The Pacific Northwest is a treasure trove of amazing adventures and sites. This part of the country offers endless opportunity to explore the great outdoors and take in the sites. It also offers some quirky experiences and unique view from the artistic side of the world.
The Pacific Northwest is certainly a destination if you have never been. It is also a year-round destination offering skiing in the winter, stunning colors in the fall, and various festivals during the summer and spring. Plan your trip accordingly and enjoy all the Pacific Northwest has to offer visitors.
We begin our journey through the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, Washington. This thriving metropolis has seen significant growth over the past few decades as industries flock to Seattle. Seattle currently boasts a bustling population of well over 700,000. It is a growing city and always has something fun going on for visitors to experience.
Some of the more famous attractions such as the iconic Space Needle and Pike Place Market are certainly on your to do list, but do not neglect the fact that Seattle is an artists haven has well. Various local artists put their works on display throughout shops and local establishments throughout Seattle and supporting these artists is an institution here. Coffee houses and galleries dot Seattle, so make sure to ask around to find out where the best artists display their works.
Seattle is full of incredible parks including Discovery Park and Gas Works Park, but often the weather is a factor in your ability to explore these outdoor activities. When the weather turns negative, do not fret. The Seattle Art Museum, Pacific Science Center, and the Seattle Aquarium are just a few of the many indoor attractions to fill in those rainy days. Although your first stop, whether it is raining or not, should be the Seattle Great Wheel. It offers the best views of the coast and city skyline.
Getting to Seattle is never a problem. Interstate 90 connects large cities in Washington, including Seattle and the city is home to not 1, but 5 airports including, 3 international airports. For those traveling without a personal vehicle or visitors who do not want to contend with the woes of parking downtown, the King County Metro offers the best public transit system. However, another option is available as well. The Seattle Monorail is a fun experience for visitors who have never been on a monorail.
A 45-minute car ride, depending on traffic conditions, will take you from Seattle to Tacoma, Washington. This is a somewhat smaller city with a population of just over 200,000. Tacoma is a port city making it a haven for those who love the sea. Fishing, swimming, and all the regular beach activities are available in Tacoma, so if you are in love with the water, it is a destination you should not miss.
I-90 tends to be the primary way most visitors get into Tacoma, but there are also bus routes and an airport in Tacoma. Peirce Transit is the primary transit system in Tacoma. The city charges just $2 per ride, but visitors are encouraged to purchase a daily pass for $5. Use of the public transit is amazing for visitors as it allows them to travel without contending with traffic or finding parking. Tacoma may not be as large as Seattle, but it can have a problem with parking availability on weekends and during festivals downtown.
Tacoma, WA is a land of museums. Arts and culture run deep within the Tacoma Landscape and the Museum of Glass, America’s Car Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum are among the many museum opportunities visitors regularly enjoy. On sunny days, Point Defiance Park and Wright Park are excellent places to enjoy the outdoors. For visitors who want to get up close and personal with the Tacoma beach life, Owen Beach is a popular destination.
The Pacific Northwest is known for being a coastal location, so naturally, seafood reigns supreme for hungry visitors. Dukes Seafood and the Lobster Shop are among the best places to go for the freshest seafood in Tacoma. If you are seeking more of a regional brewery style establishment, Ram Restaurant and Brewery should be top on your list. Tacoma, Washington is a stunning location full of culinary delights from around the world. Never be afraid to ask locals for their advice on the best restaurants in Tacoma, WA and enjoy your experience in this illustrious Pacific Northwestern city.
As you enjoy your journey through the Pacific Northwest, take a trip a few hours south of Tacoma to Vancouver, Washington. This city boasts a population of just under 200,000 and is the 4th largest city in Washington. The city maintains an airport and interstate system to bring tourists in from around the world. Tourists wishing to avoid getting stuck in traffic or contending with parking can consider using the public transit system. Vancouver has a variety of different, affordable public transit options from busses to trains and even has the Seabus, a popular option for locals and tourists alike.
Accommodations are vast in Vancouver, WA, but make sure you avoid traveling when there are conventions in town. Vancouver, WA is a popular convention location, so hotels fill up. The same notion can be suggested for traveling during fall and spring, popular festival seasons in the city. Plan for the best options in high end accommodations. The Nines is among the most popular local luxury hotel, but if you desire something a little more intimate, consider Briar Rose Inn, located directly in downtown Vancouver.
While visiting Vancouver, WA, you will find plenty to keep you busy. For those looking to stroll the streets and find something interesting, try the Vancouver Farmer’s Market. Farmer’s markets are a staple in this area and this one is one of the largest you will find. Another impressive area to roam is the Waterfront Renaissance Trail or Cathedral Park. The Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is a great place to get in touch with nature, as is the Peninsula Park and Rose Garden.
On the days where the weather is not cooperating with your plans, consider visiting the Alberta Rose Theater for a show or learn something new at the Pearson Air Museum. No doubt, while you are walking around, food will eventually be on your mind and in Vancouver, breweries are king for a good beer and a tasty meal. Lompoc Brewing is a great place to start your journey through Vancouver’s amazing restaurant scene. Namaste, Rib City Grill, and Beaches Restaurant and Bar are some of the more famous establishments in the city.
Portland is weird and that is the way they like it. No other place has the allure for artists and free thinkers the world over quite like Portland, OR. The trip from Vancouver to Portland is just a 9-mile journey, but it is a world away from the smaller town feel of Vancouver. Portland, OR currently has a growing population of 652,503. When traveling to this part of the country, bring your rain gear. The city averages 43” of rainfall annually, but do not let that stop you from coming here.
Portland, OR is a tourist friendly environment with a welcoming atmosphere. Residents may be on the odd side, but they are accepting and provide a warm welcome to their visitors. Staying in Portland, Oregon, is an adventure all its own as there are a variety of both chain and boutique hotels to choose form. Not to mention the quirky vacation rentals locals rent out. Portland is designated by districts and locals claim that top 3 districts for visitors to stay in are, Downtown Portland, Pearl District, and Old Town Chinatown.
Travel is easy here, but you might not want to employ your personal vehicle. Park your car and walk or hop on the TriMet bus line or MAX Light Railway system. Some of the more unique options for traveling in Portland are the Portland Streetcar and the Portland Aerial Tram. Both locals and tourists utilize all of these travel methods as well as biking. Parking in certain areas in Portland can be a problem, so biking is popular as well.
What should you do in Portland, OR? Anything you want. The city is electric with artistic vibes and free expression. Street performers are common as it small artists studios and coffee houses. When it is time to eat, try a few of the famous local places such as Jakes Famous Crawfish or the Portland City Grill. If you are looking for something to entertain the kids, consider Oaks Amusement Park or the Oregon Zoo.
The Pacific Northwest is full of amazing sites, sounds, and incredible places to eat. Traveling through these cities will give you a true taste of this region of the country. Take your time and travel slowly for the best experience. This part of the country is about slowing down and taking things easy, so make sure you do.