Jun 27, 2021

The Stylish Summer Travel Guide to SEA

Seattle has now hit the 70% vaccinated mark and as a result, we're seeing a major boost in "vacci-cations", a.k.a. the post-vaccination vacation. Yes, that's officially a thing. For many people, it's been a while since they've flown in and out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, now known simply as SEA. Over the past year, there have been renovations, new dining options added, new retail experiences, and even new ways to park. Here's your stylish guide to summer travel at SEA.


SEA is now offering pre-paid parking in the airport's on-site parking garage. It's the closest, most convenient parking available, and if you pre-book, you'll get a discount. The airport has more than 12,000 parking spaces available for both short-term and long-term parking and let's be honest, after a long trip, it's so nice to be able to head straight to your car and get home quickly.
The process to pre-pay for parking is easy, you simply book online in advance and you'll receive an email with a QR code to scan on entry and exit.

Getting through Security 

As travel picks up again, so has the wait time at security checkpoints. Prior to the pandemic when regular travel was a routine part of our lives, we signed up for CLEAR and it was one of the best decisions we've ever made. Going through security is so easy now and we get to skip the long lines, which is critical when traveling with kids. Instead of using traditional ID documents, CLEAR uses your eyes and face to confirm your identity. You can start the enrollment online and then head to any airport CLEAR location with a valid government-issued ID to complete the sign-up process. You can use CLEAR at over 50+ airports, stadiums, and other venues nationwide. Get 2 months free by using my referral link to sign up for CLEAR.

For those that don't have CLEAR, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is also testing out a new pilot program called SEA Spot Saver, that allows passengers to reserve a specific time to go through security in an effort to streamline wait times. The program is available from 4 a.m. to noon daily through August 31st and is available for general security passengers. Reserve your spot here.

Staying Safe

Even if you're fully vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth at the airport and on the plane during your flight. To help keep passengers safe, SEA has also added 280 hand sanitizing stations conveniently located throughout the airport. I also recommend packing sanitizing wipes in your carry-on bag so that you can wipe down the tray tables, armrests, windows, and belt buckles at your seat when you get on board. 


You'll want to arrive early to the airport so that you can take advantage of the food scene prior to departure. At SEA, you'll find local favorites like Skillet, Poke to the Max, Beecher's, Lucky Louie, Lady Yum, and more. I'm a fan of the kale caesar at Skillet and the fish and chips at Lucky Louie, but honestly, you can't go wrong with the Pacific Northwest dining options at SEA. Dining options are limited in-flight due to COVID restrictions, so eat in advance, just in case.

Here are some places to try next time you're at the airport:

A Gates - Capitol Hill Food Fall - Highlights include Chowder Shack, Grand Central Bakery, Salt & Straw, and Caffe Ladro.

B Gates - Mi Casa Cantina - The menu includes freshly baked tortas, house-made burritos, guacamole, pico de gallo, and handcrafted cocktails.

C Gates - Beecher's Handmade Cheese - If you're in the mood for comfort food, their Mac & Cheese is the world's best. You'll also find artisan cheeses, fresh salads, and Caffe Vita espresso drinks.

Central Terminal - Lucky Louie Fish Shack - If you're craving PNW-inspired food, the Fish & Chips and  Creamy Clam Chowder are both personal favorites. 

D Gates - Poke to the Max - Hawaiian food at its finest including Poke Bowls, Loco Moco, and more. Don't miss the Spam Musubi, which also makes a great travel snack for your carry-on. 

North Satellite - Skillet - Modern American food with an approachable, diner vibe. Fun fact: Skillet has an all-day brunch menu. If you're looking for something healthy-ish, I highly recommend the kale caesar with chicken. 

South Satellite Dungeness Bay Seafood House - Oh yes, it's all things Dungeness, including crab cakes, crab bisque, clams, calamari, and more. Oh, and there's a full-service bar, too. 

For a sweet treat, check out the Seattle Chocolate store (near Gate C1) that stocks 100% non-GMO, small-batch chocolate truffle bars, jcoco caramels, and special occasion gifts.


SEA has plenty of great options if you're shopping for gifts or simply need a little retail therapy prior to your flight. Don't miss Sacred Circle, the airport's only Native American-owned shop featuring handmade jewelry and wearable art from local artisans and inland tribes. You'll also want to check out Seattle Made, an entire shop dedicated to celebrating Seattle's unique cultural identity, and Fireworks, one of my favorite places to shop for gifts.

At SEA, you'll also find CHALO, a locally-owned gift and lifestyle shop featuring Seattle-inspired products like tote bags, coffee cups, zippered pouches, and more. The lead image of this post features a Seattle boarding pass tote bag from CHALO.

Here are some of the stores you can shop at SEA:
  • Coach
  • Ex Officio
  • Fireworks
  • MAC Cosmetics 
  • Made in Washington 
  • Swarovski 
  • Show Pony

Summer Reading

Shop local for all the books on your summer reading list at Elliot Bay Book Co. located in the C Concourse. On my last trip to the airport, I picked up a copy of Rebecca Minkoff's new book Fearless and finished the entire book during the flight. You can also stock up on magazines at the Hudson stores located throughout the airport. 

Final Tip

Pack your patience and have fun! For many of us, it's been a long time since we traveled and it comes as no surprise that we're all a little rusty. Be patient, pack snacks, and don't forget to stay hydrated. 

Additional resources:

Keep up with my summer travel adventures on Instagram, @Sydlovesfashion


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