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If you're flying into Seattle (or taking the train or bus) and plan to stay in a downtown hotel, we strongly recommend that you not rent a car for the entire time. It's nice to have a car for a day, but parking and traffic can be a real impediment to enjoyment in the middle of the city.

If you're driving in from outside of the city, you might consider using our parking tips a few days early while you enjoy your break in the downtown area.

Getting There
If you're flying into Seattle you'll arrive at Sea-Tac airport, approximately 15 miles south of the city center. There is no public transportation that is convenient, but Grayline offers service into the city:

Gray Line Downtown Airporter
206-626-6088 or 1-800-426-7532
Rates: $10.25 one way or $17 roundtrip

All major car rental agencies are represented in the baggage claim area. Taxis are readily available and cost between $25 and $40 from the airport to downtown.

Driving into Seattle is a snap from any direction since it's bisected by Interstate 5 running north and south. To get to the waterfront area of downtown, just follow these handy directions:

From the North:
Southbound into Seattle from I-5 take the Mercer St. exit. Right on Fairview, left on Valley Street. Take Valley to Broad Street. Broad to Alaskan Way.

From the South:
Northbound into Seattle from I-5 take the Madison St. exit. Head west on Madison until you get to the waterfront (Alaskan Way).

From the East:
From SR-520, head west to I-5 South. Once on 1-5 South, follow the above directions "From the North".

From I-90, head west to I-5 North. Take the Madison St. exit and head west to the Waterfront (Alaskan Way).

Getting Around
Caution! Seattle is filled with one-way streets, so try to know in advance where you are headed. The downtown area is pretty much on a grid system, with the north-south streets being numbered and the east-west streets being named; i.e. the corner of Madison St. (east-west) and First St. (north-south). Of course there are always exceptions, so be vigilant.

Seat belt usage is mandatory, you can turn right on a red light if it's safe, and you can be ticketed for blocking an intersection if you go through a light but can't make it all the way across before it changes.

Seattle is very protective of its pedestrians and bicycle riders, so remember, they almost always have the right of way. On the other hand, you can be ticketed for jaywalking, so make sure to cross the street only at intersections (or in marked crosswalks).

Parking
Street parking is a real problem in downtown Seattle; not only is it nearly impossible to find, but it's also most often metered, and it requires moving the vehicle several times to make way for rush-hour traffic.

While most hotels offer parking, it's costly -- between $24 and $30 a night, not to mention tips for the valets.

Using the port facilities and public transportation is a much more cost-effective solution, since both the Bell Street Pier and Pier 30 offer discount parking.

The following is provided by the Port of Seattle:

Parking at Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal
The Bell Street Pier garage is available to all cruise passengers. Conveniently located directly across Alaskan Way from the cruise terminal, it offers 1,700 spaces of covered, secure parking. Friends and family who pick up or drop off cruise passengers also are encouraged to use the garage while visiting the cruise terminal.

Fee: $17 per day.

You may prepay for parking online through Republic Parking at www.rpnw.com. (When you prepay, parking is guaranteed; no reservations needed.)

Location: 9 Wall Street. Enter at the corner of Alaskan Way and Wall Street. See map for directions.

25 handicap parking stalls.

No oversize or RV parking is available in the garage. Vehicles must be less than 6'6" high.

Republic Parking operates the garage. Questions? Call the garage staff at (206) 783-4144.

Parking at Terminal 30 Cruise Facility
Fee: $10 per day.

You may prepay for parking online through Republic Parking at www.rpnw.com. (When you prepay, parking is guaranteed; no reservations needed.)

700 parking spaces are available on-site directly adjacent to the passenger terminal.

Oversize and RV vehicles are welcome.

Driving directions to Terminal 30 Cruise Facility

RV Parking and Oversize Vehicles
The following public parking locations are available for cruise ship passengers who need accommodations for RVs or oversize vehicles.

Thrifty Parking. Pier 48, 101 Alaskan Way South. See map for directions. Cost: $15/day for 18 feet and under, $165/week or $30/day for RVs. Contact (206) 625-0064.

RVs and oversize vehicles are also welcome at the new Terminal 30 Cruise Facility. Only the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal garage cannot accommodate these vehicles.

Transportation from public parking locations to Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal
Puget Sound Dispatch (taxis): (206) 343-4361

Limo Association of Washington: (800) 652-7007

Taxi Service
Pick-up service to and from both cruise terminals is available. Taxi service to the airport ranges from $25 - $40 for the approximate 20- to 30-minute drive.

Bus Service/Waterfront Trolley
The Waterfront Trolley serves the downtown waterfront and the Bell Street Pier cruise terminal. Get off at the Bell Street stop. For trolley schedule information contact King County Metro.
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