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7 Essential Tips for Seattle Link Light Rail with a Toddler

7 Essential Tips for Seattle Link Light Rail with a Toddler

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If your child is a fan of light rails and trains, you might find the Seattle Link Light Rail a fun adventure in Seattle! You can even tag other moms along whose kids enjoy the railway as well. It’s like a fun field trip at your own pace.
This post about the Essential Tips for Seattle Link Light Rail with a Toddler was written by travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

My toddler Owen is obsessed with all types of vehicles. He likes to read about them, watch YouTube videos of them, and, most of all, he likes to sit on them. Almost on a daily basis, he asks if we are going to sit down on a train today.

I realized we have several light rail trains in Seattle and could easily make an excursion. Most of them are operated by Sound Transit Services. So, we grabbed some friends and decided to have a morning of Seattle Link Light Rail and then lunch.

Choosing Which Station to Embark

Of course, this was easier said than done. Since we all live in South King County, we decided to meet at the Tukwila Link Light Rail Station at 10 am. Unfortunately, every spot was filled, and there were many cars circling the parking lots looking for something to open up.

Normally, I’d try Airport Station, since there’s lots of parking. However, this was Friday of Labor Day Weekend, and the line-up to even get to the airport was crazy. So, we decided to try the Columbia City Station since we knew there was lots of street parking. In hindsight, we could have parked at Othello or Rainier Beach.

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My friends had their toddlers on their laps as we took the last few seats available on the Northbound Seattle Link Light Rail.

We easily found street parking in Columbia City and headed to the station to buy our tickets. We all bought Seattle Link Light Rail Day Passes for the University of Washington. That was the furthest stop, and we weren’t sure if we’d want to get off at some point. Then, the boys patiently waited for the train to arrive just minutes later.

The Start of Our Light Rail Service Journey

Owen was actually grinning ear to ear when the train approached and started making all kinds of sounds. I was worried he was upset by how loud the train was, but he just looked at me and exclaimed, “I’m so excited!” He eagerly climbed aboard the train and was ready to start our journey.

The train was pretty full when we got on, but we were able to secure seats and have the toddlers sit on our laps. Our seats were in a long row on the sides of the train, so Owen stood in my lap facing me and looked out the window.  After a few stops, the train emptied a bit, and we moved to the back of the Seattle Link Light Rail train so we could have the toddlers in window seats while the adults took aisle seats.

We didn’t realize that most of the route between Columbia City and the University of Washington is in a tunnel, so there was less for our toddlers to look at. But they didn’t seem to mind and got a kick out of being on a train and looking at each station. Owen asked me the name of every station and what there was to do there .(This was after I told him there was lots of shopping at the Westlake Station.)

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Owen spent most of the train ride snuggled next to me so he could look out the window.

Staying on the Seattle Link Light Rail

Once we got to the University of Washington, we stayed on the train to head back to Columbia City. We were informed that we had 10 minutes before the train moved. So, we walked to the other side of the car to get seats that would face us in the right direction. This time also was used to check out the doors and other seats on the train.

The ride back to Columbia City was still a lot of fun! The toddlers looked out the window and would comment when they saw buses or buildings and asked many questions. They were sad when we returned to our station and had to leave.

We decided to grab lunch at Super Six in Columbia City because they are kid-friendly, and the food is really yummy. After lunch, we walked around the corner to Columbia City Bakery to grab treats for the kids. If it weren’t so close to nap time, we would have walked further to Retroactive Kids to look at their toys.

As we got back into the car, Owen told me that his day was “awesome” and he wanted to ride the train again! For $5.50, this was a great way for us to spend the morning. I’m definitely adding it to my list of activities to do with toddlers any time of the year!

Getting the window seats to the Seattle Link Light Rail is the best way for your kids to enjoy the ride.
Owen spent most of the train ride in the Seattle Link Light Rail snuggled next to me so he could look out the window.

7 Tips for Seattle Link Light Rail with a Toddler

  1. Parking can be tricky at some of the stations. There are 600 spots at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station, but they fill up quickly.
  2. Children under 6 years old ride free.
  3. Adult day passes range from $4.50 to $6.50.
  4. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the University of Washington Station to the Airport Station.
  5. The route between Columbia City and the University of Washington is mostly tunnels. The route between Columbia City and Sea-Tac Airport is mostly above ground and might appeal more to toddlers.
  6. At the University of Washington and Airport Stations, you can stay on board while they switch directions. This is a great time to grab seats facing the direction you are traveling.
  7. Several of the stops are within walking distance of kid-friendly shops and restaurants. Our favorite stop is Columbia City because of everything that’s there. There is a toy store, a bakery with yummy trusts, lots of fun restaurants and Starbucks!

About the Seattle Link Light Rail

The Seattle Link Light Rail service, an innovative light rail project, offers a convenient way to navigate through Downtown Seattle and beyond. With stations strategically located across the city, it connects key areas, including residential and commercial districts. Each Link station serves as a gateway to explore Seattle, featuring a fare paid zone for easy access. The East Link extension, a notable expansion, further enhances connectivity.

What sets this light rail service apart is its flat fare system. Instead of varying prices based on distance traveled, passengers enjoy a simple, straightforward fare, making travel planning hassle-free. For added convenience, tickets can be purchased via a user-friendly ticket app or traditional ticket machines at the stations.

Understanding the diverse needs of its riders, the service offers reduced fares for eligible riders, ensuring accessibility for all. These concessions are a testament to the light rail’s commitment to community inclusivity. Onboard the Link trains, passengers experience a smooth, efficient ride, whether commuting to work or exploring the city’s attractions.

In essence, the Seattle Link Light Rail service stands as a modern, efficient, and inclusive transportation option, seamlessly integrating into the daily lives of Seattle’s residents and visitors.

7 Essential Tips for Seattle Link Light Rail with a Toddler

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