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Seattle weekend traffic and transit: Special Olympics, Seafair, and the Ship Canal Bridge

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

Cascade Creatives/Shutterstock

Another weekend, another whole list of things that could disrupt getting around. Some of these events might be things you’re doing, too—for example, Seattle is hosting the Special Olympics right now and the Seafair pirates are landing on Saturday. But some other stuff is factoring in, too, like maintenance on the Ship Canal Bridge.

Interested in not getting stuck behind the wheel? Our weekend traffic report is here for you.

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.

Weekend events: Music, food, and pirates

Saturday at 10 a.m., the Seafair Pirates sail in at Alki Beach, kicking off the annual Seattle summer celebration. Take the 37, 50, or 56 to get there.

Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Seattle Street Food Festival sets up on Ninth Avenue between John and Denny in South Lake Union. Take the 8, 40, 62, C Line, or South Lake Union Streetcar to get there.

Saturday early evening, Kenny Chesney plays Centurylink Field at a bright and early 5 p.m. As with the Mariners game, Link Light Rail goes there, as do the Seattle Streetcar and many a bus route.

Saturday night, Harry Styles Key Arena on at 8 p.m. Like with the Storm game, Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, and RapidRide D all go right there.

Sports: Special Olympics and Mariners

The Special Olympics have been on all week, and it continues through closing ceremonies on Friday at 7 p.m. at Lake Union Park. Get directly there on the South Lake Union Streetcar, or hop on Metro route 40 or the C Line.

Events in the meantime largely take place at the University of Washington and in Federal Way:

  • To get to the UW athletics area, which includes Husky track, IMA courts, and Alaska Airlines Arena: Take Link Light Rail straight to the Husky Stadium stop, or ride Metro routes 44, 45, 71, or 73 right there. This is also rerouting a ton of buses, including some you might take to get there: the 31, 32, 48, 67, 75, and 372.
  • To get to Meany Hall at UW: Take the 31, 32, 67, 75, or 78 to get right there, or the 43, 44, 48, and 65 stop another half-block away.
  • Transit access to the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way is more limited, but if you can get to the Federal Way Transit Center, DART route 903 goes there.

The Mariners have home games all weekend long: Thursday at 7:10 p.m. at the Angels, then a series against the Rockies at 7:10 p.m. Friday and 1:10 p.m Saturday and Sunday. Link Light Rail goes to Safeco Field (get off at, intuitively, the Stadium stop), as do the Seattle Streetcar and a ton of bus routes from Metro, Community Transit, and Sound Transit.

While the Seattle Storm are out of town on Friday, they’re in-town on Sunday, when they play the Washington Mystics at 4 p.m.. That’s Key Arena—or Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 13, 32, and RapidRide D.

Road work and bus service changes: Ship Canal Bridge maintenance

Thursday and Friday, the Special Olympics mean reroutes on several bus lines, including Metro routes 31, 32, 65, 67, 75, 277, 372, 903, and the C Line. Sound Transit route 540 will also be rerouted off the UW campus on Friday.

On Sunday morning, WSDOT crews will be doing maintenance on the southbound Ship Canal Bridge. The work will reduce that stretch of southbound I-5 to two lanes from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. and close the NE 45th Street onramp.

Note: We put immediate and new closures in this section, but not every single planned street closure appears here. Explore all 98 active SDOT projects, many of which involve street and lane closures, here. Here are Sound Transit rider alerts; here are King County Metro rider alerts.

Lake Union Park

860 Terry Avenue North, , WA 98109 Visit Website

Alaska Airlines Arena

3910 Montlake Blvd NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Alki Beach

, , WA

CenturyLink Field

800 Occidental Avenue South, , WA 98134 Visit Website

Safeco Field

1250 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134 Visit Website

Husky Stadium

3800 Montlake Boulevard Northeast, , WA 98195 Visit Website