Frequently Asked Questions

(Click a question to jump down to its answer.)

First Timers

The Hotel



The Conference

Kashrut and Minyanim

First Timers

Q. I’ve never been to an IAJGS Conference before. What do I need to know?

A. We’re so glad you’re joining us this year. We want to help make your experience at the conference stress-free and productive, so we’ve prepared a special tips for first timers sheet. If you’re not a first-timer, this may help as a conference refresher!

The Hotel

Q. The conference hotel is fully booked. Are there other nearby hotels?

A. We’re as surprised as you are that the Sheraton Seattle is completely booked. Here are some suggestions for finding a hotel room:

  • Sheraton Seattle: The hotel is completely sold out, not just the rooms that were set aside for us. But check the hotel’s site anyway. A room might be available for the day(s) you want, or they might get a cancellation that opens up a room.
  • Our overflow hotel is the Hyatt at Olive 8, with a conference rate of $289 (one bed) or $304 (two beds) through this link: This hotel is 3 or 4 blocks from the Sheraton (a 6 minute walk). You might even be able to find a slightly lower price at the Hyatt using the hotel’s direct website if you’re eligible for a special rate (Hyatt Gold Passport members, AAA members, or Seniors).
  • Other downtown hotels: You may be able to find other hotels — possibly with lower prices — if you’re willing to take a taxi (or a long walk) to/from the Sheraton. Try using one of the commercial travel sites to search for downtown hotels.
  • With Seattle’s newly expanded light rail system, other neighborhoods are just a few minutes away by train ($2.50 to $3.00 each way). The Sheraton Hotel is two blocks from the Westlake light rail station. From there, Pioneer Square is two stops to the south, and two new stops now go north to Capitol Hill and University of Washington. If you find a hotel in any of those neighborhoods, you can call the hotel and ask how close they are to a light rail station. Here’s a map that shows the light rail stations, the travel time between stations, and how often the trains run:
  • If you have a car, you could stay at a hotel in any neighboring area that has a Park & Ride, where you can park your car and take a bus to/from downtown ($2.50 each way). It might take more research to find a location with a convenient bus route and timetable, but you can probably save some money on the hotel. Here’s a list of Park & Ride lots in King County:

Q. Is the hotel accessible to persons with disabilities?

A. Yes, the meeting rooms and other public areas at the hotel are fully accessible. The hotel has 11 ADA compliant guest rooms, some with bathtubs and others with roll-in showers. If an ADA compliant guest room is required, please note this when you reserve your room.

Q. How can I find a roommate for the conference?

A. Post your request on the conference Discussion List and watch for the postings of others. Arrangements must be made directly between conference registrants.

Q. Is there free Internet access?

A. Internet access is free in the hotel lobby as well as designated schmoozing areas. All hotel bedrooms have free Wi-Fi access for conference registrants. There is also free internet access in the presentation rooms on the second floor. Information about logging in on the 2nd floor will be available by registration check-in.

 Q. Where can I learn more about the hotel?

A. Visit our Sheraton Seattle Hotel page for more information.


Q. How can I get to the Sheraton Seattle Downtown Hotel from SeaTac International Airport?

A. The approximate travel distance is 25.75km/16 miles.

  • DownTown Airporter by Shuttle Express departs from level 3 of the parking garage, island 2. Follow the signs to ground transportation on the third floor of the parking garage. One way tickets for adults is $18 US per person and roundtrp is $31 US. Departures from SeaTac Airport leave approximately every 30 minutes and is available 24 hours every day. Reservations are recommended. More information and reservations are online.
  • Preferred Shuttle Express Town Car Service starts at $59 US one way to/from the airport. More information and reservations are online.
  • Light Rail is available, on Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, from the airport to downtown (and back).  The Light Rail runs every 10-15 minutes depending on the time of day.  The cost is $3.00 each way and takes about 35 minutes.  The hotel is 2 blocks from the Westlake station – get out of the station by the Nordstrom’s sign and walk to 6th.
  • Private Car Service can be arranged with the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, using a limo, sedan, or van service. Rates are by hours needed, vehicle type, and number of passengers. There are also a variety of rental car companies within close proximity of the hotel and SeaTac Airport.

Q. What other ways can I get to Seattle and then to the conference hotel?

  • Railway to King Street Station. Travel distance is about 3.22 km/2 miles. A taxi from King Street Station to Sheraton Seattle is about $5 US.
  • Port. Pier 69. Travel distance is about 1.51 km/1 miles. Taxis are available at Pier 69, the Colman Dock ferry terminal, and at cruise ship terminals. A taxi from Pier 69 to Sheraton Seattle is about $10 US.
  • Bus. Greyhound Bus Station. Travel distance is about .4 km/.25 miles. A taxi from the Greyhound Bus Station to Sheraton Seattle is about $3 US.

Q. I am driving and will need to park. What are my options?

A. Valet Parking at the Sheraton Seattle is $50 per night. Self-parking is $30 per day, up to three exits per day.


Q. What’s the most convenient way to get around in Seattle?

Q. Will I be able to find a kosher restaurant in Seattle?

A. There is one kosher restaurant in downtown Seattle:

Bamboo Garden (Vegetarian Chinese)
364 Roy Street, Seattle, 206-282-6616
about 1.5 miles from the hotel

There are a few more restaurants outside the city:

Island Crust Cafe (Vegetarian pizza, salads, entrees)
7525 SE 24th Street #100, Mercer Island, 206-232-787
Teapot Vegetarian House (Vegetarian Chinese)
15230 NE 24th Street, Redmond, 425-747-8881, 425-373-1888

Pabla Indian Cuisine
364 Renton Center Way SW, Renton, 425-228-4625

Q. Are any grocery stores located near the hotel?

A. The Kress Supermarket is a small market that is 3.5 blocks from the hotel, at 1427 3rd Avenue, Seattle, open hours 7am – 10pm.

Pike Place Market, Seattle’s famous farmers market, is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.

Q. What is the weather like in Seattle in August?

A. The average low at night is typically in the mid to high 50s and the average high during the afternoon is in the low 70s. July and August are the driest months, but there is always a chance of rain.

Q. Are there any research opportunities I should consider?

A. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Alaska-Pacific Region is about two miles from the hotel. It is open Monday through Friday, 7:45 am – 4:15 pm.
The Washington State Jewish Archives, at the University of Washington, contains manuscripts, photographs, oral histories, and moving images documenting the Jewish people and communities throughout Washington State.

Q. Where can I find information about sightseeing around Seattle?

A. Visit Seattle has information for visitors to the city.

The Conference

Q. Will the conference be ADA compliant?

A. Yes, everything associated with attending the conference is ADA compliant. We will do our best to accommodate your ADA needs, but can only do so if we know of them in advance. Please contact our ADA compliance committee chair so we can plan for your needs.

Q. Will I be able to buy genealogy reference books or software at the conference?

A. There will be an Exhibitor Hall with vendor booths where genealogy products will be for sale. Many of our speakers are also authors, and many will bring their books to sell as well.

Q. Will there be an app for smartphones and tablets?

A. Yes, there will be an app. We will announce when it is ready to be downloaded. Previous IAJGS conferences have had the app ready about a month before the conference.

Q. I can’t attend the conference and I really want to. What can I do?
– or –
Q. There is so much going on at the conference that I know I won’t be able to see it all. What can I do?

A. No worries. Once again, we are happy to be offering IAJGS LIVE! – about 60 sessions will be broadcast LIVE! during the conference and then on-demand for three months after. Additionally, Fleetwood Onsite will be audio recording most sessions, with slides for many, and those are available to purchase. More details are available on their corresponding pages.

Q. I am strictly kosher. What will be available to me at the conference?

A. There will be a kosher option for all meals associated with the conference. Please contact our Kashrut coordinators with any questions or concerns.

Q. I need to be able to attend a daily minyan as well as Shabbat and Tisha b’Av service. What arrangements are being made? Will there be kosher meal options that observe the restrictions of the 9 days?

A. This year, as always, we offer opportunities for daily Minyanim and Kashrut at the conference and in Seattle. Breakfasts and sessions will begin after the morning minyanim.