Updated On: November 07, 2023 by Ciaran Connolly
The Pacific Northwest is one of the most picturesque places in the U.S. It is filled with snow covered mountains, dense forests and crystal clear lakes. As one of the more untouched areas of the country, it is home to insane views, immense wildlife, and adventure. With the mountains meeting the sea, the pacific northwest is a must see area. Not only is there an abundance of outdoor activities but also great cities with unique coffee shops, world-renowned restaurants, and great nightlife.
To better understand the Pacific Northwest region and what there is to do, and stay, read more below. We’re gonna give you our top 5 cities and all the other information you could need for a trip to the Pacific Northwest.
The largest city in the Pacific Northwest region, Seattle is a great place to either set up base camp, or spend a few days in. Seattle is home to many sightseeing activities both indoor and outdoor. Check out some of Seattle’s best museums by wandering the halls of the Seattle Art Museum or see a show at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Both of these locations are favoured to those who love arts & culture. However, one of the most important things to see in Seattle is the Space Needle. The Space Needle touches the cloud at 605 feet. You can take the 43 stories up to the tip of the needle to view it, and take some incredible photos. If you’re feeling like splurging on a fancy night, you can also book dinner and drinks at the Space Needle. Seattle is also home to a MLB and NFL sports team. If you’re a die hard baseball or football fan consider grabbing tickets to one of these fabulous sports fans. Seattle fans are passionate about their teams much like any city and there will always be fun at a game.
Lastly, it would almost be a crime to leave Seattle without stopping somewhere for coffee. Known for the coffee chain, Starbucks, Seattle knows their coffee. Try one of the many coffee shops like Storyville Coffee with giant comfy couches and cozy reading nooks. If any city does coffee and a book well, it is Seattle. The best place to start your trip in the Pacific Northwest.
Known as the hipster capital of the world, Portland is a unique and fun-loving place. However, Portland is also home to some great history and Native pasts. Portland has attractions for every type of traveler. Whether you’re there to enjoy the city, learn the history or see the sights, Portland has lots of nifty spots to check out.
For starters, spend your Saturday morning at the Portland Markets. Established in 1974, the market is a place where vendors, musicians, and merchants get together to share their talents with the people of Portland.
If you’re a lover of books, Portland is the place for you. Much like Seattle, Portland is scattered with coffee and bookshop hybrids. There is one bookshop in particular that is infamous in Portland. Powell’s Books is the largest new and used bookstore in the world. You could spend hours in that store rummaging around for all of the greats. It is a bookworm’s dream.
For those of you who don’t know, Portland is known as the ‘City of Roses’ due to the lovely cool climate that Portland provides. Portland hosts a garden of over 10,000 roses. It is a truly spectacular place and a must-see if you’re in Portland. Portland is a quirky city and definitely worth the time.
Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach
Outside the hustle and bustle of the city is the gorgeous nature that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. More specifically, Oregon has some of the best beaches and coastline in the world. It is absolutely worth the trip to Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach, if not for the gorgeous waters, then the views alone.
This trip is more for those that enjoy the outdoors, maybe enjoy a bit more of hiking and camping and climbing, rather than the city life. If you love nature and discovering new places the Oregon coast is for you. The park and beach are located about three miles from one another however they are both equally as important and beautiful. There are multiple hiking trails that you can take to see the sights of this amazing park. The park is also partially located on the Lewis and Clark exploration trail. If you’re not sure what that means, Lewis and Clark were instrumental in discovering the western region of the U.S.
Beyond hiking, take some time to explore the beach, relax in the water and absorb the serene feeling of the beach. As one of the most unique beaches and gorgeous escapes it is a great escape from the city.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are nestled just north of Seattle in Washington state. They are a small group of Islands which makes them a bit tricky to get to. The best way is to hop a ferry that will meander through the smaller, less inhabitable islands to get you to San Juan Islands. There are also three major islands that you will want to visit each with their own unique activities. Along with San Juan Island there is also Lopez and Orcas Island. Once you get ashore to one of these magical places, there is no shortage of things to do. Between exploring through hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking for the outdoor adventurer. To luxurious restaurants, small farms, great shopping, and so much more. San Juan Islands will have you covered.
What better way to visit Orcas Island than by visiting the wildlife that surrounds it. Buy tickets from the Outer Island Excursions Whale Watching and spend the day viewing the majestic creatures that surround the island. Whale watching is a fan favourite and surely something that can be a once in a lifetime experience. Orcas Island is also great for food, shopping and hiking. Learn more here. You can also learn more about Lopez Island and the activities that the island offers.
No matter what you choose to do, or where you stay in the these three islands, you’re sure to find unique memories and attractions for a whole family or friends.
Our last stop on our tour of the Pacific Northwest is La Conner. This town is a bit more off the grid than the rest, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth visiting. America is filled with great small-towns, and La Conner is no exception. The town’s main attraction and event is their Tulip Festival. People come from far and wide to view the massive fields of tulips. The festival stretches out over a few acres, and attracts thousands of people, including those from all 50 states and 85 countries. The festival happens in April and is truly spectacular.
Beyond the tulip festival La Conner has some great places to stay and eat! The great thing about staying in a small town is the amount of boutique and luxury hotels. While the town may be small, they rely on local tourism which means lovely places to stay. If you’re staying for the weekend or for the tulip festival, try staying at the restored and historic Hotel Planter. Each of the rooms are remodeled and decorated with custom furnishings.
Now on to my favourite part…the food! La Conner has great local restaurants. We recommend stopping by Calico Cupboard Cafe & Bakery for your morning coffee and sweet treat. The bakery also offers outdoor, waterfront seating, which is quite unique for a coffee shop. Since La Conner is on the water, you must give the seafood a try. La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib is one of the renowned restaurants in the town, with great food and even better views.
The Pacific Northwest is filled with bustling cities, incredible views and outdoor adventures, and also, great small towns. This area of the U.S. is widely untouched and undiscovered, but offers all of the major amenities and luxury of anywhere else in the world. Now when you take a trip to the U.S. consider not only the major cities but the Pacific Northwest as well.