This post originally appeared on the Bellevue Downtown Association website.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff
The real magic of Magic Season? Not worrying about parking.
Magic Season has officially begun in Downtown Bellevue, and with so many things to do, why spend any time bothering with parking? From a life-sized snow-globe and ice skating in the park, to a nightly parade of fairytale wonder, and a garden of lights to explore; you can do it all without circling, cursing, or praying to the parking gods.
Most of the holiday events are central to the downtown core, making the bus an especially easy option:
First things first, find your route. All buses traveling in and out of downtown will go through the Bellevue Transit Center, located on 6th between 108th and 110th. A short walk and you’ll think you’re at the North Pole!
- The Sound Transit route 550 will go from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (Westlake) up Bellevue Way and to the Bellevue Transit Center. Jump off at 4th and walk across the street to the downtown park for ice skating at the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink presented by Alaska Mileage Plan, or to check out Snowflake Lane presented by The Bellevue Collection; or jump off at the transit center and walk down the block to Meydenbauer Center Theatre for a show. This route runs every 15 minutes, Monday-Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
- The King County Metro route 271 goes all the way from the University District in Seattle to Eastgate Park-and-Ride or the Issaquah Transit Center via the Bellevue Transit Center; the Issaquah buses are less frequent, so if this is the route you need, double check the time schedule. Jump off at 10th & 106th (holiday reroute) to head down to Snowflake Lane and the Bellevue Downtown Park for a skate. Exit at 116th & 1st to check out the Garden D’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens.
- Take King County Metro routes 234 or 235 from South Kirkland to the Bellevue Transit Center
- Take the Rapid Ride B Line from Overlake Park-and-Ride, Overlake Transit Center, or Crossroads to the Bellevue Transit Center.
Second, you’ll need to pay your fare. The easiest way to do that is to have your ORCA card handy, just tap and go! It’ll track transfers and fares for you. If you don’t already have an ORCA card, or your e-purse is empty, head over to justonetrip.org and after taking a quick survey for King County Metro, you’ll be mailed an ORCA card pre-loaded with $25 in fare; or you’ll have $25 added to your existing ORCA card. If you pay in cash, be sure to have $2.75 in exact change, since the driver will not give change. If you’re taking a King County Metro route, hold onto your transfer to use on the way back (if within 2 hours). Sound Transit does not accept paper transfers.
Third, get ready to ride! There are a few apps that will allow you to track your bus in real time to your stop. Our favorite is OneBusAway–free to download and use, this app will tell you how early or late your bus is running to your favorite stops. Google Maps is a trusty go to for route planning as well. Be sure to select the bus as your mode and play with the Schedule Explorer to minimize your wait time.
If you’re still feeling a little hesitant about your ride, you can ask for expert help planning your route and get answers to all your questions from the Just One Trip team at King County Metro, or your local Bellevue travel options program, Choose Your Way Bellevue.
We think taking the bus may get you (back) onto Santa’s good list, but carpooling, biking, and walking will also keep you clear of coal.