Getting Around in Seattle

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Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport is 13 miles (21km) south of the city via I-5. Gray Line's Airport Express and Shuttle Express both offer inexpensive rides to and from Seattle's major downtown hotels. Taxis are another option, although they're not for those with a small budget. There are plenty of car rental agencies at the airport if you want to chauffeur yourself.

Metro Transit buses blanket the metropolitan area with most buses running through downtown on 4th Ave or in the Bus Tunnel which has five downtown entrances. In the immediate downtown area, all bus rides are free from 6am to 7pm in the area between 6th Ave and the Waterfront and between Jackson St in Pioneer Square and Battery St. Note that Seattle Center is outside of the free-ride district. [Note: The Seattle bus tunnels have been closed until September of 2007 while Sound Transit retrofits the tunnels for use by bus and light rail. However bus service in Downtown Seattle is still free in the Ride Free Area before 7:00 p.m.] For bus schedules and route maps check out the King County Metro web site: http://transit.metrokc.gov

Another great mode of transportation, especially for tourists, is the Seattle Trolley that runs form most of the main tourist places downtown. Stops indicated by bright yellow sandwich boards include the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, The Waterfront, Pioneer Square, The International District, Safeco Field, and the Seattle Art Museum. The trolley runs every 30 minutes. Passes are $17 for adults and $9 for children (cash only) and are good for two consecutive days. The trolley is available from May to October every day during the hours of 9AM to 6PM. [Note: The trolley has been closed indefinitely while a new maintenance facility is being built. It is expected to be running again by summer 2007.] The Monorail is a also a great way to shuttle back and forth downtown from Seattle center to the downtown shopping district. There are only two stops, but both stops are within walking distance of most Seattle attractions (Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the waterfront, etc). The best part about the monorail is that it runs constantly, departing every ten minutes, from 7:30AM to 11PM, seven days a week, and that a roundtrip ticket only costs $3.50 for adults and $1.50 for children.

If you're driving to Seattle, you'll probably arrive via I-5 or I-90. It's usually wise to check traffic conditions before you hit the freeways as Seattle's traffic is second only to that of Los Angeles in sheer hellishness. Downtown Seattle also has miles of one-way streets and parking can be a nightmare.

For trips outside the city limits, the Washington State Ferry system is a wonderfully scenic way to get around. The views of the city are top and making a tour on a warm sunny summer day is definitely a good option. Ferries leave from the piers along the Alaskan Way waterfront. You can check the Washington State Ferry schedule ahead of time at their website, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/.

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November 06, 2005 change by m0rbidm00n

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