Seattle is a major shipping and technology hub in the Northwest of the United States, not to mention the largest research university (R1) in the region. There are lots of travel options, depending where you are traveling from.
You will arrive in the international airport, SEATAC. There are lots of options and lots of airlines. There are direct flights from Frankfurt, Japan, China, Mexico, the UAE, and even Iceland. It also has easy access to many locations in the USA. However, modern day air is constrained. Book as early as you possibly can!!
There are several ways to arrive at the conference hotels from the airport. Expect to spend at least 30 minutes on this trip, if not more.
- Uber/Lyft: Seattle has both ride services. Expect to pay about $26-$30. Use your app to understand where to pick up the service. The travel time should be less than 30 minutes.
- Taxi: Follow the signs for ground transportation and taxies as you exit the airport. They are in the parking structure just across from the pick-up lanes. Expect to pay $40-$50. Travel time should be less than 30 minutes.
- Super Shuttle: This is a shared ride service. It will cost about $15-$20. Access it near the taxi station that is closest to terminal 1. With the wait for the van to fill, this could take a bit more than an hour.
- Light Rail: Seattle now has light rail service from SETAC to the University area. Follow signs to the end of the parking structure to access (it is a 10 minute walk from the airport exit, but the walk is on airport property). It will cost $2.50. Ride until the end of the line. Unfortunately, however, you will be dropped at the opposite corner to the hotels. I estimate a 20-25 minute walk to get to the hotel. While fine when going out for dinner, if your suitcase is heavy this may not be the most desirable option.
Fun Seattle Fact: SEATAC is situated between the two cities of Seattle and Tacoma. The airport grew a town around it that eventually became a city called... SEATAC.
The University of Washington and the hotels are located just off Interstate 5. Exit at the 45th street exit, heading east. The university is just a few blocks, and runs along 15th St (N/W). The hotels are located just a few blocks from where you will arrive.
The public transportation system here is good (as opposed to Paris or NYC where it is great). The light-rail, freshly opened at the University, spans the airport all the way to the university.
Google and Bing mapping programs both have the complete Seattle transportation system loaded into them. Feel free to use their driving directions to guide you.
The light rail, in particular, can get you all the way from the airport to the university. When you arrive at the airport, follow signs for the light-rail (it *is* a bit of a walk). Everything is served by elevators, so even if you have a bag you should have no trouble. The trip takes about 40 minutes or so from the airport to the University Station (end of the line).
Should you buy an Orca card? If you plan to do plenty of traveling on bus and light rail, then yes. But if you are only going to and from the University then I'd say just buy a one-way card.
Seattle is a high-tech city, so we have all options.
- Taxi. Orange Cab (206-522-8800)
- Ride Services: We have Lyft and Uber and probably some others I'm not familiar with.
- Car share services: Car2go, ReachNow, and ZipCar are all operating in the city
Parking is an extreme sport in central Seattle. Hopefully your hotel has a spot or two. The campus has plenty, about a 5 minute walk from the conference center, and it costs $15/day.