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Seattle Tours Worth Noting
Taking a tour is a great way to see the city if you specific interests, or if you have limited time.
Bike rentals are becoming increasingly common in the city, and many hotels and hostels offer daily and hourly rates to tour the city on wheels. If you'd rather go with a guide, there are a number of bicycle touring companies in Seattle for nearly every type of traveler.
Terrene Tours. Terrene Tours is known for posh regional bike tours to locations such as the San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and Washington wine country—food and drinks are provided, and a comfort van is on hand if that hill gets the best of you. 206/325–5569. www.terrenetours.com.
Show Me Seattle. For $48 per person ($34 for children ages 3 to 12), Show Me Seattle takes up to 14 people in vans on three-hour tours of the major sights. Though they bill the tour as Seattle "as the natives see it," this is an extremely touristy program that makes stops at places like the flagship Nordstromstore and the first Starbucks, and the Sleepless in Seattle floating home, but it also stops by a few sites many tourists miss, like the Fremont Troll and the north-end neighborhoods. The tour is comprehensive—it takes in the views at Kerry Park in Queen Anne and heads above the canal to see Fremont, Ballard, and Green Lake—but don't expect this tour to be any more authentic than the others. One nice feature, however, is that they'll pick you up at any Downtown hotel. 206/633–2489. www.showmeseattle.com.
Or, you could always take a free, self-guided tour of five historic Seattle neighborhoods by downloading HistoryLink.org's walking tours at www.seattle.gov/tour/historicdistricts.
Seattle CityPASS. One way to tour Seattle at your own pace is with the Seattle CityPASS, which provides admission to six of the city's top attractions at a steeply discounted rate ($69 for adults; $44 for children ages 4 to 12). The booklet of tickets comes with a map, coupons, and a guide to the attractions, and then you're off to explore the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum, and either the Museum of Flight or the Woodland Park Zoo. Your pass is good for nine consecutive days and allows you to skip most ticket lines. You can pre-buy your pass online or purchase it at any of the six locations included in the tour—just don't pull any of the tickets out of the booklet—tickets must be removed by attraction staff to be valid. 888/330–5008. www.citypass.com/seattle.
Chinatown Discovery Tours. Chinatown Discovery Tours offers 1½-hour walking tours of the neighborhood Tuesday through Saturday and includes admission to the affiliated Wing Luke Asian Museum; tickets are $18, with discounts to seniors, students, and children. 206/623–5124. www.seattlechinatowntour.com.
Seattle Walking Tours. Seattle Walking Tours creates customized, two-hour itineraries that cover specific areas of the city. These cost $15 per person for a minimum of three guests. 425/885–3173. www.seattlewalkingtours.com/walk_tour.htm.
Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. The guides of Bill Speidel's Underground Tour tell tales of Seattle's sometimes scandalous pioneering past as they lead guests through subterranean passageways that once were the main roads of old Seattle. A staple for visitors to Pioneer Square. 608 1st Ave, ., Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA, 98101. 206/682-4646. www.undergroundtour.com. $16.
Market Ghost Tours. These weekend tours around the Pike Place Market weave in local ghost stories, eerie history, and fun facts about the market and its haunted places. 1410 Post Alley, Downtown, Seattle, WA, 98101. 206/805-0195. www.seattleghost.com.
Savor Seattle Food Tours. Serving up two- to three-hour culinary walking tours around town, Savor Seattle features a Chocolate Indulgence tour, a Gourmet Seattle tour (with stops at fine restaurants to meet chefs, and tasty meals with wine and beer pairings); and a Pike Place Market walking tour led by a local guide. 1st Ave. and Pike St., Downtown, Seattle, WA, 98101. 888/987-2867. www.savorseattletours.com.
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