The train is the key to easy weekend getaways in Seattle and Portland
The next day, after checking out of your hotel, head back toAlaskan Way and hop on the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar, whose Australian-madetrolleys date to 1928. Ride one back to King Street Station, oneblock from the end of the line. If you leave your bags at thedepot's parcel check, you can head out unencumbered to explore theadjacent International District.
Thanks to the Amtrak Cascades train line, Portlanders canexperience Seattle, and Seattleites can explore Portland ―all without a car. On the 3 1/2-hour trip between the two cities,you can drink in views while sipping a cocktail and relaxing orsnuggling with your sweetie. Forget traffic jams, bad weather, andhotel parking fees.
We've mapped out great weekends in Portland and Seattle,focusing on attractions that can be reached on foot or via publictransportation.
Railway weekend #1: Seattle
Market stalls, French cafes, and the International District lendan exotic flavor to a Seattle getaway.
The Amtrak train from Portland drops you at Seattle's King Street Station, on the south side of downtown.
Two blocks east, at Fifth Avenue South and South Jackson Street,you'll find International District Station, the southernmost stopfor the subwaylike downtown bus tunnel. Free Metro Transit buses run between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. onweekdays and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays, taking you tothree stations that are convenient to downtown hotels: UniversityStreet, Westlake, and Convention Center. You can also get a taxi tomost downtown hotels for about $5.
TOURING THE TOWN
The next morning, head to Pike Place Market. Start with acrumpet slathered with butter and jam at the Crumpet Shop (1503 First Ave.; 206/682-1598), then browse the market. Atlunch, soak up the French atmosphere at Le Pichet (1933 First; 206/256-1499). Alternatively, grab a sandwichof membrillo (quince paste) and manchego cheese while you shop fora paella pan at the Spanish Table (1427 Western Ave.; 206/682-2827).
Spend the afternoon on the waterfront and check out the Life on the Edge tidepool exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium ($9.75; Pier 59, 1483 Alaskan Way; 206/386-4300). If thefish make you crave fresh seafood, head to Elliott's Oyster House (Pier 56, 1201 Alaskan; 206/623-4340) for oysters on thehalf shell--the ultimate romantic meal. Then sail off into thesunset aboard a ferry from Pier 52 to Bainbridge Island. For $5.10 round trip, you'll get a30-minute cruise and a great view of the city skyline.
Here, at House of Hong (409 Eighth Ave. S.; 206/622-7997), savor dim sum. Later,relax over organic oolong as you peruse old photos of theInternational District at Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee (605 1/2 S. Main St.; 206/515-4000). You can stock up onChinese and Japanese teas at the Ten Ren Tea Co. (506 S. King St.; 206/749-9855).