Finally! I rode Seattle's famous, and the world's first full-scale commercial monorail. Built in 1962 for the World's Fair (along with the ever-epic Space Needle), the monorail is a feat of...well...kitsch.
I mean, I've lived in Seattle for over six years and never once needed to board it.
Here's what's fun: When you ride the Link Light Rail from my house in South Seattle into downtown, it drops you off underneath Westlake Center, which is, for lack of better terminology, a floundering mall. A mall?
But! The monorail also leaves from this same mall. Simply ride the escalators up the four floors to the food court and monorail ticket booth! Huzzah! You never had one rain drop fall on you!
Here I am posing in front of the ticket booth. Is there anyone selling tickets at the booth? Look closely.
The answer is no.
No? On this day of monorail ridership, tickets were sold inside the train itself while we queued up to hand over our cash. (Did I mention that they only take cash? Also note the extreme inefficiency of this methodology. This must be why only tourists use the monorail--they don't have appointments or jobs to get to.)
The trip costs $2 each way for each adult. Given the fact that the ride takes about 2 minutes, this is approximately $1 per minute, or $60/hour. Quite the expensive transportation mode. But it's elevated, so you can't complain. Plus, it's older than I am. AND, it only has ONE RAIL.
Here's the moral of the story. (Or morel, if you're into mushrooms.) If you're a tourist and you're staying downtown but need to see the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project and have an urge to visit an old-school outdoor amusement park or run through the world's best fountain, plus you love a little overpriced nostalgia, this is the ride for you.
If you can walk a mile, you might want to save your $4. But just once, ride the monorail. That way you can cross it off your list.