Getting Around Seattle: Maps, Transportation, Traffic, and More

Seattle Metro Bus
••• Seattle Metro Bus. Copyright Oran Viriyincy via Flickr

Visiting Seattle or new to the area? You might need some resources for getting around town, from public transportation to maps of the area and traffic cameras. Seattle's core is not large, but the metropolitan area is sizeable and often fraught with traffic. Having an idea of when using public transportation might be the better way to go can help you skin a lot of traffic headaches, but beyond that, Seattle's unique geography means you might need to catch a ferry to get where you're going.

Bikes are also a popular way to get around and the Seattle Department of Transportation produces maps to help new bikers learn the best way to get from point A to B.

No matter how you need to get around, here are some resources to help you on your way.

Public Transportation in Seattle

Washington State Department of Transportation

Get traffic alerts, ferry and train schedules, road work alerts, mountain pass news, maps, and weather conditions. This page by the Washington State Department of Transportation has information about it all.

Public Transportation from/to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac)

Sea-Tac is the region's main airport. Getting to and from the airport is easy as it's just off of I-5, but if you don't want to park near the airport or if you don't have a ride, there are also many ways to get to and from the airport using public transportation.

Washington State Ferries

Seattle is well-known for its ferry boats and many people commute on them daily from the outer islands to the mainland.

Here you can see the current schedules, buy tickets, research fares, sign up for email alerts, and view ferry cameras.

King County Metro

Your one-stop site for all things Metro, including bus schedules, fares, street cars, water taxi service, and more. This is a great first stop if you're trying to get around town without a car.

Sound Transit

Sound Transit operates transportation between Puget Sound cities. For instance, if you want to commute between Seattle and Tacoma without driving, your best bet is to look toward Sound Transit. Sound Transit also operates express buses to the airport.

Greyhound

Greyhound service is available in downtown Seattle with its main hub at 811 Stewart Street. While King County Metro and Sound Transit both offer bus service to areas outside of Seattle, Greyhound is a good resource if you need to get to another city in the region beyond what they offer.

Streetcars

What started as the humorously abbreviated SLUT (South Lake Union Trolley) has expanded to a system of streetcar routes. The SLUT offers 1.3 mile streetcar trolley service to and from the lake to Westlake Center. Other streetcar routes go through First Hill, Broadway and new routes will continue to be added.

Seattle Monorail

The monorail's one mile track offers service to and from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle and Seattle Center (Space Needle, EMP, Key Arena, Pacific Science Center, Children's Museum, and more). The Monorail tends toward tourists rather than a true part of the public transportation scene.

Link Light Rail

Like the local streetcars, the Link is a system that continues to grow. For many years, it's been a great way to get between Westlake Center and the airport, but it also has stops in SoDo, the International District and points south of Seattle. Other expansions have brought it up to the University of Washington.

Amtrak

Amtrak runs out of King Street Station in Seattle, at 303 S Jackson Street. If you want to get out of town and head down to Portland or up to Vancouver, BC, this is a scenic way to do it!

Taxis

Seattle has several taxi companies. Taxis are often easiest to find either at the airport or at major hotels. Of course, services like Uber and Lyft have also moved into town, as have several car share programs, so there's no shortage of ways to get a lift.

Victoria Clipper

Clipper Vacations was once known exclusively for this high-speed, passenger-only ferry service to Victoria, BC.

The company now serves as a full vacations company and also offers ferry service to Vancouver Island, Vancouver BC, and the San Juans, as well as vacations to many locations around the Northwest.

Bike Maps

Seattle Department of Transportation (Bike Maps)

The Seattle Department of Transportation keeps its bike maps updated each year to reflect any changes made to local bike lanes and trails.

Traffic Cameras

While you can easily check traffic on your phone or via Google Maps, sometimes you might want to see more than a red, yellow or green line. Traffic cameras help you take a peep at the freeway or regularly congested intersections.