I made it to Seattle. Anything else I need to know for the big trip?

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Oreius

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I scouted out King Street station today. Beautiful station! I saw where the Starlight boards, and an Amtrak policewoman gave me the insight on where to check baggage and get Redcap service. I already requested it for my Mom and I when I made the reservations back in January. We plan to arrive at the station at 7:30–our Seattle hotel happens to be right across the street! I saw a long line when I visited at around 4:00 PM to check luggage! The Builder had just left, so I’m wondering if people were buying Cascade tickets for the Portland train…

I don’t think my train is sold out—I can “bid” on a bedroom upgrade. I did not—I bought my parents a Bedroom and myself a Roomette in the same car.

Are there any other helpful suggestions I need to be aware of?
 

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zephyr17

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If you were there at 4:00, the Builder hadn't left yet. It may not have even been spotted at the platform yet, about 30 minutes prior to departure is pretty typical at Seattle. The Builder leaves at 4:40 pm. The next Cascades after 4 is 507 which doesn't leave until 6:10 pm so crowds are early for that. The long line was likely for something to do with the Builder.

7:30 to arrive for is really early for the Starlight. I usually take the 7:15 am Sounder from Everett, arriving King Street at 8:14 am, to catch the Starlight, and that is just because it is the last Sounder. Then I go across the street to 13 Coins for breakfast, which is really good if a bit pricey. If you want to get there at 7:30, it won't be busy, 503 to Portland will just have left at 7:25 and the 7:45 Vancouver train is not running. If I were you, I'd check the any bags quickly and go across the street and grab breakfast at 13 Coins. Be back at the station by 9. They'll probably do the pre-board for passengers needing assistance about 9:15. They usually spot the coaches right outside the waiting room, the sleepers are down the platform towards the stadiums.

Have a good trip.
 
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Oreius

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Actually I was there at 4:30–the line remained long when I watched the Builder pull out. No one had “big-butt” suitcases like my parents and I do. We each have a “big-butt” suitcase. I told my parents we should be at the station around 8:15.
 

Oreius

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I have the AGR MasterCard. Should I buy goodies before we leave, or just get snacks and sodas onboard? Seattle is very expensive!

we’re in the sleepers, btw..
 

zephyr17

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Seattle is very expensive!
So is the cafe. And the cafe's selection is pretty poor.

You said you are staying within walking distance of King Street. There isn't any normal grocery store around there, IIRC. There is a QFC(a local branding for Kroger) up on Capitol Hill that isn't too far, but too far to walk and severely uphill. If you want to stock up, you can take a uber/Lyft or taxi up there. You could also take the light rail from the International Distrct station across 4th Ave S from King Street Station to the Capitol Hill station. The Capitol Hill station is only a couple blocks from the QFC* .

*I originally said Fred Meyer, but realized it is a QFC. They're both Kroger brands.
 
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Oreius

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So is the cafe. And the cafe's selection is pretty poor.

You said you are staying within walking distance of King Street. There isn't any normal grocery store around there, IIRC. There is a QFC(a local branding for Kroger) up on Capitol Hill that isn't too far, but too far to walk and severely uphill. If you want to stock up, you can take a uber/Lyft or taxi up there. You could also take the light rail from the International Distrct station across 4th Ave S from King Street Station to the Capitol Hill station. The Capitol Hill station is only a couple blocks from the QFC* .

*I originally said Fred Meyer, but realized it is a QFC. They're both Kroger brands.

Thank you for the suggestions. However, my parents and I have decided to just “wing it” on the train. I know we get “unlimited” sodas and coffee for the trip. We don’t really drink. Do we go to the SSL for the sodas? I get a 20% rebate and I believe 3 points per dollar spent.

It was trouble enough finding a mini-mart. I went to a 7-Eleven to buy a $4.79 2-liter!! Also Seattle is not really an area I’d venture around at night. Seattle is not a place for the budget-conscious..
 

zephyr17

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Thank you for the suggestions. However, my parents and I have decided to just “wing it” on the train. I know we get “unlimited” sodas and coffee for the trip. We don’t really drink. Do we go to the SSL for the sodas? I get a 20% rebate and I believe 3 points per dollar spent.

It was trouble enough finding a mini-mart. I went to a 7-Eleven to buy a $4.79 2-liter!! Also Seattle is not really an area I’d venture around at night. Seattle is not a place for the budget-conscious..
If it was some kind of soda, the City of Seattle has a very stiff tax on soda. You wouldn't have done much better had you gone to QFC, because about half the cost is that tax! Since Seattle did that there was a statewide referendum that pretty much banned soda taxes, so no other place can do it, but Seattle was grandfathered in.

The area around King Street Station, Pioneer Square, is kind of crappy and has gotten worse since the pandemic. But it's never been great. Yesler was the origin of the term "Skid Road".
 
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Cal

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Do we go to the SSL for the sodas?
I think it's from your SCA or diner. Some crews will make you go to the SSL but it seems the diner is more likely if they're not doing a meal service
 

Oreius

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Jeez, so that explains why a can of Pepsi cost $5.51 at the Space Needle!! I got a Big Gulp at the 7-Eleven for $1.89 minus tax. A Super Gulp would have been a dollar more! There is this small organic store near my hotel that sold cans of Diet Coke for 91 cents—without tax.

Why such high taxes on soda? I primarily drink diet soda.
 

zephyr17

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It is a "sin tax" whose sole purpose is to dissuade people from drinking soda. There was no other purpose and it was openly and specifically promoted as a means to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. For whatever reason, legal definition, whatever, it is applied both to regular and diet sodas.

The way it is structured is that tax is built into the price, it is not added on like the sales tax. I think the tax is applied to the vendor/store and the store passes it on in the retail price. The regular sales tax, which is applied to sodas generally in Washington, is on top of that retail price.

As I mentioned, after Seattle implemented it, a statewide referendum was passed preventing any other jurisdiction from doing anything similar. But since Seattle did it before that was passed, their tax was grandfathered in.
 
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flitcraft

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If you think the soda taxes are high, be thankful you don't drink alcohol--we have the highest booze taxes in the nation! The posted prices do not include the alcohol tax, so there is real sticker shock for the unaware at the cash register!
 

zephyr17

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If you think the soda taxes are high, be thankful you don't drink alcohol--we have the highest booze taxes in the nation! The posted prices do not include the alcohol tax, so there is real sticker shock for the unaware at the cash register!
Yeah, but that applies to the whole state, not just Seattle. It is the price we paid for getting rid of the state liquor stores a few years ago. They didn't want the booze to be any cheaper than it had been in the state stores. They basically turned the state's huge markup in the stores into a tax. There are 2 separate taxes, a $3.77/liter volume tax, plus a special liquor sales tax rate of 20.5% on the sales price. Those taxes apply only to spirits, not beer and wine.

When they did it they said they might drop the tax rate a bit after the expenses of dissolving the state stores were done. They never did.

I thought our liquor prices were high until I bought liquor in British Columbia. BC's taxes are even higher!

PS-Costco bundles all the taxes into the posted shelf price. They are the only ones who do as far as I know.
 
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So is the cafe. And the cafe's selection is pretty poor.

You said you are staying within walking distance of King Street. There isn't any normal grocery store around there, IIRC. There is a QFC(a local branding for Kroger) up on Capitol Hill that isn't too far, but too far to walk and severely uphill. If you want to stock up, you can take a uber/Lyft or taxi up there. You could also take the light rail from the International Distrct station across 4th Ave S from King Street Station to the Capitol Hill station. The Capitol Hill station is only a couple blocks from the QFC* .

*I originally said Fred Meyer, but realized it is a QFC. They're both Kroger brands.
If your staying in Pioneer Square, the streetcar actually goes right to QFC, it picks up on Jackson. As a resident of PSq (actually live one block west of King Street Station) that’s how we do our non-Costco grocery shopping. There’s also an Asian market called uwajimaya east across the Weller St bridge, not cheap but it’s a good size store, there’s a place inside that has tasty mochi donuts! That same area also has a Starbucks.
 
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