Astro-Viz Workshop June 4-5 2011


The UW Astronomy Department's home page is and its phone number is 206-543-2888.

U.W. (36,000 students and 2200 faculty) is located about 4 miles northeast of downtown Seattle and 25 miles north of SeaTac Airport. Nearby hotels and restaurants are plentiful. For more information about:
   + Maps, directions, hotels, weather
   + General information about the Department
   + Making contact with local people

The Astronomy Dept. is located in the Physics-Astronomy Bldg at the corner of N.E. Pacific Ave. and 15th Ave. N.E. on the southwest side of the main U.W. campus. Astronomy occupies most of the third floor of the building. The Astro Finding Chart will help you to locate people and their offices. You can also get the Astro Finding Chart as a PDF file.

Seattle weather is temperate. Generally, the temperatures are 5-10 degrees cooler than the Bay Area all year. Temperatures rarely go below freezing and snow is highly unusual. Fog is rare except in winter. Rain is common, especially October through March. See Seattle's annual weather trends for the details.


By air: Seattle's Seatac Airport (airport code SEA) is served by all major airlines. United, Northwest, and Alaska are among the largest carriers in and out of the region.


The arriving passenger has many choices of conveyance to downtown and UW. See this regional map for a layout of the metropolitan region. Click this airport map to see the various passenger pickup/dropoff modes and locations of service. The campus map will help you to locate our building, and our office finding chart will guide you to our offices, all of which are on the third floor of the Physics-Astronomy Building. A local hotel map and list can also be useful.

By shuttle: If you're going to the Meany Tower or other University-area hotels, the cheapest (and sometimes one of the slowest and most confusing) ways is to use the airport Shuttle Express. You can call the shuttle ahead of time to make reservations at 206-981-7000 or 1-800-487-7433. There are two pickup locations at opposite ends of the baggage claim area.

The system is far simpler for the return ride from the Meany Tower Hotel to the airport: the hotel clerk will arrange the trip to SeaTac for you. The shuttle costs about $20 per person.

By taxi: This is the simplest method of transportation by far. Taxis depart from the street at the baggage level (the company STITA has the sole license to serve SeaTac Airport). If you don't see a cab then use one of the marked phones along the sidewalk. Your destination is likely to be either the Meany Tower Hotel, N.E. 45th and Brooklyn N.E. in the University District (1/2 mile east of I-5 exit 169) or the Physics-Astronomy Building, N.E. Pacific St and 15th Ave N.E. (SW edge of campus). Expect to pay $40 cash or credit card.

Any cab company can take you back to the airport. Far West (206.622.1717) is reliable.

By bus: There's a hotel shuttle bus (called the Airporter) that leaves from either end of the street in front of the baggage claim area every 30 minutes ($8.50). You'll see booths at either end of the sidewalk outside the baggage claim area where you can get tickets and the schedule of departures. The drive to downtown is 20 minutes. Then the bus stops at all major hotels. Get off at the first stop and then take a cab from there ($10). For the return take a cab to the Westin Hotel downtown, and then catch the Airporter. Departures from the Westin are at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour except for very late at night.

There are city express busses (route 194 - see the Metro web pages). These do much the same thing as the more lavish "Airporter bus". Pay as you board, $1.25 ($2.00 at rush hour). Bus drivers do not make change. The ride normally takes 30 minutes. Add 5 minutes in rush hour.

The bus stop at the airport is on the street at the far south end of the baggage claim area (turn right as you exit the airport and walk 50 meters past the end of the building). Look for the sign on the curb that says 174/Seattle, 194/Seattle, etc. Be sure to take the 194; the 174 is a local route with lots of stops. Here's the route 194 bus schedule. Rides are $2 at rush hour, $1.25 otherwise (have exact change).

Exit downtown and walk 2 blocks to the Four Seasons/Olympic Hotel to get a cab to the campus or your hotel ($10).

On the return, get the 194 southbound in the bus tunnel either at Convention Place (closest to UW) or at Westlake Plaza/Nordstroms. These stops close at 7 P.M. After hours and weekends use the street-level bus stop at 3rd and Union. The bus makes a few stops and then goes nonstop down the freeway to the airport, 30 minutes total travel time (35 minutes at rush hour). Pay as you EXIT the bus.

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