Seattle and Vancouver are two geographically blessed cities. You’re never too far from a glistening waterfront in either city. And you’ll always have majestic mountain views looming over the two in the backdrop.
Due to their location, Seattle and Vancouver is a paradise for seafood lovers. These two cities also have diverse food scenes, serving authentic flavors from around the world. With the creative chefs in these cities, adventurous foodies will find a wealth of fusion-food choices too.
Though they are alike in many ways, their allures come in different flavors. Below, you’ll get to know them more and see which one fits you best!
With its iconic skyline and all the allures of a big city, Seattle has an irresistible urban vibrancy. But this scenic waterfront city offers quick escapes to the stunning natural wonders around it, giving you the best of both worlds.
More than its scenic wonders, Seattle is famous for many things. Its sensational seafood, the creative craft beer scene, and long-standing coffee culture are only some of them!
What Makes Seattle Unique?
A Perpetually Green Natural Wonderland
Despite being an urban wonderland, Seattle’s skyscrapers don’t outshine the city’s natural beauty. The city is full of greenery and is famous for its lush, coastal rainforests. But this is only partly the reason why Seattle garnered the nickname the “Emerald City”.
Seattle is dense with evergreen trees that remain green no matter what season. And because of this, the city’s green color, reminiscent of emeralds, is what gave Seattle its nickname.
No matter when you visit Seattle, it always blooms with all shades of green. And with the city’s varied natural landscape, you’ll find beautiful scenery at every turn here.
Cradled by the mountains and water, there are tons of natural wonders that surround the city.
Look to the east and you’ll find the majestic Cascades and the blue waters of Lake Washington. To the west, you’ll find the Olympic mountain ranges and the glistening waters of Puget Sound. Far off to the south of the city lies the wondrous Mount Rainier rising from the lowlands.
There are more than 485 parks in the city to serve as your green oasis when you need a change of pace. At Discovery Garden, you can take in the views of the Cascades, the Olympic Mountains, and the Puget Sound in one place. Other parks in the city are well-visited for their amenities, making them a family-friendly retreat.
But if you want to experience true wilderness within Seattle, head to Seward Park. You’ll find old-growth trees across Seattle, but this park has 120 acres (49 hectares) of land full of them! Hike through winding paths here and leave the noise of the bustling urban city behind.
If you want to take your adventure to a new level, a few national parks are just a drive away from the city!
One is the Mount Rainier National Park. Surrounding its glaciated peak are mesmerizing subalpine wildflower meadows. This stunning scenery is what makes this park so well-visited.
Another is the North Cascades National Park, which features a wondrous Alpine landscape. This is the home of the biggest glacial system in the country outside of Alaska.
The last national park near Seattle is the Olympic National Park. And among the three, this is the most diverse one. It features glaciated mountains, lowland forests, glistening rivers, and more!
A Sensational and Diverse Food Scene
They say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. When visiting Seattle, you’ll find a thriving and vibrant food scene that’ll cater to every tourist’s palate. And whether you’re a foodie or not, you’ll fall more and more in love with the city plate after plate.
Seattle’s location on the water makes it one of the best places in the country to eat seafood. The city enjoys a constant supply of fresh seafood thanks to daily catches from its surrounding waters.
You’ll get to enjoy a wide variety of seafood here too! Salmon, tuna, oysters, or rockfish, no matter what you’re craving, Seattle has it and does it well.
What’s great about Seattle’s seafood scene is that there isn’t one definitive spot to get them! Seafood dishes are the star of menus in restaurants here, whether they’re Italian or Japanese. Go to Ivar’s for fish and chips, grab some chowder at Duke’s Chowder House, and more!
Other than seafood, Seattle also has a strong Asian food scene. From Japanese to Vietnamese to Chinese, there are loads of restaurants in the city for you to get a taste of foreign flavors.
Teriyaki is ubiquitous in Seattle, and so is the well-loved dish, pho. Dimsum is also accessible in Seattle, but don’t forget to try some Hom Bow, a toasted pastry with curry beef or pork fillings.
The tasty delights don’t stop here though. Seattle’s innovation also shines in its food scene. And the city has made some popular dishes their own, making them an icon of the city.
Wander around the city and keep an eye out for a hotdog stand to get a taste of the delicious Seattle Dog! It looks like an ordinary hotdog in a pretzel bun with sautéed onions and some mustard and hot sauce. The surprising ingredient here is cream cheese, adding some richness to the snack.
Seattle’s Love Affair With Coffee and Craft Beer
Grabbing a cup of coffee is a part of a Seattleite’s day. Seattle is a coffee lover’s paradise, a city with a diverse and continuously evolving coffee scene. And more than a daily necessity, coffee is an art form for the locals here.
One of the best-known things about the city’s coffee scene is that the city is the birthplace of Starbucks. This world-famous coffee chain first opened its doors in Pike Place Market back in 1971. And you can still visit the original shop today!
But Starbucks isn’t the only popular coffee chain in the city. You’ll find tons of Seattle’s Best and Tully’s coffee shops sprinkled around the city too.
Still, to truly experience Seattle’s coffee scene, independent coffee shops are the way to go. New ones pop up around the city, each with its own flair to the competitive coffee scene. With this diversity, Seattle’s coffee scene spoils you with choices!
Some coffee shops showcase the quirkiness of Seattle, a delightful surprise to any coffee tour of the city.
Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe is a blend of a bookshop and coffee shop, and it has an extensive collection of books from sci-fi to computer manuals. There’s Seattle Meowtropolitan Cafe, which features a cat room of adoptable furry friends. And at Swansons Nursery, you’ll have a wide variety of exotic plants in the backdrop as you sip on some coffee.
If beer is your drink of choice, Seattle is famous for its creative craft beer scene! What makes the beer scene in Seattle so great is that it offers freshly hopped brews. And if you visit Seattle in October, breweries come alive for the annual hops harvest.
In just about every suburb or neighborhood in the city, there’s a top-notch brewery. Local breweries pride themselves on their experimental blends. Offering a wide selection of styles and flavors, there are tons of tasty beers to try in Seattle!
And because breweries are so close together in the city, a beer crawl is easy to do!
Countless Fun and Quirky Activities
Once you’ve got your fill of touristy fun in Seattle, there are still plenty of fun things to do in the city. Seattle’s playful and quirky character is evident in many allures. But it shines through most in the attractions you’ll find below!
Seattle has tons of museums and art galleries that showcase world-class art. But a delightfully surprising addition to the city’s art scene is the Official Bad Art Museum of Art!
Covering the walls of this unusual museum are a wide variety of artworks created to amuse you. From badly painted clowns to creative remixes of famous paintings, this museum has plenty to keep you entertained.
If you want to bring home some weird souvenirs, read to the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. This charming shop sells unusual, one-of-a-kind items such as vintage posters and skull decor pieces.
Beautiful green spaces are one of Seattle’s big draws, without a doubt. But the experience in Beacon Food Forest is like no other! Everything in this park is edible, and you can forage through berry bushes and fruit trees as you’d like here.
Perhaps you’d want to soak in Seattle’s beauty from a different perspective. You can view the city from above on a hot-air balloon or a seaplane!
Go on a hot-air-balloon ride during sunset or sunrise and get breathtaking views of Seattle and Puget Sound. If you’d prefer to ride a seaplane, you’ll get views of Lake Washington and famous landmarks in Seattle, such as the Space Needle.
For a bit of history, you can go on an exciting underground tour of Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square is the original downtown area of the city. And after the Great Seattle Fire, the city had to rebuild this area on top of the ruins.
You can still see the old storefronts of the area here, giving you a glimpse of Seattle’s past. Wander through an intricate labyrinth of alleys, streets, and buildings as much as you’d like. And if you want to take your tour to a whole new level, you can also go on a ghost tour of this underground area!
Located between the mountains and the sea, Vancouver offers picturesque views at every turn. But that’s only a small part of Vancouver’s appeal, as its varied nature is what makes the city so alluring. Vancouver is a city for everyone, as it has a little bit of everything.
Go hiking in the wilderness and hang out at a beach after. Sample cuisines from all around the world or walk around the city to experience each neighborhood’s unique charm. But there’s still more you can see and do in Vancouver!
What Makes Vancouver Unique?
Wilderness Wonderlands Are Within Your Reach
Although Vancouver is a major city filled with high-rise buildings, it doesn’t feel like a concrete jungle. With beautiful nature in and around Vancouver, it’s easy to go from the big city to the scenic wilderness. Vancouver has the best of both worlds, making it a great destination for outdoor lovers.
You don’t even have to venture too far to feel like you’re in the wilderness here. Within the city is a sprawling green oasis called Stanley Park. Not only is this park larger than New York’s Central Park, but it’s also bigger than downtown Vancouver!
Stanley Park is a 1000-acre (405 ha) land of lush rainforest and endless trails. It’s a great place to spot local wildlife, go on a scenic hike, or marvel at the beautiful scenery the city has to offer. Make your way to the park’s outskirts and you’ll find a seawall where you can stroll or bike around with superb views of the ocean.
Once you’ve explored Stanley Park, make your way to the highest point of Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park. Sitting at 410 ft (125 m) above sea level, it offers the perfect backdrop of the city and the mountains beyond. This park is also the city’s horticultural jewel, with gorgeous gardens featuring diverse flora.
If true wilderness is what you’re seeking, Vancouver has three mountains nearby:
- Cypress Mountain
- Mount Seymour
- Grouse Mountain
Mount Seymour has everything you’d want for a nature retreat. It features trails of varying difficulty, picnic areas for a tranquil time, exciting mountain biking trails, and more.
Cypress Mountain has top-notch facilities for skiing and snowboarding. And it was also a part of the Winter Olympics back in 2010.
Grouse Mountain is a favorite visit for outdoor lovers both in the winter and summer. It becomes a winter wonderland once the snow falls, making it a spot for skating, snowshoeing, and more. But during the summer, it’s popular among hikers who tackle the challenging trail of the Grouse Grind.
Picturesque and Pristine Beaches Galore
Access to a pristine waterfront is one of Vancouver’s many allures as it sits on a peninsula. To the north of the city is the English Bay and Burrard Inlet, to its south is the Fraser River, and the Strait of Georgia is to its west. With this, Vancouver offers tons of stunning beaches for fun or relaxation!
Vancouver also spoils you with choices so you can find the perfect spot that fits your idea of a beach day. Some beaches are well-developed and busy, while others remain relatively untouched. More than that, you also have the choice of splashing around in lakewater or freshwater beaches!
Are ocean beaches more your thing? Vancouver’s famous beaches offer miles of sandy shoreline for some summer fun!
Kitsilano Beach is a favorite among the locals for its great views and amenities. This beach has tennis and basketball courts, food stands, and an upscale restaurant. It also features a large outdoor public swimming pool!
Second Beach also has a public swimming pool, a heated one that sits along the ocean. This beach is right at the Stanley Park Seawall, near another well-loved beach called Third Beach.
If you’d rather have fun on lakeside beaches, Vancouver has an option for you too. There are tons of freshwater beaches around Vancouver. But one that doesn’t take you too far from the city is the small yet charming Trout Lake Beach.
Trout Lake Beach has two sections, the south beach, and the north beach. The south beach is more popular, featuring swimming rafts, play areas, picnic areas, and lifeguards during the summer. The north end is popular among fur parents, as it’s within the dog off-leash area.
Sample Its Vibrant and Diverse Food Scene
Vancouver’s food scene is a reflection of the natural beauty that surrounds the city. But more than that, it also showcases Vancouver’s multicultural identity. These two are only a glimpse of why Vancouver is a top foodie city.
Vancouver’s food scene prides itself in offering samples of its fresh, homegrown produce. Its climate is perfect for growing various ingredients, such as squash, cauliflower, and loads more.
But the city is especially proud of its high-quality local seafood.
From mussels to salmon to Dungeness crabs, you’ll find fresh seafood straight from the Pacific waters here. Local restaurants take advantage of this, incorporating the tastiest seafood into their dishes.
But the best part about Vancouver’s culinary landscape is its diversity. Vancouver is a multicultural city, and this creates such a vibrant food scene. And the city has perfected the craft of blending foreign flavors with local ingredients.
This is why multicultural dishes in Vancouver take advantage of the city’s fresh seafood. You’ll find seafood across various cuisines here, from Asian to Italian, and more!
Another great thing about Vancouver’s food scene is that it’s accessible. Sure, the city has its fair share of Michelin-star restaurants. But if upscale dining isn’t in the cards for you right now, you’ll find delectable dishes for every budget here.
Sampling the best food that the city has to offer isn’t limited to restaurants too!
Food markets are aplenty in the city! Farmer’s markets and street food markets here feature international cuisines. And they’re especially great at serving Asian specialties.
At Kishimoto, you’ll find an extensive menu of creative Japanese dishes. While Richmond’s night market is great for tasty Chinese food on a budget.
But at the heart of the city’s food scene is the Granville Island Public Market. From pastries to artisan cheese to experimental ice cream flavors, this market knows how to tickle your tastebuds.
A Creative, Art-Focused City
Wandering around the city of Vancouver is an exciting visual journey. Not only for the dramatic scenery that it offers but also for the art that created the city into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colorful art. From indigenous to contemporary to urban art, uncovering Vancouver’s creative side is an exciting way to get to know the city!
An art tour to any city best starts with its main museum. And when in Vancouver, make your way to the Vancouver Art Gallery to marvel at innovative art.
This art museum is home to a permanent collection of over 11000 artworks. A big chunk of this includes indigenous art, as well as paintings by Emily Carr. Emily Carr’s works focused on the province’s indigenous communities, and you’ll find over 150 of her works here.
More than that, Vancouver Art Museum also explores art in various mediums. So you’ll find a vast array of exhibits here covering sculptures, videos, and more. The museum is also renowned for its traveling exhibits, featuring works of artists from around the world.
If you’re more of a contemporary art fan, head to Rennie Museum. It’s home to one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada. The artworks here focus on topics such as social commentary, appropriation, and more. And while the museum is free to visit, you must reserve your slot in advance!
The art that lives in Vancouver’s streets is just as good as those housed in museums though. Make your way to the vibrant neighborhood of Mount Pleasant in East Vancouver. Wander around the streets and you’ll find yourself in an open-air museum.
Art fills empty walls in this neighborhood, with most of them in Main Alley and 7 1/2 Lane. While the best time to visit this area is during the exciting Vancouver Mural Festival, art remains year-round here for you to marvel at.
Neighborhoods With Their Unique Charm
Variety is the spice of life, and it adds more excitement to any vacation you go on. This is why visiting Vancouver is so appealing, as you’ll find diversity in its food, scenery, and even its neighborhoods!
Come and take a walk around the city, and you’ll find a completely different vibe around every corner. With each neighborhood having distinct characteristics, you’ll find one that’s perfect for your day out or one that fits you best!
Foodies will love the vibrant Granville Island. This neighborhood is full of local artisans offering fresh and award-winning delights. And as Granville Island is a blend of the city’s architectural heritage and modern buildings, it’s a feast for the eyes too!
Then there’s the hipster neighborhood of Vancouver, Commercial Drive. This is where you can experience the city’s cultural diversity in its many eclectic boutiques and quaint cafes. Here is where you’ll find Little Italy, the enclave of Italian immigrants back in the 1940s.
Travel back in time to the oldest area of Vancouver, Gastown, where you can explore the earlier era of the city. Its distinct vibe is thanks to its cobblestone streets, iron lampposts, and Victorian buildings. Make sure to check out the Gastown Steam Clock, one of the most famous landmarks in Vancouver!
Enter the stunning Millennium Gate of Chinatown, and you’ll find the perfect spot in the city to soak up some culture. Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada. And it has a wealth of sightseeing and gastronomic options.
In Chinatown, you can explore the walled Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The neighborhood is also the home of one of the world’s narrowest buildings, the Sam Kee Building. And sprinkled across the city are a plethora of restaurants and shops to keep you busy!
Is It Better to Visit Seattle or Vancouver?
The better destination between the two depends on what you want out of your trip. In many ways, Seattle may be the better option.
Seattle is a more energetic city than Vancouver. If you love the feel of a vibrant urban area, Seattle is a better choice for you.
The city has a better shopping scene, and you’ll find a wide selection of big brand names here. Seattle also offers a better variety of restaurants to choose from. Seattle is also home to excellent museums of great diversity, making it a better city for art lovers.
Seattle also has a stronger entertainment scene. Watch a theater, enjoy sports events, experience its legendary music scene, and more!
Also, if you’re a coffee lover, go for Seattle.
If you’d rather feel closer to nature though, Vancouver is the destination for you. And they’re more than just for pretty pictures. The surrounding natural areas of the city offer a diverse range of outdoor activities.
Vancouver is famous for its pristine beaches, both freshwater and saltwater. You can hike in the true wilderness within the city or take it to the extreme on its outskirts. Plus, you’re less than an hour away from ski hills here too!
Is Vancouver More Expensive Than Seattle?
Vancouver is a cheaper city to visit than Seattle. The average daily cost in the city, per person, is around 115 USD. And in Seattle, you’ll be spending around 156 USD per day.
Budget is a big consideration in any vacation. And if you want to see a breakdown of these costs, you’ll find them below. But keep in mind that these are averages, and your actual expenses will depend on your spending habits.
The average accommodation cost for one person in Vancouver is 71 USD. And in Seattle, this will cost around 94 USD. If you’re looking for a double occupancy room, it’ll be 142 USD in Vancouver and 189 USD in Seattle.
Transportation expenses for a day in Vancouver are around 10 USD. Getting around Seattle is more expensive, as you’ll pay around 18 USD per day.
The average cost for daily meals in Vancouver is 25 USD. And this will be around 38 USD in Seattle.
Daily entertainment costs are where Vancouver can be pricier than Seattle. This will cost around 30 USD in Vancouver and only 12 USD in Seattle.
Alcohol for a day costs the same in both cities, which is around 13 USD.
Vancouver vs. Seattle Weather
Vancouver and Seattle have similar climates. They’re both known to have relatively cold temperatures, and it’s almost always raining in either city. Both Seattle and Vancouver have short, comfortable summers and long, cold winters.
But there are small differences in their weather.
The average annual temperature in Vancouver ranges from 35 to 73 F (1.6 to 22.8 C). The city’s temperature rarely goes below 24 F (-4.4 C) or over 80 F (26.7 C).
Meanwhile, Seattle’s average annual temperature is around 37 to 79 F (2.8 to 26.1 C). It hardly ever goes below 28 F (-2.2 C) or over 88 F (31.1 C).
As you can see, Seattle is warmer than Vancouver. But Seattle’s summers are shorter, lasting only around 2.8 months. Vancouver’s summers last around 2.9 months.
Seattle’s winter season is also shorter and lasts around 3.6 months. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s winter season lasts around 3.7 months on average. Because Seattle lies closer to the mountains, it also receives more snowy days than Vancouver.
Seattle Aquarium vs. Vancouver Aquarium
Each city’s aquariums are top tourist attractions welcoming thousands of visitors each year. The Vancouver Aquarium is often regarded as some of the best of its kind in the world. And while Seattle doesn’t have this distinction, it’s still a popular visit.
The Seattle Aquarium houses over 10000 animals across six major exhibits. This includes marine mammals like sea otters, large fish like sturgeons, tropical animals like corals, and more. The aquarium also features sea animals from Puget Sound, such as pipefish and wolf eel.
This aquarium also has an exhibit dedicated to seabirds called Bird and Shores. Here, you’ll find the largest shorebird in North America, the long-billed curlew.
A highlight of the Seattle Aquarium is the Underwater Dome. This massive tank gives you a 360-view of the sea animals that live there.
The Vancouver Aquarium is much larger and is home to more than 65000 animals across 30 exhibits. Some of its stars are sea lions, green sea turtles, and northern fur seals.
With its diverse ecosystems, the aquarium makes you feel like you’re going on a sea adventure around the world. You can tour the Amazon Rainforest, South Africa, and the Arctic Ocean all in one place!
Vancouver to Seattle Distance
The straight line distance between Vancouver and Seattle is around 119 miles (192 km). The driving distance is much longer due to road curvature. And the distance you’ll cover depends on the route you’ll take.
If you travel from Vancouver to Seattle via Interstate 5 South, you’ll cover a distance of 142 miles (229 km). Another route, via Trans-Canada Highway and Interstate 5 South, has a distance of 147 miles (237 km).
Can You See Seattle From Vancouver?
You can’t see Seattle from Vancouver.
Is Seattle Bigger Than Vancouver?
Seattle is a bigger city than Vancouver. It has a land area of 84 square miles (217 square km). Meanwhile, Vancouver has a land area of 44 square miles (115 square km)
Seattle vs. Vancouver Population
Seattle has a larger population than Vancouver. The Emerald City is home to around 762500 people. Meanwhile, Vancouver has a population of 631486.
Seattle to Vancouver
You have five transportation options when traveling from Seattle to Vancouver. You can take a train, plane, or bus, or ride a ferry!
If you choose a train, you’ll be riding the Amtrak Cascades train. This runs from the historic Pioneer Square in Seattle to the Pacific Central Station in Vancouver. You’ll get stunning views of the coastline along the way, and this option has a travel time of around 4 hours.
If you don’t have much time, a plane ride is the fastest option. It’ll take around an hour or two of travel time to complete this journey. Plus, a lot of major airlines fly between the two cities daily.
You can also take the bus, which is the most affordable option. Direct buses run between the two cities daily, departing from Seattle every three hours. The travel time on a bus takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
If you have some time to visit Victoria and Vancouver Island, you can travel from Seattle to Vancouver on a ferry too. You can catch a ferry on Pier 69 in Seattle.
These ferries run daily too. But from May to September, they leave Seattle for Vancouver twice a day.
Vancouver to Seattle by Seaplane
Seaplanes are a fast, convenient, scenic, and unique way to travel from Vancouver to Seattle. On a seaplane, you’ll reach Seattle in just around an hour.
A one-way ticket can be costly, as it’s priced at around 300 USD per person. But with this high price tag comes a ton of benefits, especially compared to a regular plane ride.
One of the benefits is its convenience. A seaplane will take you from downtown Vancouver directly to downtown Seattle. The seaplane terminal in Seattle is on Lake Union, which is near the world-famous Space Needle.
Compared to plane rides, you save a ton of time when it comes to logistics too. A seaplane only has a 60-minute advance check-in time. And you’ll only spend around 20 minutes at the seaplane-specific border control area that only has a small crowd.
Seaplanes also carry only a maximum of 14 passengers. This offers you more comfort compared to other transportation options as you won’t be among a large crowd.
The best part about a seaplane for many is the stunning scenery throughout the journey. Because of a seaplane’s low flight path, you’ll get clear views of the turquoise oceans and mountains as you travel.
Flight Distance From Seattle to Vancouver
A plane ride from Seattle to Vancouver covers a distance of around 127 miles (204 km).
Ferry From Seattle to Vancouver
There are no direct ferry services that’ll take you from Seattle to Vancouver. But traveling between the two cities is still possible, as long as you don’t mind a significant detour. From Seattle, you’ll have to stop at Victoria and then take another ferry to Vancouver.
From Seattle, make your way to Pier 69 in the downtown area. Here, you’ll find the Victoria Clipper. This will take you across the sparkling waters of Puget Sound to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria.
The journey from Seattle to Victoria will take around 3 hours. And ferries run between the two cities once a day for most of the year. But from May to September, these ferries leave Seattle for Victoria twice a day.
Once you’re in Victoria, you need to take another ferry at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. You’ll be heading for Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay.
The journey to the bay from Victoria takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. And you’ll find several ferries making this trip daily.
Once you reach the ferry terminal, you can take public transit to reach downtown Vancouver. This is around an hour of travel time, depending on the traffic.
Seattle to Vancouver by Ferry With Car
Traveling from Seattle to Vancouver by ferry with your car is a tricky feat, but it’s possible. The fastest way to get from Seattle to Vancouver by ferry is to take the Victoria Clipper to Victoria first, and then take another ferry to Vancouver. But the Victoria Ferry is a passenger-only ferry, so you can’t take your car on it.
A solution to this is to take the Coho Ferry instead to reach Victoria, as this ferry allows cars. But these ferries do not operate in Seattle. Instead, you have to catch one at Port Angeles, which is less than 3 hours away from Seattle.
With this, you need to travel to Port Angeles first and get on a Coho Ferry with your car. Once you reach Victoria, you need to switch ferries to reach Vancouver. Ride with BC Ferries, which takes both passengers and vehicles.
This ferry doesn’t take you to downtown Vancouver directly. Instead, you’ll reach the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, which is about an hour away drive from Vancouver.
Vancouver to Seattle Ferry Price
Since you need to switch ferries on your journey from Vancouver to Seattle, you need to pay fare tickets twice. And the total cost of this journey depends on when you’re traveling, your age, and the number of people you’re traveling with.
A one-way ferry ticket from Vancouver to Victoria on BC Ferries costs around 13 USD for passengers aged 12 to 64. Children aged 4 and below travel for free, and so do seniors who are traveling from Monday to Thursday. Ticket fares for children aged 5 to 11 cost around 7 USD.
Once you’re in Victoria, you’ll travel with Victoria Clippers to reach Seattle. Ferry fares change seasonally, so it’s tricky to give accurate pricing.
On average, ferry tickets from Victoria to Seattle cost around 137 USD. Fares can be as low as 99 USD during wintertime and as high as 119 USD during the summer.
How Long Is the Ferry Ride From Seattle to Vancouver?
The total travel time on a ferry from Seattle to Vancouver takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes. But this is only a rough estimate. And you still have a few things to consider here that will affect your travel time.
There are no direct ferry services from Seattle to Vancouver. You need to make a detour at Victoria in British Columbia before you head to Vancouver.
From Seattle to Victoria, a ferry ride takes around 3 hours. And from Victoria, you’ll make your way to Tsawwassen ferry terminal. A ferry won’t take you directly to downtown Vancouver.
From Victoria to Tsawwassen ferry terminal, the travel time takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. All in all, you’ll be spending around 3 hours and 30 minutes on a ferry. But this doesn’t consider the travel time you need to make from Tsawwassen to Vancouver.
From Tsawwassen, you need to take public transit to reach Vancouver. This takes around an hour of travel time. So in total, the trip from Seattle to Vancouver takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes, including land travel.
Train From Seattle to Vancouver
A train ride is a fast and easy way to travel from Seattle to Vancouver. There’s a direct train between these two cities with Amtrak Cascades. Your journey will start at Pioneer Square in Seattle and will end at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver.
On this journey, you will cover a distance of around 136 miles (219 km). It takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete this trip.
Train ticket prices cost 41 USD on average, with the lowest price being 34 USD. If you book your tickets days in advance, you’re more likely to get cheaper tickets.
Several trains travel between the two cities daily. The first trains leave Seattle for Vancouver at 5 AM. While the last train departs at around 6 PM.
The busiest day to travel from Seattle to Vancouver on a train falls on a Wednesday. Tickets sell out fast on this day, and because of the competition, train ticket prices go up too.
If you want to avoid this, you should travel this route on a Monday instead. Trains on this route are the least crowded on this day. And you’ll have a better chance of scoring a better deal for tickets.
Scenic Train From Seattle to Vancouver
The journey between Seattle and Vancouver on the Amtrak Cascade line is among the most scenic train routes that Amtrak offers. For a trip from Seattle to Vancouver, make sure to sit on the left side of the train for the stunning scenery. Gaze out the window and you’ll get views of the glistening ocean, snow-capped mountains, and lush forests.
Here are some gorgeous highlights that you should watch out for along the way.
On the first hour or so of your ride between Seattle and Everett, you’ll be traveling along the Salish Sea. You’ll get views of the majestic Olympic Mountains along the way. And if you’re traveling during spring and fall, you may be lucky enough to see a beautiful sunset.
Once you’re between Stanwood and Mount Vernon, you’ll go through the breathtaking Skagit Valley. You’ll also get views of Mount Baker and the Cascade Mountains to the east.
After passing by Mount Vernon, you’ll be heading toward the sea again for views of the Salish Sea. Keep an eye on the San Juan Islands on the west. If you’re traveling during summer, the sunset is amazing once you go through Bellingham.
Seattle to Vancouver Train Price
A one-way train ride from Seattle to Vancouver starts at 34 USD with Cascades Coach. For Cascades Business class, a one-way ticket starts at around 83 USD.
How Long Is the Train Ride From Seattle to Vancouver?
A train ride from Seattle takes around 3 to 4 hours.
Seattle to Vancouver Train Schedule
Train schedules from Seattle to Vancouver periodically change, so it’s tough to give an accurate schedule. Generally, the first train departs from Seattle at 5 AM, while the last one leaves at around 6 PM. But it’s always best to check the train schedules online before you travel.
Train From Vancouver to Seattle Airport
Unfortunately, there are no direct trains from Vancouver to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac). But you can take a direct train from Vancouver to the International District / Chinatown Station in Seattle. From there, you can take public transit to reach SeaTac, which is around a 20-minute drive away.
Luxury Bus From Seattle to Vancouver
With the limited bus options from Seattle to Vancouver, there are no luxury buses that travel between the two cities. Most bus companies that offer services between the two offer affordable bus options. But among them, the Amtrak Thruway is the more luxurious choice.
The Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach offers reclining seats, leg rests, and onboard restrooms. They also offer free Wi-Fi and power outlets so you can travel in comfort. One-way ticket prices for this bus start at 45 USD.
Uber From Seattle to Vancouver
Unfortunately, you can’t use an Uber from Seattle to Vancouver. Uber doesn’t allow cross-border rides between the United States and Canada for legal reasons.
Taxi From Seattle Airport to Vancouver
It’s not hard to find an airport taxi at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac). But you may not find one that will take you directly to Vancouver. Instead, you can book a taxi transfer from SeaTac to Vancouver, but you have to book one online in advance.
The price for taxi transfers depends on your chosen car and the number of passengers. You’ll find plenty of companies offering this service too.
Driving to Vancouver From Seattle
The easiest way to drive from Seattle to Vancouver is to just drive through Interstate 5 up north. This route covers a distance of 145 miles (233 km) and it takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete this trip.
From Seattle, simply drive through Interstate 5 up to the Canadian border. Before that, you’ll have tons of scenic stops, starting at Everett.
Once you’re in Everett, you can take a detour to check out the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Continue north and you can visit Mount Vernon. You can even go off-road to visit the North Cascades National Park and the Bay View State Park.
Before reaching Bellingham, you can visit Larrabee State Park. And then you can check out the beautiful Whatcom Falls Park.
Continue your drive to Ferndale, passing by Birch Bay State Park. You’ll soon reach Blain, which is on the south of the Canadian border.
Once you’re in Canada, hop on Highway 99. You can stop by Campbell Valley Regional Park before heading to Delta. Continue driving and cross the Fraser River, then make your way to Richmond.
You’ll cross another river from there again. Once done, you’ll be in the southern part of Vancouver.
Can You Drive a Rental Car From Seattle to Vancouver?
You can drive a rental car from Seattle to Vancouver, but this will depend on the car rental company you choose. Even if they allow this, there are some restrictions. So make sure to check the Terms and Conditions before you choose to rent a car.
Most major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, and Alamo, will allow you to travel to Canada. Usually, it’s the smaller car rental companies that do not allow cross-border travel with their cars.
Seattle to Vancouver Scenic Drive
Driving through Interstate 5 from Seattle to Vancouver may be a short drive. But this route is jam-packed with scenic stops for you to explore. With this, you’re not compromising a quick travel time for some stunning scenery!
When driving out of Seattle, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is one of the first stops you can take. This is a lesser-known gem that sits on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain Range. It’s a perfect spot to hike or immerse yourself in nature in peace.
Continue your drive and you’ll reach the coastal city of Bellingham. This city sits south of the Canadian border. This city is home to Whatcom Falls Park, which features four stunning cascading waterfalls.
Keep driving until you enter Canada. Head out to Richmond, a city known for its strong Asian influence and heritage. Visit the International Buddhist Temple here to take a look at one of the largest Buddhist temples in North America.
Before you reach Vancouver, stop by Deas Island Regional Park. This park sits on an island on the Fraser River. It’s wonderful for some hiking in a wooded wonderland. This park is a peaceful retreat before you head into a bustling city.
Vancouver to Seattle Drive Time
The driving time from Vancouver to Seattle depends on your chosen route.
The direct route follows Highway 99 in Canada and is a straightforward drive on Interstate 5 once you’re in the US. This route has a travel time of around 2 hours and 30 minutes. And you’ll be covering 145 miles (233 km) if you choose this option.
You also have the option to take a longer yet more scenic route that’ll stray away from Interstate 5 at certain points. This route has a total driving time of 7 hours, and it’s best to stay somewhere overnight on this route. If you choose this route, you’ll be covering 215 miles (346 km).
Driving From Seattle to Vancouver in Winter
Driving from Seattle to Vancouver in the winter isn’t an issue. Interstate 5 is well-maintained and kept clear all the way throughout the wintertime. Just make sure to check the weather forecast a few days before your trip.
Keep in mind though that you may run into some slippery roads along the way. So make sure to use your winter tires on your trip. Other than that, Bellingham and the south of the Canadian border get more snow than other areas along the way too.
Seattle to Vancouver Border Crossing
When traveling from Seattle to Vancouver, you have four border-crossing options to choose from. These are Peace Arch, the Pacific Highway, Lynden/Aldergrove, and Sumas/Huntingdon. Peace art is the westernmost border, while Sumas/Huntingdon is the easternmost one.
The Peach Arch is the busiest border among the four. It’s one of the most active US–Canada border crossings too. The traffic here is heaviest between 3 PM and 4 PM.
The biggest concern when crossing any of these borders is the traffic. Oftentimes, the southbound wait is much longer than the northbound wait. But to be sure, listen to AM730 on your radio for traffic updates.
To avoid the long wait, start your trip from Seattle very early. There is less traffic at the Canadian border in the morning.
The traffic at the border peaks at midday, and it remains that way until around 6 PM. If you’re traveling on a weekend, the traffic peaks a bit later than this. And the Canadian border is busiest from around 6 PM to 10 PM.
Seattle to Vancouver Border Crossing Requirements
To cross the US–Canada Border, you will have to show proof of citizenship and identity. You can either show your passport, USA Passport Card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Enhanced ID Card. If you’re traveling with a child aged under 16 years old, they only need to show proof of US citizenship.
Day Tours From Seattle to Vancouver
You’ll find several travel companies that offer day trips from Seattle to Vancouver for a day. A guide will be traveling with the group, taking you to famous cultural and historical landmarks in Vancouver. Tour prices usually include transportation costs, but food and service fees, among others, may not be.
Best Way From Seattle to Vancouver
The best way to travel from Seattle to Vancouver will depend on your likes or priorities.
If you need to be in Vancouver as soon as possible, a plane ride is the fastest travel option. You’ll find tons of planes flying between Seattle and Vancouver daily. And the flight time takes only around an hour.
If you’re traveling on a budget, taking the bus is the most affordable option. You have a few bus companies to choose from. But Amtrak offers free Wi-Fi, reclining seats, power outlets, and more, and the ticket price is often less than 50 USD.
If you want more freedom to visit scenic stops along the way, travel by car. The drive through Interstate 5 from Seattle to Vancouver is short, yet it offers tons of amazing spots to explore.
If you’d rather have views of the water, you can take a ferry instead. This option is great for those who want to visit Victoria, BC, before reaching Vancouver.
If you want a little bit of everything, taking the train is the best option. It’s affordable, offers stunning views along the way, and offers a comfortable experience on Amtrak Cascades.