Seattle is the northernmost major city in the contiguous United States, and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and the state of Washington. It is a major seaport situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an arm of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 114 miles (183 km) south of the Canada – United States border, and it is named after Chief Sealth "Seattle", of the Duwamish and Suquamish native tribes.
Seattle is the center of the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan statistical area--the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States, and the largest in the northwestern United
States. Seattle is the county seat of King County and is the major economic, cultural and educational center in the region.
The 2010 census found that Seattle is home to 608,660 residents within a metropolitan area of some 3.4 million inhabitants.
The Port of Seattle, which also operates Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, is a major gateway for trade with Asia and cruises to Alaska, and is the 8th largest port in the United States in terms of container capacity.
Visit Seattle By plane
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA), universally nicknamed "Sea-Tac", is located in the city's southern suburbs. Domestically it's a major hub for Northwest and West Coast destinations, and internationally handles especially frequent trans-Pacific routes, as well as direct flights to the major European airports. The airport is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Seattle when there isn't heavy traffic, much longer during rush hour.
There are several choices for getting from the airport to the city center:
* Sound Transit's Link Light Rail connects the Airport directly to downtown Seattle. Trains run 5 AM—midnight (11 PM Sunday), taking 37 minutes to reach the terminal at Westlake Station in the central business downtown (Pine St. at 3rd and 5th Aves.). Tickets are $2.50, available from vending machines at every station. At the airport, the rail station is connected to the Main Terminal via the far left side of the parking garage, as you enter the garage from the terminal. Taking the bridge nearest baggage carousel 16 and the United Airlines ticket counter is the shortest walk.
* Commercial shuttle buses are about $5.00-12.75 and probably not faster than public transit if you are going downtown, though they do have more room for luggage. Catch them at the Ground Transportation Center, located on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
* A taxi trip takes about 25 min (expect to pay $30-40 plus tip); catch one on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
* Rental cars are available at the airport. On a weekend, you might want to shop the internet for rental cars, since they can be less than $12/day (plus roughly 18% tax; also consider hotel parking fees, if any). Beware of the fact that taking a rental from the airport will incur an 11% "airport tax" surcharge. If you are able to rent a car from a downtown location you will not have to pay this and will save a considerable amount of money.
Visit Seattle By train
Amtrak provides service from all along the west coast from King Street Station, located south of downtown near Safeco Field. The Amtrak Cascades
runs four trains a day between Seattle and Portland (two of which continue to Eugene, Oregon) and two a day to Vancouver, British Columbia. These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains and offer certain amenities not available on regular Amtrak trains, such as more space for bikes, more laptop outlets, a "Bistro Car" which serves local foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
Seattle is also served by the long-distance Coast Starlight, which runs south to Portland, the Bay Area, and eventually Los Angeles, California. The Starlight is frequently delayed for hours coming north from California. Additionally, the Empire Builder provides daily service to Chicago via Glacier National Park and Minneapolis. Unlike the other three Amtrak transcontinental trains further south, the Builder tends to stick fairly closely to schedule.
Visit Seattle By car
Interstate Highway 5 (I-5) cuts through the middle of Seattle north to south. I-90 runs from the I-5 interchange in Seattle all the way to Boston, and crosses one of the two Lake Washington bridges to Bellevue, along with SR-520 further north. I-405 runs parallel to I-5 on the east side of Lake Washington. Be aware however, that Seattle is a city known for terrible traffic (third worst in the nation behind Los Angeles and New York), especially around rush hour, so be ready for crawling along slowly as you enter the city, especially on infamously congested I-5, southern I-405, and the SR-520 bridge.
Visit Seattle By bus
* Greyhound, Stewart St. (at the northeast edge of the downtown core).
* Quick Shuttle. Runs between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Stops in Downtown Seattle (outside the Best Western at 200 Taylor Ave N) and SeaTac Airport (at the main terminal near south end of baggage claim, outside door 00, bays 11-16). Fares from Vancouver to Downtown Seattle are $36 one-way, $65 round-trip; from Vancouver to SeaTac, fares are $49 one-way, $87 round-trip.seattle_Trolley_Bus.jpg
Visit Seattle By boat
There are two regular ferry services in the Seattle area:
* Washington State Ferries, 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, +1 206 464-6400. Connects downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Vashon Island, and connects West Seattle to Vashon Island and Southworth (Kitsap Peninsula). All ferries are for both vehicles and passenger except the ferry between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island.
* Victoria Clipper. High speed catamaran passenger ferries which connect Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia and the San Juan Islands.
Cruise ships to Seattle may be docked at one of two terminals in the Port of Seattle.
* Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, 2225 Alaskan Way S, near the middle of Seattle downtown's waterfront, serves as home port for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Has bus, taxi and shuttle connections for transfer of passengers and luggage. For travelers with connecting flights, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is less than 15 mi (24 km) away.
* Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W Garfield St, at the north end of Seattle's downtown waterfront, serves as home port to Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.