Washington State Destination Overview
Head to the only state in the nation to be named after a U.S. president. Between the outdoor adventure, hip breweries and historical perspective, Washington is a dynamic must-visit destination.
Seattle is the fastest growing metropolis in the U.S. and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest.
First things first, make a trip to see the Space Needle. This iconic 605-foot-high structure has symbolized Seattle's skyline ever since it was built for the 1962 World's Fair. Afterward, make your way a few blocks southwest to the Olympic Sculpture Park where you can see works by sculptors like Alexander Calder and Claes Oldenburg.
For a cultured afternoon, check out the Seattle Art Museum (commonly known as SAM) for a look at one of America's premier art collections, or The Museum of Flight to see an older version of Air Force One.
Packed with local artwork and fresh produce, Pike Place Market might be one of the most touristic attractions in Seattle. This bustling market near the downtown waterfront is peppered with coffee shops and restaurants, which are perfect to satiate a hungry stomach.
Second-hand shopping is a big trend in Seattle. Spend the afternoon searing for hidden gems in consignment and used clothing shops like Crossroads Trading Co. on Capitol Hill.
The city's natural beauty stands at the forefront of its appeal, complete with whitewater adventures, snowboarding and biking awaiting the outdoorsy traveler. Bike along the magnificent Centennial Trail or hike through dozens of nature preserves.
It's no secret that the Spokane River Falls are a focal point. Get a birds eye view of the falls with a gondola ride or go on a hike to check out the 16 million year old towers of basalt rock produced by lava flows. In Spokane's backyard, you can find one of eastern Washington's tallest peaks, Mount Spokane, etched with 100 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails.
In the heart of downtown, the iconic Riverfront offers attractions for children of all ages. Explore the carnival rides under the Spokane Pavilion, or saddle up on one of the hand-carved horses at Looff Carrousel.
Wine lovers and beer buffs will enjoy the numerous local wineries and craft breweries. A few local favorites include Arbor Crest, 12 String Brewing and Budge Brothers Brewery. If you want a meal to complement it, Mizuna, Sante Restaurant & Charcuterie and Picabu Neighborhood Bistro make for great options.
Olympia, the state's capital, was known as "Cheetwoot" (the black bear place) to the Coastal Salish who occupied the area for generations before the first American settlements. A tour through the Washington State Capitol will give visitors a look into the city’s past, present, and future.
Olympia offers travelers access to 40 public parks and its mild winters and comfortably warm summers make Olympia an idea area for outdoor opportunities. Hike the public trails that lead to saltwater beaches where native tribes once walked. For waterfront views, head to Nisqually Reach Nature Center or Priest Point Parks. These destinations are perfect for those looking to experience hiking and wildlife opportunities only minutes from downtown.
Perched on the north bank of the Columbia River between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, Vancouver is as charming as it is naturally beautiful. Like the other cities mentioned, Vancouver seamlessly weaves together colorful history and recreation. It even has a burgeoning wine region.
At the Columbia River, you'll have more than your fair share of activities to choose from - hiking, biking, swimming, sailing and more. Many visitors like to rent kayaks and float along Vancouver's deep blue waters. A great way to discover Vancouver's hidden gems is the Columbia River Renaissance Trail, packed with parks and restaurants and public art pieces.
Step back in time at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver Historical Site, an in-town national park that used to be an early 19th century fur trading post before it was converted into an active military encampment.
Make time to spend an afternoon at the local pubs and breweries sprouting up around town. Bader Beer & Wine Supply along with Burnt Bridge Cellars are local favorites. If you visit during August, you won't want to miss the annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, where music and vintage swirl into one intoxicating blend.