SEAtoday City Guide Play Banner

Your ultimate guide to tours of Seattle

Explore the Emerald City through its history, food, drink, and nature on these tours.

A hot air balloon with a rainbow geometric pattern hovers above a rural residential area while Mt. Rainier stands proud in the distance during a sunrise trip.

Pioneer Square is the site for a lot of Seattle history tours.

Whether you’re a lifelong Seattleite longing to embrace your inner tourist, or you have a limited amount of time in the Emerald City, here are 15 tours guaranteed to show you the sights you want to see.

Note: Price estimates are based on individual adult rates available at the time of publishing. Check each company’s website to see current pricing.

Pioneer Square circa 1895

Anyone recognize James Street in this shot from 1895?

Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives

All in on history

Self-Guided Green Book Tour | Free | Year-round
Download the app created by Seattle’s historic Black & Tan Hall, then stroll around Jackson Street in the Chinatown-International District to explore the city’s jazz age through the lens of the Black community.

Beneath the Streets: Queer History | $27 per person | June-August
From the early underground nightlife scene in Pioneer Square to the first Gay Pride Picnic in Occidental Park and up to modern day, this tour celebrates and explores the roots of the local LGBTQ+ community.

Uncovering the History of Seattle’s Central Waterfront | Free | April-September
In this tour led by a HistoryLink historian, walkers will learn about how Seattle’s piers, railroads, and people brought the city to what we know today.

Trail to Treasure Tour | Free | June-September
Pioneer Square operated as the heart of Seattle’s booming trade and logging industries. Step back in time with a guided tour or pick up a map from any of the participating historical locations.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour | $10-$50 per person | Year-round
One of Seattle’s most well-known tours literally takes you underneath the sidewalks to peer into the remnants from the Great Fire of 1889. A lot of the stories are punched up for dramatic effect + easy laughs, but the sites are still cool to see.

Mt. Rainier stands tall and very close as the photographer snaps a pic of the volcano from inside one of Kenmore Air's small passenger planes.

Kenmore Air’s scenic flights can get you almost as close to Mt. Rainier as you can get without needing to actually climb it.

Photo via Kenmore Air

Great outdoors

UW Botanic Gardens | Free | January-November
On the first Thursday of every month except December, you can stroll around Washington Park Arboretum to hear more about the seasonal plant collections and see some pretty flowers.

Adventures in Seattle | $239 per person | Year-round
Go snowshoeing, discover waterfalls, and stand in awe under the shadow of Mt. Rainier with a well-seasoned hiking guide. Shuttling, equipment, lunch, and permits are all included in the price.

Seattle Ballooning Tours | $325+ | April-October
You’re going to want to look down for this one — soar high above the Cascade Mountains with just a little hot air. Join a group tour or rent a balloon out for your next special occasion.

Kenmore Air Tours | $109+ | Year-round
Kenmore Air has a whole variety of scenic flights + volcano tours that will show you several of the Puget Sound’s most beautiful landscapes. Sites include downtown Seattle, the San Juan Islands, Mt. Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Lake Washington.

Lake, Old Growth, and Trees in Columbia City | $139 | Spring-Summer
Looking for a real intimate tour? Longtime Seattle resident Lynn Curtis drives small groups of folks around town in her SUV to various sites, sharing her deep knowledge of the area — you’ll get to take a hike with her on this particular journey.

Seattle Bike Tour | $65-$185 | Year-round
There are several options to choose from, whether you want to pedal your way through 13 miles of interurban paths on regular ol’ bike or hit up Discovery Park on an electric one.

A tour guide holds up a tray of food in front of Marination in downtown Seattle

Eat Seattle is a great option if you want to get acquainted with lunch options around the Spheres.

Photo via Eat Seattle

Eat and drink

Street Foods of South Lake Union | $56 per person | Year-round
The two-hour trip stops at six locations around the Amazon and Google campuses grabbing bites at fast-casual spots like Marination and Mamnoon Street. You can also get discounts to other local restaurants after the trip.

Chinatown-International District Food Tour | $55.95 | Year-round
The CID has got to be one of Seattle’s most densely-packed neighborhoods of seriously incredible bites. If you’re not sure where to even start, the Wing Luke Museum can help show you the ropes. And go more than once — new restaurants are featured on the tour often.

Pike Place Market Tasting Tour | $55 per person | Year-round
Enjoy bites from vendors like Pike Place Chowder, Frank’s Produce, and Chukar Cherries, while getting a history lesson about the market.

Wine Tasting Shuttle | $199+ per person | Year-round
Even better than an Uber, this tour service is happy to drive you around while you taste the fruits of Washington’s fields. Set up your own itinerary or let the team set up something special for you.

Underground Donut Tour | $55-$65 | Year-round
There just may not be a sweeter way to get to see the city. Start downtown and taste your way through some of the best doughnuts the city has to offer. (Psst.. this same company offers tours around the world if you’re the traveling type.)

Woodinville Wineries Day Tour | $89 per person | Year-round
You’ll visit a large winery and a couple of boutique ones in the popular Eastside wine destination. Each tour is catered to the group, so feel free to make requests.

Get ghosted

Haunted History: Ghost Tours of Seattle | $15 per person | Spring-Fall
Guided by two longtime residents and steeped in local paranormal knowledge, you’ll stroll through Pioneer Square to explore Victorian mysticism, Seattle’s oldest saloon, and the city’s darkest secrets.

Seattle Terrors | $21-$30 per person | Year-round
Learn about the Northwest’s first elevator for corpses, a serial killer who posed as a doctor, and other spine-tingling tales in a one-mile loop that lasts 60 minutes (or add on an extra 30 if your nerves can take it).

Spooked in Seattle | ~$15 per person | Year-round
Run by the “oldest paranormal investigation group in the PNW,” this tour takes its ghosts seriously. You’ll hear evidence collected and learn about some of Seattle’s creepiest historical moments. You can also rent your own investigation equipment from these folks if you’re feeling extra curious.

Nightly Spirits | $30 per person | Year-round
Need a little nip while ghost hunting? A costumed guide will take a two-and-a-half hour tour of haunted bars around town, including Kells Irish Pub (housed in a former mortuary). Drinks not included in the price.

A pod of orcas swims in the Puget Sound with a mountain in the background

Orcas can often be spotted in the Puget Sound — you don’t have to sail too far to find them.

Photo via FRS Clippers

On a boat

FRS Clipper Tour | $109+ per person | May-October
Wanna see an orca? While there are lots of whale watching tours in the region, this is the only one that offers a half-day excursion departing from downtown Seattle (Pier 69) and is a member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association.

Ice Cream Cruise | $5-$18 | Spring-Summer
This will be the highlight of your kids’ trip. Relax with a cold ice cream cone as you take in the views of Lake Union. Bring the pup, too.

Harbor Cruise | $20-$54 per person | Year-round
Run by the popular Argosy company, the one-hour trip has a live narration about Seattle facts and offers great views of the city’s skyline and Olympic Mountains. There’s also a full-service bar with snacks.

Alki Kayak Tours: Lighthouse | $119 per person | Spring-Fall (weather permitting)
Row, row, row your own boat. Launching from the beach near Marination Ma Kai in West Seattle, take a scenic trip around Duwamish Head, and check out the lighthouse on Alki. The company’s three-hour tour is busiest in the summer.

Check out our other Guides
Here’s the deal — the thrift and vintage shopping scene in Seattle has great finds. These are your must-see stops for a perfect haul.
Plan your summer with beach-themed events happening in the Emerald City.
It’s kind of our thing.
We’re highlighting the 25 best parks that the Seattle area has to offer — including Discovery, Woodland, and Marymoor Parks.
Check out these 32 hiking trails catered to all skill levels in and around Seattle, Washington for outdoor adventures.
From lifting weights, indoor rock climbing, personal training, dance fitness, boxing classes, and martial arts programs — we’ve rounded up 24 gyms and fitness offerings around Seattle.
As Seattle continues to grow, we’re keeping an eye on upcoming developments and recently opened businesses.
Hit the road and head to Vancouver, British Columbia — we’re sharing all the details about what to do and eat, plus where to stay.
A guide to gates, parking, nonstop flights, and more.
Seattle’s “original downtown” has a lot to offer these days, between arts galleries, delicious food, and solid public transit.
SEAtoday Phone
Good news for Seattle.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.