Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Washington icon-chevron-right Seattle icon-chevron-right 13 Seattle tours to explore the city like a local

13 Seattle tours to explore the city like a local

See another side of Washington’s largest city on these Seattle tours of historic landmarks and hip neighborhoods
Seattle Great Wheel
Photograph: Shutterstock Seattle Great Wheel

What better way to get to know the Emerald City than by taking the best Seattle tours? These walking, biking and boating expeditions take you to some of the best Seattle attractions and even qualify as awesome things to do in Seattle in their own right. You can explore the factory where Boeing 747s are built, sip craft beers at some of the city’s coolest microbreweries and even walk through underground tunnels dating back to the 1890s. And if you wouldn’t consider your trip complete without a meal at one of the best Seattle restaurants, never fear: this list includes plenty of eating and drinking tours, too. What are you waiting for? The best Seattle tours await.

Best Seattle tours

Seattle, WA
Photograph: Shutterstock

Seattle Highlights Sightseeing Tour

If you only have one day in the Emerald City, opt for this 90-minute minibus tour of all Seattle’s top attractions. Cruise past the city’s oldest buildings in Pioneer Square, peep the former home of Kurt Cobain and check out the abode featured Sleepless in Seattle before stopping at scenic Kerry Park for a photo opp. $42

Seattle Coffee Crawl
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Seattle’s Coffee Crawl

It’s no wonder that the birthplace of Starbucks has a serious affinity for coffee. Still, Seattle’s caffeination options extend far beyond the green mermaid. Taste three of the city’s best single-origins and blends on this buzzworthy tour. Yes, it costs more than the average cup of Joe, but it’s well-worth the insider knowledge you’ll gain from Seattle baristas. $86.94

The Fremont District Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

The Fremont District Tour

You’re probably already familiar with this neighborhood’s most famous resident: the 18-foot troll statue hiding underneath the Aurora Bridge. He’s actually a fitting representative of this eclectic nabe whose motto is “De Libertas Quirkas,” or "the freedom to be peculiar" in Latin. This public art walk reveals all of Fremont’s quirks, from the many bohemian art galleries to the Fremont Rocket. $20.50

Pike Place Market
Photograph: Visit Seattle/Alabastro Photography

Taste of Pike Place Market Tour

With more than 80 restaurants and 200 owner-operated shops, Pike Place Market can be a bit overwhelming—albeit in a delicious way. This two-and-a-half hour tour takes you to only the best spots, so you can focus on food and drink you really can’t find anywhere else. The curated tasting lineup varies but often includes treats like creamy Italian gelato and Tom Douglas' signature salmon burger. $49.26

Boeing Factory Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Boeing Tour From Seattle

Just 25 miles north of Seattle, the Boeing Everett Factory is the world’s largest building by volume. Visit the gargantuan factory floor to see 747, 777 and 787 Dreamliners being assembled. You’ll definitely have a new appreciation for your aircraft the next time you fly. $75

Seattle Underground History Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Seattle Underground History Tour

After a fire destroyed 31 blocks in 1889, Seattleites rebuilt the city in brick and concrete, raising the street level several feet in the process. The former sidewalks created a series of underground pathways—some of which you can still walk, if you know where to find the entrance. Go below ground on this walking tour of those original passages to get some insight into what early Seattle must have been like. $19

Lucky Envelope Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

East Ballard Brewery Tour

Over the past 30 years, several breweries—ranging from small neighborhood brewpubs to multi-state operations—have set up shop in Ballard. Have a beer (or three) at each of the breweries on this boozy tour: Lucky Envelope Brewing, Populuxe Brewing and Bad Jimmy’s Brewing. $60

Seattle, WA
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Capitol Hill Neighborhood Tour

Locals lead these guided tours of hip Capitol Hill and will happily customize the itinerary to fit your interests. Love shopping? You can peruse the trendy boutiques lining Pike and Pine Streets. Prefer exploring nature? Check out wide open spaces of Volunteer Park. Whatever you want from your trip, you can find it here. $45.29

The Spheres at Amazon
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Manuel Bahamondez H

Amazon Headquarters Tour

Believe it or not, tours of Amazon’s corporate headquarters are free. You can explore the grounds of the largest private employer in Seattle (and second largest in the country) on a guided tour or with a free self-guided audio tour. Judging by how far in advance the guided tours have been booked, the latter might be your only option. Visitors won’t want to miss the Spheres, or geodesic domes filled with plants from the cloud forest regions of 30 countries, and the first-ever Amazon Go, a grab-and-go store that doesn’t require you to check out. Free

Seattle Locks Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Seattle Locks Cruise

Completed in 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (or as they're locally known, the Ballard Locks) link freshwater Lake Washington with the oceanic Puget Sound. It’s okay if you don’t understand the mechanics—you certainly will after transitioning from one body of water to the other onboard a sightseeing cruise. Experience the changing water levels, spot the ingenious fish ladder and take in stunning views of the skyline on this two-and-a-half-hour boat tour. $46.79

Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Peggy Baker

Diamonds and Gold: The Art Deco Skyscraper, Northwest Style

The Seattle Architecture Foundation leads this deliciously nerdy architecture tour of some of the city’s Art Deco masterpieces. Gawk at the lush lobbies and ornate motifs of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Exchange Building, the Seattle Tower and other landmark buildings. $18 in advance, $25 on the day of

Seattle Distillery Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

Seattle’s Premium Distillery Tour

Whiskey, gin, vodka—local Seattle distilleries are producing almost any spirit you can think of. Enjoy sip after sip of the hard stuff (including rare, single-barrel spirits) at three area distilleries on this small-group tasting tour. Since your tour guide is also the designated driver, you don’t have to worry about getting from stop to stop safely. $88.08

Bainbridge Island Ferry
Photograph: Courtesy Port of Seattle

Bainbridge Island Bicycle Tour

Though Bainbridge Island is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Seattle, it couldn’t be more different from the bustling city. Admire the lush evergreens as you cycle an 18-mile route around the quiet, residential island. Before boarding the ferry for the ride back to the city, you’ll even get to nosh on snacks from a local café or bakery. $149

More to explore