Top Things to Do on a Long SeaTac Layover

Did you get stuck with a long layover at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport?

A gateway to the American West, Alaska, and Asia, approximately 30% of passengers flying through SeaTac airport face a multi-hour sit.

You could pass the time by staking out a quiet corner in one of the general seating areas and browsing online. Or, save your device’s battery and check one of SeaTac’s more interesting activities.

First, Get to Know Your Way Around SeaTac Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport features four different terminals:

  • The Main Terminal and the Central Terminal are adjacent to each other and can be navigated by walking.
  • The two satellite terminals, North and South, are reached via short trains.

Important Information About SeaTac Airport

As a growing international hub, SeaTac airport is open 24/ 7. However, to access the secure area of the airport (airside), you must first pass through a TSA checkpoint, only one of which is open 24 hours a day:

  • Checkpoint #1 (South): 9:00am to 1:00pm (cruise passengers only)
  • Checkpoint #2: 4:00am to 8:00pm
  • Checkpoint #3 (Central): open 24 hours
  • Checkpoint #4: 4:00am to 8:00pm
  • Checkpoint #5 (North): 4:00am- to 1:30pm

Note that all of SeaTac’s TSA checkpoints are located in the Main Terminal. If you exit the secure area of the airport during the late night or early morning, you will have to go through Checkpoint #3 to get back airside.

Additional Information Regarding SeaTac Airport

If you need extra cash on hand, several US banks have ATMs situated in the Central Terminal before security. All gates feature ATMs after the security screening. Additionally, a full-service US Bank branch is available in the Main Terminal before security. It’s located between Checkpoints 3 and 4 (next to Starbucks).

Traveling with children? SeaTac airport also features a Mother’s Room, which offers a quiet, private place with adjustable lighting, rocking chairs, power outlets and more. There’s one located inside of the Kid’s Play Area and an additional area for military families in the USO lounge.

Where Can I Store My Bag In SeaTac?

If you planning on spending a significant amount of time in SeaTac airport, consider dropping off your bags for safe keeping, saving yourself the task of lugging them around for hours.

While SeaTac doesn’t offer lockers for luggage storage, your baggage can be stowed at Ken's Baggage & Frozen Food Storage. The rates are per 24-hour period, ranging from $7–10 for dry items and $12–22 for frozen items.

In addition to storage, various travel items are available for sale as well as business services, like notary and fax. Ken's Baggage & Frozen Food Storage can be found on the Baggage Claim level, between Carousels 12 & 13. Their hours are 5:30 am to 12:30 am.

Where’s the Best Food In SeaTac Airport?

Dreading the food on your next flight? SeaTac offers close to 40 different cafes, restaurants, and bars to select from. While some are chains, many of these picks are unique to the Puget Sound or representative of Washington.

Here are a few top picks according to Seattle Eater, Travelocity, and Yelp:

• Africa Lounge: Dark, quiet, and with a wide selection of local beers on tap, Africa Lounge is a good choice for those seeking liquid refreshment. Concourse A, Gate 5.

• Anthony's Restaurant and Fish Bar: According to Seattle Eater, the view is not as picturesque as at Anthony's other locations, but the seafood stays pretty close to form. Expect to find Anthony staples such as fish and chips and halibut tacos, along with a nice selection of local brews. The vibe is that of a sit-down restaurant, so it's a prime spot if you need to pass some time. Central Terminal.

• Beecher's Handmade Cheese: In addition to its selling their namesake cheeses, Beecher's serves up a famous mac and cheese, hot breakfast items, and grilled sandwiches. Also noteworthy is their Caffe Vita espresso. Concourse C.

• Bigfoot Food And Spirits: This Northwest-inspired casual restaurant is one of the highest-rated in SeaTac. It offers a variety of Bigfoot-themed plates, like huge omelets and Rob's Beast Feast (ribs, smoked sausage, bbq chicken, etc.). There are also healthier soup and salad options, as well as plenty of local beer and wine to choose from. North Satellite.

• Ivar's Fish Bar: Another outpost of a popular Seattle restaurant, Ivar’s at SeaTac offers their famous smoked salmon or chowder. We hear the fish and chips are just as good as those at Anthony’s (and cheaper, too). Central Terminal.

• Vino Volo: Vino Volo might be a chain of airport wine bars, but they do their best to offer a nicely curated selection of Washington wines. If you really like one of the wines you sample, you can buy the bottle (at a good price) and gate-check it. This location also offers locally-sourced nosh for their small plates, including the aforementioned Beecher’s mac and cheese. Also worth noting, Vino Volo offers their own Wi-Fi that’s a good deal faster than the airport’s.

Arriving late? SeaTac also provides several 24-hour food concessions. Note that food and shopping options are much more prevalent airside (past security), but there are some vending machines and a Starbucks available before security.

What to Do With Your Spare Time in SeaTac?

If you need to check a few emails, SeaTac airport offers free Wi-Fi throughout all terminals. To use, just connect to the “SEATAC-FREE-WIFI” network.

Buy a One-Day Pass to a Private Lounge for Peace and Quiet

However, if you’re interested in hunkering down and getting some actual work done, consider paying for a single-day pass to one of SeaTac’s private lounges:

  • Alaska Airlines Board Room: Location: Airside, Concourse D, near Gate D1. Hours: 5:00am to 12:00pm (Daily). Lounge Access is $45, pay at the door.
  • Delta Sky Club: Location: Airside, between Gate S8 and S9. Showers are available. Lounge Access is $59, pay at the door or with a Delta Sky Club Membership.
  • The Club at SEA: Location: Airside, Concourse A, across from Gate A11. Hours: 9:30am to 7:00pm (Mon), 9:30am to 5:30pm (Tues–Sun). Lounge Access is $45, pay at the door or book online.
  • The Club at SEA: Location: Airside, South Satellite, next to Gate S9. Hours: 6:00am to 5:30pm (Daily). Lounge Access is $35, pay at the door or book online.
  • United Club: Location: Airside, Concourse A, Airside, Gate A9. Lounge Access is $59, pay at the door.

Private airport lounges often offer their own Wi-Fi that’s faster than the public internet available in SeaTac’s terminals. You can also charge up your devices on available outlets while relaxing in larger, more comfortable seating. Additionally, many offer complimentary snacks and beverages, which helps to offset the cost of your day pass.

If you are a member of the military, or family to a service member, SeaTac offers a complimentary USO Lounge. In which, guests will find additional Wi-Fi, video games, a TV lounge, snacks, a sleeping area, showers, computers, library, and even a childcare area.

The USO Lounge can be found in the Main Terminal, Landside, Mezzanine Level, 2nd Floor, and is open 24 hours.

Stretch Your Legs While Exploring SeaTac’s Art Walk

If you’re interested in experiencing a little local culture, grab a cup of coffee and head to the art exhibits. SeaTac Airport features a diverse and breathtaking collection of contemporary work in glass, sculpture, photography, painting and sound—all by local Seattle artists.

While art can be found throughout the airport, a half-mile path from the Central Terminal Starbucks to Gate A-14 is considered the Art Walk.

See Also: Seattle’s Top 3 Must-See Fall Attractions

Pay for Extra Pampering in Between Flights

Feeling some extra tension in your shoulders and legs after a long flight? The Massage Bar, located in SeaTac’s North Satellite, offers 15 or 30-minute massages to help you unwind. No appointments are necessary, just drop in any time.

After your massage, consider stopping by Butter London’s SeaTac location for a manicure and pedicure. Butter London is known for their toxin-free polishes, but the location also offers polish-free manicures for men. (Manicures from $26; Pedicures from $40.)

Have Over Six Hours at SeaTac? Consider Hiring a Private Town Car to Explore Nearby Attractions

How far you can safely stray from SeaTac airport in between your flights depends on the time of day and day of the week. However, even with ample time to spare, taking a taxi or public transit anywhere means potentially missing your next flight.

Why try to navigate your way through an unfamiliar area with limited time, when you could schedule a private town car or limo for a several hour tour instead?

Related: Your Essential Guide to Woodinville Wine Tours & Dining

Consider exploring West Seattle’s waterfront. More conveniently located for trips from SeaTac than Pike’s Market, it features a beautiful walking beach, breathtaking views, and an ample selection of regional restaurants to grab a bite to eat before heading back.

While you sit back and relax in one of our new or late model vehicles, Starline’s service is designed to ensure that you never have to worry about returning to SeaTac on time. Our drivers use a state of the art logistics system to track both traffic and flight changes, ensuring you’re never in a bind.