Take Light Rail From The Airport

Light Rail Is Awesome

We have a new light rail system in Seattle which opened in December 2009. It runs from SeaTac Airport to Westlake Center, which is in the center of downtown and very close to the Washington State Convention Center, where the PASS Summit is held.

SeaTac Station

I rode the Light Rail from SeaTac last weekend and found it was clean, fast, cheap, and fun. I highly recommend it!

How to Take Light Rail to Downtown From The Airport

To take the Light Rail from the airport to downtown:

  • At SeaTac, go to the baggage claim, then follow signs to “Link Light Rail”
  • When you get to the station, buy a ticket from the machine for $2.50 (full adult fare, all stops). There are no turnstiles, but don’t forget to pay downstairs! A conductor will check your ticket on the train.
  • Then go upstairs and get on a train which going to the Westlake destination. You’re at the end of the line and there’s only one track, so you’re at very very low risk of going the wrong way!
  • Ride the rain all the way to Westlake Station (map), which is downtown under Pine Street between Third and Sixth Avenue.
  • Walk upstairs to Pine Street, then to your downtown hotel.

Here is a sample walking map from WestLake Station to the Sheraton Downtown (.2 miles – basically less than two blocks).

When Does It Run?

The last train to Westlake Center leaves SeaTac airport at 12:07 am Monday-Friday, and 11:05 PM on Sundays  and Holidays. So if you’re arriving late on Sunday, this may not be the choice for you.


First train starts up at 5:16 AM Monday-Friday, 6:17 AM on Sundays and Holidays.

How  Frequently Does It Run?

The schedule is posted by Sound Transit here. As of this posting the train  runs every 10 or 15 minutes during non-peak times, and twice as often during rush hour.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay?

Signs in the train say you can be fined $124 if you can’t prove payment when the conductor comes by to check. $2.50 seems like a pretty good deal in comparison.

What Are the Machines That Say ORCA? Can I Use Those?

ORCA cards are used by locals who ride transit frequently. Sadly, they’re not easy to  buy for short term visitors– there’s a fee and they have to mail the card to  you. Sorry!  But you can buy yourself a ticket at the machines in the bottom of the station.

View from a Downtown Stop

Are the Trains Clean and Safe?

I can’t  guarantee it, but I found the train I rode was clean and comfortable. The trains and the stations are very new. There was an attendant at the station when I boarded, and a conductor walked through the train as I rode it downtown.