Seattle’s airport is 12 miles south of town and midway between Seattle and Tacoma, hence the name Sea-Tac Airport (www.portseattle.org, or call 206/431-4444 or 800/544-1965). All the major domestic and many international airlines fly into Sea-Tac. Foreign travelers can change money at the Thomas Cook booth in the main terminal.
Storage lockers are scattered around the airport, but you'll need to pass through security first. Another option is Ken’s Baggage and Frozen Food Storage (located near the baggage claim area, 206/433-5333, open 5:30 a.m.–12:30 a.m. daily). Also near the baggage claim is a volunteer-staffed Visitor Information Booth (open 9:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily in the summer; brochures available at other times), along with car-rental counters and kiosks with information on Metro buses, shuttle buses, and limo services.
The least expensive way to reach Seattle from the airport is aboard one of Metro Transit’s (206/447-4800 or 800/542-7876; http://transit.metrokc.gov city, one-way $1.25 off-peak or $2 peak) buses. Numbers 174, 184, and 194 run between Sea-Tac and downtown Seattle about every half hour. Buses leave from outside the lower-level baggage claim area of the domestic terminal (turn right as you exit), or catch them downtown if you're headed out. It takes approximately 50 minutes to reach downtown from Sea-Tac. Make sure you catch the bus heading north to Seattle, not south to Federal Way! Metro buses travel along the Pacific Highway and provide the cheapest access for the many motels close to the airport.
To do it the easy (and expensive) way, grab a cab on the airport’s second level; they charge around $30–35 to downtown Seattle.
The Sea-Tac website maintains a solid list of bus, shuttle, and courtesy vehicle services for ground transportation to and from the airport.
Amtrak serves Seattle from its historic King Street Station (3rd Ave. S and S. King St., 206/464-1930 or 800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com). The Coast Starlight has service four times a day, connecting Seattle with Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, Kelso-Longview, Vancouver, Portland, and south to Oakland and Los Angeles.
Transportation Connections is a private, nonprofit agency whose excellent website (www.transconnect.org) contains links to a wide range of public transportation in Washington. In addition to buses, options include car sharing, cycling organizations, Amtrak, and the state ferries.
Greyhound (9th Ave. and Stewart St., 206/628-5508 or 800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com) has daily bus service throughout the lower 48 and to Vancouver, B.C., from its bus terminal downtown.
Northwest Trailways (206/728-5955 or 800/366-3830, www.northwesterntrailways.com) operates from both the Greyhound station and the Amtrak depot, with service to Everett, Tacoma, Spokane, Pullman, and points between.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition