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Seattle

Country
United States
State
Washington
City
Seattle
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

By plane

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, universally nicknamed "Sea-Tac", is located in the city's southern suburbs. Domestically it's a major hub for Northwest and West Coast destinations, and internationally handles especially frequent trans-Pacific routes, as well as direct flights to the major European airports. The airport is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Seattle when there isn't heavy traffic, much longer during rush hour.

There are several choices for getting from the airport to the city center:

  • Sound Transit's Link Light Rail connects the Airport directly to downtown Seattle. Trains run 5 AM—midnight (11 PM Sunday), taking 37 minutes to reach the terminal at Westlake Station in the central business downtown (Pine St. at 3rd and 5th Aves.). Tickets are $2.50, available from vending machines at every station. At the airport, the rail station is connected to the Main Terminal via the far left side of the parking garage, as you enter the garage from the terminal. Taking the bridge nearest baggage carousel 16 and the United Airlines ticket counter is the shortest walk.
  • Commercial shuttle busesare about $5.00-12.75 and probably not faster than public transit if you are going downtown, though they do have more room for luggage. Catch them at the Ground Transportation Center, located on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
  • A taxi trip takes about 25 min (expect to pay $30-40 plus tip); catch one on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
  • Rental carsare available at the airport. On a weekend, you might want to shop the internet for rental cars, since they can be less than $12/day (plus roughly 18% tax; also consider hotel parking fees, if any). Beware of the fact that taking a rental from the airport will incur an 11% "airport tax" surcharge. If you are able to rent a car from a downtown location you will not have to pay this and will save a considerable amount of money.

By train

Amtrak provides service from all along the west coast from King Street Station  located south of downtown near Safeco Field. The Amtrak Cascades  runs four trains a day between Seattle and Portland (two of which continue to Eugene, Oregon) and two a day to Vancouver, British Columbia. These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains and offer certain amenities not available on regular Amtrak trains, such as more space for bikes, more laptop outlets, a "Bistro Car" which serves local foods and wine, and the occasional movie.

Seattle is also served by the long-distance Coast Starlight, which runs south to Portland, the Bay Area, and eventually Los Angeles, California. The Starlight is frequently delayed for hours coming north from California. Additionally, the Empire Builder provides daily service to Chicago via Glacier National Park and Minneapolis. Unlike the other three Amtrak transcontinental trains further south, the Builder tends to stick fairly closely to schedule.

By car

Interstate Highway 5 (I-5)cuts through the middle of Seattle north to south. I-90 runs from the I-5 interchange in Seattle all the way to Boston, and crosses one of the two Lake Washington bridges to Bellevue, along with SR-520 further north. I-405 runs parallel to I-5 on the east side of Lake Washington. Be aware however, that Seattle is a city known for terrible traffic (third worst in the nation behind Los Angeles and New York), especially around rush hour, so be ready for crawling along slowly as you enter the city, especially on infamously congested I-5, southern I-405, and the SR-520 bridge.

By bus

  • Greyhound Stewart St. (at the northeast edge of the downtown core).
  • Quick Shuttle,. Runs between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Stops in Downtown Seattle (outside the Best Western at 200 Taylor Ave N) and SeaTac Airport (at the main terminal near south end of baggage claim, outside door 00, bays 11-16). Fares from Vancouver to Downtown Seattle are $36 one-way, $65 round-trip; from Vancouver to SeaTac, fares are $49 one-way, $87 round-trip.

By boat

There are two regular ferry services in the Seattle area:

  • Washington State Ferries, 801 Alaskan Way Pier. Connects downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island,  and Vashon Island, and connects West Seattle to Vashon Island and Southworth (Kitsap Peninsula). All ferries are for both vehicles and passenger except the ferry between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island.
  • Victoria Clipper, High speed catamaran passenger ferries which connect Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia and the San Juan Islands.

Cruise ships to Seattle may be docked at one of two terminals in the Port of Seattle

Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, 2225 Alaskan Way S, near the middle of Seattle downtown's waterfront, serves as home port for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Has bus, taxi and shuttle connections for transfer of passengers and luggage. For travelers with connecting flights, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is less than 15 mi (24 km) away.

  • Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W Garfield St, at the north end of Seattle's downtown waterfront, serves as home port to Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.
Key places to visit
Seattle Asian Art Museum, Woodland Park Zoo, Green Lake, Kubota Garden, Magnuson Park / Sand Point


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Places to Visit

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Seattle is home to a number of top-notch museums. Downtown is home to the renowned Seattle Art Museum, which displays a good overview and assortment of art from around the world. In the Central District is the Seattle Asian Art Museum, an off-shoot of the Seattle Art Museum which focuses on Chinese & Japanese Art, but includes works as far away as India.

Woodland Park Zoo

(South Gate at N 50th St and Fremont Ave N, on Phinney Ridge),  $15 ($11 in winter), 9:30AM-4PM in the winter (1 Oct-30 Apr), 6PM in the summer (1 May-31 Sep). It has mostly realistic and spacious habitats for the animals, unlike the animal jails in some zoos. The Raptor Show at 3PM on non-rainy weekends is particularly entertaining if you get the bird handler with the Bronx accent: "If dis boid's head were da same size as youses, its eyes would be da size of sawftbawls."

Green Lake

north of the University District, has side-by-side 2.75 mi (4.4 km) asphalt and gravel trails for walking, jogging and rollerblading around the circumference of the lake, plus several sports fields. The path is good for people-watching as there is a constant stream of thousands of Seattlelites all day long. On the East side there are areas of grass where you can often find pick-up soccer, volleyball as well as basketball on outdoor courts. There's also an indoor swimming pool, which is much cleaner than the lake. If the signs warn that the lake is closed, don't ignore them or risk getting "swimmer's itch" from the plentiful parasites spread through duck feces. The surrounding neighborhood is vibrant and fun in good weather, with rental rollerskates, bikes, restaurants, etc.

Kubota Garden

a spectacular 20-acre (8 ha) park space in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of South Seattle. To quote the linked website, the Garden contains "streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings, and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material." Established by Fujitaro Kubota in 1927, he wanted to "display the beauty of the Northwest in a Japanese manner.

Magnuson Park / Sand Point

the second largest park in Seattle, used to be a U.S. Naval base. The remaining naval buildings are now used for recreational purposes and to host shows. Magnuson boasts multiple sports fields, a boat launch, an off-leash dog park, and lots of walking trails. The Sound Garden (after which the local Seattle band was named), is on NOAA property. It is public art work that moans eerily in the wind.

Right Time to Visit

January - February
November - December

Temperature