The city of Seattle is a diverse, historical, and culturally rich city that visitors and locals alike can have the opportunity to learn new facts and tidbits about through tour companies, such as EverGreen Escapes. The main characteristic that sets EverGreen Escapes apart from other tour companies for me though, is that they use sustainable and eco-friendly practices to maximize resources and minimize impact on our environment. As a native to the Seattle area, I have learned many fun factors and historical details about the Emerald City throughout my childhood and adult life. However, I was somewhat shocked as I took a half-day tour with EverGreen Escapes and discovered that there were many wonderful gems of information about Seattle that I did not know. For instance, I was told that Pioneer Square was the second oldest European establishment of Seattle, courtesy of the Denny Party.  Many facts were given that I had vaguely remembered studying in primary school, or that ‘you just pick up from living here’, such as the native history about the Duwamish tribe and Chief Sealth.

Downtown:

Evergreen Escapes conveniently picked me up in a Bio-Diesel fueled Mercedes van from the Crown Plaza hotel, which I was able to utilize Sound Transit’s Central Light Link to get to from the SeaTac Airport Station. The Seneca Street & 3rd station is a mere two blocks south of the hotel pick-up spot, a very short walking distance on an incline.  We had quite a small party, which the tour company purposely does to give a more personalized tour for its visitors. As we drove through the downtown area, our tour guide, Penny, gave us information about the multiple districts such as Pike Place, Pioneer Square, Harbor Island (industry area), and the Stadiums.

Alki:

The next stop on our tour was to Alki Beach, which is named after a Chinook Indian word that stands for by-and-by and that just so happens to be the Washington State motto.  Despite the rain, we had a lovely view of the Puget Sound and Seattle Cityscape and were able to sit at an undercover area to enjoy local and organic hot tea and pastries, while our guide enlightened us about local history.

Ballard Locks:

This location allowed us to glimpse the mixture of nature and industry in the Seattle area, as we could glance one way at the Ballard Locks Railroad Bridge and then in another direction we were able to spot a Great Blue Heron in a tree. Another unique element about the Ballard Locks is that it mixes salt water from Puget Sound with fresh water from the Ship Canal that connects Lake Washington and Lake Union, which creates interesting colors and lets boats travel between the different bodies of water. This was a worthwhile spot to see despite the drizzle and grayness of the sky!

Neighborhoods:

Throughout the tour we drove through multiple Seattle neighborhoods, such as Belltown, Queen Ann, Magnolia, Freemont, the University District, and Capitol Hill. I absolutely loved all of the historic houses and beautifully elegant mansions that we passed and thoroughly enjoyed our stop in Freemont at Theo’s Chocolates tasting room.

Parks & P-Patches:

Seattle’s well-known nickname as “The Emerald City” is wisely chosen due to its abundance of parks with amazing views of Washington mountain ranges and the extensive plant life in some.  I especially enjoyed the cityscape view from Kerry Park; even through the inside of the van it was alluring to gaze at. Another park highlight was the drive though Volunteer Park, from its grand looking water reservoir tower to the Seattle Asian Art Museum on location, I hope to go back on another day and explore it more thoroughly.  Apart from the parks, we also drove by the Interbay P-Patch, which is just one of many public gardens located in Seattle neighborhoods designated for its urban inhabitants to enjoy keeping a garden.

The “Explore Seattle Tour” with EverGreen Escapes made for a worthwhile and informative three and a half hour experience. I would definitely recommend this tour, or any of their other tours, to both visitors and locals.