What if you want to go to the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show in Tacoma this weekend (June 2nd – 4th) but you don’t have a car?
It is fairly easy to take public transportation from Seattle to the Tacoma Convention Center. Sound Transit Express Bus (ST) #590/594 begins on Stewart St at Yale/Denny and has stops on 2nd Ave downtown, 4th Ave in the ID, and the bus corridor through SODO. These busses are much nicer than a regular Metro Bus, and the trip takes about an hour and will take you a short block from the Convention Center. Get off at Pacific and 15th in Tacoma and you can see the Convention Center from the bus stop.
Fare from Seattle to Tacoma: $3.25/adult (youth 18 and under ride for free on all Sound Transit services). Use an Orca card if you have one (they also accept cash).
Both routes run on Friday but only ST #594 runs on the weekend, with busses running every half hour throughout all of the days.
Running right in front of the Convention Center on Commerce is the Tacoma Link, which is a free light rail train. The Link runs from the Frieghthouse Square near the Tacoma Dome to the Theatre District many times daily. The Link is a convenient way to visit local food options and businesses that are more than a few blocks from the pinball show. Note: when this line extends later in 2023 it will no longer be free.
Commerce is also the street where you will catch the bus back to Seattle. There are many bus boarding zones on this street and not all busses stop at each one, so it’s a good idea to scope out which boarding zone the ST #594 stops at just in case you need to run for it (like we did). WARNING: The last bus leaves Tacoma at 10:20 PM.
If you miss the last bus, the only option that we know of is to take a cab or ride-share to Sea-Tac airport’s Light Rail Station and catch the train to Seattle. The last train leaves at 11:44 PM for Seattle/Northgate (there are trains leaving the airport until 1:43 AM but they only go to the Stadium Station).
If you need to do a ride-share here is the exact address for the airport’s light rail station:
International Blvd & S 176th St
Seattle, WA 98188
Consult Sound Transit for more details on times and bus stops. Here is a direct link to Light Rail’s schedule to Seattle: http://www.soundtransit.org/
A version of the above was originally posted on June 3, 2013. The dates and fares have been changed to this years event. – ed
(updated May 28, 2023)