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Traveling during the holidays? Skip the traffic, save time, and reduce pollution by considering walking, rolling, biking, or taking transit!

Holiday lights in Pioneer Square. Photo: SDOT

The holiday season is here! This year, do yourself a favor and go car-free if you can for your trips to visit family, do your holiday shopping, and get wherever else you need to go. It could save you time, stress, and reduce traffic congestion to help others travel faster, too. Plus, eliminating car trips reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. 

Seattle has invested in a bunch of ways to help you get where you need to go, car-free. From traffic navigation resources, a cornucopia of maps, trip planning for transit, transit tickets, best places to park, and carpool, bike share, car share, and ride hail tools, we have you covered. This treasure trove of resources lives on our website.

Transit is a great way to get around the city quickly! During the Thanksgiving holidays, be sure to check the bus, light rail, ferry, monorail, and streetcar websites to find the most up-to-date schedules. 

Here are some options you might consider.

Ride the bus 

A bus using a bus-only lane on Delridge Way SW.
A bus using a bus-only lane on Delridge Way SW. These lanes make traveling by bus more efficient because it’s easier for drivers to see where only buses are allowed. Photo: SDOT 

Bus: King County Metro Bus provides reliable and convenient service across King County. Regional bus service is also available from Sound Transit Express and Community Transit

Take Link light rail or the Sounder train 

The new Northgate light rail station and John Lewis Memorial Bridge.
The new Northgate light rail station and John Lewis Memorial Bridge. Photo: SDOT 

Light Rail: Link Light Rail provides frequent, reliable (and traffic-free!) service from Angle Lake and the SeaTac Airport to North Seattle. Now you can take the light rail to the U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate! Over the past few years, we have worked to make walking, biking, riding the bus, parking, and loading/unloading around each station easier, to prepare for when the three newest stations opened on October 2, 2021. For example, when you’re heading to or from the Northgate station, you can use the new John Lewis Memorial Bridge to get across I-5. Learn more in our blog post this past summer

Heavy Rail: The Sounder Train offers a regional travel option, including  a Sounder North service from Everett to downtown Seattle, and a Sounder South service from Lakewood (south of Tacoma), to downtown Seattle. Both services end at King Street Station in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.  

Get out on the water 

A ferry crosses the water. Photo: Keith Anderson
A ferry crosses the water. Photo: Keith Anderson 

Water: King County Water Taxi is smooth sailing from West Seattle and Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle, and service from Kitsap Fast Ferry whisks you to Bremerton and Kingston. You can also walk, roll, or bike on Washington State Ferries (bypassing the long lines of cars!) to connect to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. Other ferry terminals reach additional destinations throughout Puget Sound. If you plan to ride a state ferry, check the latest sailing schedules and route information online as additional sailings may be added at a moment’s notice if there is adequate crewing. 

Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound (or onto an island/peninsula) Wednesday afternoon, November 24, through Thursday morning, November 25, then eastbound (or off island/peninsula) Thursday afternoon through Friday, November 26. There will be a few schedule changes on Thanksgiving Day, November 25. Holiday timetables and sailings are noted on the schedule page for each route. Before heading to a terminal or boarding, sign up for ferry email or text message alerts and check current ferry terminal conditions

Ride your bike 

People riding along the new 4th Ave protected bike lane.
People riding along the new 4th Ave protected bike lane. Photo: SDOT 

Bike: The Seattle By Bike guide has everything you need to know about biking in the city. Map your bike route before you go to find the most efficient route. You don’t need to own a bicycle to enjoy biking. Consider using a bike share bicycle They are cheap, convenient, and there is no U-Lock needed! Take advantage of one of the city’s new protected bike lanes, like the ones recently installed around Green Lake or on 4th Ave in downtown Seattle. 

Hop a ride on the Seattle Center Monorail 

The iconic Seattle Center Monorail at Westlake Center.
The iconic Seattle Center Monorail at Westlake Center. Photo: SDOT  

Monorail: If you want a fun, quick, and convenient link between downtown Seattle and Seattle Center, take the Seattle Center Monorail. First opened in 1962 in advance of the Seattle World’s Fair held that same year, the Seattle Center Monorail is an icon of Seattle transportation and history! Monorail service resumed service earlier this year after extensive upgrades. The Monorail accepts all forms of payment, including your ORCA card. 

Take the Seattle Streetcar 

Seattle Streetcar.
Seattle Streetcar. Photo: SDOT 

Streetcar: The Seattle Streetcar takes you from South Lake Union to Westlake, and from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill.  

Still need to travel by car? Try carpooling! Ride with a friend using King County Metro’s Carpool Program or King County Metro’s Vanpool Program. If you’ve got a group of five or more people, you can create your own Vanpool. 

Here are some more ideas for your holiday travel. No matter where you go and how you get there, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season! 

Graphic entitled "Traveling during the holidays? Skip traffic, save time, and reduce pollution by walking, rolling, biking, or taking transit" with tips on how to travel around the city