It’s not hard to fall head over heels for the Emerald City, Seattle. This gem of the Pacific Northwest combines urban charm with natural beauty like no other destination in America. In between exploring the world-famous coffee scene and marveling at iconic landmarks like the Space Needle, travelers can hit up hiking trails in majestic mountain ranges and feel the awe-inspiring power of soaring waterfalls. Indeed, these extraordinary creations of Mother Nature are located so close to the city limits of Seattle that you can easily visit them on private tours or independent day trips.
Perhaps the crown jewel of Washington State is Mount Rainier, just a short drive away from Seattle. Here, nature-lovers are blessed with pristine glaciers and wildflower meadows! That being said, even those who don’t want to leave the city can still find an abundance of greenery to rejuvenate in, as Seattle is home to more than 485 parks and open spaces – making it one of the greenest cities in the US. From the sprawling Discovery Park on the shores of Puget Sound to the traditional Japanese Garden in Washington Park Arboretum, there is always a tranquil oasis to escape to.
Another fascinating aspect to Seattle is its musical heritage, with notable bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam emerging in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, the Seattle area is considered the birthplace of grunge music. The Museum of Pop Culture is where you can learn all about these legendary rock groups at exhibits. By now, it’s clear that the attractions of the Emerald City are diverse and so you would need at least a week to experience them all. Private tours are a great option as they give you insider information that is often missed from trying to sightsee on your own.
Why Book Private Tours with Totally Seattle
No other local travel company gives you the freedom to discover the city and its surroundings the way you want like Totally Seattle. Their excursions include ready-made tours that you can book at the click of a button, in addition to customizable tours with perfect bespoke itineraries. By placing the needs of the customer above everything else, they can help you adapt the trip to suit the exact preferences of your group. For example, a specific lunch spot or shopping district could be incorporated. Whatever the request, Totally Seattle will deliver you a dream experience.
The knowledgeable guides at Totally Seattle know the best spots around town and love taking guests off the beaten path. These tours are perfect for folks who want to get under the skin of a city, as opposed to being another tourist ticking off sights on a checklist. Through a wide range of exciting driving and walking tours, Totally Seattle can take you to the hidden gems of the city – including secret art galleries and architectural wonders, and the neighboring island communities of Bainbridge and Whidbey. Boasting over 100 5-star reviews, booking with their team of guides is a no-brainer!
5 Best Private Tours of Seattle
1. Seattle City History & Landmarks
This driving tour, in a luxurious vehicle, is the biggest seller with Totally Seattle and it’s the most versatile one – meaning no matter your group size or time restraints you will be able to immerse in the city’s culture in detail. Guests can choose between the four, five or six hour experience. Those visiting Seattle for just a day will love the four hour version which gives a broad overview of the city, touching on major landmarks. While those with more time up their sleeves can book the six hour tour that affords in-depth exploration by means of sightseeing, shopping and hiking.
The tour also changes depending on the number of passengers. For groups of 1-6, you can expect the traditional tour experience – one host who acts as both the tour guide and driver. The guide offers commentary while driving, and can also help out with photo-ops and mini-walks. With 7-13 passengers, the group benefits from dual hosts: a professional driver plus a guide providing expert commentary. The main advantage here is there are less worries around traffic, parking and distractions. Of course, you have the option of adding a dedicated driver to the 1-6 passenger tour if you so wish.
It all kicks off with hotel pick-up anywhere within the city limits in a sleek van. Treats and fresh flowers from Pike Place Market greet the group and set the tone for the day. Since the itinerary is created after gathering the preferences of the group, highlights can range from the icons of Pioneer Square to a helicopter flight. The group can even request a gourmet two-course seafood lunch and bring their dog along for the ride! The options are truly endless. Regardless of how you choose to discover Seattle, the tour guide will share the special stories that shaped the city into what it is today.
2. Seattle Art Gallery & Chihuly Tour
Seattle’s art scene is fabulous, with a variety of exhibitions and galleries to dive into. On this fun five hour driving tour with Totally Seattle, you will be visiting historic neighborhoods and architectural buildings that play host to colorful street art and innovative modern art. The highlight is the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum and an exhibit that features the career of local glass-blowing legend Dale Chihuly. Like the tour above, the driver/guide situation depends on the number of passengers and whether or not you wish to pay for the professional driver (if you are in a smaller group).
3. Whidbey Island & Deception Pass Tour
Puget Sound is just a stone’s throw away from Seattle, and two of the main attractions here are Whidbey Island and Deception Pass. The former is an island with rugged terrain featuring beaches, hills and farmland while the latter is the dramatic strait separating Whidbey from Fidalgo Island. This adventure with Totally Seattle allows you to escape the concrete jungle to witness an authentic island community. The tour begins by heading north to the town of Mount Vernon where guests wander around the charming streets and grab a hot coffee, before reaching Deception Pass.
The bridge at the pass will take your breath away, with epic views from the top overlooking the popular state park! Next on the itinerary is Whidbey Island where the group stops for lunch and (once refueled) starts to explore the towns of Langley, Fort Casey and Oak Harbor. Each town has its own character and unique natural surroundings to enjoy. The final activity for the day is catching a 20 minute ferry from the town of Clinton to the town of Mukilteo. After this tranquil little journey, the guides at Totally Seattle say goodbye as they drop you back at your respective hotels.
4. Bainbridge Island & Kitsap Peninsula Tour
Another opportunity to detox from the city, and reconnect with the nature and remote communities of the Pacific Northwest, the Bainbridge Island & Kitsap Peninsula tour with Totally Seattle ticks all the boxes when it comes to unique travel experiences. The first stop is Bainbridge Island where you will be able to support the small businesses on Winslow Way. Then your driver transports you to the northern end of the island to the historic Bloedel Reserve which boasts a Japanese garden, pristine lakes, immaculate lawns and a stunning French-chateau-style manor house.
Next up is the Agate Pass Bridge to learn all about Chief Seattle – a Native American leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish peoples. Following this, a visit to the Suquamish Museum takes place where more First Nation history can be appreciated. The remaining points of interest include the former mill town of Port Gamble, a lookout of Hood Canal and the old town district known as “Little Norway”. The cherry on top is taking a beautiful ferry ride back to Seattle with the chance to soak in a glorious sunset. Tickets to the reserves and museums are included, as well as lunch.
5. Snoqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge & Nature Hike
The Snoqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge & Nature Hike adventure has the flexibility to be completed in four, five or six hours (like the other ones above) and the driver/guide situation depends on the group size. Again, this tour is ideal if you are short on time on your Seattle trip but would like to get a glimpse of the Pacific Northwest’s famed nature. Snoqualmie Falls are displayed all over social media channels and travel magazines for good reason: the height and majesty of the falls are nothing short of breathtaking. Let Totally Seattle take you there in the best way possible!
The excursion commences with a drive to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and to a couple of towns. Then you arrive at the Lower Falls Viewpoint of Snoqualmie which gives photographers ideal angles. After, a leisurely hike to the Upper Falls is on the agenda. The viewing area here is outstanding! Since the walk gets your blood flowing and stomach rumbling, it will be time for lunch at the Salish Lodge for a gourmet two-course meal. Before arriving back in Seattle, the tour finishes with a range of activities such as ice cream and the open-air railway museum.