Washington, The Evergreen State. Caught between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, Washington - particularly the western region - is known for its beautiful scenery of forests, rivers, mountains, and valleys. Tucked away in these great landscapes, cities like Seattle and Olympia host delicious food, rich history, and exciting culture known around the globe.
The meeting of nature and city, of rich history and modern art, has great appeal for many. The local food, beautiful scenery, and opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying a broad range of arts and entertainment makes Washington an oft-enjoyed location for tourism both international and domestically.
Ask anybody in Washington about their hobbies and chances are they will say something like “hiking,” “kayaking,” or “biking.” Washington is known for its outdoor recreation. From mountain climbing to skiing to horseback riding, for every level of adventurer - whether you want to spend 30 minutes or 5 hours - there is a place for you to get outside and enjoy Washington’s beauty.
Olympic National Park
One of Washington’s most well-known park areas. On the Olympic Peninsula, it offers access to the coast as well as the mountains and is known for its lush rainforests.
Hiking: Hoh Rain Forest, Crescent Lake, and Hurricane Ridge are some of its most popular and accessible hiking locations, offering historic rainforests, glacier lakes, and great mountain views.
Beach: First Beach and Ruby Beach are two of the many ways to get on the beach at Olympic National Park. If you time it right, it’s possible to explore the park’s tide pools.
Mount Rainier National Park
Lies to the south of Seattle and is named after Washington’s answer to Fuji-san, Mt. Rainier. Along with the well-known view of Mt. Rainier and forests, you can also do things like sledding in the winter and wildflower viewing in the summer here.
Hiking: Longmire is a great location for easy hikes, beautiful views, waterfalls, and exploring historical buildings. In the summer, Paradise is another great place to go on hikes and view the valleys and wildflowers.
Winter Activities: In the winter, Paradise hosts the park’s snow-friendly areas, allowing visitors to sled in the Snowplay area and go on guided snowshoe tours.
And for those who want to enjoy Washington’s scenery in comfort? There are a number of scenic drives and sightseeing destinations accessible by car for you. The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway runs all the way up the west coast and can take you along the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. South of Seattle, the Chinook Pass Byway allows you to see the valleys and mountains around Mt. Rainier.
Arts & Entertainment
Washington, particularly the Seattle region, has a rich art and entertainment scene. This broad category encompasses music performances, museums, sightseeing locations, and historical sights, among other things.
Downtown Seattle: encompasses the heart of Seattle’s art and entertainment scene, hosting some of Seattle’s most recognizable places. Along the waters of Puget Sound, Pike’s Place Market is a must-visit. One of the oldest farmers’ markets in the US, it provides a space for local vendors to sell their own cuisine, produce, and arts. It’s also the location of the first-ever Starbucks store. Nearby you can visit the Seattle Aquarium, go onto the pier, visit the Seattle Art Museum, catch a musical show at Benaroya Hall, and explore some of the many local food and dining options in the city. All within a few blocks!
Seattle Center: just north of downtown, is the location of the world-renowned Space Needle. It is also home to two art museums, the famous Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Museum of Pop Culture.
International District: also near downtown, is home to Seattle’s historical Chinatown and Japantown. Many of the first Chinese and Japanese immigrants to the US came to Seattle, and though small the Seattle district packs a lot of history, which can be enjoyed simply by walking through or by visiting one of the museums such as the Wing Luke Museum. There are also a number of local restaurants and bakeries in the district serving Asian foods and sweets, including Uwajimaya, one of the largest and oldest Asian markets in the United States.