Seattle is Washington’s biggest city and a fantastic tourist destination, the famous Space Needle in the Seattle Skyline, Clam Chowder, The Seattle Seahawks.
There are, no doubt, plenty of reasons to visit The Emerald City. However, getting around the largest city in the Pacific Northwest can be a daunting thought.
So we’ve put together this helpful article that outlines the pros and cons of all your travel options in Seattle.
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The car is easily the most efficient way to get around Seattle, there are no waiting times like there is a bus or streetcar, and of course, you won’t have to worry about tired legs from walking.
The car is especially good if you want to visit Seattle’s surrounding areas such as the beautiful Olympic and Mt Rainier national parks or the breathtaking lakes and mountains.
However, we do recommend being cautious when driving around this big city. Seattle is one of the most congested cities in the U.S. and rush hour can be a living hell.
It would be wise to stay out of the city center and downtown streets when this hour comes.
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Walking Or Biking
If you are planning on staying in Seattle’s city center around rush hour then walking could be the option for you.
The center of Seattle is fairly compact with it taking only about an hour to get from the Space Needle to CenturyLink Field (home of the Seahawks) on foot.
If walking is a little too slow-paced for your liking, Seattle’s downtown has a number of bike rental shops, and bike lanes are present in most of Seattle’s streets.
Just remember to keep warm during these outdoor activities with Seattle’s temperature hitting an average low of 39 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter!
Taxi, Uber, Or Lyft
If the Pacific Northwest weather is a little too chilly for you then a nice heated taxi may be a better option than walking and a less stressful option to driving.
Meters for taxis in Seattle start at $2.60 adding an extra $2.70 with each mile the meter is running.
However, it may be difficult to hail down a taxi in Seattle’s busy streets, so we’d advise calling ahead for a pickup.
Alternatively, both Uber and Lyft run services in the Seattle area.
The King County Metro Bus is a fairly inexpensive and reliable way of getting around Seattle with frequent bus lines running throughout the city.
If you’re looking at just getting from A to B, a single bus ride will cost you $2.75.
If you are planning on making multiple trips and jumping on and off the bus all day however, it may be worth getting an ORCA card which offers a much simpler way of paying for Buses, Trains and Ferries in the Seattle area.
It can even grant you a reduced price based on age, disability or income level.
The Seattle Streetcar is a tiny bit cheaper than the bus with single rides only costing $2.25 for an adult and $1.50 for children and teens under 18.
However, the streetcar isn’t the most efficient way of getting around Seattle due to its limited reach.
The streetcar currently only operates on two routes, the South Lake Union Streetcar and the First Hill Streetcar.
However, two new routes, The Broadway Streetcar and the Center City Connector are in plans to open soon.
If you are planning to be going back and forth on these routes all day then you can also get an all day Streetcar pass for $4.50 which are valid for an unlimited number of trips on the day of purchase.
The Seattle monorail is by far the least efficient transit on this list for getting around. However, it does offer a fun and unique way of seeing the city center.
The Seattle monorail only runs one route from the Seattle Center to the Westlake Center and costs $3.00 for adults and $1.50 for children and teens under 18.
Seattle is known for its lakes, bays and waterways, so it’s no surprise that these waterways are utilised for transport.
The Washington State Ferries system is the most efficient mode of transport if you’re planning on going from the center of Seattle to some of the neighboring islands and ports such as Bainbridge Island or Bremerton.
Depending on where you want to go, the ferry can cost from around $4 to $8, However, if you are taking a vehicle onboard it will cost a little extra.
The operating hours can fluctuate depending on destination but Washington State Ferries offers a live ‘real-time map’ so you can keep a constant eye on where and when your ferry is going to turn up.
Seattle Light Rail
The Seattle Light Rail has plenty of stops in downtown as well as the surrounding suburbs and neighborhoods.
It can also be useful when getting to and from the airport or the University of Washington.
Monday through Saturday, the Seattle light rail runs from 5am to 1am making it very convenient for commuters and travellers who are early birds and night owls.
Sundays and Holidays have a reduced service of 6am to Midnight. Fares are fairly inexpensive also, being around $2.25 to $3.25 depending on the destination and route.
The most effective way to get around Seattle is the car, getting around the city faster and not abiding by any schedule.
However, if the car isn’t for you, then there are plenty of options to get around the Emerald City.
If you are planning on staying in the city center and you aren’t afraid of the Washington weather, then walking and cycling is a great option for you.
If you want to broaden your horizons and go outside the city center then there are plenty of bus and rail routes that can help you do that.
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