Located on the Pacific Northwest, close to the border with Canada, Seattle is an increasingly popular destination with domestic and international tourists.
Visitors flock to the city to check out the site of the first Starbucks in the world, head up the Space Needle and enjoy the relaxed West Coast culture that permeates the city.
A good way to dive deeper into the sights, culture and history of the city is to take a tour. There are many tours available around the city, as well as larger trips that can be taken from Seattle to other places nearby.
Here are the 15 best tours you can take in and around Seattle.
1. Mount Rainier Full Day Tour: Walk or Snowshoe
Located south of Seattle, this day trip will take you out to Mount Rainier, an area of incredible natural beauty.
This guided walk will let you explore vast lakes, beautiful glaciers and of course the gorgeous views of Mt Rainier itself. In the winter you can opt for the snowshoe tour instead, giving you insight into how the locals get around when the harsh weather kicks in.
Refreshments are included, and you will also have the opportunity to try and spot some local wildlife.
2. Mount Rainier National Park: 4-Day Backpacking Trip
If you would like even more time to take in the stunning natural beauty of Mount Rainier National Park, you can opt for this four-day-long backpacking trip that leaves from Seattle.
You will be able to trek through the evergreen forest areas and spend more time admiring the spectacular views.
This tour focuses on teaching you the basic skills required for backpacking in the wilderness, so is great for beginners to outdoor adventures. Your breakfast, dinner and camping gear is included.
3. Pike Place Market: Walking Food Tour
Pike Place Market is famous city-wide for being the best place to grab fresh produce. Here you can witness the fish throwing that goes on between stalls and take in the fast-paced atmosphere of the market.
You will be taken on a full food tour of the market, where you will be able to sample local produce as well as some of the best international products available at the huge market.
The seven samplings are perfect for a lunchtime tour, and the guide is very knowledgeable about the history of the market.
4. Seattle Urban Adventure Quest Team Scavenger Hunt
Add an extra sense of adventure to your sightseeing with this scavenger hunt that uses a series of clues to help you discover the best local spots.
It starts right in the heart of downtown at the Seattle Centre, and includes landmarks such as the Space Needle and Seattle Monorail.
This is the perfect option for your first day in the city to spend three hours exploring Seattle at your own pace. It is also great for families as it is designed to allow kids to get actively involved.
5. Seattle City Highlights Small Group Minivan Tour
This tour takes you around all of the most important sites in Seattle within a day, using a minivan to get you quickly from place to place.
The tour does not just focus on the centre, but also includes other key neighbourhoods such as Fremont, the current hipster neighbourhood with a very creative atmosphere.
At three hours long, the minivan only holds up to 14 people, allowing you to book it as a group, or enjoy the sights with a small group of fellow tourists in a more intimate setting.
6. Book a Local Host
If you want something a little more tailored to your personal preferences, you can book a local host to take you on a private tour of Seattle.
These hosts all live locally and have extensive knowledge of the different attractions the city has to offer. You will be able to discuss the kind of things you like with them before your tour, and they will create a tailored itinerary based on your own travel tastes.
The tour can last anywhere from two to eight hours, and includes pick up from a central location of your choice.
7. City Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
The hop-on-hop-off bus tours are a very popular option for new visitors to cities across the world. This offering by City Sightseeing in Seattle is perfect for your first day in the city to get an overview of the main sights.
You can opt for a one or two-day ticket depending on how long you plan on spending at each stop.
The itinerary includes the Space Needle, main waterfront and Puget Sound. An audio commentary is provided in multiple languages, and a complimentary walking tour can be included.
8. Olympic National Park Nature Lovers Tour from Seattle
Another great option leaving from Seattle and perfect for those who are more interested in natural beauty, this tour lets you take in the spectacular sights of Olympic National Park.
You will be accompanied by a highly knowledgeable guide who will talk about all of the flora and fauna in the area, as well as the natural history that resulted in its formation.
Olympic National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that contains mountains, rolling grasslands and a variety of native wildlife. You will be able to admire all of this, as well as Marymere Falls and Hurrican Ridge.
9. Seattle Self-Guided Audio Tour
If you want to explore the city at your own pace, this self-guided audio tour gives you all of the key information about the main spots in the city, whilst also allowing you to choose where and when you follow the tour.
It will talk you through the first Starbucks store, the Sky Needle and a variety of other important Seattle sights.
The audio tour lasts three hours and discusses the culture, history and local connections behind each major landmark. A detailed map is also included to help you navigate from place to place.
10. Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing
For the more adventurous traveller, you can also take the opportunity to try your hand at rock climbing in the beautiful nature of America’s Pacific Northwest.
This activity is specially designed for people who are new to rock climbing, although it is also a great option if you have only ever done indoor rock climbing in the past.
All of your materials are included, and the guide is not only knowledgeable but fully licensed in first aid to give you extra peace of mind.
12. The Ultimate Food Experience with a Local Guide
This Seattle food tour will take you around the vibrant culinary scene in the city with a knowledgeable local guide.
All of the food on the tour is made using fresh produce and showcases the vibrant food scene of the Pacific Northwest. You will sample eight different food items, as well as locally produced craft beer and of course authentic Seattle coffee.
You will also be able to enjoy great viewpoints over the city, so make sure you bring your camera along with a full appetite.
13. Private Experience – See the Best with a Local
This is another great tour if you are looking for a more local experience that is personally tailored to your own travel tastes.
Tours can vary from three to eight hours depending on how many spots you want to hit up, and your itinerary is arranged in advance with your local guide. This is usually a walking tour, so it’s a good option if you are looking to dive deep into a particular neighborhood.
Transportation can also be included for an additional fee if you want to expand your horizons.
14. From Seattle: Boeing Factory and Future of Flight Tour
The Boeing factory is located just north of Seattle and makes an excellent experience for fans of aviation.
The tour will allow you to learn about the history of Boeing, as well as how their planes are produced and the innovation behind their most famous aircrafts.
You will be able to take a look at how new airplanes are being built, and you can also take the Future of Flight Tour which talks about the future of the aviation industry and what planes might look like in the future.
15. Canadian Rockies 7-Day National Parks Group Camping Tour
Are you looking to splash out on the ultimate nature lover’s experience? This tour, departing from Seattle, heads to the Great White North and shows you the spectacular sights of the Canadian Rockies.
You will be able to camp in the natural wilderness and discover the native wildlife that inhabits the national park.
It also includes visits to Vancouver, Whistler and Clearwater, allowing you to interact with the locals in these areas. A canoe ride on Lake Louise is included as part of the experience, and other add-ons are available to create a bumper tour.