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Welcome to the Tours Northwest Blog! Join us on a virtual journey through the Emerald City’s vibrant landscapes, rich culture, and unique attractions. Immerse yourself in the heart of the Pacific Northwest as we share captivating stories, insider tips, and awe-inspiring visuals that showcase the beauty of Seattle. If you want to see more of Seattle and the surrounding areas in person, we invite you to check out our Seattle Tours & Activities page!

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a woman jumping and posing for the camera with city in background during a Seattle Tour

The Best Seattle Tours

Let’s get the shameless self-promotion out of the way first – if you’re looking for a great overview of Seattle’s most famous sights and fascinating neighborhoods from the comfort of a tour bus (so you don’t have to navigate our traffic or public transit), our City Tour is perfect for you. 

If you prefer to be picked up at your hotel and want a more intimate group size, our Seattle City tour plus hotel pickup is just the ticket for you.  If you want to get out of the city, our Mt. Rainier National Park Tour will give you the most comprehensive experience of the park possible in a single day, without having to worry about planning, driving, or trying to find parking.


a man standing on top of a snow covered bridge

Top 10 Seattle Tours

Written by Mark Dahl |  updated April 16, 2024

Sometimes you want to experience other sides of the Seattle area, though, and as a small independent tour operator, we can’t offer everything.  So here’s a roundup of our favorite other tours that we would take while visiting this amazing city:

Table of Contents

1. Seattle Grunge Redux

2. Argosy Locks

3. Ballard Kayak and Paddle-board Tours

4. Amazon Spheres

5. Hola Seattle

6. Puget Sound Express Whale Watching Tours

7. Beneath the Streets

8. Georgetown Steam Plant

9. Eat Seattle Pike Place Market Food Tour

10. Kenmore Air Volcano Tour

1. Seattle Grunge ReduxClaus Meyer et al. standing in front of a building

For many of us (fellow Gen Xers I’m looking at you), Seattle is most associated with the flannel-clad bands of the ’90s.  This walking tour explores the Belltown neighborhood to learn about where these bands were developing this sound that would take over the world.


2. Argosy Locks Cruisea boat is docked in the water

This boat tour takes you from the Seattle waterfront to Lake Union (or vice versa) via the historic Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden (aka Ballard) Locks.  As much fun as it is to watch other boats going through the locks, this is the easiest way to experience the perspective of locking through yourself.


3. Ballard Kayak and Paddle-board Toursa person riding on the back of a boat in the water

If you’d rather paddle your own vessel through the Ballard Locks, that’s one of the many great kayak tours this company offers.


4. Amazon Spheres

a green plant in a garden


This one might take some planning since it’s only open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month, and the online reservations (which open up 2 weeks prior) fill up quickly.  If you’re lucky enough to grab one of those spots, it’s a free self-guided tour of the 40,000 plants housed within these futuristic glass domes.

5. Hola Seattle 

These are the only Seattle tours offered in Spanish and Portuguese, and since a language barrier can be a huge impediment to a great tour experience, I’m glad these guides are here to provide what monolingual tour guides like myself cannot.


6. Puget Sound Express Whale Watching Tours

an animal swimming in the water

A highlight for many visitors to our region is seeing some of the most famous residents of the Puget Sound (our Orca, Humpback, Minke, and Gray whales).  Of course, if you want a chance of seeing these amazing creatures, you need a way to get out on the water, and Puget Sound Express boasts the fastest and quietest whale-watching boats in the Northwest.  You will need to get out of Seattle to meet at the ports they sail out of, but Edmonds (the closest), Port Townsend and Port Angeles (both on the Olympic Peninsula) are all charming towns worth visiting.

7. Beneath the Streetsa group of people sitting on a bench

This walking tour, much of which takes place literally underground Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, while also delving into some of the more underground elements of Seattle’s past.  While Bill Spiedel may have originated this type of tour, we love the smaller group sizes of Beneath the Streets (maximum 25 people), as well as the specialty tours they offer (one focused on queer history, the other on debauchery and vice) in addition to their standard history oriented tour.


8. Georgetown Steam Plant

You have to plan ahead for this one, too, since it’s only available during the open house on the second Saturday of every month between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with guided tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but it’s well worth the effort since the Georgetown Steam Plant is both free and fascinating.  This National Historic Landmark is home to the only two remaining vertical Curtis Turbines in the world, and the informative tour will teach you all about how they worked to generate power for Seattle’s now-defunct electric street car system.  Whether you’re an engineering nerd or you just love photographing abandoned industrial sites, this is the tour for you!

9. Eat Seattle Pike Place Market Food Toura man standing in front of a fruit stand


The Pike Place Market, a sprawling 7-acre historic district, is the most popular attraction in Seattle, so you’re probably going to come here regardless.  As much fun as it is to explore on your own, with 220+ independently owned shops & restaurants, 150+ craftspeople, 70+ farmers, 60+ permitted buskers, and over 10 million visitors per year, it can be a bit overwhelming.  That’s why it helps to have a local chef as your expert guide to the culinary treasures of the market with this 2-hour walking and tasting tour.

10. Kenmore Air Volcano Tour

a view of a snow covered mountain

Kenmore Air offers many scenic aerial tours from land and seaplanes, but this one takes you from Boeing Field in South Seattle up to as close to the summits of both Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens as you’re likely to get without having to climb up there yourself.