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Getting Around Seattle: A Definitive Guide to Transportation

November 29, 2022

Ask anyone who has made the move to Seattle, Washington. Most would tell you that it was one of the best choices they’ve ever made. Sure, you hear talks about the doom and gloom of rain and clouds… But once you have been living in and getting around Seattle for a while, you come to see the rain is what creates the city’s iridescent beauty. It is essentially part of the city’s culture.

Its name, The Emerald City, sheds light on how precious of a gem this Washington city really is. Home to the Seahawks and world-class theaters, Seattle is a great location for fun, excitement, and exploration. With a great educational system, promising economic growth, and booming social scene, there’s no wonder it’s home to more than 700,000 people. Its family-oriented, dog-friendly environment makes for a great community of residents from all walks of life.

As a moving company located right in the Puget Sound, Puget Sound Moving knows exactly how great living and working in Seattle can be. If you’re thinking of moving to Seattle, you’ll need to know how to get around. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you make your travels a lot less stressful.

Driving a Car

Although it has declined in recent years, approximately 30% of Seattle commuters drive alone by car to work. The city has been ranked for having some of the longest traffic jams and worst driving conditions. Thus, driving your car is an option you’ll want really think about. Traffic jams are almost certain, particularly on the weekends and rush hour.

Seattle Highways

The Interstate 5 connects Seattle to Oregon, British Columbia, and California.

The metropolitan area of Seattle, WA has 21 freeways and highways which car-riders can use to get into and out of the city conveniently. These freeways include I-5, I-90, I-405, I-705, SR3, SR18, SR16, US 2, SR99, SR303, SR167, SR512, SR520, SR509, SR410, SR525, SR518, SR526, SR599, West Seattle Freeway, and the Airport Expressway. Most commonly used is Interstate 5 which has connecting routes to Oregon, British Columbia, and California.  You can find up-to-date traffic reports by visiting the Washington State Department of Transportation Website.

Light Rail Commuting

If the idea of traffic jams ruffles your feathers there are other ways of getting around Seattle. Public transportation options such as the light rail are often used to get in around the city. Traveling anywhere between Angle Lake Station, the University of Washington or downtown Seattle? You might consider being a passenger on Sound Transit Link light rail. Making 14 stops, the light rail option is a convenient and affordable means of transportation. There is a train every 6 – 15 minutes and the average ride is about 40 minutes. Adults traveling one-way can look to pay anywhere from $2.25 to $3.25. You can learn more by visiting the Sound Transit website.

Commuting by Bus

Light rail isn’t the only way to get around Seattle. King County Metro Transit offers a public bus system to get commuters around downtown Seattle and surrounding King County neighborhoods.  The buses and trolleys, however, don’t come as frequently as light rail trains do. They also make frequent stops, so you should expect a longer commute. For those who choose to ride the bus, however, the fare is cheap. Adult commuters can look to pay anywhere from $1 – $2.50. You can learn specific schedule and fare information by visiting King County Metro website.

Monorail Travelers

Looking for a fast, non-stop trip downtown or to the Seattle Center Station? The Seattle Center Monorail is the best way to travel. The monorail operates between 7:30 am and 11 pm on weekdays, and 8:30 am to 11 pm on weekends. With a two-minute commute and trains arriving every ten minutes, you’re sure to get wherever you need to go quickly. This being another affordable means of transportation, adults will pay $2.25 one way. You can learn more about monorail travel here.

Get on a Streetcar

Seattle has a few streetcars that can get you where you need to be. The South Lake Union Streetcar, for instance, makes stops around the South Lake Union region. You can catch a streetcar every 10 to 15 minutes. The service is offered from 6 am to 9 pm Monday to Thursday and 6am to 11pm Friday and Saturday. On Sundays and holidays, it operates from 10 am to 7 pm. You can pay approximately $2.50 for a one-way ticket. You can check out their websites for specifics.

The other streetcar is called the First Hill Streetcar. It makes 10 stops throughout Chinatown – International District to Capitol Hill. You can find a streetcar leaving every 10 to 25 minutes. The schedules are a lot more frequent with services running from 5 am to 1 am Monday – Thursday, 6 am to 1 am on Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays, and 10 am to 8 pm on holidays. Again, fare is only $2.50 one-way. Here’s their website for more specific travel information.

Take a Cab

Seattleites can hail taxi cabs in Seattle using mobile apps.

While you may be able to hail a taxi downtown Seattle or at an airport, calling a taxi is probably the best way to ensure you get a ride. You can also find taxi stands downtown, Beltown, Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and a few other neighborhoods. The great thing about modern technology is that commuters can schedule an appointment online. Some Seattle cab companies like Orange Cab and Yellow Cab also have mobile apps that commuters can use to schedule appointments.


Some Seattle natives will tell you that getting a cab right is nearly impossible depending on where you live. Fortunately, there are ridesharing services that you can take advantage of. Services like Lyft and Uber make it easy for commuters to get in and around Seattle. These services are often preferred because not only are they timely and reliable, but they are convenient. Commuters essentially pay for their fare and tip by credit card, never having to exchange cash.

Take a Ferry

If you like the idea of traveling by water, then taking one of the ferries in Seattle is the choice for you. Commuters can get transported in Puget Sound between the residential islands and downtown Seattle. Passengers can purchase day fares which can range from $3-$12 and monthly passes can be purchased for $60 – $100.

Getting Around Seattle for Non-Drivers: Additional Tips

If driving a car around Seattle isn’t your first choice for transportation, you can clearly see you have other options. We at Puget Sound Moving wanted to take it an extra step further by providing some pointers for those who don’t drive.

Best Places to Live

If you don’t have a car, you’ll want to live in a Seattle neighborhood that has a lot of public transportation or areas for walking and biking. What are the best neighborhoods to move to in Seattle without a car? Try checking out Beltown, Capitol Hill, Green Lake, West Seattle, Ballard, or the University District.

Riding Bikes

Bicycling is another choice that non-drivers have for getting around Seattle. Approximately 3% of the population prefers to ride their bike. For those who live or work in areas like downtown Seattle, protected bike lanes are available for safer travels. Of course, you’ll have to account for those rainy days. Some cyclists wear protective gear during the rainy season while others utilize public transportation.

Pay as You Go Car Service

Not interested in the full-time commitment of a car owner? Perhaps you need to run some errands or need to use a car for a day or two? If you can’t borrow wheels from friends and family, you can consider an affordable option like Zip Car. This is a pay-as-you-go transportation service in which consumers have access to a car on an as-needed basis. There are plans available that range from a few bucks to $50 a month.

Grocery Delivery

Outside of living in a Seattle neighborhood with easy access to public transportation, finding ways to adapt without a car is necessary. Consumers can try grocery delivery services which would bring the food right to your front door saving you a trip on the bus. This includes Amazon Fresh, Safeway, Instacart, and more.

Online Purchases

For those who don’t travel by car much, online purchases will be your best option for getting products and services you want without having to drive to them. You can have everything, from clothes and shoes to prescription medications and toiletries, shipped to your home.

Now that you’re up to speed on the many ways of getting around Seattle, you’re ready to pack your things and start your move. Need help moving? Puget Sound Moving in Seattle is onboard and ready to assist. Give us a call at (206) 568-0600 for your free moving quote today.

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