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The Space Needle, Seattle

Practical Info about Seattle

Getting around the city

Seattle city centre is well serviced by public transport, with an excellent bus system, historic streetcars along the waterfront, and a high-speed elevated Monorail which links downtown to the Seattle Center and offers views over the harbour and beyond. The bus system is the most extensive and runs throughout the night, but less frequently after 8pm. Buses provide free transport within the downtown area between the Waterfront and 6th Avenue and Pioneer Square and Battery Street, from 6am to 7pm. The Ride Free Area also includes the Metro Tunnel, which goes underneath the city avoiding traffic congestion. Fares on buses and trams are slightly more expensive during peak hours and there are no services on Sundays. Taxis can be hailed from taxi ranks or ordered by telephone. Parking in Seattle is expensive and limited, but traffic isn't too bad outside of rush hour and the city is fairly easy to navigate. Renting a car for excursions outside the city is a good option.


GMT –8 (GMT –7 from March to November).


120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.


The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.


The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 911

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Martin Luther King Day 20 Jan 19 Jan
Presidents Day 17 Feb 16 Feb
Memorial Day 26 May 25 May
Independence Day 4 Jul 4 Jul
Labour Day 1 Sep 7 Sep
Columbus Day 13 Oct 12 Oct
Veterans Day 11 Nov 11 Nov
Thanksgiving Day 27 Nov 26 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec



Seattle generally has a wet climate, with the most rain falling between January and May and October and December, but daytime temperatures are mild throughout the year. June to August is the warmest and driest time of year, with summer temperatures averaging about 75°F (24°C), while winter temperatures rarely drop below 32°F (0°C), with little snowfall. April to November is the best time to visit, with less chance of rain and long summer days.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Getting to the city

The airport's Ground Transportation Information Booth is on the third floor of the parking garage (fully staffed) and in Baggage Claim, across from Carousel Nine. The SeaTac/Airport Station provides passengers a direct connection between the airport and downtown Seattle. Fares begin with a base fee of $2 and then charge five cents per mile; the journey takes around 35 minutes. The station is on the fourth floor of the airport's main parking garage. Shuttle Express offer door-to-door shuttle services leaving regularly for the nearby towns and cities, and Gray Line Express buses depart every half hour connecting to major Seattle hotels. Public Metro Transit buses run according to a 24-hour schedule to destinations in and around Seattle.

Car rental

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and National have facilities at the airport.

Airport taxi's

To arrange for a taxi, use one of the curbside phones or visit one of the Information Booths. Expect to pay between $40 and $50 for the 20 minute taxi journey into downtown Seattle.


Facilities at the airport are extensive, including a variety of fast-food and full-service restaurants, several bars and retail outlets. The airport has ATMs and currency exchange desks, and also offers a pet relief area, a massage bar, shoe shine services, art exhibitions, smoking areas and a baggage storage service. Laptop Lane in the North Satellite provides online access for computers, phones, fax machines, photocopying and more.


Parking rates at Sea-Tac Airport range from $3 per hour to daily rates of $35. Long term rates of $28 per day or $130 per week are also available.


Wifi is available free of charge throughout the airport.