This summer, we made a gorgeous, unforgettable trip with our family of four. We took two airplanes, several cars (including Ubers) and an RV to get from Seattle to San Diego. We've seen and done amazing things.
I'll describe our trip day by day, while highlighting important cities, lovely campgrounds, cool landmarks, great restaurants and of course fun things to do with kids. My boys are 8 and 12 and they are used to traveling long distances. Flying from Chicago to Seattle was very short, compared to the annual trip we make from Chicago to the Netherlands.
I will also compare the RV company we used this time to the RV company we used on our previous trips. Let's say that was a rather interesting (big!) difference.
Of course I'll show you what it all looked like, because I am a relentless (hobby) photographer. I sometimes make my family crazy with my pics. Ha!
This part is about Seattle. How did we get there? What did we do there? Where did we stay? What did we rent? And how did we like all of it?
Let's first start of with how we actually got there.
Our flight to Seattle was pretty early in the morning (around 7am), so we decided to spend the night at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel. My husband dropped us off at the hotel. From there he brought our car away to long time parking. He came back with a shuttle. This worked out great!
We had dinner at one of the restaurants inside the hotel: Andiamo. The food was okay, nothing special, but pretty pricey. We went to bed early, because we had to get up at 5am. I did however book our first tickets for Seattle: The Duck Tour!
Because we were traveling with a lot of suitcases (we took our camping gear for when we would be traveling with the RV) a bell boy came to pick up all of our stuff. He brought everything down and into a shuttle bus, that brought us right where we needed to be.
I would definitely recommend staying at the Hilton if you have a early flight and you don't want to get stuck in the morning traffic. This was pretty stress free.
The flight to Seattle felt short, as if we blinked with our eyes and were already landing (this might have something to do with the fact that we travel to the Netherlands pretty often).
When we arrived in Seattle, we rented a car with AVIS. They were right there, at the airport. We had to take the elevator down and there we were. Of course all of our luggage didn't fit into the Jeep that we rented, so we settled with pick up truck, after calling our hotel, confirming that we would be able to drop our luggage of there, before we even checked in. That was possible and everything fitted perfectly fine in the huge pick up.
We drove to our hotel Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle, they unloaded the car, and they parked it in their valet parking garage. After that we were free to go and explore Seattle!
We walked towards the Space Needle. On our way there, we saw the Monorail and our boys really wanted to ride it. So we walked in and bought tickets ($2.25 for adults, $1 for kids to 12 yrs). The monorail goes from Westlake Center to Seattle Center, and it departs every 10 minutes. It's only a 2 minute drive, but it was fun for the kids.
When we arrived at the Space Needle, we bought tickets to visit it at the self-service kiosks, so we could skip the lines. You have to buy the tickets at a certain time slot. We bought the 9pm - 9.30pm tickets, because we wanted to see everything while the sun was setting. That was a good decision, as the views were stunning at that time! There is a restaurant in the Needle, but it was completely booked when we got there. The SkyCity Restaurant takes reservations, but don't wait until you arrive at Seattle, book before you go. I have no clue what the food is like, because we haven't been there, the view is gorgeous!
After we bought our ticket we were ready for some lunch. We had a delicious lunch at the Collection's Café, you should definitely taste their Parmesan Garlic Rosemary Fries. The café is at Chihuly Garden and Glass . We decided not to go there, because we found it rather pricey. If you want, you can buy a package admission for both the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass.
The boys wanted to see the playground, and off we went. There was a lot to see on our way there: a man with a huge snake, boys juggling knives, 'real' Star Wars characters, stands with food and drinks and of course tourist shops. Next to the playground is the MoPop museum. We didn't visit that, but without the boys it might have been interesting. For now all we wanted to do was enjoy the nice weather, outside! We strolled to the International Fountain and enjoyed the music and water show we saw there.
In the afternoon we went to 'Ride a Duck' . This was a fun activity for the whole family. The tour took about 90 minutes, in which we saw almost all the highlights of Seattle.
The tour guide was funny and informative and the kids loved their duck whistles (us not so much). We all loved the moment when the car went onto the lake. The views on the city from the lake, were gorgeous. It was also cool to see a lot of seaplanes land and take off from Union Lake.
We walked back to our hotel and booked a table through 'opentable' at Tango Restaurant & Lounge. This was very close to our hotel and a good choice too. I can definitely recommend the 'Paella Tradicional' and the homemade sangria.
After dinner we took an Uber to the Space Needle and went up the Needle.
We loved this time, right at sunset, because we still saw the whole city by light, during sunset and by night. Stunning!
We went back to our hotel and started scheduling the tour for the next day: Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.
This tour was very different and cool. The tour really teaches you a lot about the history of Seattle. We still have a lot of fun about the 'sewing ladies' in the early days in Seattle. Our oldest immediately knew what the tour guide meant, but our youngest felt something was off and asked us later, while we were back home again. Want to know what I mean? Book your tickets. ;-)
Right after our tour we went back to our hotel, picked up the car and drove to pick up our RV. We then returned our car and our trip continued!
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