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Seattle Layover

| March 1, 2016

Stuck on a Seattle layover at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Located 13 miles from downtown Seattle (20-30 minutes travel time) allows passengers to venture into Seattle to catch the sights on a long layover. If you’re trying to determine whether you can leave the airport during your Seattle layover, click here for useful tips.

Seattle layover stopover

If you’re stuck in the airport on a Seattle layover, the airport offers a lot to do. From shopping and dining to dozens of services, there’s plenty to do to stay busy. Internet phones are available throughout the airport. For a list of services, including handling pets to currency exchange, and everything in between, click here.

There are no luggage lockers at the Sea-Tac airport, however, Ken’s Baggage Storage & Rentals offers luggage storage. It is located on the Baggage Claim Level between Carousels 12 & 13. There are also “Send It Home” kiosks where you can ship any luggage you either don’t want to store or carry on.

If you arrive at night or are looking for a place to rest, there are many hotels near the airport. For a comprehensive list of Seattle hotels at varying price points, click here.

If you have a long layover and are looking to get out and see the sights of Seattle, there are plenty of transportation options in this eco-friendly city. You can travel via taxi and limo, shuttle buses, shared ride vans, and public transit. Private transfers can also be arranged.

Layover Guide’s Suggestions Of Things To Do On A Seattle Layover:

Seattle layover

Seattle Tours

There are many tours available in Seattle, based on your interest. There are bus and walking tours, segway tours, boat rides, day trips, air tours, biking tours, kayak tours, cultural, food, wine, and nightlife tours and tons more!

Seattle layover stopover

Pike Place Market

Distance from airport: 14 miles, 20 minutes (no traffic)

Pike Place Market is an outdoor market along the water that is a must-see for anyone spending time in Seattle (even just a layover). Best known for the fisherman who quite impressively throw fish to each other, there are also cute gift shops, fruits and nuts stands, and like anywhere else in Seattle, lots of coffee!

Seattle layoverSpace Needle

Address: 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109

Distance from airport: 15 miles, 23 minutes (no traffic)

Not only does the Space Needle make Seattle’s skyline unlike any city in the world, but it also is a great way to get some terrific views of the gorgeous Northwest. Check out the observation deck at 520 feet tall and for a bite of food, there’s SkyCity, the Space Needle’s rotating restaurant. To book tickets to the observation deck in advance, click here.

Seattle layover stopoverWoodland Park Zoo

Address: 5500 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103

Distance from airport: 20 miles, 29 minutes (no traffic)

Just minutes north of downtown Seattle, you can find award-winning Woodland Park Zoo, a 92-acre zoological garden home to over 1,000 animals and 300 species from around the world. For kids there’s an indoor play room called the Zoomazium, and there’s also a new Humboldt penguin exhibit.

Seattle layover stopover

Snoqualmie Falls

Distance from airport: 34 miles, 40 minutes (no traffic)

If you have a long layover, you can venture the 25 miles outside of Seattle to see the spectacular Snoqualmie Falls. At 268 feet tall, the waterfall is a major source of hydroelectric energy for the area. Check out the Salish Lodge for a snack at the top of Snoqualmie Falls, and if you have time, take a hike around the area.

Seattle layover stopover

Pacific Science Center

Address: 200 2nd Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109

Distance from airport: 15 miles, 24 minutes (no traffic)

The Pacific Science Center has something for everyone. Here at this educational non-profit foundation there is a Volcano Watch exhibit, a Starlab Planetarium with many terrific shows, and an IMAX theater. For a schedule of IMAX shows, click here.

Have a suggestion for a Seattle layover? Leave a comment below!

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Category: layover, North America, things to do, United States

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Now the light rail goes all the way to the airport so you can be downtown in about 35 minutes for about $2.50.

  2. Shannon says:

    Now wi-fi is free for everyone, no subscription required!

  3. RANDIP SAHU says:


  4. Emily T Gail says:

    what a great website. I am looking at booking a flight with a midnight-5am layover in Seattle so that I can at least take a couple hour ride on or something around Seattle to get a look at the city.

    thinking taking the light rail downtown get off and the take it back to airport.

    Or will staying on light rail and not getting off give me a look at the city.

    Any suggestions for that time of day? Thanks

  5. betty says:

    If you have 3 hours during lunch or dinner, you can reserve a table at Copperleaf Restaurant at the beautiful Cedarbrook Lodge which is not far from SeaTac airport. They may pick you up and return you in a shuttle if you ask when you make your reservation. I take visitors on long layovers there if they don’t have time to go downtown. I’ve heard the accommodations are good there too, but haven’t stayed there myself. It used to be Washington Mutual’s private retreat/conference property.

    Unfortunately, apart from the bar/music scene there is not much to do in Seattle after 9pm. I was shocked when I moved there from Nevada at how the downtown emptied out. There is no late night shopping. However, if you like jazz clubs, there are a few good ones in town. Also, consult “The Stranger” online to see listings of all music happenings. Warning! Most shows are sold out far in advance. There are also shows at the U of WA, accessible by lightrail now (8 minutes from downtown).

    One cannot see much from the lightrail itself, as most of it runs underground.

    If you have the time (at least 5 hours), a trip to Pike Place Market or the Space Needle are worth it for your first time. Take the light rail to Westlake station for both. From Westlake Center itself (a shopping area) take the Monorail to the Space Needle. If you have a lot of time, go to the Chihuly Museum of Glass, and the Experience Music Project, both a stones throw from the Space Needle. If you have kids, skip the Museum and go the the EMP and the Pacific Science Center. At the peak of tourist season, expect long lines or crowds at any/all of these venues.

  6. Stephan says:

    From SeaTac: which exit from the Link Light Rail to take that is nearest to the Space Needle?