Car hire in Seattle
Hiring a car in Seattle
Seattle, Washington is one of the fastest growing cities in America and is becoming a popular tourist destination for those looking to stay away from the traditional US city break locations.
A West Coast seaport city, Seattle has plenty to offer those looking for a chilled and relaxing time.
Seattle is famous for being the birthplace of Starbucks coffee, but is also a must-visit for those who enjoy good beer.
Of course, Seattle is forever linked with the indie band Nirvana and there are plenty of places to explore if you are a Kurt Cobain-devotee, as well as a thriving local music scene if you fancy checking out the up-and-coming talent during your stay.
What you need to know
[Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) (https://www.holidayautos.com/car-hire/usa/seattle-airport)] is the largest airport in the Pacific northwest region of the US, and is around 12 miles from downtown Seattle.
It offers international flights to cities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as locations across North America. With three runways, it is a busy transport hub and there are plenty of car rental firms based at the airport.
To save extra hassle and expense once you arrive in Seattle, then consider using our booking engine to find the best price and pre-book your car hire needs before travelling to the US.
Where to pick up your car
If you have booked a car at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) than the car rental desks are a short bus ride away from the arrivals lounge. The shuttle buses run 24-hours a day so it is quick and easy to pick up the keys for your rental.
Once you have collected your baggage, head to the one of the two designated shuttle bus pick-up areas, which can be found at the north and south ends of the main terminal.
If you prefer, there are a number of places within the city of Seattle to collect your hire car, including King Street Station - the main train station in the region, which can be found between South King and South Jackson streets in the Pioneer Square district.
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“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Seattle is a port city, so there are lots of attractions along its popular waterside region. However, the city also has a great nightlife, with numerous live music venues, as well as a whole host of bars and restaurants.
For shopping head downtown, where there are large department stores, as well as smaller boutiques and independent retailers.
Seattle Seahawks are also, obviously, based in the city, and their home ground is CenturyLink field - an impressive open-air stadium that seats almost 70,000 fans.
If you fancy a day out then consider heading to Mount Rainier. Just over 70 miles away from the centre of Seattle, the 14,411ft peak is perfect during the winter months for anyone who loves winter sports.
During summer, the Mount Rainier National Park is also a great hiking destination and you can get a permit to spend a night sleeping out in the wonderful landscape at the various campgrounds.
There is also the chance to learn something from the locals, with regular guided tours on offer that showcase the highlights of the park.
Further afield, there are the charming islands of San Juan. Around 100 miles from downtown Seattle and within reach of Washington the 172 islands are a great place to head for a weekend - especially if the weather is nice. As well as being able to relax, the islands offer plenty to do with pottery galleries, outdoor art, a whale museum and tempting local cuisine.
When coming by car you will need to take the I-5 North to Exit 230 and then follow the signs for the San Juan Island ferry.
Driving in and around Seattle is relatively straight-forward, but remember the city does have a high percentage of cyclists, so keep your eyes peeled for two-wheelers.
Top attractions to visit in Seattle
There are plenty of things to do in Seattle - ranging from the relaxing to the more adventurous - but there is bound to be something to suit everyone.
One of the key features of Seattle’s skyline is the Space Needle. Built as part of the 1952 World Fair, the observation desk is a popular attraction for visitors.
It stands at 605ft (184m) high and offers spectacular views of the city and beyond, including Mount Rainer and Elliot Bay.
Lifts take people to the needle’s observation deck at 520 ft (160m), and there is also a special rotating restaurant at the top - the perfect place to enjoy a romantic meal at sunset.
It takes 41 seconds to reach the top of the structure, although on windy days the lifts have special speed limits imposed for public safety.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market was originally created in August 1907 by a small group of farmers who wanted to sell their produce directly to the public to help ensure the best price.
It has now developed into one of the busiest farmers market in the US, and some ten million people do their shopping there every year.
The market had to eventually move as it outgrew its surroundings, but it can now be found along the downtown Seattle waterfront in a series of 11 buildings, with over 500 different traders.
As well as fresh food, you can purchase clothing, jewellery and collectibles. If you time it right, Pike Place Market is also a great place to stop and grab something to eat, with many food stalls and even a fine-dining French restaurant.
Seattle Art Musuem
Seattle Art Museum, generally know as SAM, is actually made up of three different parts - the main museum in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.
SAM has grown in size significantly over the past century and is now home to thousands of varied and eclectic pieces, with a strong focus on Native American artifacts.
The Olympic Sculpture Park was opened in 2007 and is some nine acres in size, complete with a beach to enjoy when the weather is favourable.
Entry to the Olympic Sculpture Park is free all year-round, and every Thursday SAM also offers free entry to the Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Asian Art Museum.