Tour Overview

Who's Watching You in Downtown Seattle? - Summer

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Downtown Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA 1.5 HOURS FREE


Want to know “Who’s Watching You in Downtown Seattle?” Global Family Travels has partnered with the Downtown Seattle Association to offer this complimentary, family-friendly urban hike guided by historian and author, David B. Williams. David will lead this 1.5-mile walk through the retail core and around Pike Place Market, where you will learn about the interesting history and architecture of the Central Business District by looking at the dozens of carved and molded animals gazing out from Seattle buildings. Along the way we’ll see a zoo’s worth of beast including lions, eagles, and walruses.    

This urban hike is offered all Summer long from July through October and is free and open to the public, but attendance for each is limited and registration is required. To reserve your spot, choose the date you are interested in participating on our separate registration website here! Spots are limited to 12 participants per tour date, so reserve early and be sure to fill out the waiver form to secure your spot

This tour is one of three “Urban Hikes” supported by the Downtown Seattle Association. Learn more about Global Family Travels and our Seattle Community Tours

COVID-19 Statement: This outdoor tour is operated with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in mind, and as of July 2021, unvaccinated tour participants are required to wear masks. For details, please refer to tour and Tasks tab for more information. 

Global Family Travels

Global Family Travels’ vision is to unite humanity and inspire travelers to take responsibility for the challenges and opportunities facing our increasingly interconnected planet. Our mission is to Learn, Serve and Immerse, using travel as a means to build cultural bridges and to foster global citizens. Using tourism to help solve community challenges, we organize sustainable travel opportunities in partnership with local and global non-profit organizations and support many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This tour is one of our Seattle Community Tours & Team Building Experiences. Through partnerships with many Seattle-area non-profit organizations that address community and environmental challenges, our one-day educational adventures in Seattle are designed to create meaningful connections that support Destination Stewardship, including the preservation of diverse and native cultures, conservation, education, and economic growth of Greater Seattle.  

Our Seattle Community Tours are outdoor adventures which address local social and environmental issues and give participants the opportunity to learn about our beautiful region’s diverse communities, natural surroundings and history in fun and engaging ways.   Through partnerships with many Seattle-area non-profit organizations that address community challenges, these one-day educational outings in Seattle are designed to create meaningful connections and support Destination Stewardship, including the preservation of diverse and native cultures and the economic growth of Greater Seattle.  (Download brochure here.)

Learn more about Global Family Travels here!

About Downtown Seattle Association

Location : Seattle, WA, USA

Many Voices, One Mission 

Downtown Seattle has evolved into one of the most dynamic urban centers in the country. But a thriving downtown doesn’t happen by accident. It takes vision, partnership and persistence. It takes the commitment of people who care about this place. It takes big thinkers who are also doers. 

We are the Downtown Seattle Association. Our mission is to create a healthy, vibrant downtown. For more than 60 years, we have been providing vision and leadership on the critical issues and opportunities facing Seattle’s urban core. 

With the support of our 1,700 corporate, nonprofit and residential members, we’re working to keep downtown economically competitive, address transportation challenges and ensure a safe, clean and inviting urban experience for workers, residents and visitors. 

We Are City Makers 

Today, more than 300,000 people work downtown and over 80,000 people live here. As our urban core grows and evolves, the Downtown Seattle Association is here. We provide leadership on a range of issues, including transportation, economic competitiveness, the public realm, affordable housing and homelessness. With funding from Metropolitan Improvement District ratepayers, we employ more than 120 ambassadors who provide cleaning, safety, concierge and outreach services throughout downtown. MID ratepayers also fund parks and public space improvements, downtown marketing and transportation services. 

We call ourselves City Makers. Because we believe when downtown thrives, the whole city flourishes. 

About David B. Williams, Your Tour Guide

David B. Williams is an author, naturalist, and tour guide whose award-winning book, Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, which explores the unprecedented engineering projects that shaped Seattle during the early part of the twentieth century. 

He is also the author of Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, and his most recent book, Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound. Williams is also a Curatorial Associate at the Burke Museum. Follow him on Twitter @geologywriter

Overview of Tour

Do you ever have the feeling that you are being watched when you walk in downtown Seattle? You are probably right. Hundreds of eyes peer out from buildings in the city observing your every step. Neither human nor electronic, these ever-present watchers belong to dozens of carved and molded animals gazing out from Seattle buildings. Based on David Williams’ book, Seattle Walks, this 1.5 mile walk through Seattle’s central retail district will reveal a menagerie of beasts fabled, fantastic, and fierce, including lions, eagles, ducks, and walruses.  

Capacity:  Capacity for this tour is 12 participants maximum. 

Tour Cost: This tour is free to attend thanks to the support of the Downtown Seattle Association.

What is included? 

  • English speaking guide service 

What is excluded? 

  • Tips for the tour guide 
  • Meals 
  • Transportation 
  • Entrance fees to activities or attractions

We acknowledge that this Indigenous land now called Seattle is the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people. We recognize, honor, and respect the Indigenous peoples connected to this land; past, present and future.

Logistics (Parking, Transport, Safety, Etc.)

Meet and End Points: This is a one-way tour which begins in Seattle's Belltown district ends just outside the Pike Place Market. The exact start location will be included in the pre-departure email to participants 1-2 days before the tour start date. 

Transportation: This tour is by foot and does not utilize public transportation. There are many bus lines that reach Belltown including: 120, 132, 26, 49, 545, 7, and 74 . The nearest light rail station is Westlake Ave & 7th Ave (~10-minute walk), and the Monorail Westlake station is close by as well (~13-minute walk). 

Parking: There are numerous paid parking garages located near the starting point of this tour. Metered street parking is limited but available nearby.

Additionally, cars can park for free by validation voucher at the Pike Place Market Garage if they patronize one of several Waterfront local businesses. Details on free parking by validation voucher can be found here on the Seattle Historic Waterfront Association website

What to Bring: Participants may wish to bring binoculars to get close views of building details. 

Safety: We have limited the size of this tour to 10 participants due to often crowded summer conditions in Downtown Seattle. Please be sure to stay with your guide during the tour and look out for other pedestrians on the city sidewalks.

About Seattle Walks

This tour can be also done on your own from David B. William’s book, Seattle Walks: Discovering History! David’s book weaves together the history, natural history, and architecture of Seattle to paint a complex, nuanced, and fascinating story. He shows us Seattle in a new light and gives us an appreciation of how the city has changed over time, how the past has influenced the present, and how nature is all around us—even in our urban landscape. Ranging in length from about one to six miles, the seventeen walks cover both well-known and surprising parts of the city.


With the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the health and safety of Global Family Travels’ travelers, community partners, colleagues and guides are of paramount importance to us. Our COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS document, found under the TASKS section, outlines our commitment to mitigate and manage the risks associated with COVID-19 when you travel with us.

Global Family Travels asks that unvaccinated participants of this tour follow the CDC Guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

Thank you for helping to keep yourself and fellow travelers and guides safe!

Downtown Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA
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