Exploring the Seattle Underground

When planning a Seattle trip, sites like Pikes Place and the Space Needle are a no-brainer. Fortunately, I also discovered a Seattle underground tour.

Red brick building with Cherry Street Coffee House sign with cars parked out front in downtown Seattle.
The Tour Entrance

Beneath the Streets is a Seattle underground tour that leads guests through subterranean passageways and shares the fascinating tale of how this unique space came to be.

Stairs leading down to a set of yellow double doors at 102 Cherry Street, Seattle. There is a sign on the wall that says Beneath the STreets for an underground history tour.
102 Cherry Street, Seattle, 98104

The fire of 1889 forever changed the landscape of Seattle. Twenty-five blocks of downtown Seattle burned to the ground.

Black and white photo of Seattle after the 1889 fire take on the Beneath the Streets Seattle Underground tour.
Downtown Seattle After the Fire

The rebuilt streets were raised to better combat tidal flooding. The result was a street level higher than the sidewalk.

Sign that says Pioneer Square on a light pole on a sidewalk next to a red brick building in downtown Seattle.
Along the Tour Route

Pedestrians had to climb ladders to reach the street level. Since this was inconvenient and hazardous, the sidewalk was covered to create a new sidewalk at street level. The passages below remained.

Seattle Underground Tour

We signed up for the Beneath the Streets underground tour on Tripadvisor.

This one-hour tour began at the check-in desk in downtown Seattle.

At the beginning of the tour, guests gather in a small room underground. Here, the tour guide shares a brief introduction and overview.

Chairs in a brick basement with photos hanging on the wall on the Seattle underground tour.
The Tour Begins Here

Next, the tour traverses many underground passages to hear stories about the area’s history.

Underground corridor with brick walls and arches in downtown Seattle.
The Original Sidewalk

You’ll walk through corridors that were once sidewalks.

Seattle underground basement with brick walls and pipes and a black pot.

And see how the sidewalks were eventually enclosed.

Bricked arch ceiling painted white

Then the tour goes above ground to historic Pioneer Square to see sites like the oldest standing restaurant in Seattle.

Building in downtown Seattle that says Merchants Cafe on the front with people walking by.

The Fallen Firefighter Memorial is located in Pioneer Square.

Statue of a kneeling firefighter in Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle.

Smith Tower, built in 1914, was the first skyscraper in Seattle and was the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

White skyscraper in downtown Seattle

The Washington Shoe Company manufactured shoes and boots for the Klondike-bound prospectors.

Red brick building that says Washington Shoe Mfg.

The tour ends on South Main St. near Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Front of a building that says Pioneer Building with trees and bushes in the foreground.

Note: The Beneath the Streets tour includes going up and down stairs several times. While it isn’t particularly strenuous, it would not be advisable for guests with mobility challenges.

People walking down stairs that go underneath the Seattle underground

The Beneath the Streets Seattle underground tour is well worth the time and money. You get to explore parts of the city that you’d never see on your own. It’s definitely a unique way to see the Emerald City!

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