Sure, you’ve lived in Seattle for years, but how much of the city’s history do you really know? The following suggested walking tour highlights five areas of Seattle’s best sites so you can get a history lesson and some exercise in just one day (less than two miles round trip). Start at Smith Tower.
Smith Tower
506 2nd Ave., Suite 220
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 622-4004

This July, the Smith Tower will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary. For many years, it was the tallest building on the West Coast. That honor has passed by now, and yet the Smith Tower still offers breathtaking 360-degree views from the 35th floor observation deck via the copper and brass elevator. You can explore the historic Chinese Room, view newspaper headings from 1910 when the tower was built and take a seat in the Wishing Chair. After you come down from the clouds, you can explore deeper underground just one block away.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
608 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-4646

Created by Seattle historian Bill Speidel, The Underground Tour is a unique guided walk under the sidewalks of Seattle beginning inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a 1890s saloon, that goes to three different sections of Pioneer Square. The tour promises true stories of “dirt, scandal and really bad plumbing!” The guided tour takes guests through subterranean passages that used to be main roads and storefronts. After your tour, head south on 1st Avenue , turn right onto Yesler Way and then turn right onto Alaskan Way to make your way to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
1001 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone (206) 682-5844

One of Seattle’s oddest attractions doubles as a museum and gift shop. Open since 1899, the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop features strange artifacts like the Lord’s Prayer painted on a single grain of rice, paintings on the heads of pins, mummies, shrunken heads, strange animals and much more you have to see to believe. Gifts of beauty and bizarre are available for sale as well. When you’re done shopping, take a stroll northwest on Alaskan Way and make your way to the Seattle Great Wheel.

The Seattle Great Wheel
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 623-8607

Located on the Pier 57, the Seattle Great Wheel is actually one of Seattle’s newest attractions, but set amongst rich history that goes back to the Seattle Gold Rush of 1897. The Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the West Coast, standing at 175 feet tall. It features 42 gondolas that are completely enclosed, each holding up to eight people. The wheel is a sight to see both in the day and at night when it is lit up brightly with colored lights. After a spin, head northwest on Alaskan Way toward Union Street, turn right and take the stairs to Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market
85 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 682-7453

Seattle’s farmers’ market was brought to life back in 1907. Today, the market is more successful than ever selling fresh fruits and vegetables, specialty foods, crafts and more. Stand back from the fish counter to avoid being hit with a flying fish, visit the unique gifts shops down below and take in a snack or a cup of espresso. The market features over 200 small businesses to keep you busy.

Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at