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Car Rental in Seattle
Car rental locations in Seattle
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Car Rental in Seattle: driving the urban center on the beautiful West Coast
Once the home of the grunge music scene, Seattle has become the metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, offering visitors everything from the finest shopping and dining to pockets of fascinating and exciting subculture throughout its various neighborhoods. It is also an urban center nestled in some of the most beautiful territory of the West Coast—along the coast of the Salish Sea with volcanic Mount Rainier punctuating the skyline. Make the most of your visit by driving through Seattle’s surroundings as well as the inner city and book your rental car today!
Sun comes out frequently during Seattle summers, despite the city’s reputation as one of the rainiest in the US, though for any visit you should plan to pack a raincoat. Winters are chilly and overcast.
The de facto national language of the United States is English, which is also the primary native language of Seattle residents. The Duwamish people have been living and speaking their Salishan family language of the same name in the area since around 8000 BCE.
The currency throughout the United States is the dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.
Seattle is in the Pacific Time Zone, UTC-8.
Automobile hire is available in over 15 locations throughout Seattle, including the Seattle-Tacoma (or “Seatac”) International Airport (SEA), in Capitol Hill, and downtown.
38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included in the visa-waiver program, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.
Driving in Seattle
You probably won’t want a car to explore Seattle’s inner city, where roads are narrow and parking scarce, but you will need a car to explore any of Seattle’s outer neighborhoods. And you should absolutely make a point of driving into the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest while in the area!
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the USA.
- In the city: 25 mph (40 km/h)
- On urban freeways: 50-60 mph (80-96 km/h)
- On rural freeways: 70 mph (112 km/h)
- Morning rush hour is brutal in the Seattle area, starting as early as 4:30 am and lasting until 9. Afternoon rush hour is equally long, spanning from 2 pm to 7.
- Parking is limited and expensive in downtown Seattle. Street parking typically costs between $1 and $2.50 an hour. Alternatively, take advantage of frequent parking garages in the downtown area or parking lots along Alaskan Way.
- You can drive on your domestic driver’s license as a tourist throughout Washington State, though accompanying your license with an international driver’s permit is recommended.
- The SR 520 Bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are the only two mandatory tolled roads in the Seattle area.
- While Washingtonians can be issued a provisional driver’s license as young as 16, you will have to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car. Drivers under 25 are likely to be charged extra, if they are permitted to rent at all.
Cheap Car Rental in Seattle
Automobile hire in Seattle typically starts at around $40 a day, but keep an eye out for deals in downtown Seattle that drive this price down to $25! Here are some of the best deals in Seattle:
- Hyundai Accent or similar (economy class) – $25/day
- Nissan Versa or similar (compact class) – $26/day
- Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $27/day
- Volkswagen Jetta or similar (standard class) – $35/day
- Ford Fusion or similar (fullsize class) – $36/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in Seattle
While there is very little seasonal variation in price for rental cars in Seattle, if you book your car within three months of your arrival, keep an eye out for some excellent in downtown Seattle. While $40 is typically a good price for the Seattle area, these deals can drive that price down by $15.
You’ll likely find the most availability for cars at the Seatac Airport, where rental agencies such as Thrifty and Alamo offer competitive prices. However, be sure to check prices in downtown Seattle as well. If you find a cheaper deal there, take the recently built Transit Link Light Rail connection from the airport to downtown to avoid high rental prices and expensive taxi fares.
Regardless of whether you book your car in or near Seattle, you can also typically save over $10 a day by extending your rental period to over a week.