We found a great store there called Fred Meyer and it's on the main drag. They had souvenirs that were much less expensive than all the tourist shops that were packed down with cruisers.
We went to the Shrine at St. Therese, which was just beautiful. Then we went to the Mendenhall Glacier and took our time, and hiked to Nugget Falls. If you have time, DO IT! It was worth it. I think the Glacier is just stunning, and we really enjoyed it. For us, a couple of hours here would not have been enough.
We also drove a pretty good way through the Tongess National Forest, which was beautiful.
It was overcast, so we did not do the Mount Roberts Tramway.
It didn't rain though, so even though it was overcast, it was nice.
We rented our car from Rent-a-Wreck, and the car, though a bit older, was in good repair, and we felt safe and reliable. It was an easy walk from the ship, and if we ever went again, we would DEFINATELY do it again.
BUT we have gone whale watching before, so that's the reason we didn't do that. If we hadn't gone whale watching, that would have been what we would do because it's almost 100% you will see whales!
Do your research and plan at least a visit to Pike Place Market.
One word of advise, I wouldn't go up the Space Needle unless I were going to eat lunch. If you eat in the restaurant, tickets are included - but beware - buying drinks won't do it, you do actually have to eat. It's expensive to go up, and for the price, I'd at least eat while I was there.
We also really enjoyed the tour of Seattle. It's a good way to get familiar with the city and figure out what you will be interested in from there.
We downloaded the Murray's Guide on the internet and rented a car from Avis. This was SO worth it. The guide was right on the money, and we had a beautiful day! We stopped at every pull out and took photos. I'm in to photography, so I didn't want a tour where I couldn't stop where I wanted to.
It's one road out, and just about impossible to get lost. Drive all the way to Emerald Lake and then turn around.
It's SO beautiful, with water falls, wildlife, lakes with the most beautiful water - just wonderful.
BE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE AND TAKE IT WITH YOU. It even points out restrooms for breaks, and where to stop for lunch. We just bought snacks in town to eat along the way. But be careful. You are in BEAR COUNTRY, so you don't want to eat outside of your car.
I highly recommend this if you have time (we had 12 hours in Skagway) because the scenery is breathtaking.
We took the shuttle to town and then walked to the Empress tour, where we took the Grayline (best in my opinion) to Butchart Gardens. In my opinion, you can't possibly see it in under 4 hours. Especially if you enjoy gardens and taking your time to stop and look. The best in my opinion is the Sunken Garden and the Japanese Garden. We spent 5 hours in the garden, but we did have lunch there.
We had 45 minutes to hit some of the tourist shops before having to get on the shuttle back.