Looking for the best way to get to Vancouver from Seattle… or from Seattle to Vancouver? There are any number of reasons you’d want to travel between the two cities.
Taking an Alaskan cruise? Many of these trips depart from ports in Seattle, heading up to stops in Canada and Alaska. However, there are also some cruises that depart Vancouver.
Or if you aren’t taking a cruise and simply want to visit Vancouver (or Seattle), there are an amazing amount of things for tourists to do in both cities.
Meanwhile, anecdotally many flights into the area seem to be cheaper if you fly into Seattle. For instance, a recent search for a mid-summer flight found a cost of $510 from Austin to Vancouver. But that price was only $375 flying from Seattle to Vancouver. In other words, you can save a lot of money flying into one airport and then arranging your transportation to the other city.
So what’s the best way to get there? We have a list of your options below…
Train Between Seattle & Vancouver (Amtrak)
Perhaps the most convenient and easiest way to get between Seattle and Vancouver is taking the Amtrak train. Unless you are from the area or in the northeast, then you might have a unfavorable view of train travel as slow and unreliable. For getting between these two cities, however, it’s a great experience.
The Amtrak Cascades runs twice daily between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, with a number of stops along the way. Between Seattle and Vancouver, however, there are only about six stops, which last only 2-3 minutes each.
In total, the trip takes a bit over four hours. The good news is that the price is affordable, and the ride is comfortable. Tickets run around $45 one way. Aboard the train you have a large seat with plenty of legroom. There is also a dining car with enormous overhead windows offering stunning views of the area as you pass.
The train departs Seattle’s King Street Station and arrive at Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station. Heading to Vancouver, you don’t have to stop for a border inspection. Once you arrive at the train station, you’ll go through an immigration checkpoint and arrive in the middle of the city.
Busses Between Seattle & Vancouver
As you would expect between two major cities only a few hours from each other, you can easily take a bus between the two cities. In fact, there are at least four services that will take you from Seattle to Vancouver and back.
Depending on the bus line, they will pick up and drop off at different points in town. QuickShuttle actually picks up at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport if you want to head straight to Canada. Others usually pick up at bus stations or the train stations in the area.
As in many parts of the country, newer upstarts like BoltBus have entered the bus transportation market. They often offer newer busses, cheaper fares, and wi-fi service on the trip.
In total, you can expect the bus trip to take about 4-5 hours between Seattle and Vancouver. Here are a list of options for you to take:
A “premium express bus line” that runs between the two cities, offering free wi-fi, reclining seats, and extra legroom on its coaches. Tickets run about $25 for a one-way trip.
Offering 4-5 trips each day, Quick Shuttle notably picks up from the Seattle-Tacoma airport. During the summer it also stops at the Canada Place Pier, making it convenient for cruise passengers. Rates run $40-$60 per person and the trip takes about four hours.
Greyhound offers express service with fewer stops between Seattle and Vancouver. We found three trips daily, all departing in the afternoon and evening. If you want a morning trip, you should look at another bus line. Rates run as little at $17 each way.
In addition to the train service, Amtrak also offers busses that will take you between the two cities. In fact, while there are only two trains daily, there are four bus departures each day. The trip will cost around $40 each way.
Driving Between Seattle & Vancouver
If you are flying into the area, yes you can drive between Seattle and Vancouver. That said, if you are a cruise passenger, it’s not ideal as you have park your car while on your trip. As well, many other people simply prefer to leave the driving to someone else as that’s easier, especially if you aren’t familiar with driving in the area.
But the biggest issue with driving is the border checkpoint between the United States and Canada. While the drive is short (usually about three hours), if you hit traffic at the border, it can add an hour or more to your drive time. Taking a train or a bus, you don’t have to worry about this wildcard during your trip.
Have more questions about getting between these two cities? Let us know in the comments below.
I’m a US citizen. I’ll be in Seattle this weekend and considering driving up to Vancouver for to explore the borders for a few hours. Do I need a passport to enter?
We just read the rules surrounding car travel to Canada. The easiest and simplest way is to simply have a passport or passport card. Sounds like you can travel back and forth if you have the correct “enhanced” driver’s license and a birth certificate. But just get a passport and be done with it!
Unless you plan on going places where the passport book with pages for visa stamps is necessary, you will find the passport card much easier to use and cheaper. This is my preferred method of going back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana.