By Plane: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), 17801 International Blvd., Seattle, WA 98158 (www.portseattle.org/sea-tac; tel. 206/787-5388), commonly called “Sea-Tac,” is Washington’s main airport and is served by about 30 national and international airlines. There are direct international flights to many cities, including London, Amsterdam, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul. It's located about 14 miles south of downtown Seattle.
By far the most convenient way to get to downtown Seattle from the airport is by taking Sound Transit’s (www.soundtransit.org) Link Light Rail service, which runs from the airport to the University of Washington with several stops along the way. Trains operate from 5am to 1am Monday through Saturday and 6am to midnight on Sundays, arriving and departing every 7 1/2 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day. The SeaTac Airport Station, reached by a covered walkway, is located on the fourth floor of the airport garage (follow signs from the terminals). The adult fare from the airport to one of the downtown stops is $2.25–$3.25 (depending on distance); seniors pay $1–$1.75, depending on zones traveled. Buy your ticket from a vending machine on the platform before you board. The trip takes approximately 35 minutes.
It’s slower and far less convenient, but you can also take a bus operated by King County Metro Transit (http://metro.kingcounty.gov) into the city. Sound Transit Metro bus stops are located on International Boulevard (State Hwy. 99) and South 176th Street by the Link Light Rail Station. To reach them, take the walkway through the north end of the fourth floor of the Airport Parking Garage to the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station and exit to International Boulevard. Departure times are shown on information signs at the bus stop. You also can pick up printed bus timetables at the Ground Transportation Information Booth on the Baggage Claim level near door number 16 (across from baggage carousel 12). Fares are the same as for the Link Light Rail; pay with cash upon boarding, but have the exact fare because drivers do not make change.
By car, the trip to downtown Seattle takes about 30 minutes, depending on traffic. All major rental car agencies have counters in the lower, baggage claim area of the airport.
A metered taxi ride from the airport to downtown Seattle costs approximately $50 to $60. However, many companies now charge a lower fixed rate. Yellow Cab (www.yellowtaxi.net;tel. 206/ 622-6500), available outside the baggage claim area, and Horizon Car Service (www.seattleairport-taxi.com; tel. 206/306-2000) both charge a flat rate of $40 to downtown Seattle.
Seattle is served by Amtrak trains (www.amtrak.com) running north from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, south from Vancouver, British Columbia, and points east. Trains arrive and depart from the newly revamped King Street Station, 303 South Jackson St., near the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle.By Bus:
Greyhound (www.greyhound.com; tel. 800/345-3109) provides long-distance bus service to Seattle from cities around the U.S. The Seattle Greyhound Station is located in downtown Seattle at 811 Stewart St.
If you’re traveling between Portland and Seattle or Vancouver, BC and Seattle, Bolt Bus (www.boltbus.com; tel. 877/265-8287) offers super-cheap rates and free onboard Wi-Fi. Bolt Bus picks up and deposits passengers on 5th Avenue S. and S. Dearborn St. in the International District, close to the King Street Amtrak station.
Seattle is 110 miles (177 km) south of Vancouver, British Columbia; 175 miles (285 km) north of Portland; 810 miles (1,303 km) from San Francisco; 1190 miles (1915 km) from Los Angeles; and 285 miles (459 km) from Spokane.
I-5 is the main north-south artery through Washington, running south to Portland and all the way to San Diego and north to the Canadian border. I-405 is Seattle’s east-side bypass and accesses the cities of Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland on the east side of Lake Washington. I-90, which ends at I-5, connects Seattle to Spokane in eastern Washington. Wash. 520 connects I-405 with Seattle just north of downtown and also ends at I-5. Wash. 99, the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is another major north–south highway through downtown Seattle, but it’s slated to be removed (when, no one seems to know; work has been delayed) and replaced by a tunnel.
All the major car-rental agencies have offices in Seattle and at or near Sea-Tac International Airport.