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May 16, 2008 10:35 AM   Subscribe

What's the simplest way to get from Sea-Tac airport to 1st/Seneca in downtown Seattle?

I'm flying into Sea-Tac tomorrow evening, and have to pick up apartment keys at Harbor Steps (between Seneca and University). What's the easiest/cheapest way to make this trip? Taxi is basically out of the question. I saw that the metro RT 194/174 from the airport stops at university/4th, but not sure how doable this is with luggage or how crowded the bus may be.

Secondly... After I pick up my keys, I have to go down to 2400 4th Ave, which seems like quite a hike. Should I just suck it up and get a taxi for this leg, or is there some neat transit-fu I can do to hop down a dozen blocks?
posted by mezamashii to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (8 answers total)
Best answer: On Saturday the 194 shouldn't be too bad - but be sure to wait for the 194, the 174 is a local and takes much longer. You can also take the Grey Line to downtown hotels, and get off at the Fairmont Olympic at 4th and Seneca. It's all downhill from there, so if you have wheeled luggage it's not too bad. The Grey line is around ten dollars, as opposed to about $30 for the cab and $2 for the bus.

2400 block is just on the edge of the "Ride Free" area for the Seattle bus system. Downtown, buses are free until 7 pm (including weekends). From Harbor Steps I'd catch a 15 or 18 in front of the art museum - both of those go straight up First. Get off at Blanchard/Bell or watch the building numbers until you get within range, then walk the three blocks to Fourth.
posted by five toed sloth at 10:59 AM on May 16, 2008

Best answer: For getting to Harbor Steps, the most cost effective non-public-transit method is going to be Shuttle Express.

For getting to 2400 4th, if you have dropped off the luggage at harbor steps, there are lots of metro routes thru the downtown core. You'll want to go up to 3rd, and see which of the 2,3,4, or 16, is coming next. There might be some others as well, check the bus maps at the kiosks. Note that 3rd is a major transfer point, so not every bus stops at every stop; they are setup in pairs that isolate long-distance runs from the shorter distance busses you'll want. There is a trip planner at that can assist with specific routes and times based on your start/end locations.
posted by nomisxid at 11:03 AM on May 16, 2008

What time in the evening? I wouldn't worry about the bus being too crowded unless it's right around a commute time, but since we're talking about Saturday you should be fine. The King County Metro site that nomisxid provided is handy, but Google Transit for Seattle is what I usually use.

As far as getting to Harbor Steps, is that on 1st or 4th? I've only seen the building on 1st and Google Maps is telling me it's on 1st as well. I only ask between the hike from 4th to first is kind of steep down hill.

After getting your keys I'd probably grab a cab since you've got luggage and it couldn't be than a $6 fare. If you really wanted to though, you could shoot over to 3rd and grab a bus since pretty much all the lines go up and down there. If it's after 7 the "ride free zone" doesn't apply so you'll need bus fare.
posted by Smarson at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2008

seconding shuttle express if you've got substantial luggage.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:43 AM on May 16, 2008

Simplest? Walk outside the Sea-Tac terminal and find the Gray Line bus stop.
posted by Rash at 11:55 AM on May 16, 2008

Response by poster: flight arrives at 8pm supposedly, i have one decently large luggage and a backpack. Nothing to prevent me from walking a few blocks, just not a dozen.
posted by mezamashii at 12:09 PM on May 16, 2008

Taxi is only $25 from airport to downtown. Standard flat rate. I would reconsider it.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:17 PM on May 16, 2008

Best answer: Jeffamaphone: AIUI, the flat rate applies if you're going to the airport but not if you're coming from the airport. No, that makes no sense to me either. Also it's gone up to $28. Still, according to a couple of web pages, a taxi from the airport to downtown will cost $35-$40, which isn't so bad.

I've taken the bus from the airport to downtown a number of times and it's an easy trip. The only thing I'd watch out for, mezamashii, is that the hill between First and Fourth is pretty steep, especially downtown. It's less steep up by 2400 4th, which is in the middle of the Denny regrade. There are lots of buses that run northish-southish through downtown — I second using Metro's trip planner to find a good route.
posted by hattifattener at 12:53 PM on May 16, 2008

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