- Hours: Seattle Underground tour operates year round, but the schedule varies by season
- Reservations: Not required
- Cost: Admission fee (they do not accept credit cards)
- Location: In the Pioneer Square Historic District
- How Long: Tours last 90 minutes, and they recommend you arrive a half hour before your tour time
- Best Time to Visit: Any time
Seattle Underground Tour ReviewIn its early days, downtown Seattle was a chaotic place, built on tidal plain with poor drainage. After the Great Fire of 1889, city planners wanted to raise the streets to solve the city's ever-growing sewage problems, but the downtown building owners, unwilling to wait for the city to get to work, rebuilt their buildings at the original level.
Years later, the city raised the streets, leaving sidewalks and entrances as much as 36 feet below street level. For a time, pedestrians clambered up and down between street level and building entrance on ladders, but eventually the building entrances were raised, and the old sidewalks covered over, creating the area called the Seattle Underground.
The Seattle Underground Tour begins in Doc Maynard's, a restored 1890s public house, then the tour goes underground to visit the abandoned, sunken storefronts of what was once ground-level Pioneer Square. Their well-informed guides recount the role of the modern toilet in Seattle history and the origin of the term Skid Road, taking you to some places where ghosts are said to hang out, all the while telling funny stories and spouting Seattle history.
For non-English speakers, a written Seattle Underground Tour text is available in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian, German, French, Spanish and Russian.
Children under 6 may find the Seattle Undergournd Tour too long and boring. The tour includes lots of stairs and uneven surfaces, and is not handicapped accessible.
Getting to the Seattle Underground TourBill Speidel's Seattle Underground Tour
608 First Avenue
Seattle Underground Tour Website
From I-5: Take the James St. exit.
On Foot: The Seattle Underground Tour office is 9 blocks south of Pike Market. Follow Western Avenue or First Avenue south parallel to the waterfront, to Yesler Way.
From the Ferry: Follow Yesler way two blocks inland from the ferry terminal.