How walkable is Seattle U (do we want a rental car)?

Hi - planning on being in Seattle for spring break and we are signed up for a tour. We are trying to decide on rental car vs Uber. Some campuses we’ve toured, I’ve regretted not having our own car for exploring and driving around campus and the areas just off campus after the school tour. Other campuses, it hasn’t mattered and walking is fine. Anyone have any advice? TIA.

1 Like

From someone who lived in Seattle for 20 years and taught at Seattle U Law School, I definitely recommend your own car in Seattle. Traffic can be challenging, especially during rush hour, and so you can have a long wait for an Uber. Seattle U is not in a super walkable surrounding area. The walkable areas closest to campus are downtown, Capital Hill and Madison park - all are a drive from campus. Parking is not fun in the city, but if you really want to get a feel for Seattle and its different neighborhoods (highly recommend exploring), I think an Uber would be too constricting and inconvenient (and also a lot more expensive than a rental car).


We walk everywhere when we go to Seattle. Never needed a car. IMO there is no better way to see the city. But we are used to that kind of exercise (and there are definitely hills!).

Depends where you’ll be and where you are going. For downtown Seattle no car.

If you plan to tour ‘around’ then yes car.

Couldn’t tell by the post where you are going school or tourist wise.

1 Like

I think you must be talking about downtown? Seattle U is across I-5 on the way to Madrona and Madison Park. You can’t walk there from downtown.

1 Like

We always stay at the Renaissance which is just th but her side of 5. No issues.

Yes, get the rental car. You do not need it for downtown or if you are on campus, but there is so much to go check out and having your own vehicle will help.

The airport is a hike from downtown, too.


Or they can take the light rail.

I missed the title - Seattle U.

We’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza - just up the hill from downtown.

According to google maps, it’s a 17 minute walk from Seattle U - so I think between light rail and walking or an uber, if the plan is to stay downtown, I think it can be done sans car.

1 Like

Seattleite here.

Public transportation here is far worse than East Coast cities such as NYC and Boston. There is a single train going from the airport to downtown, but that’s it for fast rail/metro and the busses here are slow, dirty and require a lot of transfers.

Downtown is walkable if you are athletic, but note that downtown is situated along a steep hill, with most tourist attractions being at the bottom and Seattle U being at the top.

Regarding I-5, there are several walkable underpasses connecting downtown to the Seattle U area (called “Cherry Hill/First Hill”). The parking situation can be expensive, but there is street parking on almost every road. Shouldn’t be too big of a problem.

IMO, if you plan on doing any other tourist attraction other than seeing Seattle U (Pioneer Square, Seattle Center, UW campus, arboretum) you’ll definitely need a car.

Hope this helps and enjoy your visit! (Be sure to pack rain clothes!)


Hi all,

Thanks for all of the advice. I should’ve been more clear. We are there to visit Seattle U. We are staying at the Westin. We will have 1 day to do touristy stuff and 1 day for campus tour. We plan to walk/Uber for the touristy stuff as we hate dealing with parking. My main question was for the day of the campus tour only - would we be content being dropped off by an Uber? Is the campus easily walkable if we want to see it all in that scenario? Or, will we wish we had a reserved a car to drive to different areas of campus? I am not worried about airport transportation, cost, etc. - just want to know the best way to see this campus! Thanks!

1 Like

The campus is not that big. Very walkable. You don’t need a car for that part of your trip.


There’s a ton of tourist stuff to do in downtown Seattle, from Pike Place Market to the Space Needle to the Museum of Pop Culture and more.

It looks like the university is 1.1 miles or 22 minutes by walk.

Unless you have an issue with hills/walking, you can get great exercise walking the city. But you certainly can take an uber.

One thing you don’t need for this trip - a car. You can take the light rail from the airport to downtown.

Have fun.


Totally agree with all those but I love walking. I think I walked 8 miles just looking around the last time I was in Seattle. Dealing with a car is stressful and expensive.

1 Like

The campus is only 50 acres, which isn’t that big. There are parts of a medical complex on a couple of sides, which limits interesting sight seeing in the immediate campus neighborhood.