Bainbridge Island Ferries Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock

Car-Free and Carefree

No car? No problem. Whether seeking an island adventure, an afternoon of wine touring, or a day on the slopes, you can make it happen while letting others do the driving (or ferrying). Not only will you save gas money, you’ll enjoy a fresh perspective on the city’s stunning surroundings. Seattle itself is also easy to explore without a car.

By Corinne Whiting

Ferried Away

A group of people stand on the deck of a ferry boat surrounded by a green railing.

Bainbridge Island Ferries Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock

Ease into island time with a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle to relaxing Bainbridge Island. From the ferry dock, you’re steps from colorful Winslow Way, with its captivating boutiques, winery tasting rooms, and eateries. Warm up with a latte and lemon-blueberry scone at Blackbird Bakery (210 Winslow Way E), browse for new and used reads at Eagle Harbor Book Co. (157 Winslow Way E), and check out the latest exhibit at the superb Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (550 Winslow Way E). Dine on artfully prepared Vietnamese fare at Ba Sa (101 Winslow Way E) before paddling a kayak around the harbor—Exotic Aquatics (301 Shannon Dr SE) on downtown’s Waterfront Trail has rentals.

Sippin’ in Style

Just 20 miles northeast of Seattle, experience Washington’s wondrous wine scene in the picturesque town of Woodinville, which boasts 130-plus wineries and tasting rooms. With knowledgeable guides and flexible schedules, companies like Bon Vivant and Evergreen Escapes offer shuttles from downtown Seattle hotels to sample first-rate vino at some of the area’s most celebrated winemakers. Evergreen’s tours also include a visit to iconic Snoqualmie Falls, and both companies stop for lunch at one of Woodinville’s exceptional restaurants.

Snow Day

Few cities offer easier access to amazing skiing and snowboarding than Seattle, which lies just 50 miles from Snoqualmie Pass (1001 Hwy 906, Snoqualmie Pass). Blanketed with an average of 426 inches of snow annually, Snoqualmie has four distinct ski areas and offers the most night-skiing terrain in the country, plus plenty of snow tubing and Nordic skiing. Throughout the season, the Seattle Ski Shuttle offers daily bus service from downtown (with optional lift-ticket packages) to Snoqualmie and two other stellar ski areas in the Cascades. Crystal Mountain (33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd, Enumclaw) offers grand views and superb dining—it’s worth taking the gondola to Summit House Restaurant even if you’re not skiing. And Stevens Pass (US 2, Skykomish) receives some of the state’s highest snowfall totals.


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