Present-day Pioneer Square is actually one story higher than it used to be. After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, Seattle's planners regraded the neighborhood's streets one level higher. The result: there is now an intricate and expansive array of subterranean passageways and basements beneath Pioneer Square, and Bill Speidel's Underground Tour is the only way to explore them. Speidel was an irreverent historian, PR man, and former Seattle Times reporter who took
it upon himself to preserve historic Seattle, and this tour is packed with his sardonic wit and playful humor. It's very informative, too—if you're interested in the general history of the city or anecdotes about the city's early politicians and residents, you'll appreciate it that much more. Younger kids will probably be bored, as there's not much to see at the specific sites, which are more used as launching points for the stories. Comfortable shoes, a love for quirky historical anecdotes, and an appreciation of bad puns are musts. Several tours are offered daily, and schedules change month to month: call or visit the website for a full list of tour times.