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Seattle weekend traffic: Hempfest and the solar eclipse

What’s blocking up traffic this weekend—and how to ride transit to it (or around it)

The scene at Hempfest 2007.
Paul David Gibson/Flickr

Another weekend, another whole list of things that could disrupt getting around. Some of these events might be things you’re doing, too: The Tattoo Expo and Hempfest are all running all weekend long.

Plus: Roadwork closures are heating up again, and folks are starting to head south en masse to watch the total solar eclipse.

We’ve combed through the alerts and advisories from both the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to deliver transit-friendly solutions for your weekend outings.

Some of this weekend’s advisories—and transit-oriented alternate routes to events—are listed below.

Sports and the stadium district

While there’s not a game on Thursday night per se, there is NFL Fantasy Draft Night at CenturyLink at 6 p.m., which is still expected to draw a crowd.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks Preseason has started; the Hawks are playing the Vikings at 7 p.m. on August 18. It shouldn’t be as much of a hiccup as a regular season game, but it’s still a big day for Hawks fans, and should still cause a hubbub around the stadium district.

CenturyLink heats back up on Sunday—again, hosting Minnesota—for a Sounders game,

The Mariners are in Florida all weekend, but Safeco Field is not empty. Tom Petty is performing on Saturday night

Link Light Rail goes to the stadium, as does the Seattle Streetcar and a ton of bus routes from Metro, Community Transit, and Sound Transit.

Friday night, the Storm take on the San Antonio Stars. Basketball contines throughout the weekend at the Key, with a professional 3-on-3 tournament featuring Rashard Lewis and Gary Payton at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The buses that get closest to KeyArena are Metro route 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, and RapidRide D.

Hempfest and more

This may not seem like a lot compared to previous weeks, but bear in mind that the mass exodus down to Oregon to view the total solar eclipse has officially begun—compounding any other traffic issues that may arise.

All weekend long, the Seattle Tattoo Expo is once again at Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center. The Pavilion is pretty much right in the middle, so any bus route that skirts the Center will do: Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, and RapidRide D to the west, or the 3 and the 4 to the east.

Friday, August 18, the Pike Place Market foundation is having their annual fundraiser, Sunset Supper at the Market. Pike Place—the road running through Pike Place Market—will be closed, as good a reminder as any that driving down that road always ends in tears and frustration. Approximately one gazillion buses (okay, a lot of them) stop two blocks away from Pike Place on Third Avenue and Pike Street; if none of those work, try Pine Street.

On Sunday, a Belltown Block Party features art, music, and three different wrestling companies on Second Avenue between Blanchard and Lenora Street. That stretch of Second will be closed; any bus that serves the extremely well-trafficked bus stop at Third and Bell will get you close.

Seattle Opera’s Madame Butterfly is expected to draw a crowd Friday and Saturday. The 2, 3, 4, 13, and 19 will all get you close to McCaw Hall.


Every day this weekend Friday through Sunday, Hempfest, a celebration of all things cannabis, takes over connected Myrtle Edwards and Centennial parks, just north of the waterfront district.

It’s probably best to avoid driving to Hempfest if you can; intoxicants aside, parking on the waterfront is a bear (let this be a warning if you usually rely on the plentiful parking in Interbay, also). Metro routes 8 and the 99 get closest to the south entrance by the Olympic Sculpture Park, and the 19, 24, and 33 get closest to the north entrance via the Thomas Street Overpass.

Road work

The Montlake bridge is closed again this weekend, from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Also keep this in mind of you’re planning on taking a bus that runs on the bridge, like the 43 or 48.

WSDOT continues crucial repaving work on Interstate 5 this weekend, with a little catch-up from last Sunday’s rain. This means lane reductions around Kent and Tukwila starting at Friday night through Monday morning. Several ramps will close: SR 516 on-ramps, Military Road on- and off-ramps, and South 188th Street on- and off-ramps

On I-90, the Bellevue Way ramps will be closed 5:30 a.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Sunday.

Road work continues all over downtown and Belltown, with Second Avenue reduced to one lane between Pike and Pine Streets and Wall Street closed between Third and Fourth Avenues from Friday night through Sunday night. Meanwhile, a crane dismantling will close Second Avenue between Pine and Virginia on Saturday and Sunday.

Safeco Field

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CenturyLink Field

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