First, follow our 3-day itinerary. Then, on day 4, head down to Pier 52 and take a ferry over to Winslow on Bainbridge Island. There is regular ferry service throughout the day, and the ferry ride will give you more photo-op views of the Seattle skyline. Since the ferry takes only 35 minutes for the crossing, it's a good choice for an excursion if your time is limited. You can take your car on the ferry, which will help you explore a bit of the island, with its residential areas tucked in amongst forests and along the shoreline. A much cheaper option is to walk on as a passenger (and bring a bike to get around). Either way, spend a little time exploring Winslow, the small harbor town where the ferry docks—it’s a sweet place to stroll and browse in small shops—then drive, bike or take the bus to Bloedel Reserve, one of the great gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Give yourself an hour-and-a-half to explore this 150-acre garden with its native plants and naturalistic landscaping. You can have a meal in Winslow before heading back to Seattle, but you will be back in plenty of time to arrange for dinner at a Seattle restaurant of your choice.
You’ve seen the Waterfront, downtown, Pioneer Square, taken a ferry to Bainbridge Island—now it’s time to visit a mountain. Mount Rainier, to be exact. This is a full-day day trip, so you’ll need to get an early start and either rent a car or arrange an escorted tour. There are many ways to explore Mount Rainier National Park, but not to be missed is the short, easy hike along Patriarchs Trail to see a majestic stand of enormous old-growth cedars. Have a casual lunch or afternoon refreshments at the National Park Inn or Paradise Inn, atmospheric alpine lodges, before heading back to Seattle.