As my friends and I reflected on our favorite activities at the end of a recent mini-tour up part of the West Coast, we found a common thread: Almost all of them involved either walking or taking public transportation. We never had to spend a lot, but we got a lot in exchange.
Throughout our 10-day, three-city trip, we took buses across San Francisco, saw Portland from above in an aerial tram and went for a windy ferry ride in Seattle. We also walked miles, including a day spent exploring SF's historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and a stroll along the Willamette River in Portland.
Taking buses, trains, ferries, trams and any other form of transportation a city has to offer have become musts for me in any new place. And the best part? Rides are generally cheap, costing only a couple of dollars.
As they weave through the heart of the city, buses, trams and streetcars offer an efficient way to take in the architecture, local businesses and outdoor spaces that make each city unique. And there's nothing like the wind in your hair on a boat cruising through a bay or harbor, especially if it only cost you a few bucks for the view.