then to use driving around the region - is probably justified.