A onetime rustic logging community, Seattle has transformed into a cosmopolitan metropolis brimming with fantastic brews, award-winning restaurants, eye-catching attractions and more than a handful of trendy boutiques.

A scenic jaunt across the Salish Sea aboard the Victoria Clipper ferry, traveling to Seattle requires little more than a current passport and weekend bag. To make the trip even sweeter, there is a special fare for Victoria travelers that is at below par with the Canadian exchange rate. Yet, Seattle still can be an expensive city to visit. Look in the right places, though, and there are plenty of inexpensive or free ways to explore Seattle without maxing out your credit card.

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Victoria to Seattle Overnight Package with Two Nights

Day 1

8:15 p.m. – Hyatt Place Hotel

When visiting Seattle, you have more than a few excellent options for a hotel pick. However, with a prime location in the heart of downtown and luxe amenities, the Hyatt Place hotel is an excellent pick. An upscale, modern property, the hotel is a quick 8-minute (complimentary) shuttle ride away from the Clipper terminal, backed by epic views of the majestic Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound and downtown skyscrapers. And that’s just the beginning!

Cozy up in one of the 160 suite-only rooms at the Hyatt Place hotel. Credit: Hyatt Place
Cozy up in one of the 160 suite-only rooms at the Hyatt Place hotel. Credit: Hyatt Place

The iconic Space Needle, Seattle Center and Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) are all a mere 7-minute walk away. Bustling Pike Place Market and the action-packed Seattle waterfront are only a few steps further. (Inside tip: If you book your ride in advance, the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to attractions within one mile of the property). The entire city is at your doorstep.

Fair warning – with plenty of space to spread out in your airy suite and sweeping vistas of the Emerald City, it’s tough to pry yourself away from your room. Once you do, you’ll find the property’s indoor heated pool (a rare luxury in Seattle) along with three excellent dining options within the confines of the hotel.

They include the Gallery Kitchen’s buffet breakfast, the Gallery Market – a 24/7 grab-and-go café chock-full of snacks, drinks, salads and more, as well as Coffee to Cocktails Bar, which offers a cozy setting to curl up with a newspaper and coffee or wind down the evening with a cocktail of choice. Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

11:00 p.m. – Cafe Presse

A hidden gem of French goodness, Capitol Hill’s Café Presse is an ideal spot to soak in Seattle’s nightlife without spending a lot of cash. Hit up their after-hours happy hour for solid drink specials and simple, delicious fare that you’d find in a café in the South of France. Did someone say house-made ice cream?

Cap your evening with affordable late-night treats. Credit: Jennifer Woodard Maderazo
Cap your evening with affordable late-night treats. Credit: Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

Day 2

9:00 a.m. – Gallery Kitchen Breakfast at Hyatt Place

Pop downstairs for an outstanding complimentary breakfast. Quick, easy and convenient and full of tasty breakfast options – think hearty steel-cut oatmeal, whole fruit and all-natural bacon and sausage as well as build-your-own parfaits (hello caramelized bananas) – it hits the spot for a day of fuel. Book this hotel with Clipper, learn more.

10:30 a.m. – Center for Wooden Boats

In a city nearly surrounded by water, missing the opportunity to get out on one of the lakes or the Sound just seems wrong. Head to the edge of stunning South Lake Union waterfront and pay homage to the region’s maritime history at one of the locals’ favorite aquatic playgrounds, the Center for Wooden Boats. A living museum, the space is a hub of hands-on learning, where you can get an inside look (yes, you are allowed to check out the interior) at more than 100 unique vessels. The best part? Admission is entirely free of charge!

Touch, build, sail and learn at the Center for Wooden Boats. Credit: Tom Ringold
Touch, build, sail and learn at the Center for Wooden Boats. Credit: Tom Ringold

See watercraft come to life before your eyes in the sawdust-scented boat shop. Learn a thing or two about local boat history in the “Still Afloat: Historic Small Craft of King County” exhibit in the Floating Boathouse Gallery. Duck outside to play with the dock toys (interactive exhibits right on the docks) and discover how to tie knots, use signal flags and absorb the history of the lake.

Cruise through the city’s sparkling waters by spirit boat, steamboat, electric boat, schooner or yacht. Credit: Mason Bryant
Cruise through the city’s sparkling waters by spirit boat, steamboat, electric boat, schooner or yacht. Credit: Mason Bryant

(Insider tip: Visit on a Sunday to take advantage of their long-running Sunday Public Sail. Cruise around Lake Union for free on a spirit boat, steamboat, electric boat, schooner or yacht! Just be sure to come early, as the sailing tours are popular and often fill up.)

12:20 p.m. – Hiram Chittenden Locks

There are few more enjoyable places to spend a sunny day than sitting on peaceful banks of the famous Hiram Chittenden Locks and watching the world go by. A 15-minute Uber ride will land you at the entrance of the park that contains the beloved waterway. Watch everything from small speedboats to gigantic yachts navigate the complex locks system that allows the ships to transit back and forth between the fresh waters of Lake Washington and saltwater of Puget Sound.

Experience where the freshwater of Lake Washington meets the briny saltwater of Puget Sound at the Hiram Chittenden Locks
Experience where the freshwater of Lake Washington meets the briny saltwater of Puget Sound at the Hiram Chittenden Locks

Swing by the park’s expansive underwater viewing chamber from June through September to get a close-up view of sockeye, chinook or coho salmon fly up the fish ladder as they migrate into the freshwater of Lake Washington to spawn. No matter how many times you’ve seen these mighty fish sail through the air, they never fail to amaze and mesmerize. Or wander through the 7-acres of exotic trees and plants in the world-class Carl S. English Garden. All are yours to explore, free of charge.

1:45 p.m. – Il Corvo

Hands down one of our favorite spots for authentic Italian pasta in the city, the lunch-only Il Corvo will fill you up, while being easy on the wallet. Less than $10 at this diminutive, Pioneer Square restaurant will get you a massive bowl brimming with tasty noodles.

Dig into a giant pile of noodles at Il Corvo. Credit: Jameson Fink
Dig into a giant pile of noodles at Il Corvo. Credit: Jameson Fink

Everything is made in house and everything is delicious. Join the ranks of the fast-moving line (we weren’t kidding when we said it was popular) outside and chose from one of the three daily pastas featured on the menu board. Whether you feast on thick coils of pappardelle topped with rich Bolognese or lasagna eight-layers deep, you are sure to leave with a happy heart and a full stomach.

2:30 p.m. – Beneath the Streets

You’ve seen the ever-bustling streets of Pioneer Square, but did you know there’s a whole, less active, city below? Discover the roots of Seattle as your guide leads you through the catacomb-like maze of the Seattle underground on a Beneath the Streets tour. At $20 a pop for adults and $12 for children, it is one of the more affordable tours in the city. Explore a network of subterranean storefronts, sidewalks and basements that were once the hub of the city, but became entombed by the Great Fire of 1889.

Discover another side of Seattle as you explore the historic underground. Credit: Karen Neoh
Discover another side of Seattle as you explore the historic underground. Credit: Karen Neoh

Not only will you leave with a greater appreciation of the city, but you’ll leave armed with insights into the history of the Klondike Gold Rush, Skid Row and the Coast Salish Peoples. As an added bonus, you’ll also get the story behind those purple glass squares embedded into the Seattle sidewalks! Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

4:00 p.m. – Pinball Museum

A labor of love created by two pinball fans and dedicated to the “preservation of pinball for future generations,” Chinatown’s Seattle Pinball Museum will transport you to your childhood days of arcades. Grab an old-fashioned soda, craft beer or cider (all machines come conveniently equipped with cup holders) and spend the afternoon clinking, clacking and whirring on the machines to your heart’s content. With more than 50 classic and modern games that are free to play with admission to the museum, you’re bound to find at least one that brings on a bout of nostalgia!

Relieve your childhood as you play on more than 50 pinball machines. Credit: Amber Case
Relieve your childhood as you play on more than 50 pinball machines. Credit: Amber Case

6:30 p.m. – Pho Bac

One of the Emerald City’s finest cultural destinations, the International District (ID) also happens to be a go-to spot for restaurants that serve up quality eats, while leaving you enough cash for cocktails at the night’s end. Bee-line it to Pho Bac, the first restaurant in Seattle to serve up what has become one of the city’s culinary staples – piping hot bowls of pho. Housed in an eye-catching red boat-like building, the long-standing local favorite nails it for both a chill vibe and phenomenal dishes.

Slurp up a fragrant bowl of pho from the popular Pho Bac. Credit: Alpha
Slurp up a fragrant bowl of pho from the popular Pho Bac. Credit: Alpha

While anything you order off the menu is a sure-fire winner, we highly recommend the restaurant’s namesake pho. With a steaming, spice-laden broth that’s been simmered for more than 10 hours, plus tender meat, mounds of rice noodles and topped with all the fixings, the soul-warming soup will please your palate any time of year.

8:00 p.m. – Sunset at Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Sunset is the time to be at the secluded Jose Rizal Park. Perched on the western slope of Beacon Hill, the spot offers postcard-worthy views of the downtown skyscrapers, stadiums, Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Stroll across the bridge from the South and snap a shot of the Seattle skyline as the sun sets slowly over Puget Sound. Stick around till after the sun goes down and you’ll be rewarded with even more breathtaking sights as the night falls on the city like a velvet blanket and the lights of downtown Seattle twinkle below.

Jose Rizal Park is the perfect locale to snap a classic shot of the downtown skyline.
Jose Rizal Park is the perfect locale to snap a classic shot of the downtown skyline.

Day 3

7:00 a.m. – Clipper Terminal at Pier 69

Grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich to go from Hyatt Place’s Gallery Market before zipping down to the Pier 69 on the waterfront to catch the Victoria Clipper ferry for the ride home. Kick back in your comfortable seats and enjoy a front-row view of some of the Pacific Northwest’s most awe-inspiring natural beauty. With snow-capped Olympics, incredible views back on the city of Seattle, and miles of sparkling water on all sides, it’s hard to think of anything more relaxing or freeing.

Soak in stunning views as you cruise out of the Emerald City.
Soak in stunning views as you cruise out of the Emerald City.

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