7 Ways to Explore Seattle Without a Car


This post may contain affiliate links. Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Please read my Disclosure and Privacy pages for more info.

Seattle is a great town with cheap public transportation.  It’s very easy to get around Seattle without renting a car.  For $8 a day you can take an unlimited number of rides on public transportation.

I love using public transportation when traveling.  Sometimes it’s the most efficient and economical way to see a city.  You get to see more because you don’t have to concentrate on your driving.

And as an added bonus, you can also save money by skipping the car rental.  Here are seven ways you can enjoy your visit to Seattle without renting a car.

This post was originally published on April 24, 2014, and was updated on February 7, 2020.

Whether you’re spending a couple of days or have a few hours during layover in Seattle, you don’t have to rent a car.  Because it’s easy to get around the city without a car.

How to Get Around Seattle Without a Car

1.  Central Link Light Rail

Visiting Seattle Without a Car Traveling Well For lessVisiting Seattle Without a Car Traveling Well For less
Relax and ride the rail

 

The Central Link light rail is the cheapest way to get from the Seattle (SeaTac) airport to downtown Seattle.

Link Light Rail Cost

One-way fares:

  • $3 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $1.50 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $1 for adults (65 years and older & people with disabilities)
  • Free for children (5 and under)

One child aged 5 and under can ride free with each paying adult.

There is no discount for round-trip fares; round-trip fares are double the one-way fare.

You have to buy your tickets before you get on the Link light rail.

You can buy a reusable ORCA card for $5 and put money on it.  Or you can buy a ticket from the ticket vending machine (TVM).  The TVMs take cash or credit card.

If you plan on using the King County Metro, the South Lake Union Streetcar, the King County Water Taxi, and the ST Express Bus or don’t want to hassle of having to buy a ticket each time you ride the Link light rail, spend the $5 to buy an ORCA card.

Regional Day Pass

You can buy a Regional Day Pass.

The $8 Regional Day Pass provides unlimited daily rides when the one-way fare is less than $3.50.

The regional day pass program is valid on public transportation in the four-county central Puget Sound region which includes Seattle.

Pro-tip: The Regional Day Pass is $4 for seniors, kids age 6 to 18, and those with disabilities.

Link Light Rail Schedule

The Link light rail operates 365 days of the year.

The schedule varies for weekdays, weekends, and holidays but generally operates from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays with the last train leaving the Seattle (SeaTac) airport at 12:10 a.m.

On Sundays, the Link light rail operates between 5 a.m. to midnight with the last train leaving the Seattle (SeaTac) airport at 11:05 p.m.  During holidays the schedule varies so check the Soundtransit website.

Visiting Seattle Without a Car Link light rail schedule Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car Link light rail schedule Traveling Well For Less
Get from the Seattle (SeaTac) airport to downtown Seattle in less time than it took to clear security at the airport

 

It takes 38 minutes to get from the Seattle (SeaTac) airport to downtown Seattle.  The ride is pleasant and there’s room for your luggage.  It can get crowded during peak times so plan accordingly.

2.  Seattle Center Monorail

Visiting Seattle Without a Car Monorail Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car Monorail Traveling Well For Less
monorail

 

Built to provide transportation from downtown Seattle to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the area now known as Seattle Center, the Seattle Monorail is a two minute ride that takes riders above the streets of Seattle.

Cost of Monorail

One-way fares:

  • $3 for adults (13 to 64 years)
  • $1.50 for children (5 to 12 years)
  • $1.50 for reduced Rate (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards, & active duty U.S. military)
  • Free for children ( 4 and under)

There is no discount for round-trip fares; round-trip fares are double the one-way fare.

Tickets can be purchased at the monorail ticket booth.  

Pro-tip: There’s a 3.7% fee when paying with a credit card.

Monorail Schedule

The monorail operates seven days a week and is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The monorail runs every 10 minutes.

Monorail hours:

  • 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday
  • 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday
  • 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday

3.  King Country Metro

Visiting Seattle Without a Car King County Metro Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car King County Metro Traveling Well For Less
Photo via King County Metro Instagram

 

With almost 220 bus and trolley routes, the King County Metro can get you where you want to go.

King County Metro Fare Costs

Fares on the King County Metro varies depending on your age.

One-way fares:

  • $2.75 for adults (19 to 64 years) 
  • $1.50 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $0.50 for adults (65 years and older & people with disabilities)
  • Free for children (5 and under)

Up to four children age 5 and under can ride for free with one paying adult.

Fares can be paid in cash or an ORCA card upon boarding.

King Metro Schedule

The schedule varies on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.

A complete schedule for the King County Metro can be found on the King County Metro website.

Here is a list of the King County Metro and (Sound Transit) ST Express bus routes.

4.  South Lake Union Streetcar

Visiting Seattle Without a Car South Lake Union Streetcar Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car South Lake Union Streetcar Traveling Well For Less
Screenshot Photo by: King County Metro

 

The South Lake Union Streetcar brings riders from South Lake Union to downtown Seattle.

Cost for the South Lake Union Streetcar

One-way fares:

  • $2.25 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $1.50 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $1 for adults (65 years and older, people with disabilities, people with Medicare cards)
  • Free for children (5 and under)

Fares can be paid using cash, credit card, or an ORCA card. If not using an ORCA card, you have to buy a ticket at a pay station at a Streetcar station. 

Pro-tip: Day Passes are available: $4.50 for adults, $3 for children, and $2 for seniors and those with disabilities.

South Lake Union Streetcar Schedule

The South Lake Union Streetcar operates 365 days a year.

The South Lake Union Streetcar runs every 10 to 15 minutes.

South Lake Union Streetcar hours:

  • 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday
  • 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday and holidays

5.  Walk

Seattle is a great walking city because most attractions are centered around the downtown area.

You can easily walk from one attraction to the other.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  You can always hop on the bus if your feet get tired.

6.  Sound Transit

Visiting Seattle Without a Car Sound Transit Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car Sound Transit Traveling Well For Less
This ain’t your momma’s bus
Photo by: Azure Dragon of the East via Wiki

 

The Sound Transit connects the Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. Riders can use the ST Express Bus, Sounder Commuter Rail and Tacoma Link.

How much is the ST Express bus?

Fares on the ST Express bus for adults (19 to 64 years) are based on whether you stay in one-county or cross multiple counties.

One-county one-way fares:

  • $2.75 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $1.50 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $1 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (65 years and older & people with disabilities)
  • Free for children (5 and under)

One child aged 5 and under can ride free with each paying adult.

Multi-county one-way fares:

  • $3.75 for adults (19 to 64 years) multi-county
  • $1.50 for children (6 to 18 years) multi-county
  • $1 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (65 years and older & people with disabilities)
  • Free for children (5 and under)

One child aged 5 and under can ride free with each paying adult.

Fares can be paid with cash or an ORCA card when you board the bus.  Exact fare is required when paying cash.

What is the Sound Transit schedule?

The ST Express bus usually operates seven days a week.

A complete ST Express bus schedule can be found here.

7. King County Water Taxi

Visiting Seattle Without a Car King County Water Taxi Traveling Well For LessVisiting Seattle Without a Car King County Water Taxi Traveling Well For Less
Leave your car at home and zip across the water
Screenshot Photo by: King County Ferry District

 

The King County Water Taxi takes riders from downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Vashon Island.

Cost of the King County Water Taxi

A. Downtown Seattle to West Seattle

One-way fares paying cash or ticket:

  • $5.75 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $5.75 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $2.50 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards)
  • Free for children ( 5 and under)
  • Free for bicycle riders

Fares are paid using cash, ticket, or an ORCA card when you board the Water Taxi.

There is no discount for round-trip fares. Round-trip fares are double the one-way fare. There is a discount when you pay with your ORCA card.

One-way fares paid with ORCA card:

  • $5.00 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $3.75 for children with ORCA Youth Card (6 to 18 years)
  • $2.50 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards)
  • Free for children ( 5 and under)
  • Free for bicycle riders

B. Downtown Seattle to Vashon Island

One-way fares paying cash or ticket:

  • $6.75 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $6.75 for children (6 to 18 years)
  • $3 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards)
  • Free for children ( 5 and under)
  • Free for bicycle riders

Fares are paid using cash, ticket or an ORCA card when you board the Water Taxi.

There is no discount for round-trip fares. Round-trip fares are double the one-way fare. There is a discount when you pay with your ORCA card.

One-way fares paid with ORCA card:

  • $5.75 for adults (19 to 64 years)
  • $4.50 for children with ORCA Youth Card (6 to 18 years)
  • $3 for Reduced Rate Permit Holders (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards)
  • Free for children ( 5 and under)
  • Free for bicycle riders

King County Water Taxi Schedule

The King County Water Taxi Downtown Seattle to West Seattle operates seven days a week during the summer and weekdays only during the winter. The King County Water Taxi Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle operates on weekdays only.

The King County Water Taxi does not operate on the following holidays:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day

A. Downtown Seattle to West Seattle

King County Water Taxi fall/winter hours (October 28, 2019 to March 20, 2020):

  • 5:55 a.m. to 7:05 p.m. Monday to Thursday
  • 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and weekday Mariners, Sounders, and Seahawks games
  • 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night Mariners, Sounders, and Seahawks games
  • 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday

The King County Water Taxi from Downtown Seattle to West Seattle runs every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

The complete King County Water Taxi Downtown Seattle to West Seattle schedule can be found here.

B. Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle

King County Water Taxi hours:

  • 6:10 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Monday to Friday
  • 4:58 p.m. to 6:58 p.m. Monday to Friday

The King County Water Taxi from Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle runs every 22 minutes.

The complete King County Water Taxi Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle schedule can be found here.

Ready to explore Seattle without a car?

7 ways to explore Seattle without a car7 ways to explore Seattle without a car
The Space Needle is steps away from the Monorail

Comment, tweet, or share this post.

Get the best credit card signup bonuses.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.

7 ways to explore Seattle without a car7 ways to explore Seattle without a car

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).

 

My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

 



Source link

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*