When you first arrive in Seattle, finding your way around can be confusing. It's a good idea to keep a map handy and learn the directions of the major freeways. Streets are often disrupted by lakes, hills and parks. Fortunately, Seattle's system of bridges and arterials is easy to learn. Check out the Washington Department of Transportation's Real Time Traffic map, to get an idea of how the City's traffic is flowing.
Driver Licensing and Registration
New drivers and all new residents must take both a written examination and a driving test before being licensed to operate a vehicle. New residents can waive both tests by presenting a valid driver's license from another state.
If you are from outside Washington state, you must obtain new plates for your car within 30 days of becoming a state resident. The state requires an auto inspection for out-of-state vehicles, which is done by the Washington State Patrol. Vehicle emission tests are required every other year in order for your automobile license to be renewed.
Washington also accesses an annual variable excise tax on your vehicle at the time of licensing. This tax is based on the type of vehicle, suggested retail price and a depreciation schedule. Be prepared for vehicle licensing to cost you several hundred dollars depending on the year and make of your car.
Washington State Ferries
The downtown ferry terminal at Colman Dock (Pier 52) has many scheduled departures each day for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. There are also sailings from West Seattle (Fauntleroy) to Vashon Island and Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula, from Edmonds to Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula, and from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island (Clinton).