Affectionately nicknamed “The Rain City”, the light showers here tend to go on for many days on end. Don’t let that dampen your spirits, though. Seattle has so much to see even amidst gray skies. If you’re lucky enough to be here for a half-day layover, don’t just coop yourself up in the airport! Grab a cup of coffee from the nearby roastery to shake the sleepy after-rain effects off, and head out to catch a whiff of the salt-tinged air, your 9-hour adventure here is just starting!
1. Things to know
Although there are no luggage lockers at the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) airport, you can still leave your baggage in safe hands at Ken’s Baggage Storage & Rentals, located conveniently on the Baggage Claim level. Keep your duty-free beers cold with their refrigerated storage facilities, and rent out wheelchairs and strollers for your half-day here without breaking your budget. Travelling hands-free is always a breeze, so be sure to drop off all your bulky items here!
Ken’s Baggage Storage & Rentals
Address: Baggage Claim Level
Price: Dry storage and frozen/refrigerated storage fees are charged based on the size for every 24-hour period the item is stored. Generally, dry storage costs around 7 USD - 10 USD and storage for frozen/refrigerated items costs around 12 USD - 22 USD.
Opening Hours: Daily, 5.30 am - 12.30 am (Memorial Day & Labour Day Weekends: 5.00 am - 12.30 am)
Contact: (206) 433-5333
Website: Ken’s Baggage Storage & Rentals
Take the Link Light Rail
Save your money for some extra shopping; instead of taking a cab downtown, opt for the Link Light Rail that can take you to 14 different stations including downtown Seattle. For an affordable price of around 3 USD per trip, the trains arrive every 6, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the periods of the day. With an efficient transport system, you can save on the waiting time and squeeze in more things to do later in the day!
Link Light Rail
Address: SeaTac/Airport Station: International Blvd & S 176th St, SeaTac, WA
Price: from 2.25 USD
Opening Hours: 5 am to 1 am
Website: Link Light Rail
2. Things to do in Seattle:
11 am - Visit the Pike Place Market
Amidst the vibrant neon lights, find yourself amongst some of the humblest establishments that make up the historical landmark of Seattle. Stretching across a nine-acre (3.6 hectares) Market Historic District boasting clear water views of the nearby Elliott Bay, shop for some of the freshest produce from local farmers, butchers, and fishmongers. The community spirit is lively here, engage in friendly banter with the bakers who whip up a sweet treat of donut delights and you may just find yourself a new friend who will drop you hints of the best places here!
Head over to the fish and dairy produce stalls first, that part of the market is the most spirited in the morning! Feast your eyes on the dazzling array of sea creatures that are freshly caught from the seawaters; the rock lobsters may look intimidating but they serve up a wicked taste when grilled well!
No need to fret about not being able to bring your buys with you on your flight later on! The Pike Place Fish located right under the historical clock packs your fish and seafood appropriately for airline travel, so you can enjoy your catch even at your next destination.
Support the growing creativity of local artisans by visiting the crafts market. Littered with booths set up by many independent businesses, relax in the earthy scents of a freshly cut fir candle burning on a small flame during the cold winter mornings. Alternatively, try your hand at a new musical instrument. The Rock-n-Roll Woodwork set up by Ryan Sanderson sells handmade classical guitars for a touch of homeliness along with quirky inlay artworks using recycled and natural materials to make portraits of familiar images.
Pike Place Market
Address: 1st Ave and Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101
Price: Varies from store to store. Check website for more information.
General Market Hours: Breakfast: 6 am, Fresh Produce & Seafood: 7 am, Official Market Bell: 9 am, Crafts Market: 10 am - 4 pm, Farm, Tables: 8 am - 4 pm, Merchant Hours: 10 am - 6 pm Restaurants: 6 am - 1.30 am; varies
Contact: (206) 682-7453
Website: Pike Place Market
12.30 pm - Have lunch at Michou's Deli
Drop by Michou’s Deli after shopping your fill in the main portion of the marketplace. Located conveniently in the heart of Pike, their delicious panini-styled sandwiches are prepared daily with local ingredients fresh from the farms. Their belief in supporting local farmers and growers is what sets them apart from other eateries, so be sure to try their other best-sellers. Their Shepard’s pie is filled with a generous serving of diced chicken, topped off with a grilled crust that will have you craving more!
Michou World Class Deli
Address: 1904 Pike Place Seattle, Washington 98101
Price: from 5 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm, open daily
Contact: (206) 448-4758
Website: Michou World Class Deli
1.30 pm - Set your sights on the Space Needle
After your filling lunch, hop on a short cab ride over to the Space Needle Station, where you can literally have the world beneath your feet with a 350-degree view of all the scenic sights that Seattle has to offer. Let the calm waves of Elliott Bay wash your tension away, and soak up the tranquility of Mt. Rainier in the distant skies as you spend some quiet time with your loved ones.
It would be a real waste if you didn’t bring a piece of this stunning view back with you, so make sure you don’t miss the free customisable photo experience on top of the Space Needle! Just scan your ticket on the ticketing booth to activate the camera, and choose from preset Seattle backgrounds to complete your picture.
Check out this video for more information!
Address: 400 Broad St. Seattle, WA 98109
Price: All rates valid for 3 hours. General Valet 25 USD, SkyCity Guests 12 USD, Observation Deck Guests 16 USD, Chihuly Garden and Glass Guests 16 USD, Each additional hour 3 USD.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10 am – 9.30 pm
Website: Space Needle
Stop by the SkyCity restaurant for some midday dessert 500 feet (152 metres) off the ground. With a delectable choice of sweet treats, indulge in the seasonal crumble baked with snickerdoodle cookie crust and topped off with a serving of fluffy vanilla ice-cream, or try out the lunar orbiter suitable for your little adventure in the skies!
Address: 400 Broad St. Seattle, WA 98109
Price: from 9 USD
Opening Hours: Lunch is open Monday – Friday from 11.30 am – 2 pm
Contact: (206) 905-2100
Website: SkyCity Restaurant
2.45 pm - Head back to where you came from
Hop on a short cab ride (around 10 USD) back to Pike Place Market, where you can take the Link Light Rail back to the Sea-Tac airport, or head to the old monorail station and take a train back if you’d like to save on the cab fares.
4 pm - Check in & pick up your luggage
Head back to Ken’s Baggage Storage to pick up your luggage and check in for your flight later. After you get all the admin stuff out of the way, it’s time for round 2 of exploration in the airport!
4.30 pm - Satisfy your sweet tooth at Seattle Chocolates
Founded by self-proclaimed chocoholic Jean Thompson, the first Seattle Chocolates was created in 1991. Since then, the store has expanded to selling conveniently packaged chocolates while retaining the same great taste. Truffle bars, caramels and locally crafted chocolate bars, you name it! Known for using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients possible, their cocoa powder is sourced using Rainforest Alliance Certified™, indicating that the farm they get their ingredients from is environmentally sustainable.
It makes for a good snack to chomp on when you’re on a long flight, so be sure to stock up on your favourite treats. The extras can be souvenirs for your family and friends!
Address: C Gates
Price: from 2.50 USD
Opening Hours: Daily, 7 am - 7 pm
Website: Seattle Chocolates
5 pm - Butter up your nails at butter LONDON studio
Get your nails done by professionals here at butter LONDON. Introducing toxin-free manicure and pedicure services, choose from the wide array of colours and nail art designs available for your next getaway.
butter LONDON Sea-Tac
Address: C Gates
Price: Manicures from 26 USD; Pedicures from 40 USD
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am – 8 pm, Saturday, 7 am - 7 pm, & Sunday, 7 am – 8 pm
Website: butter LONDON Sea-Tac
5.45 pm - Grab a bagel to go on your flight
Pick from the collection of 12 gourmet bagels drizzled with a generous serving of mozzarella cheese. Their freshly prepared salads are refreshing to the taste, and the steaming bowls of soup will warm you up if the rainy afternoon is getting to you. All the items on their menu can be carried on your flight, so feel free to bring a familiar taste of Seattle together with you.
The Great American Bagel Bakery
Address: A, D, N Gates
Price: from 1.89 USD
Opening Hours: Daily, 4.30 am – 11 pm
Website: The Great American Bagel Bakery
6 pm - Board the flight to your next destination!
With that, your 9 hours here have come to an end. We hope that in the short amount of time that you’ve been here, the humble lifestyles of the locals have inspired you to make a return trip one day. Tons of beautiful sights await you in the ever-changing Seattle, from the traditional glassblowing hubs to natural views of lush greenery flourishing in the city centre, so be sure to come back another time!