Seattle Layover Guide (SEA)

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the major international airport serving the Seattle metropolitan area in Washington State, in the United States. It is located 23 km (14 mi) from downtown Seattle. There have been several flights to destinations worldwide since the first flight in 1947. Seattle is a global city known for its coffee culture, craft beers, high tech businesses, notable music history, mountains, and nature.

Can you leave Seattle Airport (SEA) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible for certain travelers to visit Seattle during a layover but others require a visa depending on nationality. (more info).

What are you looking for in SEA? Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Organized Tours

Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

See Seattle from a different viewpoint. Explore Pioneer Square from below and walk through three underground passageways that were made in the 1890’s. Take this 1-hour journey back into the history of Settle with your guide revealing secrets about more than four city blocks of historic Pioneer Square as well as the three underground passageways. This includes the historical details leading to the birth of Seattle as it is known today and how the decision was made to raise the city streets out of the swampy grounds. » book this tour

Pike Place Market: Walking Food Tour

Pike Place Market is a place to arouse your senses with mills of people exploring and selling all types of food. You can explore the market with a local guide who will help you have the best taste of Pike Place, sharing secrets, recommendations and useful tips. The food tour includes enjoying authentic Indian samosas, Italian gelato, Greek Yogurt, Pacific Northwest Native American style smoked salmon, the best rated clam chowder, Italian truffles, the best wild salmon burger in Seattle, and much more! » book this tour

Seattle: Mount Rainier Park All-Inclusive Small Group Tour

Mount Rainier National Park lies between the jagged Olympic Mountains and the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range about 75 miles southeast of Seattle. The mountain is an active volcano, encased miles of snow and ice and surrounded by a forest and covered in a stunning carpet of wildflowers. You can spot wildlife and see spectacular scenery on a full-day nature walk. Try to find birds and wildlife, such as marmots, coyotes, elk, and black bears. Breathe in that clear air as you take in the sounds and scents of the forests and lakes. Ultimately, be entranced by the beauty of the glorious landscape, which soars to heights of over 14,000 feet. » book this tour

Things to do / Sightseeing

Space Needle

Space Needle has become the icon of Seattle. This 605-foot-tall tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Today, however, it is a reputable landmark in the city and found in several photos. A 43-second elevator ride takes you to the top where you can learn the inspiration and concepts that went into planning the building. On the observation level, there are wonderful views featuring Elliott Bay, the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier and much more.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 30 minutes to get here by taxi and an hour by public transport.

Museum of Pop Culture

The fascinating Museum of Pop Culture brings the varying fields of music, science fiction, and pop culture together. Frank Gehry designed the building to appear as if a guitar was smashed from above, while inside, there are scenic colorful exhibits and aesthetics. The exhibits cover everything from the history of indie video games and horror films to Nirvana, the Seahawks, and more.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 25 minutes to get here by taxi and almost an hour by public transport.

Pacific Science Center

At the Pacific Science Center, you can explore galaxies near and far in the planetarium, or alternatively get close and personal with colorful creatures in the Tropical Butterfly House. You can also maneuver a two-ton granite ball, find out what it means if you can roll your tongue, and much more. This family-friendly museum is where science lessons come to life and both adults and kids can learn a thing or two.

Time required: 2 to 3 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 25 minutes to get here by taxi and almost an hour by public transport.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is dedicated to the work and career of Dale Chihuly. He was born in the city and became a world-renowned glassblower. He was introduced to the craft while studying at the University of Washington. The museum houses the most comprehensive collection of his art to date, with interior galleries featuring a variety of his work in the medium. The amazing hallmark is a vibrant 100-foot-long sculpture in hues of red, orange, and yellow suspended from the ceiling, found in the glasshouse as the pièce de résistance.

Time required: 3 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 25 minutes to get here by taxi and about an hour by public transport.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place market is as iconic in Seattle as the Space Needle. There are loads of attractions such as the epic market sign, Rachel the Piggy Bank, the gum wall, the original Starbucks cafe, as well as over 225 local artisans selling their wares. You can also be entertained by the famous fish-tossing tradition and music-playing street performers. Pike Place Market is certainly a place to arouse your senses as there are enough sights and sounds.

Time required: 4 hours.

Airport to here: It typically takes 20 minutes to get here by taxi and about an hour by public transport.

Seattle Aquarium

On the waterfront’s Pier 59, lies the Seattle Aquarium where you can learn all about salmon, meet a few adorable sea otters, and greet the various sea creatures of the Pacific Ocean, from puffers to giant clams. You can even watch scuba divers feed the fish, gawk at sharks swimming overhead in the underwater dome, and even touch a sea anemone.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It may take a 20 minute taxi ride or about an hour by public transport to arrive at the aquarium.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum is the city’s largest museum since the early 1930s. It houses a varied collection of artwork from various eras and multiple geographic regions. The Olympic Sculpture Park is an outdoor extension of the museum that’s open to the public for free about a mile away at the waterfront.

Time required: 3 hours.

Airport to here: It may take 20 minutes to get here by taxi and about an hour by public transport.

Seattle Central Public Library

This is no ordinary library, Seattle Central Library is an architecturally distinct building. It has enough glass to cover more than five football stadiums! On the 10th floor there is a light-filled reading room with great views of Elliott Bay. You can even take a self-guided cell phone tour.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It may take a 20 minute taxi ride or about an hour by public transport to arrive at the library.

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
The airport has several lounges throughout. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
Many hotels are found within a mile of the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
Quiet zones are found on level 6 and at Gate B4 with plenty of seating and power outlets.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Connect to the “SEATAC-FREE-WIFI” network for the free WiFi is available.

SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: There are taxis to be found on the 3rd floor of the parking garage.

Train: Seattle–Tacoma International Airport is connected to Seattle via a Link Light Rail system which can be accessed by the 4th floor of the airport parking garage. (more info).

Bus: There are several bus options to Seattle and back to the airport. The bus stops are near the baggage claim by carousel 1 and walking a short distance south to the bus stop. (more info).

Shuttle: There are Airport hotel shuttle services and free shuttles with wifi that operates throughout the airport grounds. The Shuttle stops are located on the 3rd floor of the parking garage.

Car rentals: Numerous rental car companies serve the airport and can be booked online. The Rental Car Facility is accessible by free 24-hour shuttle service to the main terminal, outside of the baggage claim area. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: There is spacious parking available and it is possible to book a parking space in advance.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

Luggage can be stored at the Smarte Carte Baggage Storage.

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Seattle Airport (SEA) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks
- Order your foreign currency ONLINE and PICK IT UP at the airport!