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Getting around in Seattle

spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in PAX Archive
Hi everyone! I've been a long time reader of Penny Arcade but I finally decided to join the forums since this is the first year I'm heading to PAX in Seattle. I've decided to stay over until the Thursday after PAX and I had some questions. For reference I'm staying in the Seattle Downtown Sheraton that everyone recommends. I went ahead and got my reservations because I didn't want to not be able to get a room where I wanted to stay (they have a good AAA discount).

I've traveled to a decent amount of large cities across the country and world (London, Tokyo, LA, San Francisco) and the one thing in common that they all have is really superb public transportation that can pretty much get you from any point A to any point B in their relative cities.

This will be my first time in Seattle; I've done some research and it appears they have a bus system instead of the usual big city subway stuff. Is the bus system reliable? Can I reliably get from point A to point B using it without looking like an idiot? I am not averse to bus systems; I actually found the San Francisco system to be excellent when I went there on vacation a few years back. Is the Seattle system like the San Francisco system? Also, does anyone know if they offer a pass that will get you on the bus lines free without having to deal with fares (I had one of these for SF as well, bought it before the trip all you had to do was activate it and flash it at the drivers and was good for like 5 days, and good for admission to some museums as well).

Places of interest for me include the Asian Art Museum, The Experience Music/Sci Fi Hall of Fame, the Museum of Flight, and anything like that really.

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated by this newbie! 8-)

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    MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You are going to have so much fun btw since it is your first time.

    Last year was my first and my friends and I got around perfectly on foot. Walked everywhere and it wasn't a big deal. Granted I am used to walking really, really, really long distances. But with walking and cabs to just help out a little bit you should be okay.

    Granted I don't know where those locations you specifically mention are though, you might need to cab that.

    MaoChan on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    MaoChan wrote: »
    You are going to have so much fun btw since it is your first time.

    Last year was my first and my friends and I got around perfectly on foot. Walked everywhere and it wasn't a big deal. Granted I am used to walking really, really, really long distances. But with walking and cabs to just help out a little bit you should be okay.

    Granted I don't know where those locations you specifically mention are though, you might need to cab that.


    Well, I plan on going pretty far afield, and would rather use public transport if possible. If its not workable, I'll probably just end up renting a car. I just wanted to avoid that if possible.

    spinal77 on
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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    You're likely to pay more with the AAA discount than the PAX discount that will be available soon.

    Moe Fwacky on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    You're likely to pay more with the AAA discount than the PAX discount that will be available soon.

    Well, its a good thing the AAA rates allow you to cancel with no charge then right? ;) The AAA rate though was for a deluxe room for 230 a night; which is a step up from the run of the mill rooms and a good deal cheaper than the normal rates for those rooms. How much better can you get? Wish we had an ETA on when those deals were going to be announced. I can always make another reserve after they come out and cancel my AAA reservation.

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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    You're likely to pay more with the AAA discount than the PAX discount that will be available soon.

    BTW any advice on getting around, since I'm assuming you're familiar with the area as a Mod?

    spinal77 on
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    MeeOkMeeOk Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The Seattle metro system isn't to bad.. in my opinion. The only other bus systems I've really used at all were in Detroit and Norfolk though. Both of which sucked.

    MeeOk on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    MeeOk wrote: »
    The Seattle metro system isn't to bad.. in my opinion. The only other bus systems I've really used at all were in Detroit and Norfolk though. Both of which sucked.

    IF you mean, Norfolk, VA then I would be hard pressed to call that a bus system. Public transport sucks in Tidewater :(

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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    You can get from 50-70 bucks/night cheaper with the PAX rate (depending on hotel and number of people). Also, just because I'm a mod, doesn't mean I live in Seattle.

    Moe Fwacky on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    You can get from 50-70 bucks/night cheaper with the PAX rate (depending on hotel and number of people). Also, just because I'm a mod, doesn't mean I live in Seattle.

    Ahh, sorry for assuming.

    spinal77 on
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    PikaPuffPikaPuff Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    two lines of road are free to ride on the bus. one going one direction two and from bewteen the convention center and pike street market, and another direction to and from this mall and that underground city place where the three roads meet.

    anyways, free buses to/from everywhere you'd want to go + some walking

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    MetaverseNomadMetaverseNomad Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Welcome spinal!

    First, in an obvious attempt at plugging Pre-PAX activities and Seattle exploration, I invite you to visit our thread on the Magical Mystery Tour!

    As for transportation... yeah, yeah... we don't have a fancy subway system (*sniffle*), but the bus system is quite reliable, depending on where you're going.

    Check out the Seattle Metro website for some general information and for specific bus numbers and schedules to get an idea of where they go and how long it takes.

    Also, an AWESOME resource that was just created by a UW engineering student is "One Bus Away", a site that gives you--via SMS, website, phone browser, etc-- real-time bus locations and approximate distance away from a particular stop. (for more info about this, check this out: http://www.physorg.com/news153509804.html )

    There are other more ... eclectic ways to get to some places around Seattle, for instance the Seattle Monorail , the Waterfront Streetcar, and the SLUT (yeah, we're a classy city...).

    All in all, there are some pretty good options!

    MetaverseNomad on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Welcome spinal!

    First, in an obvious attempt at plugging Pre-PAX activities and Seattle exploration, I invite you to visit our thread on the Magical Mystery Tour!

    As for transportation... yeah, yeah... we don't have a fancy subway system (*sniffle*), but the bus system is quite reliable, depending on where you're going.

    Check out the Seattle Metro website for some general information and for specific bus numbers and schedules to get an idea of where they go and how long it takes.

    Also, an AWESOME resource that was just created by a UW engineering student is "One Bus Away", a site that gives you--via SMS, website, phone browser, etc-- real-time bus locations and approximate distance away from a particular stop. (for more info about this, check this out: http://www.physorg.com/news153509804.html )

    There are other more ... eclectic ways to get to some places around Seattle, for instance the Seattle Monorail , the Waterfront Streetcar, and the SLUT (yeah, we're a classy city...).

    All in all, there are some pretty good options!

    Thank you for the welcome and the info Metaverse! Unfortunately my plane is coming in about 3PM Thursday so I can't hop on the tour thing, but my friends and I may be interested in the dinner when more info comes out about that.

    And that info is really helpful! I really appreciate it.

    spinal77 on
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    proXimityproXimity Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd start talking about it, but Nomad pretty much nailed it on the head

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    ElectricTurtleElectricTurtle Seeress WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    spinal77 wrote: »
    Also, does anyone know if they offer a pass that will get you on the bus lines free without having to deal with fares

    For some reason the primary page on the Metro Transit site is missing for it (probably related to their domain transition), but there should be Visitor Passes available. I believe they're only good for a day each.

    ElectricTurtle on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    spinal77 wrote: »
    Also, does anyone know if they offer a pass that will get you on the bus lines free without having to deal with fares

    For some reason the primary page on the Metro Transit site is missing for it (probably related to their domain transition), but there should be Visitor Passes available. I believe they're only good for a day each.

    Thank you, I'll look into that!

    spinal77 on
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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If light rail is up, Pax will make it golden, or platinumen

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    CuZZaCuZZa Khoo's Epic Mount Perth, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The Seattle bus system is totally awesome and safe. Just look at this typical image of the buses in action -
    BUS%20ACCIDENT.jpg

    Disclaimer - Not actually typical of Seattle buses. They are awesome though. But considering most of the stuff you'd want to see is within walking distance of the WSCTC, I barely used them. It is a nice walk around Downtown too.

    CuZZa on
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    caddyalancaddyalan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I just checked Not For Tourists' site -- http://www.notfortourists.com -- and there are PDF maps there which should cover Seattle in detail. (I've used the site and its books for getting around Chicago, NYC, and Atlanta -- quite helpful.)

    My main question -- if I end up near an airport hotel, will it be difficult to get to the con center and back? If cabs are needed, especially after dark or on weekends, then that could be an expensive tradeoff.

    caddyalan on
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    Rogue_hunterRogue_hunter Breaks Through Brick Walls Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    CuZZa wrote: »
    The Seattle bus system is totally awesome and safe. Just look at this typical image of the buses in action -
    [bus img]
    Disclaimer - Not actually typical of Seattle buses. They are awesome though. But considering most of the stuff you'd want to see is within walking distance of the WSCTC, I barely used them. It is a nice walk around Downtown too.

    Entirely true. Unless you're on the CCST, are local to the area, or are staying quite far from the convention center, a car is not needed. Pike's Place Market is 6 blocks from the convention center and the bus system seemed to run quickly and often.

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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    Even those of us on the CCST don't use our cars once we're in Seattle. God knows the last thing I want to do after driving for two straight days is get back in the car.

    Moe Fwacky on
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    nearlysobernearlysober Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I doubt the Light Rail will be operational by PAX... at least not all the way to the airport. Parts of it are supposed to open this summer, while the airport connection will open "by the end of the year".

    You can find more info on Seattle (and all of King County) busses here: http://transit.metrokc.gov/

    They have things like trip planners, time tables & route maps.

    Basically though, if you're wanting to stick to the city, you'll find that the larger bus stops (like in the bus tunnel, or on 3rd) have maps that show you were the different routes go and at normal hours within the city the busses are quite numerous.

    nearlysober on
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    MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you are talking about getting from the airport to the Convention Center hotels, def just ride the Grey Line bus. Super cheap and takes like 40min to get there.

    MaoChan on
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    Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    MaoChan wrote: »
    If you are talking about getting from the airport to the Convention Center hotels, def just ride the Grey Line bus. Super cheap and takes like 40min to get there.

    Is that the bus that went underground or no? (Took some bus from the airport to PAX. Wasn't bad)

    Qs23 on
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I am not sure if it has been brought up yet, but bus rides while in the downtown area are free. You can hop on ANY bus running down town (King County Metro, Sound Transit, Downtown Trolley, and Community Transit) and ride for free. You will want to pick up a free booklet when you get on, too. They cover all the routes and show you maps of the "Ride Free" areas. Also, check out the "Trip Planner." You can even use Google Maps to get public transit routes.

    That_Guy on
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    Queen BrewerQueen Brewer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    There used to be a visitor's pass on the weekends, but it was recently discontinued. Your only option will be regular fares. You can pay cash or buy a booklet of tickets online, but cash seems to be a much better option. Fares really aren't a big deal because all of your destinations are likely to be in one zone, the City of Seattle. Taking the bus to the Museum of Flight should be fun....

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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    There used to be a visitor's pass on the weekends, but it was recently discontinued. Your only option will be regular fares. You can pay cash or buy a booklet of tickets online, but cash seems to be a much better option. Fares really aren't a big deal because all of your destinations are likely to be in one zone, the City of Seattle. Taking the bus to the Museum of Flight should be fun....

    Why is it really complicated?

    spinal77 on
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    MetaverseNomadMetaverseNomad Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The 174 goes from downtown right to the Museum of Flight (E. Marginal Way).

    Also, Museum of Flight is free on the first Thursday of the month, 5-9 PM. (and the 174 runs until 4 AM)

    MetaverseNomad on
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    DreamwriterDreamwriter Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I am not sure if it has been brought up yet, but bus rides while in the downtown area are free. You can hop on ANY bus running down town (King County Metro, Sound Transit, Downtown Trolley, and Community Transit) and ride for free.

    Just to clarify, you can hopon any bus running *IN* downtown for free. If you get on the bus and you are not downtown, it will cost you money.

    By PAX, Seattle's light rail system will be in operation, running from Tukwila to downtown. So if you want to take that, you just need to take a bus to Tukwila (there's gonna be shuttle busses running the route every 10/15 minutes until December when the light rail reaches the airport).

    The bus system is pretty darn good service, as long as you stay in the central Seattle area. If you ever want to go somewhere on the East Side, though, it's only reliable to major locations - downtown Bellevue, Redmond Town Center. Which really, for the average PAX goer the only place on the east side I could see wanting to go to that would be a real hassle would be the Pancake House.

    Dreamwriter on
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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    Don't forget about Fatburger

    Moe Fwacky on
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    MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    Don't forget about Fatburger

    We have a Fatburger here in San Antonio, and it went under for sucking ass so I will ask you this,

    Fatburger, Dick's, or Chili's? (Since I figure we both have eaten at these three.)

    If you say Fatburger maybe I need to give it another try, as the franchise might have just been bad.

    MaoChan on
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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, you just got a bad one. The one in Bellevue is good, and the one near me is also good.

    Moe Fwacky on
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    MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Huh, might have to give it another shot. It was just terrible when me and Mrs. Mao went. Burnt, greasy (not in the good way), and poor toppings. Too bad you can't make it down here to TX for a Chris Madrid's burger. As big as your head and just as tasty.

    MaoChan on
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    beowuffbeowuff Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Fat Burger is the worst place I have ever gone. Dicks is heavenly compared to Fat Burger. Horrible food, horrible service. I don't understand why people like it...

    Chili's is great, but most of them are closed now. I'm not sure if there's any still open around here...

    beowuff on
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    GodmeatGodmeat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    beowuff wrote: »
    Chili's is great

    Are we talking about the same Chili's?! They're the most generic, bland hamburgers I've ever had. Frozen patties on stale buns. Blegh.

    As far as chains go, Red Robin probably has the best burgers.

    But for the best of the best, it's always impossible to beat the local fare.

    Godmeat on
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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    beowuff wrote: »
    Fat Burger is the worst place I have ever gone. Dicks is heavenly compared to Fat Burger. Horrible food, horrible service. I don't understand why people like it...

    Chili's is great, but most of them are closed now. I'm not sure if there's any still open around here...
    Oh my god, your tastebuds must be backwards to even consider Dick's to be good eating unless you're drunk. Dick's is probably one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth, with the exception of White Castle.

    Moe Fwacky on
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    proXimityproXimity Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    Oh my god, your tastebuds must be backwards to even consider Dick's to be good eating unless you're drunk. Dick's is probably one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth, with the exception of White Castle.

    You best not be setting foot back in these parts.

    proXimity on
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    Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited March 2009
    I'm sorry man, but Dick's isn't tasty. Sure it's great if you're in a hurry, or you're drunk, but I wouldn't call it a "tasty burger."

    Moe Fwacky on
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    ElectricTurtleElectricTurtle Seeress WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    proXimity wrote: »
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    Oh my god, your tastebuds must be backwards to even consider Dick's to be good eating unless you're drunk. Dick's is probably one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth, with the exception of White Castle.

    You best not be setting foot back in these parts.

    Seconded. The only fast burger better than Dick's is In-n-Out. People actually like the frozen shit that all the major chains serve?

    But really, if you want the best burger around, it's at Maggie Bluffs.

    Also, the Fatburger in Federal Way is good, but my wife likes it more than I do.

    Man, this tangent topic has convinced me to eat some Dick's after work tonight/tomorrow-morning-at-an-ungodly-hour-right-before-they-close. I will dedicate it to all the haters.

    ElectricTurtle on
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    MaoChanMaoChan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Man, this tangent topic has convinced me to eat some Dick's after work tonight/tomorrow-morning-at-an-ungodly-hour-right-before-they-close. I will dedicate it to all the haters.

    LOL Nice!

    Def local burgers win over any chain but really the only way to get Moe to do a fair comparison of what he thinks about Fatburger is to use places we might have all eaten at.

    MaoChan on
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    spinal77spinal77 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    proXimity wrote: »
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    Oh my god, your tastebuds must be backwards to even consider Dick's to be good eating unless you're drunk. Dick's is probably one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth, with the exception of White Castle.

    You best not be setting foot back in these parts.

    Seconded. The only fast burger better than Dick's is In-n-Out. People actually like the frozen shit that all the major chains serve?

    But really, if you want the best burger around, it's at Maggie Bluffs.

    Also, the Fatburger in Federal Way is good, but my wife likes it more than I do.

    Man, this tangent topic has convinced me to eat some Dick's after work tonight/tomorrow-morning-at-an-ungodly-hour-right-before-they-close. I will dedicate it to all the haters.

    Man i've never even HEARD of any of these chains before heh...All we have out here are like McD's, Burger King, Hardee's (Carl's Jr.), and Wendys(my place of choice). If you wanted to sample one quick place for fast food, thats easy to get to, which is it, Dicks or Fatburger?

    spinal77 on
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