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Thread: Calling NW Americans and SW Canadians!

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    A*O
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    Default Calling NW Americans and SW Canadians!

    We are planning a trip to Victoria, BC next Christmas to visit family. After the festivities we are all going to Whitefish, Montana for some skiing over New Years. The Canadian kids in the party have to go back to school in early Jan, but my kids don't go back until early Feb (southern hemisphere summer hols) so we have a whole month to explore if necessary.

    Bearing in mind it's January in the Rockies so the driving conditions won't be great, any ideas on where we can go to entertain two congenitally bored teenagers and a husband who'd rather be here watching the cricket? LOL
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    Default there is so much to do..

    ..that it's hard to know where to start. The driving won't be great but it won't be really bad once you are on freeways. I'd say they never close, but the pass has been shut down on I-90 between western and eastern Washington (state) for the past 3-4 days.

    Vancouver BC is an obvious place to start- pretty much a ferry ride over from Vancouver Island. There is the great park there (Stanley) and the Capilano Suspension Bridge is supposed to be really cool. Vancouver and Victoria both have seedier areas than they used to- we were in Victoria in May for my first time in about 20 years, and I was surprised by how it was less clean than it used to be (possibly due to the very liberal drug policies- for hard drugs.) Kelowna BC is cool. The Okanagan area is east of Vancouver and is home to Canada's only desert. Okanagan lake is home to a sea monster. (My son went through a sea monster obsession, so we took him to the "Ogo Pogo" statue in Kelowna.) The people in that area are friendlier than in Vancouver. Whistler is supposed to be great for skiing, but it's so pricey.

    In the US, Seattle is a great place to visit, but I am biased. LOL. The weather is temperate, and while we have cold spells (like last week), it doesn't snow often, it doesn't snow a lot when it does, and it rarely sticks. Olympic National Park in Washington is beautiful, and Mount Rainier is always worth a visit, but snow can be an issue once you get in the park.

    I'm not as familiar with Montana. I have relatives there, but I'm making my first visit this summer. It's pretty darn cold there in the winter, so once you are done skiing, I'd bale. Oh, Yellowstone (some Montana, more Wyoming) is supposed to have a lot of great activities. There are cabins at Old Faithful that are only open in winter.

    If you have more questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them. That's just some info to get you started.

  3. #3
    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    Vancouver/Victoria BC. Both very beautiful and fun places to visit. Like Cate said Stanley Park is really nice, as is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Once you are in Vancouver you aren't too far from the Whistler Resort. If you plan to ski, that's really the premier place to do it on the West Coast. Banff National Park in BC is suppose to be amazingly beautiful.

    Seattle is very fun and has some good attractions to visit if you've never been. If you have kids that are really into music there is the "Experience Music Project" to see. I went with my husband not too long ago and it was fun, but not a whole ton to see. There is a room there that has all these instruments you can play and learn how to mix music, that part was well worth it. Pike Place Market is fun and interesting to see, and if you're interested the first Starbucks is on the same block - if you like Coffee. There is also the Pacific Science Center which I've never been to, but I have heard is really good. You can take a ferry from Seattle and visit the San Juan Islands.

    Between Seattle & Portland you could visit Mt. Saint Helens, I know there is an updated observatory that talks about the eruption, you might even be lucky enough to see it smoking...I think it's still doing that.

    Portland is 3 hours south of Seattle and has some good things to see - I'm biased since it's where I live. It has a much smaller feeling compared to Vancouver BC and Seattle. OMSI is here, it's a science museum that's pretty interactive and fun. The Columbia Gorge is beautiful and there are a lot of waterfalls to see, in the winter it can look pretty spectacular. There are a lot of very good micro-breweries in Portland, so if you like beer, it's the place to be. There is a very good aquarium on the Oregon Coast in Newport as well as another good brewery, The Rogue Brewery.

    I just asked my husband's opinion on fun things to do in Montana, it's where he was born and lived for a long time. His response, "ummm, you mean like skiing". Big Sky Resort is just outside of Bozeman and it's very beautiful and has great skiing. The NW part of Yellowstone Park can be accessed near Bozeman - about 1 hour drive. There is a natural hot springs you can visit there, Chico Hot Springs. They have a really large pool you can hang out in and a super hot hot tub. It's nice in the winter since it's so cold everywhere else. My parents just drove through Yellowstone a few months ago and said most of the park was closed, so I'm not sure how much you could see. Glacier National Park is also in Montana, again it could be closed due to snow.

    I'm trying to think of fun things to do with kids. I remember being cooped up in a car with my parents on multiple drives around the country and not exactly loving it. I guess in the long run I'm glad we visited all the parks and different states...it's just hard to get past it when you're 13

    I'll try to think of more fun more teenaged friendly activities for you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    damn! i bet that'll be quite a climate change for you!!!!

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    A*O
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    Thanks for those suggestions - I will investigate further. And yes Alice, it's going to be cccccccold but we still have enough sturdy British blood in our veins for it not to be a problem. Much as I love Oz, I still really really miss proper cold weather, especially at Christmas.
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    Bronze Member boots's Avatar
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    Speaking from experience if your in Vancouver with teenagers, I suggest let em loose on Robson street it's the prime shopping area in B.C. Also there is the local ski hills (Grouse, Seymour, Cypress) there all only like 30 minutes away from downtown and you could ski/snowboard or I recommend snowshoeing which can be done at night as well.

    And if you want to do something oh so Canadian, go to a hockey game. The Canucks will be sold out so it will be hard to get tickets, but the Vancouver Giants are a sturdy replacement.

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    A*O
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    We're visiting my sister who moved to Victoria BC from Calgary about a year ago. She married a canuck 20 years ago and has lived there ever since so I'm reasonably familiar with Canadian stuff and shit. My kids really want to go to the Edmonton Shopping Mall, specifically the tacky 'theme' hotel. Is it still there?
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    ^ The West Edmonton Mall? It's probably something worth seeing for kids, but it's exhausting to actually try to shop there, lol. I don't know about the hotel since I was a local there, but they do have a waterpark, a skating rink and some decent eats. I would suggest going at a non-busy time, like morning, doing your shopping, grabbing some lunch, then hitting up the fun stuff - in terms of the actual shops they're the same as at any other mall, so don't feel like you have to walk the whole length if you don't want to.

    If you're going to be in Edmonton, you might want to head down to Whyte Avenue. Edmonton's a little weird in that the actual downtown core is kind of dead (and the Mall is out West, not really in town), but Whyte is a little pocket of activity further south. It has some great shopping, pubs, cafes, nightlife and the like.

    Awesome places to eat in Edmonton: The Hardware Grill (downtown/bordering Chinatown), Bua Thai (Jasper Avenue), Normand's (west on Jasper if I recall). OMG, and donairs! You might be able to get them in Oz, it seems to be one of those random foods that only hits certain areas (I can NOT get proper ones here in Toronto, grrrr!), but if not, DEFINTELY get one in Edmonton or anywhere you see them. Every little pizza place in Edmonton has donairs. Greatest, highest calorie thing ever. And get the sweet sauce, the sweet sauce!
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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Sorry to say this but I think Stanley Park and Capilano Suspension Bridge are hella boring. Stanley Park is only a park, that's all it is (if you are an adult, maybe you'd enjoy the view/scenary and the walk but kids? Unless maybe you'd want to go to the Aquarium and the Zoo, then they're inside this huge ass forest park), same with the Bridge, it's just a bridge, nothing more. I don't think these would be fun for kids. And I live right by Robson Street, it's all generic shops, you get the usual in any other cities, Gap, The Body Shop, Guess, HMV, Aldo etc etc. You might as well just go to Edmonton Mall and get all your shopping done with. Nothing interesting on Robson (maybe except for the art gallery but it depends on the exhibition).

    Plus I live here and I'm bored so I'd think Victoria would be much more fun. Like there's that wax museum, some kinda miniature figure museum etc etc in donwtown Victoria. More tourist-y over there IMO.


    Places I'd highly recommend in VanQ that would definitely be fun (or at least interesting and educational!) for kids

    H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.
    H.R. Macmillan Space Centre - BC's #1 Space Centre

    Science World
    Science World - Home


    I agree with the suggestions of going to Whistler (if you're going to ski/snowboard, forget Montana, go Whistler! esp for New Years) and watching a hockey game.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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    A*O
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    Yeah - I'm afraid my teenagers won't be thrilled at the idea of a nice walk in Stanley Park. MrPhil and I went there years ago (before kids) and it was very pretty but that's about it. Ditto the bridge - plus I don't do heights LOL. I think we will spend Xmas exploring Vancouver Island which we've never visited before. And I'd love to go back to Edmonton Mall for old times sake (we spent some of our honeymoon in that tacky theme hotel).
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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    Lynn Valley also has a (free) suspension bridge and some wonderful hiking Trails, as does Lighthouse Park. Commercial Drive has funky boutiques if your kids favour vintage/unique clothes over Old Navy and also has a GREAT place to get poutine, Belgian Fries. Ditch the kiddies and go to our nude beach (if you're up to it) Wreck Beach.
    Museum of anthropology, cheap, kick-ass concerts at The Commodore (check ticket master for listings).

    On the Island? Petrified rain forest in Tofino, along with AMAZING surfing on Long Beach, rentals available. Also, a kick-ass urchin garden in Uclulet where you can collect their old bones.
    "In the face of the blinding sun, I wake only to find
    that Heaven is a stranger place than than one I've left behind." - SM

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Dixie, I think AO is planning her trip for next Xmas/New Years. I don't know if she wants to be running around naked on Wreck beach in our freezing temp.

    I loved Tofino, it was really cool. Went Whale watching there, didn't see any but the ride on the rubber boat was fun! (Again I think Tofino surfing trip would be too cold for winter, plus AO can get way better waves in Oz).

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    For some strange reason, I thought she was coming in the summer. I mean really, who in their right mind comes to the RAINIEST place in North America in the winter? Sorry AO, your best bet is to stay out of the rainy city and head for the colder hills and mountains. Try Whistler, Banff or Jasper on your way to West Edmonton Hell, er, Mall. Unless of course you like the smell of wet, mildewy people and really dislike the sight of sunshine?
    "In the face of the blinding sun, I wake only to find
    that Heaven is a stranger place than than one I've left behind." - SM

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    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    I just thought of another fun thing in Seattle, and much more teenage oriented. If your kids like video games at all you can go to Game Works. It's a massive arcade in downtown Seattle. They have some really fun games, including a 3 story thing that goes up and down as you play. I think there's a bar in it as well...if you're in need of a little break.

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    Game Works is fun for kids, and certain adults! My husband did his bachelor party there. He's a wild one!

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