This travel guide is for visitors to Redmond, Washington. Learn how to get around in Redmond and view recommendations for things to do in Redmond.
Table of contents
- Where is Redmond, Washington?
- How to travel to Redmond
- How to get around in Redmond
- Things to do in Redmond
- Attractions outside of Redmond
- Things you should not do in Redmond
- Safety tips for Redmond
- Seattle freeze
Where is Redmond, Washington?
Redmond, WA, is a city in the western part of Washington state. It is part of Washington’s most populous county (King County) and is approximately 15 miles from Seattle.
Redmond is one of the Eastside suburbs of Seattle and home to several large tech companies.
How to travel to Redmond
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Seatac) is the nearest international airport and is approximately 22 miles away. Driving to Seatac from Redmond takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 50 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
There are 4 ways to get from Seatac to Redmond:
Use a ride-share service
There are 3 app-based rideshare providers at Seatac: Lyft, Uber and Wingz. To get to a ride-share, go to the 3rd floor of the airport parking garage and look for your assigned vehicle. If taking a Uber Black vehicle, meet your driver outside the baggage claim area at the door you’ve selected.
A ride-share from Seatac to Redmond costs between $50 to $70, depending on the time and circumstance.
Take a taxi
There are taxi stands on the 3rd floor of the parking garage with taxis waiting. There 2 kinds of taxis available: metered and flat-rate taxis. Learn more about the difference here.
Generally, ride-shares and taxis cost about the same. However, it may be cheaper to use a taxi when there is surge-pricing (when demand for ride share outpaces supply due to unusual circumstances like bad weather, traffic and special events).
Use a rental car
All rental car companies are located at an off-site rental car facility about 5-minutes drive away. To get to the rental car facility, use the free shuttle buses located outside the Main Terminal Baggage Claim area (Doors 2 and 24). These free shuttle buses run 24 hours a day.
Drive your own car
At the terminal, follow signs to Parking to retrieve your car. General Parking (located on floors 1-3 and 5-8) rates are:
- Hourly – $6
- Daily – $34
- Weekly – $169
The closest parking spaces to the terminal are located on Floor 4 of the garage and the parking rates are:
- Hourly – $7
- Daily – $42
- Weekly – $294
How to get around in Redmond
Downtown Redmond is very walkable and many stores, parks, library and apartments can be accessed on foot. You will need to bike, use public transportation or a car to get around outside of downtown Redmond.
How to use public transportation in Redmond
Use the King County Metro bus to get around Redmond and the Seattle area. If you’ve never used the bus before, read this comprehensive guide to get started.
Use the King County Trip Planner to figure out your route.
You can use cash (exact change only) or an ORCA card to pay for the bus ride. For new riders who live/work in Redmond, use this link to get your free $25 ORCA card. Rides for youths 18 years old or younger are free of charge.
How to rent a bike in Redmond
There are 3 bike rental stores in Redmond:
- Edge & Spoke (non-electric and e-bikes)
Address: 7875 NE Leary Way, Redmond
- Element Cycles (non-electric and e-bikes)
Address: 15932 Redmond Way #103, Redmond
- Pedego (e-bikes only)
Address: 8296 160th Ave NE #106, Redmond
All 3 bike rental stores are located near the Sammamish River trail, which connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail. Biking on these trails is a great way to explore Redmond, Woodinville, Kenmore, Bothell and Seattle. Learn more about the Burke-Gilman trail access and parking here.
Helmet use is encouraged but not mandated.
How to rent a scooter in Redmond
Scooters should ride in bicycle lanes and on trails and yield to pedestrians. If you choose to ride on a sidewalk with pedestrians, getting off the scooter and walking the scooter is encouraged. Read the Redmond City government guide on scooter use to learn about scooter parking and regulations.
Helmet use is encouraged but not mandated.
Things to do in Redmond
This is King County’s most popular park and it’s close to downtown Redmond. There is a off-leash dog park, hiking trails, velodrome, climbing wall and 3 playgrounds. During summer and fall, there are also drive-in movies, concerts and performances. Parking is $1. You can also bike or walk to the park via the Sammamish River Trail.
This is a lake-front park near Marymoor Park. There are small beaches to explore and a dock where you can enjoy the view of Lake Sammamish. It’s very popular on nice days and a laid-back place to enjoy the lake. You can walk or bike to it from Marymoor Park via the scenic East Lake Sammamish Trail. Parking can be limited on nice days.
Sammamish River Trail
Very popular walking and biking trail in Redmond. This paved-trail is stroller and wheelchair-friendly, and connects to Seattle, Bothell and Woodinville via the Burke-Gilman trail. Keep an eye out for herons, cormorants, ducks and other wildlife.
Redmond Town Center
This outdoor mall has an eclectic mix of restaurants, stores and businesses (salons, medical offices). See store directory. In summer, there are family-friendly events and the water fountain turns into a kid splash pad.
Evans Creek Preserve
This large park is located outside of downtown Redmond and features lots of easy hiking trails that are mostly flat. There are picnic areas and restrooms. Very kid friendly. Limited parking on nice days.
Idyllwood Beach Park
Small but excellent beach park in Redmond. It’s very popular during summer. There’s a kid-friendly swimming beach, playground and picnic areas with a scenic view of Lake Sammamish. There is also a dock for anglers and hiking trails.
Farrell-McWhirter Farm Park
68-acre park with an animal farm where kids can view barnyard animals like cows, horses and pigs. There are also hiking trails, a small playground and picnic areas.
Microsoft Visitor Center
Learn about Microsoft’s future products and its history at this museum/company store. Click here for its hours.
You can find more Redmond events here.
Derby Days – July
This is a free summer event with carnival rides, music performances, parades, activities, 5K race, beer garden and food vendors.
Redmond Lights – December
This Redmond winter festival features light exhibits, parades, music performances and an international market.
Attractions outside of Redmond
Pike Place Market
The most famous market in the area. Lots of food stalls and restaurants to browse. Grab some food and enjoy the waterfront views.
The Seattle Aquarium is a short walk from Pike Place. It’s a small aquarium but worth a look especially if you have kids. Check out the nearby Pier 62 (waterfront park) while you are there.
Pacific Science Center
A family-friendly attraction that’s fun for a rainy day. There’s a butterfly exhibit, kids crafting area, IMAX theater and science exhibits.
Wonderful natural history and cultural museum on the University of Washington campus. There’s an impressive collection of specimens and artifacts to fascinate kids and grownups.
Woodland Park Zoo
Decent zoo with a fair number of animals. Not the best zoo I’ve visited but not the worst either.
Lots of hiking trails, scenic views and playgrounds at this beach park. There is a lighthouse but that requires a moderate hike to get to. This is the place to go if you want to take beautiful photos of Seattle.
This beach is popular with walkers, runners and tourists. There are restaurants nearby and a paved trail. Parking is limited on summer days.
Washington Park Arboretum
Large, beautiful park on the University of Washington campus. Lots of varied walking trails, restrooms and a visitor center with a café. Free admission.
Scenic beach with walking trails, playgrounds, volleyball nets and mountain views. Open fires are allowed here. Good spot for watching the sunset. Parking is limited in summer.
Full of fancy malls and beautiful urban parks, downtown Bellevue has a more upscale feel than Seattle and Redmond. Overall, it’s a nice change of pace from downtown Redmond’s sleepier vibes.
Located on the border of Redmond and Bellevue, Crossroads Mall is an interesting community meeting place. It’s a place where locals hang out to workout, play games, watch free musical performances, use the library and dine at the varied food court. Nearby Crossroads Park is a family-friendly spot with playgrounds and picnic areas.
Downtown Kirkland is an attractive waterfront neighborhood with a somewhat urban feel. It’s a wealthy area with lake-front homes and the cute downtown has nice restaurants and stores. It’s a “vanilla” town compared to Seattle and a lot less diverse than Redmond and Bellevue. Nevertheless, it’s a fun area to check out, especially during summer.
Things you should not do in Redmond
Do not walk in the middle of a trail
Always walk on the right side of the trail so that runners and bicyclists can pass you on the left.
Do not be invisible in the dark
It’s frequently dark and rainy in Redmond, especially during the cooler months, and it’s very dangerous if motorists cannot see you. Wearing bright, reflective clothes or lighted gear will keep everyone safe.
Do not litter or leave pet waste on the ground
Redmond is known for its pristine nature and littering and/or not picking up dog waste is a big no-no.
Safety tips for Redmond
Redmond is a safe city to walk about, even at night, but crimes do happen. Taking the usual precautions, such as walking in groups and staying alert will go a long way.
Compared to Seattle, Redmond feels a lot safer and violent crime is rare here. The most common type of crime in Redmond is property crime (defined as theft, vehicle theft and burglary). You can protect yourself by never leaving valuables in your car and securing your home.
The Seattle Freeze is a real social phenomenon that you may encounter in Redmond. It’s characterized by unfriendliness, standoffishness, and a reluctance to befriend strangers. My own personal take on this is that Redmond is a city of transplants and many locals are reluctant to invest the time in getting to know newcomers. There are also lots of introverts here and the gloomy weather doesn’t exactly make people warm and perky.
If you are new to the area, the best way to make friends in Redmond is to befriend other transplants, then branching out to meet new people via hobbies/interests.