by Alison Kramer - 89 Reviews - 7 List
Whether you're new to town, just passing through, or a longtime local planning a staycation this summer, Seattle tours offer a great way to take in the sights. And believe it or not, there are more ways to explore the seas and shores of our Emerald City than riding a duck. We've compiled a list of our favorite forays into local bounty, from coffee and chocolate roasters to kayaks and sunset taco cruises.
Updated: June 30, 2010
Daily tours will delight both locals and tourists alike at this local chocolate shop. Expert guides divulge the history of cacao, the production process from bean to bar, and social issues facing artisan chocolatiers today. To satiate all the mouthwatering discourse, abundant samples are provided throughout the hour-long tour.
For a city ringed by water and populated by die-hard outdoor types, a kayak tour provides a fitting dose of local lifestyle. Daily excursions to Alki lighthouse and Elliott Bay will satisfy beginner sea-goers, while an overnight trip to Blake Island makes for an adventurous city escape.
Comical guides, historical anecdotes and and a hedonistic dose of edible treats distinguish this Pike Place Market tour. Culinary highlights include award-winning chowder, crab cakes, artisan cheese and mini donuts. Several two-hour tours leave daily, but the early morning market rounds ensure smaller crowds and more attentive vendors.
Everyone knows that Woodinville folks drink beer after a hard day of wine making, why shouldn't you? Redhook Ale Brewing company is the perfect foil to any wine tasting excursion. At the bargain price of one dollar, a facility tour details the science of brewing from hop trees to fermentation vats to the bottling line. After five samples of beer, you'll be just thirsty enough to justify a whole pint at the Forecaster's pub on site.
Although this one technically screams tourist-trap, it never fails to shock and awe a first-time local. Destroyed by the great fire of 1889, the streets and passageways of subterranean Seattle are alive and well beneath Pioneer Square. The tour, historically provocative for adults and for spooky for kids, offers something for all ages.
For some affordable, albeit weather-dependent exposure to local caffeine culture, don your sneeks and rain slicker and take to the streets for Seattle's original coffee crawl. Learn the real story behind the first Starbucks, tour a roaster, and sip coffee samples at some of the city's finest houses.
For an on-the-water adventure, you can avoid the tourist trappings of Elliott Bay and take to Lake Washington, the local preference for summer sailing and sunning. Departing from Renton, these cruises offer spectacular vistas of the Cascades and historic homes. Sunset dinner and brunch sailings are the most popular, but we prefer tacos and cocktails aboard the happy hour cruise each Friday.