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8 Days in Seattle, Washington (USA) & Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)

Vancouver, BC, Canada

My husband and I were invited to my second cousin's wedding in Seattle, Washington, so we decided to attend and make a trip out of it. Did I mention I also love going to weddings? It's usually a happy occasion; and having planned my own wedding, I'm always curious to learn more about the bride and groom by their preferences and choices.

I am also 22 weeks pregnant (surprise!), so we're counting down the days until travel via flying will be contraindicated. Until then, we'll just make the most of the time we have! I won't write much about the foods we ate, since a lot of it was geared towards what I was able to handle/what I was craving (heh, thanks pregnancy!). But, I will say we ate a lot of good food!

We didn't do too many of the usual touristy things while in Seattle, since we've already done so in 2016 and our Seattle leg of the trip was shorter. While I have been to Vancouver when I was younger with my family, it is my husband's first time going, so it will be a new experience for us both.

Our Itinerary

Day 1 - Transit Day

- SJC --> SEA
The flight from SJC to SEA wasn't too bad. The plan was to meet up with my parents, who would be flying in from southern California. We had actually arrived about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, our plane had to wait on the runway for about 1 hour. 

Day 2 - Seattle, WA

- Wedding
My second cousin's wedding was held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. It's the perfect venue that combines both an outdoor ocean view with an indoor reception area. My husband and I had fun as guests, especially with the photo booth, getting an opportunity to dress up, meeting more extended relatives who live in Washington state, and celebrating the bride and groom!

Day 3 - Seattle, WA

- Exploring local parks and vantage points in Seattle, Mercer Island, and Bellevue
Since I am currently pregnant, the weather was quite warm/hot, and we have my parents with us, we just toned our activities down a bit. We decided to explore some local, low key vantage points and parks. All of these places were not busy at all, despite being picture perfect spots for photos. Parking was easy peasy too!

Day 4 - Transit / Vancouver, B.C., Canada

- Flixbus from Seattle to Vancouver (4 hours, 2 stops)
My parents didn't join us for the remaining leg of our trip (aka the international part). So, we parted ways after they dropped us off at the Flixbus stop in the Chinatown area. The bus ride took about 4 hours long and made a total of 2 other stops en route to pick up passengers. The bus ride was straightforward and smooth. We had purchased assigned seats for a whopping $1.00 USD more per seat and were near the front of the bus. The bus ended up not being completely full, but we wanted to plan ahead in case since I was pregnant. The bus was equipped with a bathroom, but no sink. The border patrol stop did have a bathroom once you passed through passport control. The time spent at the border crossing really depends on how many other buses are there. Luckily, for us, there was only one bus ahead.

Since we were in Chinatown, we decided to stop by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park. We were able to enter the park through the back side of one of the shops bordering the park. I guess that is one way to draw customers in to look and possibly buy items! The park was quite busy, despite there being really only one entrance that isn't really obvious. We walked through the garden grounds and around the central pond. There weren't many flowers in bloom, granted it was summer. 

- Taking the Seabus to North Vancouver and back
We decided to try taking the seabus from downtown Vancouver to north Vancouver to catch a view of the downtown skyline. The seabus wasn't too crowded, despite taking it during the regular peak commuter time. The seabus came frequently enough that we were able to catch a returning one quickly. We were debating visiting Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, two iconic places to visit while in north Vancouver. We ultimately decided against both due to my pregnancy. I guess that means we'll have to visit again!

Once we arrived back to downtown Vancouver, we took their metro station to King Edward station and walked over to Queen Elizabeth Park. Once we arrived to the park sign, we weren't sure how exactly to enter the park since there were no paved walkways except for where the cars entered. We saw a group of likely tourists cut through the grass, so we followed suit too. Cutting through the grass, we eventually saw a paved sidewalk area, which brought us to the duck pond. From there, we followed the path to the quarry gardens and ended at the Bloedel Conservatory. The conservatory was closed the day of our visit. The plants and flowers of the garden grounds were absolutely beautiful! With the sunset in the background, the scenery was even more picturesque!

Day 5 - Vancouver, B.C., Canada

- Exploring Burrard Landing
We took a look at lot of shops and restaurants at Burrard Landing. We mostly enjoyed walking around the waterfront, breathing in the fresh air, and watching seaplanes take off and land. There were quite a few people, but they were mostly concentrated in the shopping areas.

Vancouver Lookout is a tower where you can get a panoramic view of Vancouver. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tower was not too busy when we visited. We were able to get a lot of really good photos of the view and spend time getting some "Instagram worthy" photos. More people did pass through the tower while we were there, but it was never really crowded which was nice.

- Exploring Gastown
We walked through Gastown and took photos with the iconic steam clock. There was quite a queue for photos (not surprisingly). I was pleasantly surprised that most people lined up and allowed for others to get their personal photo with the steam clock. What I liked most about this part of town was the street lamps and flower baskets hanging from them. It reminded me of my trip to New Orleans

- Exploring Chinatown 
We sorta kinda visited Chinatown yesterday, but focused more on the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park before moving on. So, we decided to visit Chinatown again. We enjoyed visiting the markets and bakeries. We also got a good deal on some fruits. It's too bad that some parts looked a bit...rough...with walls tagged and some interesting characters to say the least.

We ended the day with a sunset walk around Stanley Park. We walked the perimeter of this park. It was a nice walk with a beautiful view of the waterfront, trees, shoreline, and boatyard. There is also the "Nine O'clock Gun" that fires at 9pm daily (so the sign said...we didn't stick around to see if it's true!). 

Day 6 - Vancouver, B.C., Canada

We had taken an Uber to get to the Public Market on Granville Island. It was busy when we already by the time we arrived. There were lots of cute, artisanal shops and restaurants. I think my favorite shop from here was the Granville Island Soap Gallery. Their soaps smell amazing, and I loved how enthusiastic and knowledgeable the shop owner was about soaps and their craft. My husband and I enjoyed some lunch and dessert before we left the public market. It was perfect timing because the market was bustling when we left.

We decided to ride on a small ferry to the maritime museum stop (end of the route). It was almost a private ride, until more passengers got picked up at the other stops. The ferry was never full though and the ride was pretty smooth sailing, as they say...although there was no sail. At our stop, there were several old boats for sale by the Maritime Museum by the dock. I'm not sure who would buy them, but surely not us!

The Museum of Vancouver is a place I recommend visiting when in Vancouver. It was fun learning about the history of Vancouver. I really enjoyed the "All We Want Is More:  The Tobias Wong Project" exhibit because it was thought provoking, and the Collab Space because it is interactive. I was also able to leave a little piece of my art and contribute it to the existing art space. If you ever visit the Museum of Vancouver, let me know if you find the little piece of artwork I contributed! 

*Hint:  You might need to find Moomin first*

Day 7 - Vancouver, B.C., Canada

The Richmond Public Market was bustling when my husband and I visited. There were a variety of stalls selling groceries, baked goods, and other merchandise. The second floor had several cooked food stalls and boba shops. If you're up for some good Asian food at a reasonable price, this is definitely a place to check out!

A shopping mall with your usual staple brands. My husband and I decided to walk through the mall since the weather was quite hot (yay for free A/C!) and to see what, if any, differences there are with the shopping malls back home. Our take is that the malls are pretty similar to the ones back at home, but without the bigger department stores (ie. Macys, Sears, etc). 

We didn't have much left on our list of places to visit, so we decided to stop by and visit this historical drainage pump station. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find the drainage pump station, but we did enjoy our walk along a trail parallelling River Road along the Fraser River and opposite the YVR airport. 

Day 8 - Transit Day

- YVR --> SEA --> SJC
Our flight back went smoothly, and there was no more of this sitting on the runway business. Immigration was extra quick thanks to global entry!


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Have you been to Seattle and/or Vancouver? If so, what was your favorite part of the trip? Our next question is where to next (pregnancy considered)?

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