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Something to do or see at every Seattle Link light rail stop

From University of Washington to Othello

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Seattle has had the Sound Transit Link light rail line for about nine years now, and sometimes it still feels brand-new—partially because of the 2016 extension to the University of Washington and Capitol Hill.

It’s also one of Seattle’s most popular transit lines, with more than 2 million boardings per month in May of last year. That number could go up even higher come 2021, when the line stretches to the U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate.

In addition to being one of Seattle’s most pleasant public transit experiences, it’s also a great way to explore the city. On the way to Sea-Tac International Airport, the train stops in not just the newer, northern stations, but downtown, Pioneer Square, Sodo, Mount Baker, Beacon Hill, and in the Rainier Valley.

Also, this should go without saying: Not all of these neighborhoods are traditional tourist destinations, so it’s important to be respectful of the existing communities along the stops while getting to know Seattle a little better.

While we didn’t include the Tukwila and Seatac stops in this guide, as an extra tip: Those riding all the way to the end can enjoy fishing, swimming, and nature walks at Angle Lake.

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1. UW station: Waterfront Activities Center

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3710 Montlake Blvd NE
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-9433
Visit Website

Look behind Husky Stadium and find the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center, with canoe and rowboat rentals to not just UW students, but the general public. It’s one of the best locations to rent a vessel for paddling through the arboretum.

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2. Capitol Hill station: Cal Anderson Park and Bobby Morris Playfield

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1635 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 684-4075
Visit Website

Olmsted-designed Cal Anderson Park packs an incredible amount into a park of its size, including a fountain, a texture pool, a reflecting pool, and sports courts used for everything from basketball to bike polo. A wide, open meadow features gently-sloping hills perfect for kicking back and reading, but benches are plentiful for those who prefer it. It creates some natural space in the middle of one of Seattle’s denser neighborhoods without shutting out the city entirely.

Honorable mention (or rainy-day activity): Finished in 2014, the 12th Avenue Arts building is an incredible example of how arts preservation, nonprofit development, and housing can go hand-in-hand. Walk just a couple of blocks to catch dinner and some indie theater.

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3. Westlake station: The Seattle Center Monorail

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400 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101

We know, we know: taking transit to get on transit? But the Monorail is a cool relic of the 1962 World’s Fair. The Monorail is like an entirely-functional exhibit of what we thought the future was going to look like in the 1960s—plus, you get a cool view out the windows. Sit at the front and pretend you’re driving the train.

Honorable mention: Westlake Park—specifically, the water fountain at the west end of the park. Look closely at either side for the entrance to walk through it.

A post shared by ✈️➰❤️✨ (@edoon_travel) on

4. University Street station: Seattle Art Museum

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1300 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 654-3100
Visit Website

In addition to rotating exhibits, Seattle Art Museum has a massive permanent collection to get you started—including many pieces created right here in the Pacific Northwest.

Honorable mention: Freeway Park, one of Seattle’s solutions to a freeway that bisects an already-narrow city. Its striking brutalist design manages to inject some whimsy with waterfalls, winding staircases and ramps, and patches of greenery.

A post shared by CARLITA (@marquez.carlita) on

5. Pioneer Square station: Smith Tower Observatory Bar

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35, 506 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-0414
Visit Website

This may seem like an obvious choice—it’s one of Seattle’s bigger tourist destinations. But a recent, swanky remodel restored the observatory floor, including the gorgeous ceiling details, adding a Prohibition-themed bar. You still even get to ride the old-timey elevator up and get a little history lesson from the operator.

Honorable mention: If you prefer to view your Seattle history from down low instead of up high, the hilarious, bawdy, and a little terrifying Underground Tour is an evergreen Seattle tourism favorite.

A post shared by Smith Tower (@thesmithtower) on

6. International District station: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

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719 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-5124
Visit Website

The Wing Luke Museum tells the story of the Asian Pacific experience in Seattle throughout its history. Built by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, the design grew out of the original, 1910 multi-story building that served as a social center and living quarters for Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants.

Drawing inspiration from the building’s rich history, as much of the original building as possible was saved during construction. In addition to building materials, such as timbers cut out between floors, the character and scale of the building were maintained.

On the upper floors, original narrow doorways and corridors and small rooms preserve the intimacy of the original space, and are a venue for the museum’s immersion exhibits.

Honorable mention: Asian specialty supermarket, gift store, and food court Uwajimaya is a local institution.

A post shared by Your Friend Canh (@canhsolo) on

7. Stadium station: The Cannabis Museum at Dockside Sodo

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1728 4th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
(844) 362-5420
Visit Website

The stadium station is built for the stadiums, but there’s other stuff to do in the area, too. For example: Dockside dispensary’s Sodo location operates a small museum, featuring prohibition-era cannabis apothecary items.

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8. Sodo station: Living Computers Museum and Labs

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2245 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134
(206) 342-2020
Visit Website

This Sodo museum “provides a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience with computer technology from the 1960s to the present.”

This means not only vintage computers to look at, but fully-restored computers as interactive exhibits—everything from classic mainframes to the Commodore 64 to modern virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Honorable mention: Popular modern furniture purveyor Kasala has an outlet store down here, although you might not be able to carry your goodies back on the light rail (unless you really put your mind to it!).

A post shared by Victor (@supresmooth) on

9. Beacon Hill station: Plaza Roberto Maestas

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2601 17th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144

The story of this public plaza is rooted in activism and social justice—and while it’s a relatively new space, its history dates back to El Centro de la Raza’s founding in the 1970s, when “activists connected with Seattle’s Latino community” claimed an old Beacon Hill school for themselves. The city eventually leased the property to them for a dollar a year.

El Centro de la Raza built the 13,000-square-foot plaza, named for their co-founder, in front the building. It’s open to the public, and is surrounded by murals and, during the day, numerous food carts. It’s right at the center of an affordable, transit-oriented development that grew in response to the light rail station. It’s now the frequent site of community gatherings.

Honorable mention: Stop by coffee shop and cafe The Station, on the southeast corner of the plaza—right above the station itself.

10. Mount Baker station: Mount Baker Boulevard to Mount Baker Park

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S Mt Baker Blvd
Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 684-4075
Visit Website

Mount Baker Park is one of those gorgeous Seattle parks with a little bit of everything, with forested trails leading the way to sunny lake beaches. The route there from the station is pretty, too, with a windy sidewalk along just under half a mile of greenway.

Honorable mention: Philadelphian-approved Philly cheesesteak joint The Original Philly’s, as seen in this Blue Scholars video.

A post shared by Anna Shaffer (@annaseatown) on

11. Columbia City station: Columbia City Theater

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4916 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 722-3009
Visit Website

Built in 1917, the Columbia City Theater was originally a vaudeville theater. Now, it hosts a wide range of genres on its stage—and the occasional karaoke night—while still giving that old-timey vibe.

Can’t stay for a show? The Bourbon Bar at the front at least gives a taste.

Honorable mention: The Royal Room, another venue just across the street that also serves southern fare.

A post shared by Earshot Jazz (@earshotjazz) on

12. Othello station: Walk, bike, or run the Chief Sealth Trail

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Chief Sealth Trail
Seattle, WA

Walking, biking, or running the Chief Sealth Trail is a great activity for a transit tourist—not just because the light rail goes there, but because it was created with soil excavated from the light rail project itself. You can take it all the way to the next stop at Rainier Beach, or head north to Beacon Hill.

Honorable mention: Eat. While our original pick for this stop, Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana, has closed, there is a plethora of great food near the station.

13. Rainier Beach station: Kubota Garden

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9817 55th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 725-5060
Visit Website

Fujitaro Kubota was a highly sought-after gardener and landscaper in the Northwest, and Kubota Garden, which uses Japanese gardening concepts to showcase Northwest plant life, was his home base. Now a public park, it features not only beautiful plant life, walking paths with multiple water crossings and bridges, reflecting pools, and waterfalls.

Fair warning, this is a little more of a walk than other destinations on this list—roughly 20 minutes.

Honorable mention: Tilth’s Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Seattle’s largest urban farm.

A post shared by Kubota Garden (@kubotagarden) on

1. UW station: Waterfront Activities Center

3710 Montlake Blvd NE, Seattle, WA 98195

Look behind Husky Stadium and find the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center, with canoe and rowboat rentals to not just UW students, but the general public. It’s one of the best locations to rent a vessel for paddling through the arboretum.

3710 Montlake Blvd NE
Seattle, WA 98195

2. Capitol Hill station: Cal Anderson Park and Bobby Morris Playfield

1635 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Olmsted-designed Cal Anderson Park packs an incredible amount into a park of its size, including a fountain, a texture pool, a reflecting pool, and sports courts used for everything from basketball to bike polo. A wide, open meadow features gently-sloping hills perfect for kicking back and reading, but benches are plentiful for those who prefer it. It creates some natural space in the middle of one of Seattle’s denser neighborhoods without shutting out the city entirely.

Honorable mention (or rainy-day activity): Finished in 2014, the 12th Avenue Arts building is an incredible example of how arts preservation, nonprofit development, and housing can go hand-in-hand. Walk just a couple of blocks to catch dinner and some indie theater.

1635 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

3. Westlake station: The Seattle Center Monorail

400 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

We know, we know: taking transit to get on transit? But the Monorail is a cool relic of the 1962 World’s Fair. The Monorail is like an entirely-functional exhibit of what we thought the future was going to look like in the 1960s—plus, you get a cool view out the windows. Sit at the front and pretend you’re driving the train.

Honorable mention: Westlake Park—specifically, the water fountain at the west end of the park. Look closely at either side for the entrance to walk through it.

400 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101

4. University Street station: Seattle Art Museum

1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

In addition to rotating exhibits, Seattle Art Museum has a massive permanent collection to get you started—including many pieces created right here in the Pacific Northwest.

Honorable mention: Freeway Park, one of Seattle’s solutions to a freeway that bisects an already-narrow city. Its striking brutalist design manages to inject some whimsy with waterfalls, winding staircases and ramps, and patches of greenery.

1300 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

5. Pioneer Square station: Smith Tower Observatory Bar

35, 506 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

This may seem like an obvious choice—it’s one of Seattle’s bigger tourist destinations. But a recent, swanky remodel restored the observatory floor, including the gorgeous ceiling details, adding a Prohibition-themed bar. You still even get to ride the old-timey elevator up and get a little history lesson from the operator.

Honorable mention: If you prefer to view your Seattle history from down low instead of up high, the hilarious, bawdy, and a little terrifying Underground Tour is an evergreen Seattle tourism favorite.

35, 506 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

6. International District station: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

The Wing Luke Museum tells the story of the Asian Pacific experience in Seattle throughout its history. Built by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, the design grew out of the original, 1910 multi-story building that served as a social center and living quarters for Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants.

Drawing inspiration from the building’s rich history, as much of the original building as possible was saved during construction. In addition to building materials, such as timbers cut out between floors, the character and scale of the building were maintained.

On the upper floors, original narrow doorways and corridors and small rooms preserve the intimacy of the original space, and are a venue for the museum’s immersion exhibits.

Honorable mention: Asian specialty supermarket, gift store, and food court Uwajimaya is a local institution.

719 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104

7. Stadium station: The Cannabis Museum at Dockside Sodo

1728 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

The stadium station is built for the stadiums, but there’s other stuff to do in the area, too. For example: Dockside dispensary’s Sodo location operates a small museum, featuring prohibition-era cannabis apothecary items.

1728 4th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134

8. Sodo station: Living Computers Museum and Labs

2245 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134

This Sodo museum “provides a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience with computer technology from the 1960s to the present.”

This means not only vintage computers to look at, but fully-restored computers as interactive exhibits—everything from classic mainframes to the Commodore 64 to modern virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Honorable mention: Popular modern furniture purveyor Kasala has an outlet store down here, although you might not be able to carry your goodies back on the light rail (unless you really put your mind to it!).

2245 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134

9. Beacon Hill station: Plaza Roberto Maestas

2601 17th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

The story of this public plaza is rooted in activism and social justice—and while it’s a relatively new space, its history dates back to El Centro de la Raza’s founding in the 1970s, when “activists connected with Seattle’s Latino community” claimed an old Beacon Hill school for themselves. The city eventually leased the property to them for a dollar a year.

El Centro de la Raza built the 13,000-square-foot plaza, named for their co-founder, in front the building. It’s open to the public, and is surrounded by murals and, during the day, numerous food carts. It’s right at the center of an affordable, transit-oriented development that grew in response to the light rail station. It’s now the frequent site of community gatherings.

Honorable mention: Stop by coffee shop and cafe The Station, on the southeast corner of the plaza—right above the station itself.

2601 17th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144

10. Mount Baker station: Mount Baker Boulevard to Mount Baker Park

S Mt Baker Blvd, Seattle, WA 98144

Mount Baker Park is one of those gorgeous Seattle parks with a little bit of everything, with forested trails leading the way to sunny lake beaches. The route there from the station is pretty, too, with a windy sidewalk along just under half a mile of greenway.

Honorable mention: Philadelphian-approved Philly cheesesteak joint The Original Philly’s, as seen in this Blue Scholars video.

S Mt Baker Blvd
Seattle, WA 98144

11. Columbia City station: Columbia City Theater

4916 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Built in 1917, the Columbia City Theater was originally a vaudeville theater. Now, it hosts a wide range of genres on its stage—and the occasional karaoke night—while still giving that old-timey vibe.

Can’t stay for a show? The Bourbon Bar at the front at least gives a taste.

Honorable mention: The Royal Room, another venue just across the street that also serves southern fare.

4916 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

12. Othello station: Walk, bike, or run the Chief Sealth Trail

Chief Sealth Trail, Seattle, WA

Walking, biking, or running the Chief Sealth Trail is a great activity for a transit tourist—not just because the light rail goes there, but because it was created with soil excavated from the light rail project itself. You can take it all the way to the next stop at Rainier Beach, or head north to Beacon Hill.

Honorable mention: Eat. While our original pick for this stop, Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana, has closed, there is a plethora of great food near the station.

Chief Sealth Trail
Seattle, WA

13. Rainier Beach station: Kubota Garden

9817 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Fujitaro Kubota was a highly sought-after gardener and landscaper in the Northwest, and Kubota Garden, which uses Japanese gardening concepts to showcase Northwest plant life, was his home base. Now a public park, it features not only beautiful plant life, walking paths with multiple water crossings and bridges, reflecting pools, and waterfalls.

Fair warning, this is a little more of a walk than other destinations on this list—roughly 20 minutes.

Honorable mention: Tilth’s Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Seattle’s largest urban farm.

9817 55th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118

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