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Seattle tours and excursions

Seattle tours

Bus tours

The Emerald City Trolley runs hop-on, hop-off tours on old-fashioned trolleybuses from May to September. Tours cover three different routes and take in all the major downtown and Seattle Center sights as well as venturing further afield. You can buy a one- or two-day pass and the main pick-up is by the EMP Museum. Alternatively, bus tours are on offer year-round with Let’s Tour Seattle and encompass most of the city’s major attractions.

Emerald City Trolley
Telephone: +1 855 313 3456
Website: www.emeraldcitytrolley.com

Let’s Tour Seattle
Telephone: +1 206 632 1447
Website: www.letstourseattle.com

Walking tours

Themed walking tours are a fun way to get beneath Seattle’s skin. One of the most interesting and entertaining ways to learn the history of the city is to take the underground tour that weaves above and below Pioneer Square. Alternatively, give your tastebuds a treat on a foodie stroll with Savor Seattle. The options on offer include a guided walk through Pike Place Market and a tantalisingly tasty ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ tour.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
Telephone: +1 206 682 4646
Website: www.undergroundtour.com

Savor Seattle Tours
Telephone: +1 206 209 5485
Website: www.savorseattletours.com

Foodie walking tours

Savor Seattle runs several mouthwateringly tempting tours, including a guided stroll through Pike Place Market and a tantalisingly tasty 'Chocolate Indulgence' tour (Seattle is home to over 50 chocolatiers). It's over-21s only on the two-hour 'Booze n' Bites' walk, which introduces you to Seattle's cocktail scene and gives you a flavour of some of Seattle's best restaurants with top-notch food and wine pairing. You must buy tickets in advance.

Tel: (206) 209 5485.
Website: http://www.savorseattletours.com

Underground tours

One of the most interesting and entertaining ways to learn the history of Seattle is to take the walk that weaves above and below Pioneer Square. The entertaining, 90-minute tour is filled with tales of corruption, get-rich quick-schemes, plus the 1889 Great Seattle Fire and how the area, which was once the street level, became the underground. It begins at the 1880s restored saloon, Doc Maynard's, and ends at Rogues Gallery, which displays pictures of historic Seattle colourful characters.

Tel: (206) 682 4646.
Website: http://www.undergroundtour.com

Seattle excursions

Bainbridge Island

A 35-minute ferry ride away, Bainbridge Island, 16km (10 miles) west of downtown Seattle, has several artisan wineries and is a great place for biking and kayaking. You can shop at the Saturday farmers market, browse antique shops and galleries, and slurp on ice-creams in the historic town of Winslow.

Tel: +1 206 842 3700.
Website: http://www.visitbainbridge.com

Olympic National Park

A two-hour drive west from Seattle, the Olympic National Park is a UNESCO-listed natural wonder of glacier-draped mountain peaks, ancient rainforest and coastal wilderness. You can spot an astonishing array of wildlife, hike alpine trails at Hurricane Ridge, gaze at centuries-old forest giants, or spy colourful sea urchins in Pacific tidepools.

Tel: +1 360 565 3130
Website: http://www.nps.gov/olym

Olympic National Park

A two-hour drive west from Seattle, the Olympic National Park is a UNESCO-listed natural wonder of glacier-draped mountain peaks, ancient rainforest and coastal wilderness. You can spot an astonishing array of wildlife, hike alpine trails at Hurricane Ridge, gaze at centuries-old forest giants, or spy colourful sea urchins in Pacific tidepools.

Tel: +1 360 565 3130
Website: http://www.nps.gov/olym

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Thompson Seattle Hotel

Housed in a spectacular Tom Kundig-designed building, the 12-storey Thompson is the hottest new addition to Seattle's hotel scene. The 158 guest rooms are the epitome of class – think dark-wood panelling with brass details – and the best rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views over Pike Place Market. There's a rooftop bar boasting a dazzling outlook towards the Olympic Mountains, a 'glam-rustic' restaurant and a spectacular events space for business travellers.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel captures the elegance of a bygone era - without stinting on modern luxuries. Its 450 rooms have cosy furnishings with excellent amenities, and the service is impeccable. This Seattle hotel, built in 1924, also has a sumptuous health club with indoor pool and whirlpool plus an on-site spa. Other features include two superb restaurants.

Moore Hotel

Just a couple of blocks away from Pike Place Market, the Moore Hotel and Theater date back to 1907. Rooms are basic, but clean, and a good price for the location. The theatre itself (run separately by the Seattle Theatre Group) is Seattle's oldest operating theatre and has been renovated in 2013. All the grunge-era greats played there, including Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden.

The Maxwell Hotel

Wonderfully eccentric décor, friendly staff and an enviable downtown location combine to make this one of the city's top mid-range boutique hotels. Rooms are famously comfortable (some even boast views over towards the Space Needle) and guests have access to an indoor pool, fitness centre, café and 24-hour business centre. Outside, it's just a hop-and-a-skip to major attractions such as the Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle Center and Experience Music Project Museum.

Hotel FIVE

Modern and colourful, Hotel Five's guest rooms are all shiny hardwood floors, bright red accent walls and super-contemporary furnishings. It's the neat little extras that make this hotel stand out too – freshly baked pineapple cupcakes and coffee each afternoon in reception, golf umbrellas in every room (a Seattle essential), plus complimentary bikes and town car service. Max's Café is a great stop for breakfast or lunch.

Hotel Ändra

Hip Hotel Ändra's sleek décor is a tasteful nod to Seattle's Nordic heritage melded with Pacific Northwest contemporary design, featuring wood, water and stone throughout. Finnish architect's Alvar Aalto salon chairs and Arne Jacobsen's striking orange swan chairs make the living room loft a cool place to hang out. Guest rooms come with traditional Scandinavian patterns, alpaca headboards, striped chenille bedspreads, Lacava sinks and FACE Stockholm bath products.