Underground tour, Seattle, USA - Travel #58
Dear friends, let me take you on a journey underground into the heart of Seattle, Washington in the United States. Seattle is located on the northwestern coast of the United States. It is very close to the border with Canada. Seattle is a gorgeous city that is riddled with fascinating history. I have always been in love with Vancouver, the Canadian city just north of Seattle. One of my best friends had recently moved to Seattle and it was also the starting point of my Alaskan cruise. I really didn't need any more reasons to travel to this beautiful city. Seattle felt very different to most other American cities I've visited, it almost had more of a Canadian feel to it. Maybe it was because of the way they showcase their native heritage by gracing the city with lots of totem poles or maybe it was the hospitality of the Seattle locals. Either way, Seattle should be high up on everyone's travel list.
One of the most fascinating things about Seattle is there is an entire city underground. That's right, directly below the central business district of Seattle is an underground city. On June 6th, 1889, Seattle was engulfed in flames, known as the Great Seattle Fire. Previous to this horrific event, Seattle was prone to frequent flooding from Elliott bay's high tide. The city's council used this tragic event to re-build their city. A decision was made to regrade the town’s streets one to two stories higher.
There was quite a transition period for residents, at first, residents had to climb ladders to go between the street level and the entrances to the city's buildings. Once all the new pavements were completed, residents moved their businesses and homes to the new ground floor. It wasn't long before the underground buildings were forgotten. An outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in 1907 caused the city council to condemn the underground buildings. Over time, neglect caused the underground buildings to deteriorate. I was lucky enough to go on Bill Speidel's underground tour. Only a very small section of the underground is accessible and safe. Thanks to Bill himself, he established tours of the underground in 1965 and I am glad to say that they are still going strong.
To find me, look for my Chihuahua's face
Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
Of course with most dilapidated places with tragic history's, come the paranormal encounters. Bill Speidel's also offers paranormal investigative tours that allow you to do some ghost hunting yourself. Now whether or not you believe in the paranormal, there's no denying that sometimes things happen that we aren't able to understand or explain. I am very intrigued by the paranormal but personally, I prefer to leave the investigating to someone else and leave the spirits be.
There are several tours that run each day. This allows a personalized tour and a chance to ask questions to the tour guide. My brother and I booked the first tour of the day as we like to get as much out of our holidays as possible. There is always so much to do and see in each new city. It always baffles me when people travel to destinations around the world, sleep all day and spend all night getting drunk in a bar. You can do that in your hometown, why waste your chance to explore. I suppose maybe it is because I grew up in Singapore and don't drink. Each to their own I suppose.
Once you arrive at your allocated tour time, the guide assigned to your group will come up to the reception desk and collect you. You are then lead downstairs to an underground briefing room where you are given a short but very interesting history lesson on Seattle and its underground buildings. I learned so much from the very informative guides. I found it fascinating.
After the briefing, we were lead down into the underground. It can be a fairly challenging tour if you cannot stand for long periods of time or find stairs difficult. It is not wheelchair accessible. The tour lasts for approximately 75 minutes in total. Due to the nature of the deterioration of the buildings, you do have to enter and exit the underground several times from different points within the city. I would not recommend the tour for anybody who struggles with claustrophobia as you will have to squeeze through some tight spaces. You may think that it would be dusty and hard to breath, however, there are actually air vents built throughout the underground. I have pretty weak lungs and I didn't have any issues breathing.
It was quite a surreal experience travelling through the underground city. There still is furniture and resemblance of life down in the underground. It is a small insight to what Seattle was like before the great fire. If you get scared easily, I will warn you, you will see and hear things that are unexplainable. My brother and I did the tour in May. It was just a gorgeous time of year. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't cold and rainy, the weather Seattle is famous for. It was refreshing travelling through the underground and then to come up into beautiful sunny Seattle. I have visited ruins, pyramids, temples and castles all over the world. Yet, I have never quite experienced anything like this. I absolutely recommend this tour for anyone visiting Seattle. There are several tour companies that offer underground tours, however, Bill Speidel's was the original tour. I believe in supporting originals and not imitators.
Underground vents that look like glass pavements from above
Once the tour is over, you are dropped off at the gift shop. I brought a pink shirt that I adore. Every time I wear it, I am reminded of the amazing experience I had. It truly enforces the truth that there is always more than meets the eye. We live in an incredible world full of hidden mysteries and secrets.
Wearing my new shirt with Seattle in the background
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on the underground tour, Seattle, thank you for reading and I look forward to sharing more adventures with you, until next time, Vegoutt Everybody!