Updated: December 2017
Seattle Monorail Review:The city of Seattle is beautiful and my family tries to make it up there at least once a year from Portland, Oregon. My kids are now 9 and 5 years old, so we figured this trip would be more educational than in years past. There is a great Harry Potter Exhibit showing in Seattle so that was one of the main reasons for the trip. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on 6th Avenue and walked a few blocks down to Westlake Center to get on the famous Seattle Monorail. Before you get too excited and think it takes you are all over the city, the monorail was designed and built back in 1961 and 1962 for the World's Fair that was held in Seattle. It's original purpose was to shuttle people from the fairgrounds back to the downtown region. It definitely has served the city well over the last 4 decades and I knew our kids would like riding it. Our destination was the Space Needle on one day and then back to the Pacific Science Center the next day. Seattle is a very walkable city, but the monorail makes for a fun break and when it's raining is a huge bonus.
The monorail in Seattle is very convenient if you want to get out to the Seattle Center or back to the Westlake Center where there is tons of shopping to do with Nordstrom's, Macy's and the Gap all nearby. We were in the city of Seattle a few days before Christmas in 2010 and the monorail was not that crowded. It was a weekday so many were still at work during the hours that we were riding it. Most of the people on the monorail are tourists as the main reason for riding it is because it takes you to the Space Needle (something the locals aren't doing everyday). With a capacity of about 200 passengers, the train only needs about 2 minutes to travel down the tracks the 1 mile to it's destination. We sat up front where the driver manages the controls. If you have ever been to Disneyland or Disneyworld, the monorail in Seattle is very similar. There are bench seats and you can stand if it's too crowded. The ride takes you to the base of the Space Needle and you can walk to all the other activities in this area as well (amusement park for kids, science museum, and more). The homepage for the Seattle Monorail is at http://www.seattlemonorail.com. They have maps, information on fares, schedules, hours, and more. Good resource for first time riders and tourists planing on making a trip to Seattle, WA.