Until I had visited Seattle and took this tour, I had no idea that the original city of Seattle is underneath the current city of Seattle. Amazing, isn't it? I guess when they first built the city, it was actually at or below sea level. So, when the tide would rise, the city would get flooded. Then a huge fire destroyed the city. The process of rebuilding the city took into consideration the constant flooding from the tide and they decided to build it up higher. Some of the original city areas remain and this is the tour you take to see it. It's not too expensive, very interesting and well worth it.
Hopefully, you are not put off at the end of the tour as you exit into a souvenier shop.
For a truly fun, entertaining, and unique experience, you must go on Bill Speidel's Underground Tour! I don't exactly recall who this Bill Speidel person is/was, but the 90 minute tour in his name is really awesome, especially if you get Terry Lynn (sp?) as your tour guide. She not only knew her facts, but was a total riot too, perhaps the next Ellen DeGeneres.
As its name implies, you'll be touring Seattle's underground, once a bustling commercial area with main streets and businesses. As Terry explained it, the original downtown was actually built one story below what we see as Pioneer Square today. Apparently, Seattle's engineering forefathers failed to take into consideration high tide and so the sewage system among other things became a big problem. And then came this big fire that destroyed practically everything. With the opportunity to start anew, it was decided that the second generation of Seattle would be built one story above ground. Thus, retaining walls were erected to "hold up" the city. Some really interesting stuff! I don't often pay attention when it comes to tours and tour guides, but this one definitely piqued my interest.
After the tour, be sure to keep your ticket stub for use at Doc's (Doc Maynard's) Lounge for $2.00 beers. However, what I did with my stub was walk over a coupla blocks to the Smith Tower for more panoramic views of the city (if you've already done the Space Needle). You get a $1.00 off admission at the Smith Tower observaton deck if you show your stub.
Ticket prices are $11.00 for adults, $9.00 for seniors, students with ID's, and hostel members, and $5.00 for kids (7-12).
Note: For more pix from the Underground Tour, please refer to my Travelogues below.