Navigating Seattle can be a breeze with the convenience of a car, especially if you plan on venturing beyond the city limits. However, brace yourself for heavy traffic during peak hours and exorbitant parking fees around downtown and your lodgings. Overnight parking rates can soar up to $50, so it’s wise to plan accordingly. While renting a car at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is an option, you can avoid surcharges by opting for a taxi or the Link light rail into the city and renting a car later. A taxi ride from the airport to downtown can cost between $40 to $55. If your trip is brief, consider public transportation and purchase an ORCA card, granting you unlimited access to local transit (excluding ferries and monorails).


Seattle’s vast and diverse landscape makes it an ideal destination for road trippers. To make the most of your trip, renting a car is the easiest and most efficient option. To avoid the exorbitant airport rental fees, consider renting a car once you’re in town. It’s also advisable to book your rental at least a week in advance to secure the best deal. However, be aware that Seattle is notorious for its traffic congestion, especially during rush hour. Downtown streets are often gridlocked, and parking spots are limited. Plan your travel schedule accordingly to avoid the hassle of driving during peak hours.


While the King County Metro bus offers routes throughout the city, the steep fares may dissuade potential riders. However, when compared to the expenses of renting a car, the bus still remains a more cost-effective option. A single adult ride requires a payment of $2.75, and it’s important to note that exact change is necessary unless you obtain a reloadable ORCA card. It’s also advisable to check the King County transit website for schedule variations among different bus lines.

Light Rail

The Link light rail boasts a single line in Seattle that connects the airport to the University of Washington, making stops in the downtown area, trendy neighborhoods, and suburban areas. Operating from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to midnight on weekends and holidays, it offers reliable transportation for commuters and tourists alike. Depending on the distance traveled, fares range from $2.25 to $3.25, making it an affordable option for all.

Street Car

The Seattle Streetcar boasts two current routes – the South Lake Union Streetcar and the First Hill Streetcar – with plans to expand to four routes spanning various neighborhoods in Seattle. Adult fares for one-way rides are priced at $2.25, while children between the ages of 6 to 18 enjoy a discounted rate of $1.50. Operating hours vary depending on the line, but generally begin in the early morning and conclude at either 11 p.m. or 1 a.m. For those looking to explore the city without breaking the bank, a day pass can be purchased for $4.50 ($3 for children).


Experience the city from a whole new perspective by taking a ride on the iconic Seattle Monorail. This sleek and futuristic train glides effortlessly from the Seattle Center, located just across from the Space Needle, all the way to the Westlake Center Mall, a few blocks away from the bustling Pike Place Market. Adults can enjoy a one-way trip for only $2.50, while kids aged 5 to 12 can hop on for just $1.25. The monorail operates from 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. on weekends, with services ending at either 9 or 11 p.m. depending on the day. Don’t miss out on this unique and exciting way to explore the city!

Ferry or Water Taxi

The Washington State Ferries system is the most comprehensive in the United States, providing transportation from downtown Seattle to several surrounding communities such as Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Vashon Island. While it can be a picturesque way to leave the city, exploring these areas by car may be more convenient as it frees you from the ferry schedule. Passenger fares vary from roughly $4 to $8, depending on your destination, but if you intend to bring a vehicle, the cost will be significantly higher. Ferry schedules and operating hours vary by route and destination, so it is best to check the Washington State Ferries website for up-to-date information. In addition, King County Metro offers a water taxi service between downtown Seattle, Vashon Island, and West Seattle, with regular fares ranging from $5.75 to $6.75. Discounts are available to ORCA cardholders, seniors, and children.