8 Unique Seattle Tours
Discover the best sights, sips and bites of Emerald City.
You have experienced Seattle until you embark on these tours.(Getty Images)
There's a lot to see and do in Emerald City. Whether you're an enthusiastic foodie or a flight aficionado, Seattle has a guided adventure for you. Here are a few tours you should consider the next time you visit.
'Bill Speidel's Underground Tour'
Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.(Courtesy of Underground Tour)
"What's really popular is the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square," says Tracie Kahikina, head concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. The tour ends up in a saloon and is packed with stories about the pioneers, she says, adding that people love seeing what "a buried city underground" looks like.
[Read: The Best Hotels in Seattle.]
For more than five decades, "Bill Speidel's Underground Tour" has been sharing Seattle's subterranean underbelly – containing storefront and sidewalk remains of the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 – with the curious masses. The tour starts beneath Doc Maynard's Public House before delving into an underground series of connected tunnels.
The tour lasts roughly 75 minutes and tickets cost $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and students 13 to 17 and those with college ID, and $9 for children 7 to 12.
Savor Seattle Food Tours
Savor Seattle Food Tours.(Courtesy of Savor Seattle Food Tours)
Seattle prides itself on its outstanding culinary scene. One tour Kahikina suggests for "foodies who like Pike Place Market" is offered by Savor Seattle Food Tours. The two-hour "Signature Food Tour of Pike Place Market" features stops at various vendors to sample food, including Beecher's Handmade Cheese and Chukar Cherries. Tickets start at $41.99 and sell out quickly, so travelers may want to book them online in advance.
'The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour'
"One local tour that's really outstanding is the Boeing Tour," says Kyle Poirier, W insider at the W Seattle. "It's amazing, because it's that plane that you rode on to get here, it was most likely built here."
Chuck Watts, head concierge at Hyatt at Olive 8, agrees this is a standout stop on any Seattle itinerary. "The Boeing Tour is probably the only opportunity to tour a twin-engine jet assembly plant in North America, and you're in the world's largest building by volume there, too," he says.
Located 25 miles north of Seattle, "The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour" gives visitors the opportunity to see 747s, 777s and 787s in production. Each tour lasts 90 minutes and is packed with aviation facts. Tickets include admission to the Boeing Tour and the Aerospace Gallery, and cost $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and $15 for children 15 and younger. Children must be at least 4 feet tall to go on the tour. Be sure to book in advance as this is a popular local attraction.
[Read: The Best Things to Do in Seattle.]
Tours Northwest 'Premier 3 Hour Seattle City Tour'
"For those who are in town for a short amount of time, Tours Northwest offers the 'Premier 3 Hour Seattle City Tour,' " says Jeff Wilbur, concierge at The Arctic Club Seattle - A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. "It does a great job of covering all there is to see, passing through 50 miles of Seattle, including Pioneer Square, the Ballard Locks and even a great city skyline photo opportunity."
If you want to get to know Emerald City and avoid the stress of being behind the wheel, sign up for this three-hour coach tour. Tickets, including tax, cost $69 for adults and $52 for children 3 to 12. Pickups from select Seattle hotels are available, too.
Evergreen Escapes.(Courtesy of Evergreen Escapes)
For first-time travelers looking for a luxurious experience, Jessica Gomes, VIP coordinator at Hotel 1000, recommends Evergreen Escapes. "They have a great wine tour ... it's really intimate, but they do an urban wine tour as well. The private tour of Mount Rainier is probably one of the most successful. It's just a full day of magic. You have a private meal that's included in the cost. You have a naturalist with you, so if you go in season, he's going bird-watching with you, he's showing you all kinds of stuff, foraging mushrooms. They're just ridiculous."
Get whisked from your downtown hotel in a Mercedes van for a full day of natural beauty. Small groups of no more than 10 guests explore the majestic mountain with an expert naturalist on the "Mt. Rainier National Park Day Tour." Snowshoe (weather permitting), walk and see wildlife on this photo-op-perfect adventure. Tours cost $229 per person, plus tax. Private tours are also available.
Bon Vivant Wine Tours of Washington
"I have a soft spot for Bon Vivant Wine Tours in Woodinville," says Lara Dennis, concierge at Kimpton Alexis Hotel Seattle. "I think that staff is really knowledgeable and really tightknit with the community out there."
The "Woodinville Wineries Day Tour" lasts seven hours and visits Chateau Ste. Michelle, the state's oldest and largest winery, as well as a mix of other nearby producers, to give guests a well-rounded look at the local wine scene. The tour breaks for lunch at a cafe and wine bar, allowing travelers "to see a little more of Woodinville rather than just the wineries," Dennis says. (Lunch is not included in the ticket price.) Tours cost $89 per person, plus tax.
Puget Sound Express
Puget Sound Express.(Courtesy of the Center for Whale Research)
Dennis highly recommends Seattle visitors go whale watching, calling it a "very magical" experience. "The whales have been very active these past couple of years. The humpback whales have made a really big comeback in the area," says Dennis. The family-run Puget Sound Express has friendly staff members and knowledgeable naturalists who can speak about the local whale pods, she adds.
[See: A photo tour of Seattle.]
For a half-day adventure (four to five hours), book the "Seattle/Edmonds Whale Watching Tour." Leaving from Edmonds Marina (about a half-hour drive north), the Chilkat Express zips up to the San Juan Islands in search of orcas, humpbacks, gray whales and other marine wildlife. Tickets cost $135 for adults and $85 for children 2 to 10.
Seattle Seaplanes '20 Minute Scenic Seattle Tour'
Alexis Beeton, chief concierge at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle, is a fan of the Seattle Seaplanes city tour. "It's about a 20-minute tour that goes about 31 miles over Seattle, so you get to see the floating homes on South Lake Union, you fly by where the 'Sleepless in Seattle' house was, Gas Works Park, the Madison Valley area and the Space Needle," she says. "It's a lovely little excursion and you can always make it a private tour. At most, there's usually about five people, so it's fairly intimate." She adds that the folks running the tours are incredibly knowledgeable and can comment on all the things that are popping up in the city, as well as how the skyline is changing.
The "20 Minute Scenic Seattle Tour" covers a lot of territory – from Bill Gates' estate to the area's floating bridges. Tours cost $97.50 per person.
To experience more of what Seattle has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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