Pacific Northwest Transit Adventures

A Touristy Day In Seattle: Museums, the Bainbridge Island Ferry, and a Mariners Game

For my Saturday in Seattle I didn’t really ride any transit that’s website worthy, although I did take a Washington State Ferry.

I spent the morning first going to the Seattle Science Center because its on my Transit Museum Membership (a member of the ASTC passport program). As an adult I wouldn’t have spent money on it, although their live butterfly pavilion was really neat. I then went to the Seattle Art Museum when I realize it’s suggested donation at all times, giving them $2 instead of my customary $1 that I give when I go to the Met (in New York). I’m amused by Branco Buster on lone from the Denver Art Museum because of a friendly super bowl bet that Seattle won.



I then take a walk down the waterfront and enjoy the view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day



Then abandoned Bell Street, a former stop on the Waterfront Streetcar. It was discontinued on  November 18, 2005 to allow the Seattle Art Museum sculpture park to be built on the site of the former trolley barn and no alternative trolley barn sites have been built, the Alaska Way Viaduct Tunneling Westway-esque Boondoggle would have probably stopped service anyway. I vividly remember riding the line when I was 5.

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I keep walking up the Waterfront and reach the BNSF Line along Pudget Sound north of the Great Northern Tunnel that is used by Sounder North, Amtrak Cascades Vancouver Trains and the Empire Builder to leave Seattle. A freight train approaches with containers covered by tarps.

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I then walk south for my main event of the afternoon, taking a Washington State Ferry (the largest ferry operator in the United States, third largest in the world, and largest carrier of automobiles in the world). There are two ferries from downtown Seattle both cost $7.85 round-trip (well you only pay when leaving Seattle, for passengers their free going eastbound), a shorter trip to Bainbridge Island (a 35 minute crossing) and a longer ride to Bremerton (60 minutes). I decide on Bainbridge Island with a 6:00pm Mariners Game and a curiosity to see the island. I get to the Colman Dock about 8 minutes before the 3:00pm departure and go upstairs, past the cars waiting in the holding parking lots to the foot passenger area. Washington State Ferries accept ORCA ePurse (or one of its own passes) but doesn’t participate in any of the passes accepted on other services, nor accepts transfers. I see a long line for the staffed ticket window and walk around excepting to find an ORCA TVM but there are none. I ask at an information booth about this and am told I can use my credit card at any of the kiosks. I approach one of these kiosks that looks like a device you would buy a movie ticket at and easily buy my one may ticket. The ticket has a barcode on it but no way to be ripped.

I learn why the terminal is so crowded because the ferry to Bremerton is leaving at the same time. Soon boarding of the Tacoma to Bainbridge Island is announced and I approach a bank of strange turnstiles. They have ORCA targets and bar code readers. For my bar code ticket I put it under the laser and board.

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It’s a great ferry ride across Puget Sound with Mount Rainier becoming visible as we continue across the Sound.

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I get to Bainbridge Island at 3:38pm and see that the bikes get off first, waiting for them to get the passenger exit up to our high level.


I then take a walk on Bainbridge Island (taking very few pictures). It’s a neat enough town that I would have lingered longer than my allotted hour had I not had a Mariners Game to get to. The ferry ride is a great cheap attraction (with an interesting town on the other end that every tourist to Seattle should experience). The second photo was from a beach near the ferry terminal but on the wrong-side of the dock so getting back was a circuitous walk.

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I return to the dock (and what feels like a longer line) in time for the 4:40 boat on The Wenatchee. Without fares to pay we just clamber on past crew members with their number clickers. It’s another scenic ride across the sound.

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We arrive back at 5:10.


I quickly grab some Ivars Clam Chowder and walk down to Safeco Field.  Safeco is an outdoor stadium. It isn’t climate controlled, the outdoor roof is basically just a giant umbrella protecting the stadium and the fans form the elements but not temperature or anything else. I think its great. I went to an Astros Game in climate controlled comfort in Minute Maid Park and found the stadium so much nicer after the game ended and the roof was opened for a fireworks show. There I have a nice walk past the bullpens with fans able to look in.

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Then I keep fully circling the stadium including passing the train tracks that run under the movable roof when its tucked away in storage. These are the yard leads to Amtrak’s Seattle Coach Yard(3 Photos)


I then find my seat towards the bottom of the upper deck right behind home plate and have an enjoyable evening with only a sad 22,061 fans in attendance. There is a dirt biking event going on inside the Link (the football/soccer Stadium) and strange noises and smoke emanates throughout the evening. Safeco field is a fantastic ballpark and a great place to watch a ballgame. The Mariners end up losing to Oakland A’s 3-1.

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The game ends a little after 9:00 and I start walking north. I stop at King Street Station(3 Photos) to try and pick up my ticket to Vancouver for tomorrow. All trains have left for the day (there 10:00pm-ish arrivals from both Portland and Vancouver, BC) and the ticket office is closed. Only a janitor is the only visible employee, mopping the nicely restored floors.  I ask where a Quik-Trak machine and he’s confused about what I’m asking and I leave without a paper ticket. The waiting room with tiled floors, marble and terra-cotta walls has been spectacularly restored, a huge difference compared to my last visit a few years ago.


I walk back north the two miles to my hostel for what will be a shortish night with an early morning wake-up for the 7:40am Amtrak Cascades departure to Vancouver, BC.