Where Should We Go In Addition to Seattle?
August 12, 2014 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I visit some friends in Seattle every year right around Halloween — sometime in the last week of October/first week-and-change of November. My travel buddy and I have in previous years traveled to other cities near Seattle as part of the vacation. We've been to Portland, Vancouver, and San Francisco. Where should we go this year?

We liked Portland okay, but each of us has been twice and neither feels a huge need to return. Vancouver was fine, but again, didn't thrill us. SF is another possibility, but we'd love to go somewhere new. My vague preference would be not to rent a car, but we definitely could.

We like: Live comedy, interesting food, pedestrian-friendly areas, good booze, cheap booze, or best case scenario good and cheap booze.

We don't care about: Professional sports, gambling, camping, hiking, hunting.

Is there somewhere I'm not thinking of? Something fun and cool? Maybe not worth a trip from the East Coast all by itself, but worth a night or two as long as we're out there? We're both in our early 30s if that matters.
posted by Charity Garfein to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Vegas is fun for about 48 hours and you can see some great shows and get amazing food. It can be nice. From there you are within 4-5 hours drive of some unbelievable places in the Utah desert - Zion, Arches, etc.
posted by docpops at 2:53 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I should have clarified that LV is a quick flight from any west coast city. It is repellent and awful if you want it to be, but it can be a really cool diversion for a weekend if you get the right hotel and show lineup.
posted by docpops at 2:55 PM on August 12, 2014

Well, geography being what it is, these come to mind:

- Calgary
- Whistler BC
- Las Vegas
- Denver
- Los Angeles
- Napa Valley
- Monterey
- Santa Barbera
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:57 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

OK, just stay with me here, but Sacramento?
posted by Duffington at 3:15 PM on August 12, 2014

You can take the Clipper ferry to downtown Victoria and spend the night. It's very walkable and interesting (I live downtown with my family) and there are a ton of microbreweries here.
posted by Nevin at 3:17 PM on August 12, 2014

If you decide to rent a car and aren't fixed on going to an urban area, er, Leavenworth?

(I offer this with great hesitation. I haven't been myself; I'm told the drive is pretty; it seems like an Epcot version of Germany, but enough for a weekend.)

I guess it depends on if you find sausages to be interesting food. No, just kidding, I'm stereotyping, there's probably other food.

// runs off
posted by batter_my_heart at 4:17 PM on August 12, 2014

How about taking the Coast Starlight (train) down the coast to one of the suggested answers here?

The town of Hood River (take public trans or rental out of Portland) is walkable, fun, and has great brews & wine.
posted by artdrectr at 4:42 PM on August 12, 2014

Not a lot of live comedy places but otherwise I have a feeling you'd love visiting the San Juan islands, which are very fun to see by car and have many charming towns with excellent food and good drinks.

Also, Tacoma doesn't get much attention but it has everything you are looking for and is an hour from Seattle.

Lastly, Cannon Beach is a very cool town on the Oregon coast, very definitely driveable from Seattle.
posted by bearwife at 4:51 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ashland Oregon or Bellingham Washington
posted by hortense at 4:53 PM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Perhaps not as fun oriented as you'd like, but just in case, the Makah Museum in Neah Bay is quite something: reconstructed 500-year old village perfectly preserved by a mudslide.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:12 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Live comedy, interesting food, pedestrian-friendly areas, good booze, cheap booze, or best case scenario good and cheap booze.

Bend, OR depending on transportation, for beer. Yakima, WA if you're into wine and wine accessories.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:06 PM on August 12, 2014

Best answer: Bellingham is a pretty, lefty little college town with some big-city amenities. It has an improv venue (the Upfront Theater) run by Ryan Stiles and a sweet little independent cinema house (the Pickford Film Center). Locally brewed beer is plentiful, there's a nice mead house, and there are a couple of good places for wine. There are walkable neighborhoods (downtown and Fairhaven in particular) and parks (Lake Padden, Boulevard Park, Whatcom Falls Park, etc., for walking but not hiking). Lots of interesting restaurants, too, from Vietnamese (Soy House) to artisan pizza (La Fiamma) and artisan burgers (FiammaBurger--same proprietors) to fine dining (Keenan's at the Pier) and outstanding seafood (Cliff House). You could spend a fun day here. If you don't mind spending a bit of money on your lodging, the Bellwether Hotel is lovely--right on the bay. MeMail me if you have any questions!
posted by Janey Complainy at 7:16 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

3rding Bellingham...if you're just staying overnight and it's a Sunday the Chrysalis has some cheaper rooms. Still not too cheap, but veeeery luxurious. I've always had a great time at the Upfront, too. Around Halloween time my wife's walking tour company does a tour of (supposedly) spooky local happenings, and (definitely) historical gory crimes, which everyone I've talked to has really enjoyed. As an admittedly biased observer, it's the tour of theirs I most enjoy.

The local and plentiful drinking establishments are mostly excellent, I recommend them!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:29 PM on August 12, 2014

There are bus and shuttle (even a train?) tours from San Francisco to Napa Valley or Sonoma. Might be fun. Another possible destination is Lake Tahoe. Napa, Sonoma and Tahoe aren't too far from San Francisco. You could still stop in San Francisco -- there's always something new to see there. You'll have to decide if those spots fit what you're interested in. I will say, you sound like a Las Vegas person to me. Flights to/from Las Vegas are way cheap (and short) to places on the west coast.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:48 PM on August 12, 2014

End of October, prime time to visit the Amargosa valley , the Opera and drink Pahrump dry.
posted by hortense at 11:11 AM on August 13, 2014

If you're at all considering Las Vegas, you could alternately consider Lake Tahoe, which has the food and booze of Vegas, but lovely outdoor scenery as well.
posted by vignettist at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2014

The glass artist Dale Chihuly is based in Tacoma so there's a glass art museum / open studio along w the cheap booze, comedy clubs, restaurants. Given that it's less than an hour from Seattle though, maybe you just count it as part of the larger area & have been there? If not, seems the obvious choice to me.
posted by mdn at 12:32 AM on August 14, 2014

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