By: Carl Morrison,
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Seattle is a great Rail
Destination. Served by the Coast
Starlight to and from the South, and the Empire Builder to and from the
East, Seattle is the gem of the Northwest. Seattle has a number
of official nicknames: The Emerald City, Jet City, The City of
Flowers, The City of Goodwill, and I agree with all of them.
After our arrival, we
got a cab from the Amtrak Station in the wee hours of the morning, and
were soon on the doorstep of the Best Western Pioneer Square Hotel,
about a $5 ride for two with luggage. The cabbies know when the
train arrives so they converge like bees at a hive. Even though
it was about 1:30 a.m., I counted 20 cabs ready for detraining
Be sure you have hotel reservations, "guaranteed for
late arrival." We used the Best Western Pioneer Square Hotel for
a couple of reasons: It is probably the closest hotel to the
station, (except for the homeless mission) about 6 blocks from the
station. And, is within the 'free bus zone' as well as in walking
distance of the ferry, Pike's Market, and other downtown attractions.
street is a fine restaurant. Views from our room (left) and th
entrance of the hotel.
I would not
you walk from the station to the hotel, but rather take one of the
cabs. Offer them $5 and tell them they can quickly get back for a
big fare. The cabbie that took us made this offer and he
was soon back in line for another fare.
What to See in Seattle.
Pick up a map of downtown from your hotel (above). Within walking
distance of the Pioneer Square Hotel (less than 2
blocks, Pier 52 ), you can walk aboard a Washington State Ferry for a
ride to either Bainbridge or Bremerton, Washington. We chose the
35 min. ride to Bainbridge, only $6.50 round trip!
Downtown Seattle from the Ferry 'Tacoma.'
You can get some nice Seattle skyline shots on the ferry out to
Bainbridge. We had an especially nice day!
We spent an hour or so in
Bainbridge. They have cafes, shops, art galleries, and a neat
coffee shop at a gas station on the hill down to the ferry where many
commuters get coffee before boarding each day.
Downtown Bainbridge Map (above). The ferry landing is at the
bottom right on the map.
After a full day in Seattle, about 8:30
a.m., we walked from the Pioneer
Square Hotel, to the King Street Station and the Coast Starlight
with our luggage on WHEELS, since it is about 6 blocks,
for a 10 a.m. departure. Since the walk is past a couple of
homeless missions, and accompanying clientele, you may choose to take a
back to the station.
We walked up
Yesler Way to this unusual parking structure, then turned right on 2nd
to the station.
was on our left as we walked.
QWEST Field is
just across the parking lot from the station.
One of these
busses would be the first part of our trip back to Los Angeles since
the previous night's Coast Starlight was so late, it was terminated in
Portland, we'd be bussed to Portland. This would get us to
Portland sooner than the train would have.
Now click on "Coast Starlight to Los Angeles" below.