How to get around in Seattle: guide to public transport in the city

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Seattle is one of the few large American cities, like San Diego for example, that don't have a subway service. Moving around by public transport, and reaching the main things to see in the city, will still be simple thanks above all to the tram services that will allow you, among other things, to avoid the traffic problem.

Here are the most important things to know to better organize your itinerary, and not waste too much precious time traveling.


  • Link Light Rail
    • Ticket price and service hours
  • Seattle Streetcars
  • Seattle Center Monorail
  • King County Metro Transit
  • How to get to Seattle airport

Link Light Rail

One of the most used means of public transport is this fast tram. One of the good things is that there is only one line, so it's really hard to go wrong. The two terminus are the University of Washington to the north and Angel Lake South. The service also passes by Downtown in Seattle and the most useful stops in this regard are those of Capitol Hill, Westlake, University Street, Pioneer Square and International District / Chinatown.

Ticket price and service hours

At the time of writing, the fare ranges from $ 3.25 to $ 2.25. The cost is therefore not fixed but is calculated according to the distance you will travel. This standard rate applies to those aged 19 to 65. Children aged 5 and younger do not need to pay for every adult who has a ticket, while children aged 6 to 18 will pay $ 1.50 regardless of the route.

You can buy the ticket directly at the automatic ticket machines present at the stops, or by purchasing a call service card ORCA Card (One Regional Card for All), which will certainly make your life easier if you plan to stay in the city for several days. If you want, you can also download the official app of the local transport company and pay for the ticket directly with your smartphone.

La frequency of service it is very good, in fact we talk about a ride every 6, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the time of day.

The timetable is as follows:

  • 5:00 to 1:00 Monday to Saturday
  • from 6:00 to midnight on Sundays and holidays

Seattle Streetcars

Another tram service in the city of Seattle, at the moment there are two lines which, however, will be joined in the future to form a single one.

  • South Lake Union Streetcar: active since 2007 this line connects the Downtown in Seattle with the neighborhood of South Lake Union, located south of the homonymous lake. There are 7 stops along a route of about two kilometers. The frequency is good since there is talk of a run every 10 - 15 minutes depending on the time of day. The only two days a year that there is no service are for Christmas and Thanksgiving. The service hours are as follows:
    • Monday to Thursday: 06:00 to 21:00
    • Friday and Saturday: from 6:00 to 23:00
    • Sundays and holidays: from 10:00 to 19:00
  • First Hill Streetcar: the most recent of the two, was in fact inaugurated in 2016, and connects the district of Capitol Hill with that of Pioneer Square. This service is active every day of the year with a frequency ranging from 10 to 25 minutes at the following times:
    • Monday to Saturday: 05:00 to 01:00
    • Sundays and holidays: from 10:00 to 20:00

If you are not too familiar with the city of Seattle on this page you will find a useful map, which with a single glance will make you understand in detail which areas are served by the service.

You can use the ORCA Card on both lines. The fare is $ 2.25 for adults, $ 6 for children aged 18 to 1.50, and free for children under 5. There is also a day pass from the cost of $ 4.50 for adults and $ 3 for children that allows a unlimited use (only on the two Seattle Streetcars lines) for the whole day of the purchase. If you do not have the ORCA Card, tickets can still be purchased at each stop along the lines both in cash and with the main credit cards.

Seattle Center Monorail

It is one of the symbols of the city itself. It can be a convenient service to move between two very busy areas of the city such as the Westlake Center and Seattle Center. Especially during the many rainy days it can certainly be taken into consideration to avoid exposure to atmospheric events to a minimum. The frequency is excellent since we are talking about a run every 10 minutes and the duration of the journey is just over two minutes.



The cost of a ticket for one ride is $ 2.50 for adults and $ 1.25 for children aged 5 to 12, the little ones can travel for free. There are no discounts for the round trip. At the time of writing the article ORCA Cards are not yet accepted.

The hours of activity vary according to the time of year (I still invite you to check the official website for any changes). The only two days during the year that there is no service are for Christmas and Thanksgiving:

  • Months summer (from May to December):
    • Monday to Friday: 7am to 30pm
    • Saturday, Sunday: from 8:30 to 23:00
  • Months Winter (from January to May):
    • Monday to Thursday: 7am to 30pm
    • Friday: 7:30 to 23:00
    • Saturday: from 8:30 to 23:00
    • Sunday: from 8: 30 to 21: 00

King County Metro Transit

Obviously, as in all cities, there is a bus service that connects the various areas of Seattle to its suburbs located in King County. As tourists, unless you have special needs, I doubt that you need to use this type of vehicle. As you can imagine, there are many lines, as well as frequencies and timetables, so if you need them, I invite you to take advantage of the convenient and effective trip planner of the transport company that will help you understand the best solution.

How to get to Seattle airport

Reach the  Seattle - Tacoma International Airport it is very convenient and simple. In fact, you just need to use the line Central Link of the city tramway and from downtown you will be able to get to the airport in about 40 minutes.

Located near the tram station along International Boulevard, there are also stops for the King County Metro Transit buses. The following lines operate to and from the airport:

  • Rapid Ride A line (Federal Way)
  • Route 180 (Burien/Auburn)
  • Route 156 (Southcenter/Des Moines)

Finally, if you prefer to rely on a private shuttle service to move from the airport to your Seattle hotel, you can take a look at the link below.

Private transfer from the airport to the hotel

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