Need Help Getting Into Seattle
Hey roadtrippers, I've been trying to figure out to to approach Seattle with an RV and get into the downtown area. I'm looking for a place south of the city to park the RV and take a train/bus/cab/whatever into downtown Seattle. Does anyone know the best (preferably also CHEAP) way to do this? The destinations we are going to include Pikes Place Market, Safeco Field, and the Space Needle. Thanks! -Greg
Anyplace a City Bus can go...
I have driven all over Seattle, a bunch of times. Rule of thumb -- if a city bus can get there so can a RV. I have visited all of the places your specified and parked on the street with the <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/phoenix/imap.htm">32-ft Phoenix One</a>.
But, since you asked. I like the KOA in Kent, nice regional park nearby and easy access to the bus lines.
Mark beat me to it!
There are few good camping areas near Seattle so I agree with Mark that the KOA is probably your best bet. However, be forewarned that it's not as nice as most other KOAs. Personally, I hate driving in Seattle traffic. Hey, I'm a small-town girl! And it can be one big traffic jam if you go at the wrong time. So, while Seattle is really fairly easy to drive around in, you may find yourself sitting on the I-5 parking lot a bit. So time your trips into of out of the city before or after the commuting periods and try to be aware of any big events in town (like Seahawk/Mariner games, for example) so you can avoid the busiest times. The people at the KOA office can probably give you some insight into that.
I do wonder, however, where you will find parking for a big rig. I would think height clearance would be an issue in parking garages. Maybe Mark or the KOA people could advise you about that.
Of course, the advantage of being in an RV in big traffic jam is that you can get up and move around, right? Enjoy your trip to Seattle.
Some ideas: The waterfront area of Seattle is probably some of the best places to find parking for an RV. No parking garages to deal with as you will find in the city proper. Pike Place Market is just a street above the waterfront and there are elevators and stairs to take you up there. Also, while on the waterfront, you must check out the Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe! This place has such a bizarre collection of oddities (even better than any Ripley's Museum that I've been to) that the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma has borrowed some of its items to have in a limited-time showing at their museum. There's also a nice aquarium down there as well as some fun shops to explore.
YOu can get to your other intended stops easily from Pike Place Market.
It's a really nice walk to Safeco Field from there. If you walk quickly, it's probably a 20-minute walk. You will be walking down 1st Avenue which is an interesting part of the city. It is a mixture of interesting alternative shopping like vintage clothing, pawn shops, etc., high-end art shops (check out the art glass shops!), XXX-rated movie houses, etc. You will see everything from chic shoppers to homeless people along this stretch of road. The Seattle Art Museum is on the east side of this street and is worth a stop. Also, you will pass through Pioneer Square going this way.
Pioneer Square is a very cool area. The original downtown of Seattle. Some neat shops, a cool Klondike Museum, and a great tour of Underground Seattle that starts at Doc Maynard's which is located on the east side of the town square. You might have someone point out the Smith Tower to you when you're in Pioneer Square. At one time, it was the tallest building in the US west of the Mississippi. I think it's all of 10-12 stories...maybe a tad taller.
Safeco Field is only a few blocks past Pioneer Square. And it is definitely a beautiful ballpark!
From Pike Place, it's also very easy to get to the Space Needle. You will walk straight up the hill to Westlake Mall. I can't remember exactly what intersection Westlake is on but anyone can point you in the right direction. It's about 3-4 blocks up from Pike Place Market. From there, you can hop on the monorail (a holdover from the '62 World's Fair) and ride in comfort to Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located. While there, don't miss the EMP...the Experience Music Project was funded by Paul Allen (of Microsoft) and is some of the most innovative, bizarre architecture I've seen. People either love it or hate it. But the exhibitions are very cool if you like music.
Seattle has much more to offer. I would suggest the Hiram Crittenden Locks to watch the boats go from Lake Union to Puget Sound. There are also interesting salmon fish ladders with viewing windows there and a nice arboretum. I love the Fremont District where you can see some infamous artwork including the Fremont Troll (he's under a bridge a holding a full-size VW Beetle in his hand).
The University District is also an interesting area.
Lake Union offers the opportunity to rent kayaks/canoes to explore the lake. This is the area with all the houseboats (like the "Sleepless in Seattle" houseboat) so it's very cool to drive around if you don't rent a boat. I think there are regular boat trips offered there as well.
You might also check out some of the trips along the waterfront where you can take a tour boat out into the Sound.
Hope you have a great time! If you have any other questions, just ask!