Navigating the Seattle Transit System from Capitol Hill

Sustainable living is part of the Capitol Hill lifestyle. Just like we learned on Sesame Street, we shut off the faucet when we brush our teeth, unplug appliances when not in use, and keep six separate bins of recycling. (At least, we try.)

It’s always easier to save the Earth by not doing something. That’s why lots of us opt to help out by not driving. When others would be behind the wheel, we ride Sound Transit everywhere, enjoying the view from the Light Rail with a phone in one hand and a pumpkin spice latte in the other. If you’re new to the Capitol Hill area, here’s a quick look at the Seattle transit system so you can start not driving like a pro.

Seattle Street Car driving to Westlake hub with Clipper Vacations ad on side

How to Navigate the Seattle Transit System from Capitol Hill

Walking from Capitol Hill

Many of Seattle’s highlights are within walking distance of Jack Apartments. Here’s a snapshot of nearby hotspots.

  • Seattle University – .1 miles
  • Seattle Central College – .2 miles
  • Paramount Theater – .7 miles
  • Frye Art Museum – .7 miles
  • Volunteer Park – 1.1 miles
  • Amazon Doppler Building – 1.2 miles
  • Pioneer Square – 1.3 miles
  • Pike Place Market – 1.3 miles
  • CenturyLink Field – 1.6 miles
  • Space Needle – 1.8 miles

Most people in the Seattle area either grab the Sounder Train to CenturyLink Field, take public transit, or sit through traffic on the way to a Mariners game, but Jack residents just walk. There’s no better feeling than showing up to a game feeling energized from a quick jaunt across town. That being said,  some things are just easier to reach by bus, so that’s next on the list. 

Buses from Capitol Hill

The Jack Apartments neighborhood is one of the busiest parts of Seattle, meaning there’s a bus every 5 to 10 minutes at peak times. The easiest way to find your way around is to plug the route into Google Maps, but here are a few buses to know by heart.

  • The First Hill Street Car runs from Seattle Central College to Union Station Square. 
  • Bus 2 runs between Queen Anne and Madrona, stopping in Capitol Hill on the way. 
  • Bus 550 runs between Pike Place Market and Bellevue Square Mall.
  • Bus 522 runs from downtown Seattle to Lake City, Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville.

Traveling Out of Town from Capitol Hill

The Link Light Rail has a stop five blocks north of Jack Apartments. Ride north to University of Washington, or take the light rail south for a direct trip to SeaTac Airport, There are twelve stops along the way including Pioneer Square, the International District, and CenturyLink Field.

From the Link Light Rail, there are several public transit options for traveling out-of-state.

  • From The Union Station Square, take the Amtrak Train anywhere in the US or Canada, or save money on a Bolt bus to Portland or Vancouver. You can also take the Amtrak Train directly from PikePlace Market to Seatac.
  • From the CenturyLink Field stop, hop on the Greyhound bus to anywhere in North America.
  • Take the Light Rail straight from Pioneer Square to SeaTac International Airport for a flight nearly anywhere in the world. 

ORCA Cards: How Universal Bus Passes Work

ORCA cards can work in two ways: as a debit card just for the Seattle transit system, and as a bus pass. Whether it works best to buy a pass or just transfer money depends on how often you use the bus, and on which routes you take.

By transferring money to your ORCA account, you can ride cash-free on all Seattle area public transit, including Sound Transit, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce Transit, and the Washington State Ferries. Since fares vary by region and transit system, just having the card simplifies travel significantly. 

When it comes to buying a pass, things get a bit complicated. You can either buy a general pass, good for any ride under a certain price, or pick one or more passes based on the region you’re in. In fall 2019, we recommend a $99 monthly ORCA pass for the average Seattleite, which covers most local buses, Link Light Rail rides, local express buses, and short rides throughout other counties. If you’re planning to take the ferry or Sounder Train twice a day, you can save big on a monthly pass that covers the ticket. Check out the ORCA pass price breakdown here. If you only plan to take the Sounder Train once in a blue moon when there’s a big game at CenturyLink Field, you may want to choose a pass that corresponds with your daily commute.

Seattle Transit can get complicated, but just remember Google Maps is your friend. It will help you find which bus to hop on when, and provide suggestions between the Link Light Rail, streetcar, bus, and walking routes. Whether you spend a lot of time in one area or love to travel, an ORCA card will save you time and money. 

If you’re new to the Seattle area, welcome! We’d love to introduce you to our modern apartments in the heart of the city – we’re pretty proud of them.

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