Downtown Seattle can be a little hectic in the summer months. If you are traveling to the city at this time be prepared to battle not only with other visitors but also the locals. Basking in the summer sun the citizens take to the streets (and parks and museums and markets…). While you won’t run into L.A. style traffic here it can be frustrating to get around because of the, shall we say, unusual layout of the city. Lots of one-ways, dead-ends, bridges and diagonals make this an incredibly difficult city to get around in.
There is good news though! The recent completion of the light rail, which goes from the airport straight into downtown is only $2.25. If you do drive into the city my strong suggestion is to park your car and leave it for the duration. Expect to pay for parking; like any urban center finding a free place to park is nearly impossible. You’ll have lots of options for paid parking and after 20 minutes of circling the same three streets, mostly due to the fact that you can’t figure out how to get off of those three streets, you’ll pay the exorbitant prices at the first lot you come across.
Pretty much the worst thing you can do is to try to find parking closest to Pike Place Market or the Seattle Center. They are priced for the desperately lost. You, on the other hand, know better. There are three ways to maximize your parking dollar:
1. Park at a friend’s house and take the bus into downtown. This may sound like a dodge for the real decent parking but if you are in town visiting friends/family you may as well take advantage. And the One Bus Away app can help you navigate.
2. Get off the beaten path, parking six blocks from the Market will be half the price. For short visits try the garage on 3rd & Stewart below Bed, Bath and Beyond, $4.00 for four hours.
3. You may not notice it right away but there are hundreds of apartments downtown. Those apartments house people who may have cars. Where do they park? At their apartment complex of course! Many of the complexes offer daily parking rates for guests which means you could take advantage of their deeply discounted rates. The Centennial Tower, for example, offers 24-hour rates of only $10.00!
There is so much to see in walking distance and the city has made it very pedestrian (and even more bicycle) friendly. So don’t be scared to put sneaker to concrete and enjoy some of Seattle’s famous sunshine!