Seattle, the largest city in Washington State, is a lively place surrounded by a natural beauty that’s well worth exploring. The Emerald City deserves a special visit, but if you find yourself on a stopover, there is no need to waste your time waiting in the airport. Drop off your bags at a Seattle bag storage facility and make the most of your connection.
SeaTac Airport is connected to Seattle by a light rail line. This line will drop you off at the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle, taking around 35 to 40 minutes to make the journey. So you’ll have time to get through customs, pick up your bags, and drop them off again, and still be able to see a lot of what the city has to offer.
6 hour layover in Seattle
Even on a short SeaTac Airport layover, you’ll have time to see one of Seattle’s most popular sights. The Westlake Center where the light rail from the airport stops is also a stop on the Seattle monorail which will take you in only a couple of minutes to the Space Needle. This futuristic tower is one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, and the views you’ll get from the top make the journey well worthwhile. The mountains beyond the city and the ocean in front of it mean you’ll never run out of things to photograph. There’s also a revolving restaurant if you feel like getting something to eat. If not, expect to spend around an hour in the Space Needle, taking in the view and getting those perfect scenic shots.
- Take the train downtown from the airport and the monorail to the Space Needle.
- Enjoy incredible views of Seattle and its environment from one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
An hour is enough for most people to enjoy the tower fully, making a great choice on a short Seattle layover.
8 hour layover in Seattle
With a little longer to spend in Seattle, you can branch out and explore more of the city’s quirky charm. Right next to the Space Needle, you’ll find the Museum of Pop Culture. Established in 2000 by Microsoft executive Paul Allen, this museum was inspired by the work of Jimi Hendrix and began life as a musical experience. However, it has since expanded its mandate to cover all aspects of pop culture. The interactive exhibits make it a great place to visit with the family, but people of all ages will find something to entertain them in this striking facility. Expect to spend around two hours to see everything the museum has to offer. Large bags are not allowed in the museum, so make sure you’ve dropped yours off at a Seattle luggage storage first.
- The Museum of Pop Culture is right next to the Space Needle.
- This museum tells the story of pop culture through interactive exhibits, with a particular focus on music.
- Expect to spend a couple of hours in the museum.
10 hour layover in Seattle
With more time at your disposal, you can venture a little further into downtown Seattle and experience what it has to offer. It’s a short walk from the Westlake Center down to the waterfront where the legendary Pike Place Market sits. This huge multilevel indoor market is a fantastic place to shop for food, gifts, souvenirs, and just about anything else. Plus, you’ll get to see the flying fish at the fish store right in front of the entrance. Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most famous tourist attractions, but it’s also very much a part of life for local residents. That makes it a fantastic place to visit on a trip to Seattle. A couple of hours in the market will let you see everything it has to offer, and it’s also a good place to get something to eat.
- Take a short walk from the Westlake Center to Pike Place Market.
- Watch out for flying fish as you enter and pass by the famous fish store.
- Shop for gifts and souvenirs or grab a bite to eat at this iconic destination.
12 hour layover in Seattle
If you have a 12 hour long layover, you can add another attraction to your itinerary. The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel that sits on the edge of the water just behind Pike Place Market. At 174 feet tall, the wheel dominates the area and offers incredible views over the sea. The ride only takes 10 to 20 minutes, so you’ll have time to take a ride and explore another nearby attraction.
One block away from Pike Place Market, you’ll find Seattle Art Museum. This museum curates art from around the world, from the local indigenous art of the Pacific Northwest to cultural treasures from Asia and Australasia. Wandering through this museum is like taking an artistic tour around the world without leaving Seattle. The museum often rotates its exhibits to keep things interesting, and there’s always something worth seeing here. Expect to spend at least an hour or two in the museum.
- Take a short walk to Seattle Great Wheel for a quick, fun ride.
- Another short walk brings you to Seattle Art Museum, where you can enjoy art from around the world.
24 hour layover in Seattle
A 24 hour layover in Seattle means you won’t have to rush to explore. An overnight layover means you can really get to grips with the best of the city. Drop off your bags at a Seattle suitcase storage, and you’ll be ready to have a fun time in this Pacific Northwest jewel.
As a major metropolis, center of immigration, and tech hub, Seattle has a culinary scene to rival any city in the US. Restaurants like Canlis and The Hideout offer high-end food in glamorous surroundings where you may spot a celebrity or two. At the other end of the scale, Seattle’s many food trucks offer some of the city’s most cutting-edge cuisine. Whatever you like to eat, you’ll probably find an interesting new variation on it in this vibrant city.
With more time at your disposal, you can head a little further from the downtown core and visit Discovery Park. This 534 acre wilderness contains a lighthouse, a cultural center, endless walking trails, and breathtaking views of Puget Sound, the ocean, and the mountains. It’s the ideal place to get some fresh air and stretch your legs before heading back to the airport to make your next flight. It’s also a place that will leave you with indelible memories of the natural beauty of Seattle.
- Take bus 33 or 24 to reach Discovery Park from downtown Seattle.
- Wander the hiking trails, enjoy ocean views, and keep an eye out for migrating whales.
- Get some fresh air and exercise before returning to the airport for your connecting flight.