Top 12 Washington State Attractions

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The state of Washington is blessed with landscapes, whether created by nature or by humans, that are not only scenic but perfect for outdoor recreation—but that's not all the Evergreen State has to offer. Whether you like the view from the top of Seattle's Space Needle or shopping at the bustling Pike Place Market, Washington State has something for everyone. Here is a list of the 12 best attractions to enjoy in Washington.

Explore Olympic National Park

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Olympic National Park , which is a unique and diverse wilderness preserve, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. During a visit to the park, you can experience a number of different ecosystems, including alpine mountain, temperate rain forests, and rugged ocean beaches. The park's Hurricane Ridge can be visited on a long day trip from Seattle. If you wish to explore several sections of the park, plan to spend at least three days on a multiday loop around the Olympic Peninsula.

Drive Along Mount Baker Highway

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Mount Baker Highway begins in Bellingham on State Route 542, passes through a charming rural area, then enters Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Along the way, you'll enjoy 60 miles of beauty and recreation. Be sure to stop at the U.S. Forest Service ranger station in Glacier for a map, recreation pointers, and the latest road and trail condition. There will be many places to stop and enjoy the scenery, hike, or picnic, including Horseshoe Bend, Nooksack Falls, Heather Meadows, and Artist Point. If you plan to head all the way up to Artist Point (which, along with Heather Meadows is the reason Mount Baker Highway ranks so high on this list), August or September is the time to go.

Hike (or Drive) in Mount Rainier National Park

The stunning beauty and dominant presence of Mount Rainier demands that all who see it on their horizon will want to visit in person. And the closer in you get, the more gorgeous the view. Mount Rainier National Park is accessible to all who wish to experience it; even if you're not up for a hike, much can be experienced on a driving tour with frequent stops at scenic viewpoints. Those who wish to explore the mountain landscape up close will find hikes that range from easy to difficult, from a few minutes to several days.

Drive the Coulee Corridor

The Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway runs from Omak in the north, through Moses Lake, to Othello. Along the way, you'll take in stunning scenery, both natural and human-made. Grand Coulee Dam is a major highlight, where you can spend a good chunk of your day. Dry Falls Visitor Center, Banks Lake, Steamboat Rock State Park, Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park, Lake Lenore Caves State Park, Potholes State Park, and the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are all worthwhile stops along Coulee Corridor.

Take in Picture-Perfect Landscapes on the North Cascades Scenic Highway

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The North Cascades Scenic Highway follows State Route 20 from Sedro-Woolley to the Methow Valley, passing through portions of both Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and North Cascades National Park. Along the way, you'll see sharp snowcapped peaks, historic dams and powerhouses, and blue-green lakes. There are numerous places to get out and stretch your legs at a scenic viewpoint or hiking trail. Must-do stops include the Diablo Lake Boat Tour , the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, and the charming Western-themed town of Winthrop.

See an Active Volcano

Mount St. Helens and the lands preserved in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument are fascinating places to visit for a number of reasons. First, getting up close to an active volcano provides a particular thrill. As you drive through the monument, you'll see evidence of the vast destruction from the 1980 eruption , but you'll also see signs of fantastic recovery in plant and animal life. Each of the visitors' centers does an excellent job of filling you in on different aspects of Mount St. Helens, before, during, and after the events of 1980, with photographs, videos, models, and interpretive exhibits.

Shop at Pike Place Market

Seattle's Pike Place Market is packed full of more stalls, shops, and eateries than you can explore in just one visit. Or even a few. But that's one of the things that makes Pike Place Market a favorite with both visitors and residents. You know you'll see a gorgeous array of seafood, produce, and flowers every time, and you know you'll also find nifty craft items, hear entertaining street musicians, and see numerous interesting characters. Along with these old favorites, you'll discover something new and unique to the Northwest.

Immerse Yourself in "Modern" Seattle

A legacy of the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, Seattle Center combines open park spaces with a number of attractions and performance venues. Many of Seattle's major annual festivals are held at Seattle Center, including the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot , and Winterfest. The Space Needle , Museum of Pop Culture , the Pacific Science Center , KeyArena, McCaw Hall, and Intiman Theatre are just some of the places you can visit during a day at Seattle Center.

Cross the Puget Sound by Ferry

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Part of Washington's state highway system, the Washington State Ferries convey people and their vehicles to and from points around the Puget Sound . Not only are these ferries one way—and often the only way—to get to the many island communities scattered around the Sound, they are also a fun and relaxing way to experience the beauty of the region. Major ferry docks are located at downtown Seattle, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Clinton, Kingston, Bainbridge Island , and Anacortes.

Relax at Spokane's Riverfront Park

World's fairs and expositions have left Washington with beautiful community spaces, and unique structures that have gone on to become treasured landmarks and Riverfront Park is a stunning example. Expo '74 transformed Spokane's downtown railroad yards into lovely green spaces dotted with interesting buildings. Some of those structures remain, along with fun attractions such as the Spokane Falls SkyRide, the historic Looff Carrousel, an amusement park , and seasonal ice skating rink.

Admire Incredible Glass Art

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No artist is more synonymous with Seattle than Dale Chihuly. The artist's colorful, spiraling works of glass can be seen around the world, but Seattle's Chihuly Garden and Glass is an astounding showcase of the Tacoma-born Chihuly's works. The garden's centerpiece is the 40-foot tall Glasshouse, home to a mesmerizing 100-foot long sculpture.

Marvel at the Science Behind Aviation at the Museum of Flight

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Seattle's Museum of Flight is home to one of the most extensive air and space collections in the United States and attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year. In addition to ever-changing exhibitions, the museum's permanent collection includes a 1929 Boeing 80A-1, a Lockheed M-21, and a Boeing VC-137B. One of the museum's unique exhibits is a full-scale, interactive air traffic control tower, which offers visitors a glimpse in the work of an air traffic controller.

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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Washington (WA) » 25 Best Things to Do in Washington State

25 Best Things to Do in Washington State

The State of Washington is a nature lovers dream. The natural scenery in the state is some of the most breath taking and awe-inspiring in the entire United States. The terrain is diverse and includes the Hoh Rain Forest, volcanoes (both dormant and recently destructive) forests, and islands.

The cities in Washington are as impressive as the nature and include Seattle , the state’s largest city, and Olympia, the state’s capital. There are a great number of national parks in Washington some well known and others less so but all are equally impressive and worth a trip. Our list of the top 25 things to do in Washington , as always, contains a mix of the best things to do in the cities and natural spots in the state:

1. Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, Washington

The Olympic National Park in Port Angeles is a great place to enjoy the nature on offer in the state of Washington. Within the park there are mineral springs and cool clear water for natural swimming as well as accommodation in comfortable lodges.

The park is the perfect place to escape from the busy city and enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors.

2. Mount Rainer National Park

Mount Rainer National Park

Another National Park and another must visit spot for nature lovers; Mount Rainer has attracted tourists from far and wide since opening its first visitor center in 1880.

As well as the beautiful scenery, outdoor enthusiasts also have plenty of activities to keep them entertained here including fishing, climbing, hiking and cross country skiing in the winter.

3. The Space Needle

Space Needle, Seattle

This iconic landmark is a must visit attraction when visiting the state of Washington.

The views from the 520-foot high observation deck are unbeatable and include natural landscapes such as Mount Rainer as well as the breath-taking cityscape.

Whilst taking in the panoramic views, it is easy to see why Washington is one of the most visited states in the United States.

Included in : Seattle CityPASS

4. Seattle Center

Seattle Center

The Seattle Center has a lot to offer visitors with a mix of parks and attractions. It was originally built for the Century 21 Exposition in 1962 but it still plays host to many notable performances and events in the city throughout the year. There are a great number of things to see in this area including the SciFi Museum, The Pacific Science Center and the Intiman Theatre to name only a few.

5. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market, Seattle

The Pike Place Market in Seattle is a great place for gourmets to experience the freshest produce and best ingredients from the state of Washington.

The market also provides the opportunity to sample Seattle delicacies that cannot be found elsewhere. There are also a number of quality restaurants to be found at Pike Place, which offer delicious Washington cuisine.

Recommended tour : Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour

6. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square, Seattle

Pioneer Square is a Historic District in Seattle, which is widely regarded as the city’s first neighborhood.

Pioneer Square is recognized as the home of “true’ Seattle, lined with exquisite boutiques and many popular restaurants the picturesque streets give way to a perfect pre-dinner stroll. There are lots of things here to keep you busy on a day out or a relaxing evening with your loved ones.

Suggested tour: Seattle City Highlights Tour

7. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Whether you’re a camera buff or simply looking for some tranquility; the astonishing scenery around the Snoqualmie Falls will satisfy yours needs. Why not gather the family together and pack a picnic for a splendid day out in the two-acre park surrounding the beautiful falls.

Combo tour : Snoqualmie Falls & Woodinville Wine Tasting

8. Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan, Washington

Regarded by locals as George Washington’s playground, Lake Chelan has a lot to offer from swimming in the blue waters to wine tasting. You are sure to find something for all the family here including activities such as kayaking, jet skiing and many other water sports available. When the action-packed day ends be sure to visit one of the many fantastic restaurants on offer where you will become immersed in the bustling nightlife of the area.

9. Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum

For a cultural stop why not spend an afternoon getting to know the works on display at Seattle Art Museum. The Museum is great for art enthusiasts looking for something a little different. Admire a wide range of works including Abstract Pulse by Robert Davidson and explore the stunning display of Kingdoms of Sun and Moon and the Light in the Darkness.

10. North Cascades Scenic Highway

North Cascades Scenic Highway

You can’t visit Washington without spending some time taking in one of the most superb landscapes in the United States. All the usual outdoor activities are on offer such as cycling, camping and hiking but simply driving along the North Cascades Scenic Highway is a fantastic way to soak up the sights. A sunset visit with a picnic would be an excellent way to spend an evening.

11. Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo is another popular family attraction in Washington. It is situated in Seattle and is home to around 1,100 animals covering an impressive 300 species.

There are plenty of themed enclosures and educational exhibits to explore whilst there and children and adults alike will learn plenty during their visit. The Zoo is always a highlight of a trip to Washington.

12. Mount Baker Highway

Mount Baker Highway

The Mount Baker Highway covers around 60 miles of beautiful natural scenery and recreational opportunities. The highway begins in Bellingham and at the US Forest Ranger Station, you will find a wealth of information regarding the route and will be able to obtain a map. There are a number of spots along the way that provide great opportunities for hiking, cycling or simply taking in the views including Nooksack Falls and Artist Point. Artist Point is one of the most notable stops on the list and is best to visit in August and September.

13. Coulee Corridor

Coulee Corridor

This Scenic Byway spans from Omak to Othello and is another great way to take in Washington’s stunning landscape. There are also plenty of man-made highlights including the impressive Grand Coulee Dam, which is a must visit landmark. For wildlife lovers, the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is worth a visit as are the several state parks along the way including Sun Lakes and Steamboat Rock.

14. Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Driving through Mount St Helens National Monument provides a unique and breath-taking perspective of the damage caused at the time of the 1980 eruption and also a glimpse into the amazing healing abilities of nature. The visitor’s centres at the Monument are top quality and do an excellent job of explaining the natural phenomena that occurred during, before and after the eruption via various exhibits and videos.

Available tour : St. Helens National Monument Small Group Tour

15. Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries are not just a crucial mode of transport for connecting the many island communities of the Puget Sound but they are also a tranquil way to take in the unique beauty of the area. There are major docks in the downtown Seattle area as well as Mukilteo, Clinton and Bainbridge Island.

16. Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park, Spokane

Riverfront Park in Spokane is a great example of the way that various world fairs and expos have shaped Washington throughout the past. The Expo 74 was responsible for the transformation of industrial train yards to green vistas in Spokane and a visit to the area now allows guests to witness some of the notable buildings from the exposition including the Looff Carousel and the Skyride. In winter there is also and ice rink in the area.

17. Boeing Future of Flight

Boeing Future of Flight

You don’t have to be an expert on planes for this building to be worthy of your Washington itinerary. The Boeing factory in Everett is the largest building in the world and is open to the public for daily “Future of Flight” tours. The tours are informative and definitely worth a visit even for those who aren’t aviation buffs. If, however, you are potty about planes, the Museum of Flight in Seattle is also worth a visit.

18. San Juan

San Juan Island National Historic Park

San Juan Island National Historic Park is probably the pick of the Puget Sound bunch when it comes to tourism. The islands were disputed in the so-called “Pig War” dispute between the troops of the United States and Britain. The island is also a great location for whale spotting due to the orcas that frequent the Puget Sound area and daily whale watching tours are available although you may get lucky and see the impressive mammal from shore.

19. Tacoma Museums

LeMay Car Museum

Tacoma is one of the largest cities in Washington and can be found between Seattle and Olympia. During the past, the city has had an industrial atmosphere but it is now also a great spot for tourists due to the number of great museums here. The Museum of Glass is full of stunning examples of glass-work as well as the memorable Bridge of Glass. The LeMay Car Museum and Washington State History museum are also well worth a look.

20. Downtown Seattle

Downtown Seattle

Downtown Seattle is, surprisingly, a great place to escape from the business of the city. The waterfront, with its parks and piers, provides a great place to relax. There are also a number of interesting buildings to be seen in the area and watching a performance at Benaroya Hall is also highly recommended. Tours on the waterfront are available and head, along sea level, from the Sculpture Park to the southern ferry terminal.

21. Port Angeles

Port Angeles

The town of Port Angeles can be found by the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the Olympic Peninsula’s northern shores. As well as the Olympic National Park (mentioned earlier on this list), the area is a known widely for being a great place for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, cycling, golf, kayaking and bird watching. The Visitors Centre has a wealth of information on the best hiking routes and where to see different wildlife.

22. Port Angeles Fine Arts Centre

Port Angeles Fine Arts Centre

Yet another reason to visit Port Angeles while in the state of Washington, is the Port Angeles Fine Arts Centre.  The semi-circle gallery features an ever changing mix of Northwest art exhibits. The grounds of the center are vast and worth exploring as they house around 100 different sculptures along various paths.

23. Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker, Snoqualmie National Forest

Running parallel with the slopes of the Cascade Mountains, the Snoqualmie National Forest is another stunning place to indulge in outdoor pursuits and observes wildlife. There are a great number of hiking routes in the area as well as cosy cabins to stay in and skiing in the winter months. The nearby town of Glacier is home to the base camp for Mount Baker and offers restaurants and other amenities for travelers.

24. Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington

This self-titled Bavarian Village is a great place to sample German culture and heritage in the United States. The locals will often don their lederhosen and dirndls and play a tune on their alphorn and the buildings of the town look the part too. They are built in German architectural style and decorated accordingly with impressive German style Gothic signs. The town plays hosts to a number of entertaining festivals and events during the year and is an immersive Bavarian experience in the United States.

25. Bellingham

Bellingham, Washington

Aside from being an embarkation point for Mount Baker, the city of Bellingham has a lot to offer visitors. The Fairhaven Historic District provides an informative introduction to the area with its art galleries and eateries. The Outdoor Sculpture Collection in the Western Washington University is also well worth a stop and has an excellent collection across the campus. For lovers of the great outdoors there is Whatcom Falls Park with its many walking trails and four falls.

25 Best Things to Do in Washington State:

  • Olympic National Park
  • Mount Rainer National Park
  • The Space Needle
  • Seattle Center
  • Pike Place Market
  • Pioneer Square
  • Snoqualmie Falls
  • Lake Chelan
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • North Cascades Scenic Highway
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Mount Baker Highway
  • Coulee Corridor
  • Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Washington State Ferries
  • Riverfront Park
  • Boeing Future of Flight
  • Tacoma Museums
  • Downtown Seattle
  • Port Angeles
  • Port Angeles Fine Arts Centre
  • Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Leavenworth

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Swim with the ocean’s gentle giants, savour some of Australia’s best wines and marvel at larger-than-life landscapes in Western Australia.

Western Australia is incredibly vast and diverse; as the largest state, it covers nearly one-third of the country. From baffling rock formations and ancient Aboriginal sites to sweeping green vineyards of world-class wineries and unbelievably clear ocean waters, Western Australia is the land of endless exploration.  

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State of Washington Tourism

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Things To Do in Washington

From abundant outdoor recreation to a thriving dining and craft beer scene, you’ll find no shortage of activities to keep you busy during your time in the State of Washington.

Explore epic national and state parks, wander our miles of shoreline, sip your way through Wine Country, immerse yourself in arts and culture at world-class museums, browse locally owned shops, and enjoy fun for the whole family. Your perfect adventure awaits in the State of Washington. Find inspiration below and start planning your trip today.

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Seattle   Travel Guide

tourist attractions in wa

The 27 Essential Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

If you're a first-time visitor to Seattle, no trip would be complete without stopping by some of the city's most iconic attractions. Browse the bustling stalls of fresh produce and flowers that make up Pike Place Market and take in

  • All Things To Do
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tourist attractions in wa

Pike Place Market Pike Place Market free

Since 1907, this bustling market near the downtown waterfront has been the go-to place for local produce. Today, you can find almost everything, from local artwork to vinyl records. Plus, the flower market and fish tossing are particular must-sees, according to reviewers. Though Pike Place Market is one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in Seattle (plan to run into crowds, especially on the weekends) that's no reason to scratch it off your to-do list. Recent visitors said the abundance of vendors and lively atmosphere make it an experience you shouldn't pass up, no matter how busy it gets. 

The streets surrounding Pike Place Market are peppered with restaurants and coffee shops, and there's an information booth just west of the marketplace at First Avenue. If you want a little help navigating the massive market, guided tours and food tours are available from third-party companies.

tourist attractions in wa

Chihuly Garden and Glass Chihuly Garden and Glass

U.S. News Insider Tip: Utilize the museum’s interactive mobile guide , which provides a map, schedules of live talks and demos as well as an audio guide for insight into the pieces that make up the exhibition. – Vivian Chung

Bursting with artwork spanning the colors of the rainbow, Chihuly Garden and Glass offers visitors a look at creative, glass-blown pieces crafted by renowned Pacific Northwest artist, Dale Chihuly. The permanent exhibition opened in 2012 and has since attracted the admiration of Seattleites and tourists alike. 

tourist attractions in wa

Space Needle Space Needle

If there's one thing Seattle is known for (aside from coffee), it's the 605-foot-tall Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle has dominated Seattle's skyline ever since with its unique UFO-like design. The tower's 520-foot-high round observation deck offers spectacular views of the city and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. The Loupe, a seasonal cocktail lounge, features a revolving glass floor. If you're not a fan of heights, check out the SpaceBase gift shop at the bottom of the tower.

Past visitors agreed that the Space Needle is a must for first-time visitors to Seattle, and recommend either purchasing your ticket online in advance or showing up early to avoid long lines. Several said they bought the combo ticket that also includes access to Chihuly Garden and Glass . 

tourist attractions in wa

Popular Tours

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tourist attractions in wa

Kerry Park Kerry Park free

This small viewpoint park, which offers amazing views of Elliott Bay and the Central City (and occasionally Mount Rainier), is a favorite with photographers. Sunset is a particularly popular time to visit, when the city lights up and the Space Needle is a beacon in the night. While the park is tiny, you can see the sculpture Changing Form and a children's play area at the Bayview-Kinnear Park just below the viewpoint of Kerry Park.

Recent visitors said the views are astounding and advise others to come on a clear day and be prepared for crowds.

tourist attractions in wa

Capitol Hill Capitol Hill free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Opened in December 2014, a trip to the world’s first Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill is a must for coffee connoisseurs. Situated just nine blocks from the original 1912 Starbucks at Pike Place, the Reserve offers exclusive beverages and merchandise. – Vivian Chung

Perched on a hill and bordered by Interstate 5 to the west, 15th Avenue to the east, Roy Street to the north, and Madison Street to the south, diverse and vibrant Capitol Hill stands out as one of Seattle's most popular nightlife and entertainment districts. Marked by rainbow crosswalks and flags, it also serves as the city’s LGBTQ+ epicenter. Infused with cool, hip vibes and a youthful energy, the district is packed with music venues and trendy establishments. 

tourist attractions in wa

Museum of Flight Museum of Flight

Seattle is one of the most important cities in the world of aviation and home to several facilities belonging to the Boeing Company, one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers. You can find out more about the city's unique and fascinating history in aviation at one of its best museums, the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The museum is located less than 10 miles south of downtown Seattle. 

The facility is especially enticing for families with young children, who can climb in and around various aircraft. Also recommended is the Red Barn, Boeing's original airplane factory, which features exhibitions chronicling the history of flight. The nearby six-story T.A. Wilson Great Gallery also holds vintage aircraft, offering travelers a unique look into Seattle's prolific technological history. One of the most popular attractions is the SAM 970, which served as Air Force One for presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, as well as other vice presidents and VIPs until its retirement in June 1996.

tourist attractions in wa

Best Seattle Tours

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Tours

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tourist attractions in wa

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tourist attractions in wa

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tourist attractions in wa

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) free

These locks – operated by the Army Corps of Engineers – are popular among Seattle visitors and locals. The locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, offering a live demonstration of Seattle's maritime lifestyle (many have compared the locks to a miniature version of the Panama Canal). After you've watched a couple barges pass by, head to the south side of the locks where fish ladders help salmon migrate during the summer months; if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion looking for a quick bite to eat. The fish can be seen up close from special viewing windows. The Chittenden Locks are also home to the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens, which feature a variety of 1,500 plants from around the world and beautiful views.

Many visitors suggested taking one of the free hourlong tours offered to learn more about the history of the locks. Tours depart from the visitor center. You can also learn more about the locks on one of Seattle's best boat tours . Recent visitors also mention that parking can be difficult to find and the area can feel crowded on the weekends.

tourist attractions in wa

Mount Rainier Mount Rainier

Enveloped by lush forests, alpine meadows and glacial landscape, 14,410-foot-tall Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano and the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range, takes center stage at Mount Rainier National Park . The park encompasses five developed areas, including Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, Carbon River and Mowich, with Paradise being the park’s most sought-after. Here, hike the popular 5.5-mile Skyline Trail, which offers views of meadows blanketed by vibrant wildflowers in the summer months. In the winter, Paradise beckons powderhounds to explore its snowy terrain on snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowboards. For scenic viewpoints, head to 6,400-foot-high Sunrise Point to catch daybreak, the highest point in the park accessible by vehicle. And along Stevens Canyon Road, see reflections of Mount Rainier in the tranquil waters of Reflection Lakes.

Despite the two-hour drive from Seattle, recent visitors praise the park’s spectacular natural landscapes, deeming the journey well worthwhile. Additionally, many suggest bringing extra layers, even during the summer, as the park's elevation and mountainous terrain contribute to constant and unpredictable weather changes.

tourist attractions in wa

Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour

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tourist attractions in wa

Museum of History and Industry Museum of History and Industry

If you want to learn about the history of Seattle, pay a visit to this museum. The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) collects and preserves items related to innovation in the Puget Sound region. Permanent exhibits that highlight that effort include the "Bezos Center for Innovation," "Maritime Seattle" and "True Northwest: The Seattle Journey." Its collection includes art, toys, furniture, vehicles, clothing and other locally made or invented products. In addition to its exhibits, MOHAI also houses a cafe and a store featuring products made by Puget Sound artisans.

"Fascinating," "informative" and "engaging" are among the adjectives visitors frequently use to describe MOHAI. As an added bonus, the building offers a nice view of Lake Union, from the maritime history exhibit, appropriately enough.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Art Museum Seattle Art Museum

Spread across three locations, the Seattle Art Museum houses one of America's premier art collections. Among its collection of more than 25,000 pieces, the museum displays everything from European masterpieces to contemporary sculptures. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park are also part of the complex. 

The museum received some mixed reviews from recent visitors for its small size, but most appreciated its eclectic collection and recommended setting aside a few hours. Recent travelers were particularly impressed with the museum's permanent collection of African art and its display of Northwest Coast Native American artists. 

tourist attractions in wa

Olympic Sculpture Park Olympic Sculpture Park free

There's no better way to get a healthy dose of culture than to enjoy some fine art, especially when the art is outdoors and free to peruse. In other words, you should plan on visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre space one mile north of the Seattle Art Museum (with which it's affiliated) that's filled with works by such sculptors as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roxy Paine and Tony Smith. Once you've had your fill of art, turn your attention to the view, which stretches over Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains and is a big hit with recent visitors.

Past visitors said it's an enjoyable way to experience the art and ambiance Seattle offers, and appreciate that it’s crowd-free, despite its proximity to downtown. However, they say that unless you’re in the area, you shouldn’t make a special trip to the park as it’s not a “top 10” attraction.

tourist attractions in wa

Museum of Pop Culture Museum of Pop Culture

Set in an eye-popping complex designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Museum of Pop Culture celebrates rock music in a myriad of ways. Exhibits at this Seattle Center museum like "Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses" and "Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970" are excellent and comprehensive looks at these two iconic music phenoms, while the "Guitar Gallery" chronicles the history of the instrument and the musicians who played them. Music isn’t the only aspect of pop culture on display here. The "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame" exhibit features artifacts from sci-fi literature, film, television and art, including pieces from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Empire Strikes Back." There are also exhibits dedicated to video games and horror films. 

According to recent visitors, the interactive exhibits appeal to a variety of ages, and the museum is worth spending a couple of hours exploring, though reviewers did not appreciate the high admission price. Recent visitors were also impressed by the architectural design of the museum’s building. 

tourist attractions in wa

Gas Works Park Gas Works Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Birdwatching enthusiasts will find Gas Works Park to be a haven for various bird species. Bring a pair of binoculars for the chance to spot double-crested cormorants, goosanders and American coots, particularly along the shores of Lake Union. – Vivian Chung

Encompassing 19.1 acres, Gas Works Park features preserved structures and remnants of the historic Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, which operated from 1906 to 1956. Its expansive green spaces make this park a favored spot among locals for picnics and kite flying, while Kite Hill, known as the Great Mound, offers a picturesque vantage point for observing seaplanes take off and land on Lake Union. The park also transforms into a vibrant hub each Fourth of July, when crowds come to witness a spectacular fireworks display.

tourist attractions in wa

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tourist attractions in wa

Discovery Park Discovery Park free

If you're looking to get outdoors without getting out of the city, this is the place. Sprawling across more than 500 acres in northern Seattle, Discovery Park is the city's largest green space. You'll find hiking trails, meadows, beaches and sand dunes abound. One must-see is the West Point Lighthouse – one of 18 active lighthouses in Washington State – which can be reached by following the North Beach Trail, while the South Beach Trail leads to a spectacular view of Puget Sound.

And if you're not one for hiking, keep in mind that Discovery Park also features a tennis facility, a cultural center and a kids' play area that includes swings, climbing structures and a zip line. Many park visitors say this is one of Seattle's finer gems, with something for everyone to enjoy. Hikers commented that there is a trail suitable for every experience level and particularly enjoy the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier on clear days.

tourist attractions in wa

Smith Tower Smith Tower

The Space Needle isn't the only way to enjoy a bird’s-eye perspective of Seattle. Smith Tower is Seattle's oldest skyscraper, and when it was built in 1914 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The 35th-floor observatory that was part of the original construction remains open today, offering 360-degree views of the city. The same floor also has a cocktail bar. In addition to office space, the tower also houses ground-floor retail, special event spaces and historical exhibits.

While the stunning views are the reason to go to the top of the tower, the food and beverages win high marks from reviewers as well, though some find the selection to be limited. Recent visitors also appreciated the self-guided tour showcasing historical information about the tower before enjoying the elevator ride to the 35th floor. For more information about the tower’s past, including its Wishing Chair, consider signing up for one of the 45-minute guided “Talking Tours.”

tourist attractions in wa

Alki Beach Alki Beach free

Elliott Bay's Alki Beach is a popular attraction for bicyclists, joggers and anyone seeking to spend a day in the sun. What's more, from its perch on the bay, the beach offers photogenic views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound, as well as passing ships. Amenities include fire pits, restrooms, hand-carry boat access, picnic tables and volleyball courts. On Alki Point, there's a monument marking the spot where European settlers first arrived in 1851.

Beachgoers rave about the skyline views seen from the beach, though they do warn that you shouldn’t visit this beach expecting to swim (water temps are chilly, ranging from the mid-40s to the mid-50s). They also appreciate the many restaurants in proximity to the shore. History buffs wanting a break from the sun (or wishing to learn more about those aforementioned settlers) can visit the nearby Log House Museum, which is operated by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and offers pay-what-you-can admission.

tourist attractions in wa

Woodinville Wine Country Woodinville Wine Country

Oenophiles in search of a memorable glass of vino should head about 20 miles northeast of Seattle to explore Woodinville Wine Country. This area within the Sammamish River Valley is home to more than 130 wineries, as well as breweries, shops, hotels and restaurants. To orient yourself, read up on Woodinville's four districts.

The Downtown District, generally regarded as a convenient spot to begin or end a trip to Woodinville – offers numerous options for eating and drinking. 

tourist attractions in wa

Mount Si Mount Si free

If you don't have time to make the drive to Mount Rainier (which sits about two hours southeast of downtown Seattle), Mount Si provides a popular alternative. Sitting about 40 miles east of the city center, Mount Si offers several opportunities to strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails. 

On a clear day, views from the summit stretch across the city to the Olympic Mountains. The Mount Si trail to the summit is about an 8-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 3,100 feet. Many recent travelers said the hike is strenuous and definitely not for novices, though the views up top made it worth the journey. They also suggest bringing plenty of snacks and water. Note: There are outhouses located at the bottom of the trail, but no formal facilities along the path.

tourist attractions in wa

Touring and Hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park

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Half-Day Guided Tour of Seattle City and Snoqualmie Falls

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tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Great Wheel Seattle Great Wheel

U.S. News Insider Tip: Elevate your experience by gathering a group of two to four for an exclusive dinner in one of the Great Wheel’s gondolas. In collaboration with its sister business, Fisherman’s Restaurant, you’ll indulge in a four-course dinner while suspended 200 feet in the air. – Vivian Chung

This colossal, 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel punctuates the city’s skyline and has become an iconic landmark in downtown Seattle since its opening in June 2012. A single ride in one of the 42 climate-controlled gondolas involves three full revolutions of the wheel, lasts up to 20 minutes and offers unobstructed views over downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and, on clear days, Mount Rainier. Illuminated by over 500,000 LED lights, the Seattle Great Wheel hosts vibrant light shows every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from sundown to 10 p.m. during summer evenings.

tourist attractions in wa

Bainbridge Island Bainbridge Island free

U.S. News Insider Tip: To shop local produce and artisan goods from local makers, visit on a Saturday between April and the end of November when the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market operates between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Town Square. – Vivian Chung

Best known for its picturesque scenery and charming small-town vibes, this island 10 miles west of downtown Seattle beckons outdoor adventurers, oenophiles, and art and culture lovers. 

tourist attractions in wa

Sky View Observatory Sky View Observatory

Billed as the tallest building in Seattle, the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center provides stunning panoramic views of Seattle, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the surrounding landscapes. To enjoy cocktails and light bites like flatbreads and wraps, head to the onsite Sky View Cafe & Bar.

Recent travelers strongly recommend choosing a visit here over the Space Needle, thanks to more affordable admission and fewer crowds that result in little to no wait time. Plus, with its viewing platform at 902 feet, the Sky View Observatory provides a notable height advantage over the Space Needle (which stands at 605 feet). For the mesmerizing sight of an illuminated city, reviewers suggest visiting the observatory in the evening.

tourist attractions in wa

T-Mobile Park T-Mobile Park

U.S. News Insider Tip: Book a guided tour of the ballpark, which offers exclusive access to areas not often seen by the public, including the dugout, press box and All-Star Club. On select game days, tour participants may even have the opportunity to watch batting practice. – Vivian Chung

Home to the Seattle Mariners baseball team, this stadium features a retractable roof and accommodates up to 47,929 attendees. Immerse yourself in the excitement of live baseball, where crowds cheer and fast-paced action unfolds on the diamond against a striking backdrop of Seattle's skyline. For a more comprehensive experience and to gain a deeper understanding of baseball’s significance to Seattlites and the Pacific Northwest, explore the onsite Mariners Hall of Fame, where its curated collection of memorabilia and exhibits celebrate the history and accomplishments of the Seattle Mariners. 

tourist attractions in wa

Washington Park Arboretum Washington Park Arboretum free

The Washington Park Arboretum's 230 acres on the shores of Lake Washington contain a diverse array of plants, some of which can't be seen anywhere else in the region. Its themed gardens include the Pacific Connections Garden, which features plants from five countries connected to its namesake ocean (specifically Australia, China, Chile, New Zealand and the U.S. Pacific Northwest); Rhododendron Glen, one of the arboretum's oldest sections, dating to the late 1930s; and a traditional Japanese garden. It also has a winter garden ideally viewed from late November through March. The City of Seattle and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens jointly manage the arboretum.

Activities in the arboretum include guided hourlong tours via tram and nonmotorized boating. Kayaks and canoes can be rented nearby. Private walking tours are also available.

tourist attractions in wa

Forest Hike to Gorgeous Twin and Snoqualmie Falls

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Pike Place Market Tasting Tour

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Seattle Grand 4-Hour City Tour

Seattle Grand 4-Hour City Tour

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tourist attractions in wa

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Situated in Seattle's Chinatown-International District, the Wing Luke Museum is devoted to the art, culture and history of Asian Pacific Americans. The 60,000-square-foot facility, which is housed in a historic building constructed in 1910 by Chinese immigrants, features multiple galleries for both traveling and permanent exhibits. Among the latter are "Wing Luke and the Museum," dedicated to the institution's namesake, who was the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest, and "Honoring Our Journey," which highlights the Asian Pacific American immigrant and refugee experience. 

Recent visitors typically found the Wing Luke Museum highly informative and strongly recommend participating in the Historic Hotel Tour for a walk through the history of the East Kong Yick Building, which houses the museum. The tour comes free with your admission and provides a deeper insight into the museum’s mission.

tourist attractions in wa

Pioneer Square Pioneer Square free

If you like history, Pioneer Square should be on your your to-do list. This neighborhood was one of the first settlements in the Northwest U.S. (hence the name), and it has maintained much of its Old West identity. Today, you'll find the cobblestone area peppered with art galleries, restaurants and shops, not to mention an ornamental pergola, which provides shelter to those waiting to hop on the First Hill Line streetcar.

No visit to Pioneer Square is complete until you tag along on the Beneath the Streets tour, one of the best Seattle tours . On this one-hour excursion, expert guides will lead you through underground passageways dating back to the 1890s, sharing historical information, along with stories of the Klondike Gold Rush, the city's architecture and the Coast Salish tribes who originally inhabited the area. Reviewers applaud the well-versed guides and recommend the experience. If you prefer to explore above ground, visit the nearby Smith Tower and its 35th-floor observatory.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Aquarium Seattle Aquarium

For a glimpse under the sea, head to the Seattle Aquarium, which sits along the waterfront just a few blocks west of the Seattle Art Museum. It may not be as impressive as other cities' aquariums , but Seattle's facility offers a wonderful introduction to northwestern sea life, such as local bird, fish, seals and otters. The highlight of your visit will most likely be the "Window on Washington Waters" exhibit, which houses aquatic animals native to the surrounding area in a 120,000-gallon tank.

Other points of interest include a coral reef tank and a kid-friendly touch tank, where your little ones can shake hands with starfish and sea cucumbers. And don't miss your chance to get the fish-eye view from the aquarium's underwater observation dome.

tourist attractions in wa

Woodland Park Zoo Woodland Park Zoo

Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo stretches across 92 acres and is home to more than 900 animals and 250 species, some of them endangered. Its exhibits include the African Savanna, featuring lions, giraffes, hippos and zebras; Humboldt Penguins, with penguins from coastal Peru; Tropical Asia, which includes orangutans, tigers, sloth bears and various birds; and the seasonal Butterfly Garden. The zoo also welcomes temporary exhibits, and in the past has hosted "Dinosaur Discovery," which displayed more than 20 full-size dinosaur replicas, including a 40-foot-long T. Rex. Woodland Park also houses two western lowland gorilla families. 

Recent visitors generally appreciated the zoo's size and the number of animals on display, though some reviewers were disappointed to find that some animals were not viewable due to exhibits being unexpectedly closed.

tourist attractions in wa

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27 Best Things to Do in Washington State

Last updated on October 1, 2023 by Alex Schultz -

Appropriately known as the Evergreen State, Washington is awash with pristine nature, spellbinding scenery and dramatic landscapes. While it boasts beautiful mountains and forests, coasts and volcanoes, it also has world-class cities, museums and tourist attractions.

Part of the Pacific Northwest, its rugged terrain is bisected by the Cascade Mountains with Canada, Idaho, Oregon and the ocean lying all around it. Many of its largest and most important settlements, such as Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, can be found clustered along the Puget Sound. Here you can discover many things to do in Washington State with historic sites and lively markets.

For many, however, it is Washington’s innumerable wild areas, islands and national parks that appeal the most. This is because you can completely immerse yourself in nature and hike, bike, kayak and camp til your heart’s content amidst all its scenic splendor.

In this post, we'll cover:

27. Fort Worden State Park

Fort Worden State Park

Right at the entrance to Puget Sound, you can find fantastic Fort Worden State Park. Located just north of Port Townsend, it has loads of brilliant outdoor activities to enjoy with lovely scenery, nature and views.

Due to its strategic importance, three sturdy forts were constructed about the entrance of the inlet in the late 1880s. Although they never had to fire a single shot, visitors can now explore the crumbling batteries, fortifications and buildings of the ‘Triangle of Fire’.

Besides visiting the former military base’s museum and castle, guests can hike, bike and camp in the pristine park. Its coastal bluffs and beaches also offer up some outstanding views with many opting to swim and boat about its waters.

26. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Another idyllic nature spot to hit up is massive Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, a two hour drive east of Seattle . Very rugged and remote for the most part, its almost endless forests and valleys occupy the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains.

Extending all the way from Canada to Mount Rainier, it covers a huge area with glimmering lakes, rivers and glaciers punctuating its verdant confines. Amidst the sublime scenery, you can hike, bike and horseback ride or ski and snowboard down the slopes of the majestic Mount Baker.

Wildlife watching is also very rewarding as deer, grizzly bears and bald eagles reside upon the steep mountainsides. With waterfalls, rock formations and commanding viewpoints all to be found within the park; the national forest really does make for a great place to explore.

25. Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls

Protected as part of a state park, Palouse Falls is certainly one of Washington’s most stunning natural sights. Set in the southeast of the state, the breathtaking waterfall lies in a very secluded spot amidst rolling hills and colossal canyons.

Lying along the Palouse River, its powerful waters plummet their way some 200 feet down the side of a steep cliff. At the bottom of the gigantic gorge is a picturesque pool that slowly turns into the winding Snake River.

From the rim of the canyon, you can enjoy phenomenal views of the falls and the craggy rock walls lining the jet white waters. Aside from snapping some photos of the waterfall, it is also well worth hiking around the park’s high desert plateau.

24. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle

Museum of Pop Culture

Next to the Space Needle is yet another of Seattle’s must-visit sites: the magnificent Museum of Pop Culture. As well as containing all kinds of iconic artifacts and award-winning exhibitions, it has plenty of fun hands-on activities for visitors to try out.

Instantly recognizable due to the striking shapes and colors of its shiny exterior, it was founded in 2000 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Dedicated to contemporary popular culture, its collection and galleries look at everything from cinema and literature to music, television and video games.

Alongside historic photos, costumes and film clips, guests can see instruments used by Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana amongst others. After having explored its interactive exhibits and Hall of Fame, you can test your DJ skills in its Sound Lab or take photos of its movie memorabilia.

23. Winthrop

Winthrop

A pleasant place to spend some time, the small town of Winthrop lies in a scenic spot amongst the North Cascades. Thanks to its Wild West theme, it is a hugely popular tourist destination with its ample outdoor activities also attracting lots of people.

Formerly a struggling mining town, it was transformed in the seventies when State Highway 20 through the mountains was opened alongside it. To entice tourists, locals renovated each building in town with cosy cabins, weathered wooden houses and atmospheric saloons now peppering its streets.

In addition to enjoying the Old American West aesthetic, visitors can venture into the surrounding mountains, valleys and forests. Here you can hike, rock climb or river raft while some superb cross-country skiing can be had in winter.

22. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

One of the biggest, best and most beautiful events to attend in the Pacific Northwest is the colorful Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Held every April, its flower-filled fields and gorgeous display gardens are dotted about the vast valley of the same name.

As early as the 1890s, bulbs were grown in the fertile soils of the Puget Sound region before a series of freezes saw growers move south to Skagit County. While the festival only dates to 1984, visitors had already been flocking to the tulip farms for several decades prior to its founding.

Top destinations to stop by are Tulip Town and Roozengaarde; both of which boast huge fields and gardens full of flowers for you to photograph. Lively street fairs, art shows and sporting events also regularly take place over the course of the month.

21. Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan

If you’re looking to relax, unwind and enjoy some outdoor activities, look no further than lovely Lake Chelan. Sure to delight nature lovers, the long lake is nestled amidst the marvelous mountains and forests of north-central Washington.

In total, its shimmering surface stretches just over fifty miles in length with secluded beaches, coves and state parks lining its shores. As such, outdoor enthusiasts can hike or bike along its trails or fish and swim in the alluring waters. Lots of watersports, campsites and some wineries are also on offer with fabulous vistas of the lake and mountains guaranteed wherever you go.

Aside from the tiny communities of Manson, Chelan and Stehekin, most of the surrounding area is wonderfully untouched and unspoiled. At each of these, you can find peaceful lakefront lodges, small shops and restaurants and marinas where you can rent boats, kayaks and jet skis.

20. North Cascades Highway

North Cascades Highway

A wonderful way to see as much of the Evergreen State as possible is to embark on an unforgettable road trip along the incredible North Cascades Highway. The longest road in Washington, it traverses the rugged northern realms, taking you past spellbinding mountains and valleys, forests and lakes.

Initially established in 1896 as a wagon route, it was later paved over and extended for its official opening in 1972. Over the course of 436 miles, the rambling route passes through numerous ranges such as the Kettle, Selkirks and North Cascades. It also crosses Whidbey Island and the Okanogan Highlands too.

Due to all the stupendous scenery on show, many people take days if not weeks to complete the epic journey. This is because it is almost impossible to not stop and hike amidst the valleys and forests or take photos of the soaring mountains and sparkling lakes.

19. Washington State Capitol, Olympia

Washington State Capitol

Exhibiting exquisite architecture, the Washington State Capitol can be found right in the center of Olympia. Surrounded by lush grounds and gardens, its lofty dome overlooks Capitol Lake from atop its prominent hillside setting.

Built between 1922 and 1928, the state’s seat of government sports a fine facade that features sturdy Corinthian columns and a pretty portico. Its defining attribute however is its humongous dome that rises up dramatically above the other buildings, monuments and art installations scattered about the capitol campus.

On tours, guests can explore its grand chambers and elegant rotunda which are coated in marble and adorned with portraits, paintings and busts. As you stroll around, your expert guide will explain all about its history and architecture and various important events and influential figures.

18. Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge

Making up much of the state’s southern boundary with Oregon is the colossal Columbia River. One of the most popular and picturesque parts to visit is the ginormous gorge which cuts its way through the Cascade Range.

Impressively enough, the enormous canyon stretches more than eighty miles in length and reaches a staggering 4,000 feet deep in places. Due to its size, scale and splendor, the delightful recreational area is now protected as part of a national scenic area. As such, many people now come to hike and bike along the trails, raft the rapids or rock climb up the steep cliffs.

A great way to take in all its divine scenery and landscapes is to drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway. This takes you beside the river, below mountains and past the famed 620 feet high Multnomah Falls.

17. Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

An even more memorable way to explore more of Washington and the West Coast is to hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The 2,653-mile-long route remarkably connects Canada to Mexico, passing through California, Oregon and the Evergreen State on the way.

Meandering here and there along the crest of various mountain ridges, the well-traveled path takes you through innumerable wilderness areas and national parks. In Washington, highlights include, not just the national parks of Mount Rainier and North Cascades, but the ski resorts of Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass too.

While the entire trail can take months to complete, it is well worth dipping in to hike some shorter sections. This is because each part passes through wild and pristine nature spots and offers gorgeous views over the mountains and forests.

16. Leavenworth

Leavenworth

Like Winthrop, the Bavarian-styled Leavenworth attracts hordes of tourists thanks to its alpine look, feel and atmosphere. Nestled amidst the Cascade Mountains of central Washington, the year-round resort town has plenty of activities, cultural experiences and festivals for you to enjoy.

As with its northern neighbor, the whole town center was transformed into a mock German village in the sixties. As well as taking in all its attractive architecture, visitors can shop for souvenirs and try out all its traditional Bavarian restaurants and bakeries.

While most come for its enticing aesthetic, the Christmas markets and Oktoberfest, the surrounding mountains just beg to be explored. Hiking and mountain biking are both popular pastimes while ski resorts and wineries can be found nearby.

15. Museum of Glass, Tacoma

Museum of Glass

Full of incredibly colorful creations, the Museum of Glass lies right in the heart of Tacoma . Within its distinctive cone-shaped building you can find countless galleries and workshops with arresting artworks wherever you look.

Founded in 2002, it celebrates the studio glass movement and highlights the immense contributions of renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The Tacoma native’s creative sculptures feature throughout with exhibitions also focusing on the history of the art form and its ongoing evolution. One of its main sights though is the bewitching Bridge of Glass outside that links the museum to the center.

Besides simply perusing its collection, guests can actually watch fascinating live demonstrations in the Hot Shop amphitheater. Before heading off, make sure to check out its gift shop and see if any of its amazing glass creations take your fancy.

14. Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount St Helens

Since its infamous and enormous eruption of 1980, Mount St Helens has almost been synonymous with the state. At its lava-scarred site, outdoor aficionados can now hike up its crumbling cone and enjoy exquisite views over the barren yet beautiful landscapes all around.

Until the avalanche and explosion, the mighty mount was the fifth highest peak in the country. After the extraordinary event, its 9,677 feet summit was reduced by more than a thousand feet to the, still considerable, horseshoe-shaped crater we see today.

Aside from hiking up to Windy Ridge and its prominent peak, you can peek into its caldera and take photos of the flora and fauna that are slowly recovering. At its visitor center and the Johnston Ridge Observatory, you can learn all about the deadliest and most destructive volcanic event in US history.

13. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Pike Place Market

One of the top tourist attractions in not just Seattle but the state, Pike Place Market is set alongside the Puget Sound in downtown. A vibrant place, its vendors sell everything from fresh produce and fish to antiques, collectibles and arts and crafts.

Since 1907, the market has enticed both locals and tourists alike with hundreds upon hundreds of shops, stands, stalls and street performers. This all leads to a very lively atmosphere as fishmongers and farmers hawk their wares next to specialty shops, local restaurants and flower sellers.

As well as exploring the bustling market, having a bite to eat and listening to the buskers, there are also several attractions to stop by. These include the original Starbucks store and a bronze statue of its unofficial mascot Rachel the Pig.

12. Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries

Another quintessential Seattle experience is to hop on one of the Washington State Ferries and cross Puget Sound. While the fabled service connects residents and commuters to the nearby islands and communities, tourists also appreciate the sweeping views on offer from the deck.

For well over a century, fleets of automobile and passenger ferries have plowed the peaceful waters of Puget Sound. In total, just over twenty of the big boats now transport people and vehicles to places such as Port Townsend, Southworth and the San Juan Islands.

From aboard a boat, visitors can bask in breathtaking panoramas of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains and the sparkling Seattle skyline. In addition, the largest fleet of ferries in the States is a very quick, efficient and affordable way to see yet more of Washington State.

11. Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight

Situated on the southern outskirts of Seattle is the massive Museum of Flight which lies next to the King County International Airport. The largest private air and space museum in the world, its huge hangars house a whopping number of artifacts, aircraft and exhibits.

Established in 1965, its extensive collection is a treat to peruse as over 150 civilian and military aircraft pack its exhibition space. These include not just giant Boeings and a Concorde but WWI fighter planes and a replica of the Lockheed Electra Amelia Earhart was flying when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Photos and displays also document the history and evolution of the aviation industry.

On top of exploring its interactive air traffic control tower exhibit, you can also pull off barrel-rolls and land on the moon with its fun flight simulator.

10. Columbia Valley Wine Region

Columbia Valley Wine Region

Sprawled across a vast swathe of the south and central parts of the state is the wonderful Columbia Valley Wine Region. One of the largest viticultural areas in the nation, it remarkably has around 950 wineries where you can taste terrific wines and take tours about the facilities.

Centered around the winding river and its tributaries are fertile plains and rolling hills that are perfect for growing grapes. Thanks to its volcanic soil, sufficient sunshine and setting under a rain shadow, award-winning Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots are all produced here.

While traveling around the region you can either stop off at or take tours around some of its superb wineries. At their atmospheric tasting rooms and terraces, you can sample delicious wines and learn how they are produced. Completing the experience is the idyllic scenery, nature and views over the valley and its vineyards.

9. Historic Fairhaven

Historic Fairhaven

A very charming and quiet place to stroll around, the Historic Fairhaven is located on the south side of Bellingham. Home to lots of attractive old architecture, art galleries and eateries, it lies along the scenic shores of Bellingham Bay.

At the small turn-of-the-century settlement you’ll find blocks of well-preserved brick buildings that are all home to locally owned shops and restaurants. Cozy cafes and bakeries also line its streets as do tiny inns, live music venues and a brilliant book store.

Aside from simply taking in its appealing ambiance and aesthetic, you can also venture down to its picturesque waterfront. From here you can kayak about the bay or go hiking and cycling in the hills and woods that surround the town.

8. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Making for an absolutely magical sight is the stunning Snoqualmie Falls, some half an hour’s drive east of Seattle. One of the state’s most popular natural attractions, its jet white waters can be found in between Snoqualmie and Fall City.

Lying along the river of the same name, the gorgeous waterfall towers 270 feet in total and courses its way down the side of a sheer cliff. From its observation platform, you can snap some marvelous photos of the falls and the pretty pool, rocks and trees around it.

Long considered a sacred site by the Snoqualmie People, the falls were catapulted to international fame when they appeared in the cult TV series Twin Peaks. Now protected as part of a small park, it also has some short hikes for you to do and picnic areas and benches to sit at.

7. Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park

Home to loads of lovely landscapes, scenery and nature, Deception Pass State Park has all kinds of fun outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Named after the strait that separates Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island, its lush green confines lie about an hour north of Seattle.

Formerly a military reserve, its secluded islands, coasts and beaches were turned into a state park in 1923. Thanks to its dramatic coastal scenery, commanding views and the iconic bridge at its heart, it has since proven one of Washington’s most popular parks.

Besides exploring all its tidal pools and hiking trails, you can sunbathe and swim or kayak and boat about its waters. At its interpretive center, guests can learn about the area’s rich fauna and flora with camping and scuba diving also being on offer.

6. Riverfront Park, Spokane

Riverfront Park

Packed with umpteen attractions and amenities, Riverfront Park lies right in the center of Spokane . Surrounded by the rushing river of the same name, it has lots of pristine green spaces and ravishing riverside walks and views for you to enjoy.

Widely considered to be one of the best urban parks in the States, it was originally a railyard before hosting the Expo ’74 World’s Fair. As such, impressive historic landmarks such as the 1902 Clock Tower and antique Looff Carrousel are dotted about beside public artworks, playgrounds and picnic areas.

As well as gazing out over its falls and ambling peacefully along its paths, visitors can check out the park’s island, ice skating rink and IMAX. To top it all off, the US Pavilion hosts countless festivals and cultural events each and every year.

5. Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Another natural landmark often associated with the state is the massive and majestic Mount Rainier. Now protected as part of a national park, it has a myriad of epic hiking trails and mountain climbing routes for outdoor enthusiasts to try out.

Due to its staggering size, the snow-capped stratovolcano is visible from many parts of Washington with its summit towering 14,410 feet in total. Coating its steep slopes are glittering glaciers, gushing rivers and flower-filled alpine meadows. Vast valleys and old-growth forests also feature as do merry waterfalls and mirror-like lakes.

As Tacoma and Seattle are located less than two hours away, many people come to hike, camp and climb amidst its scenic confines. Particularly popular parts of the park to explore are Paradise for its phenomenal views and Longmire for its museum, inn and campsites.

4. San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands

Totting up to more than 400 in total, the idyllic San Juan Islands occupy the sheltered waters north of the Puget Sound. Uninhabited, hilly and forested for the most part, they really are a treat to kayak and boat around with awe-inspiring orcas often spotted offshore.

Studding the Strait of Georgia, the isolated archipelago lies between Vancouver Island and Canada to the west and north and Washington to the east and south. While some are rocky outcrops, others are home to quiet coves, bays and sandy beaches. Four of the largest are connected to the mainland by the Washington State Ferries service.

During the summer months, both locals and tourists head to the isles to enjoy their striking scenery and views. Aside from hiking, biking and kayaking around yourself, you can also arrange cruises about the archipelago in search of orcas and bald eagles.

3. Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

Future of Flight Aviation Center

Even if you’re not into planes, exploring the Future of Flight Aviation Center and taking the Boeing Tour is sure to be a fascinating experience. At its state-of-the-art facility just outside of Everett, you can peruse aircrafts, engines and equipment and watch big Boeings be assembled.

Set next to Paine Field airport you’ll find the sprawling center that contains interesting exhibits on the past, present and future of flight. Historic photos and videos complement all the aircraft-related memorabilia. Guests can enter a genuine cockpit, enjoy a virtual flight and venture up to its rooftop observation deck for views over the ginormous planes outside.

Taking a tour about the Boeing Everett Factory is even more enlightening as you see airplanes at all stages of construction. With a knowledgeable guide on-hand, you’ll learn all about the monumental undertaking which sees millions of parts put together to make the planes we fly through the skies in.

2. Space Needle, Seattle

Space Needle

Undoubtedly Seattle’s standout symbol and sight, the Space Needle rises up dramatically above the city’s skyline. From the iconic landmark’s lofty observation deck, visitors can delight in unrivaled panoramas of the Puget Sound, Emerald City and far-off Olympic Mountains.

Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it towers 605 feet tall with elevators taking you to the top in just forty seconds flat. From its windows, you can gaze out and see Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains too with innumerable islands dotting the waters below.

One of the most memorable times of day to visit is at sunset when the city, snow-capped mountains and sound all sparkle in the fading sun. Guests can also eat at its exquisite rotating restaurant before checking out the countless attractions set about its foot.

1. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Sure to delight nature lovers and outdoor aficionados alike, Olympic National Park covers almost the whole peninsula west of Seattle. An astonishingly diverse place, it encompasses everything from enormous mountains and ancient glaciers to lush rainforests and dramatic Pacific Ocean coastline.

The crown jewel of Washington’s national parks, it was established in 1909 to protect its vast swathes of untouched wilderness. Besides hiking through its forests and meadows and scrabbling up mountainsides, visitors can kayak in rivers and lakes or ski and snowboard in winter.

Its wonderful coastline is also well worth exploring as beaches, rock formations and sea stacks line its shores. With more than 135 miles of trails to hike along and dozens of cozy campsites to stay at, Olympic National Park is definitely not to be missed when in the Evergreen State.

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Top 20 must-see tourist attractions in WA

Travel & Touring  |  WA Destinations

27 September, 2022  By: Monique Ceccato

No matter which part of WA you're planning on visiting, there'll  be no shortage of incredible wonders to keep you busy.

There are so many unique things to see and do in Western Australia, from sprawling forest and rugged coastlines to ancient gorges. Not sure where to start sightseeing? These top 20 WA tourist attractions are a great way to begin planning your trip.

1. Ningaloo Reef

People swimming over Ningaloo Reef near Coral Bay

Covering some 300km from Carnarvon’s Red Bluff, all the way around the tip of the cape, to Exmouth Gulf’s Bundegi Beach, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef system, much of it accessible close to the mainland. It’s also the home of the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark .

Anywhere between 300-500 of these plankton-feeding giants frequent the reef throughout the year. From mid-March through to late July, the chances of seeing them swim along the reef are high. Watch them from the air or witness them gliding through the water in their natural habitat on a thrilling whale shark swim.

The whale sharks are in good company, with manta rays, turtles, and humpback whales also frequent visitors to Ningaloo’s waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll see them on a snorkelling, diving, or whale shark swim, too.

2. Valley of the Giants

The Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants

If anything in WA is going to make you feel small, it’s the towering Tingle trees of the Valley of the Giants, between Denmark and Walpole . Endemic to the South West and Walpole Wilderness Area, the eucalypts can grow up to a whopping 24m in circumference and 45m in height.

The best living example is aptly named the Giant Tingle Tree. Follow the 1km loop trail from the Hilltop Lookout carpark, and you can walk through the hollowed-out base of the 400-year-old tree.

For a different perspective, head out on the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk . The 600m-long circular walkway is suspended 40m above the ground, enveloping you in the canopies as you wander your way around.

3. The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park

Taking a drive through Nambung National Park, 190km north of Perth near Cervantes , is as close as you’re going to get to feeling like you’ve just landed on another planet. Thousands of jagged natural limestone structures known as The Pinnacles jut out of the park's yellow desert landscape.

Formed 25,000 to 30,000 years ago from sea shell deposits left behind when the ocean receded, The Pinnacles have been whipped into their irregular shapes by wind and sand erosion. There are column-like structures that reach 3.5m in height and others that are shorter, smoother, and more like small domes.

4. Bungle Bungle Range

The Bungle Bungle Range with people walking in the foreground

Until 1983, the orange and black striped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range were known only to the traditional custodians of the land, the Karjaganujaru people. Shortly after a film crew ‘discovered’ the ranges, the Purnululu National Park was established, and, in 2003, the Bungle Bungles and park received their UNESCO World Heritage status.

Approximately 300km south of Kununurra , the sandstone cones – some up to 250m tall – are remote, accessible only by four-wheel drive or on a scenic flyover with Helispirit or AviAir. From above, trace the deep canyons and gorges as they snake through the Bungles. On the ground, don’t miss Cathedral Gorge, a red rock amphitheatre with near-perfect acoustics and a serene pool of water.

5. WA Museum Boorla Bardip

WA Museum Boorla Bardip exterior of building

After four years of downtime and $400m worth of upgrades, the impressive WA Museum Boola Bardip (meaning ‘many stories’ in Nyoongar language) reopened to the public in 2020. At four times the size of the old museum, there are almost 7,000 square metres of gallery to explore.

Eight permanent exhibitions are on display, each centring around either the people of Western Australia and their stories, the beautiful landscapes and fauna of the state, or Western Australia’s place in and impact on the world.

Taking pride of place in the gallery hall is Otto, a 24-metre blue whale skeleton that’s more than 120 years old. It joins many more displays of WA’s unique flora and fauna, installations on the state’s most recognised landforms, and information on the prehistoric creatures that once roamed the land.

6. Kings Park

Two people sitting on the grass at Kings Park

The best views of Perth city come courtesy of Kings Park . Sitting atop Mount Eliza just to the west of the city, the 400-hectare park looks out over the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline, and the Darling Ranges in the distance.

Soak up the views by picnicking on the manicured lawns or wandering the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, pausing on the bridge for happy snaps. Keep following the many trails and walkways to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of native bushland, which covers two-thirds of the park. The final third consists of playgrounds, grassed areas, and the native flower-filled Western Australia Botanic Garden.

Head up from late August to October to see the flower beds blooming with carpets of everlastings, kangaroo paws, and all kinds of West Australian acacias.

RELATED: Top 20 things to do in Perth »

7. Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison underground tunnel tour in a small boat

Only decommissioned as a maximum-security prison in 1991, the Fremantle Prison has a long history with some of Western Australia’s most hardened criminals. Built by convicts in the 1850s, the site now stands as the largest convict-built structure in all of WA. It’s also known as the best-preserved convict-built structure in Australia.

Entry to the site is free and allows visitors access to the museum, cafe, gift shop, and prison gallery, where you can peruse art created by current inmates in Western Australia. For a more in-depth introduction to the prison, three daytime tours are on offer. Each walks you through the stories of convict and prisoner life within the prison walls. Those with nerves of steel can opt to do a tour of the tunnels deep beneath the prison, including some water-filled sections of tunnel where you’ll make your way through in replica convict punts. (Prices vary).

8. Rottnest Island

People swimming near reef on Rottnest Island

Rottnest – or Wadjemup in Whadjuk Nyoongar language – has garnered plenty of international attention thanks to its cute, furry quokka population. But, the 19km2 island has so much more to offer than just a cheeky selfie with its most famous residents.

The shores of Thompson Bay are just 25-minutes by ferry from Fremantle (RAC members can purchase discounted tickets ). There, you’ll find the newly refurbished Isola Bar e Cibo, Hotel Rottnest, and Samphire Rottnest. Choose any one in the trio for an indulgent long lunch in the sun, complete with quokka visitors and impeccable ocean views.

Hire a bicycle from the nearby Pedal and Flipper, and spend the day bay-hopping around the island. There are plenty to choose from, but snorkelling fans should make a beeline for The Basin and sun-soakers, the stretch of sand at Pinky Beach.

9. Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty aerial photo

Wagin has the giant ram, Harvey the big orange. Busselton , 45-minutes south of Bunbury , is famed for its king-sized jetty. At 1.841km, the Busselton Jetty is officially the southern hemisphere’s longest timber piled jetty.

There’s a 90-seat electric train that runs the length of it, transporting passengers from the shores of Geographe Bay out to the underwater observatory at the end. It’s one of only six natural underwater observatories in the world and allows you a first-hand glimpse into what lies below the surface.

There, 8m down, you can watch southern calamari, decorator crabs, and, if you’re lucky, southern fiddler or eagle rays going about their daily business among the pylons.

10. Wave Rock

Aerial shot of Wave Rock near Hyden

Known as Katter Kitch to the Nyoongar people, Wave Rock near the town of Hyden is a significant site for many reasons. Not only was it a keniny (dancing ground) for the Ballardong custodians and an important part of their Dreamtime stories, but its unique formation was some 270 million years in the making.

Standing at 15m tall and 100m long, the multi-coloured granite landform gets its name for its likeness to a crashing wave. Even if you’re not a regular Kelly Slater, standing at the base of the wave for a photo ‘surfing’ it is customary.

Just 800m away you’ll find the Wave Rock Salt Bath. It’s a 6m-deep gypsum pool the colour of jade, with a higher salinity than the Dead Sea. Slide in for a relaxing, weightless float.

RELATED: Perth to Wave Rock road trip (3 days) »

11. Kalbarri National Park

Pot Alley coastal cliffs in Kalbarri National Park

Experiencing the beauty of Kalbarri National Park is now even more accessible, thanks to the dual cantilevered platforms of the Kalbarri Skywalk. Extending 25m out from the rim of the Murchison River Gorge, the universally accessible platforms project sightseers over the 100m high chasm for a view you just wouldn’t get otherwise.

To see the red and white banded gorges from a different angle, take the 9km grade 4 Loop Walk. It starts along the edge of the cliffs and winds its way down to the river bank below before climbing back up to end at the iconic Nature’s Window. Temperatures in the valley can reach 50 degrees in summer, so the trail is closed after 7.00am from November to March. It’s best to attempt it in spring and autumn.

RELATED: Perth to Kalbarri road trip itinerary »

12. Karijini

An aerial shot of Karijini National Park with a family walking

Tranquil, fern-lined swimming holes, arid plateaus, and deep rock chasms are hallmarks of Karijini National Park, a desert oasis 1,400km to the northeast of Perth.

Karijini is one of WA’s most unique and picturesque national parks, one that needs to be seen to be believed. Explore its deepest crevices and hidden swimming holes by taking one of the many walking trails that weave through the park. Fern Pool and Hamersley Gorge’s Spa Pool are some of the most popular routes. Fed by a small waterfall and surrounded by curved rock, the iridescently blue waters of the latter are an unforgettable place to take a dip.

It’s best to save your visit until late autumn, winter, or spring, avoiding the blistering heat and the deluge of rain the summer (and wet season) brings.

13. Albany’s Gap and Natural Bridge

People on the viewing platform over The Gap near Albany

Albany’s southern-facing coastline is one of the most exposed in the state. It’s also one of the most spectacular. Enjoy panoramic views from Bald Head to West Cape Howe from universally accessible lookout points at The Gap and the Natural Bridge.

At The Gap, a meshwork platform allows you to stand 40m above the surging Southern Ocean and watch it as it smashes against the granite cliff face below. In winter, a spraying of seawater is expected, so prepare well with ponchos and raincoats. For a less turbulent and altogether drier experience, the equally scenic Natural Bridge is a short walk away.

RELATED: Perth to Albany road trip itinerary  »

14. Stirling Range and Bluff Knoll

Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range

If you thought it didn’t snow in Western Australia, think again. When the conditions are just right, a light dusting covers the Stirling Range’s tallest peak, Bluff Knoll , 415km from Perth. It’s a spectacle that draws tourists and hikers in from all around the state.

Climbing to the top of Bluff Knoll is a healthy challenge, the 6km round trip taking around 3 hours to complete. If you’re not up to the climb, there is a 42km scenic drive (on unsealed roads) that winds through the Stirling Range National Park, with plenty of lookout points along the way.

A short drive away is the Granite Skywalk in the Porongorup Range, another challenging uphill hike with a spectacular vantage point at the top.

15. Dolphins at Monkey Mia

Dolphin feeding on the beach at Monkey Mia

There are few places in Western Australia where you can get a close-up look at dolphins in their natural habitat. At Monkey Mia a small resort town fringing Francois Peron National Park on the Coral Coast, morning meetings with the bottlenose are a daily occurrence.

The wild dolphins cruise into the bay in the early morning, past a line-up of people in ankle-deep water, hoping to catch a glimpse. Anyone that’s paid the reserve fee on entry to the site can join in on the viewing, but spots are limited, so it’s best to arrive early.

Post-dolphin interaction, cool off in the bay's calm waters, have a bite to eat up at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort’s  Boughshed Restaurant or take a hiking trail through the national park.

RELATED: Things to do in the Shark Bay region »

16. Aboriginal rock art of the North West

Wandjina Aboriginal Rock art paintings on a rock wall

Western Australia’s most prized art collection isn’t housed within the Art Gallery of Western Australia; it’s in the caves and on the rock faces of Murujuga National Park, 5km northeast of Dampier.

Aboriginal engravings (known as petroglyphs) in this region have been estimated to be up to 40,000 years old, providing a pictorial record of anything that held meaning to the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, Yaburara-Mardudhunera and the Woon-goo-tt-oo Aboriginal people of the Pilbara at that time.

The most popular site to see the ancient artwork is Ngajarli Gorge. A 700m accessible boardwalk winds through the rock piles where you can find human figures, marine life, and birds etched into the stone, as well as other historical artifacts. Remember to tread lightly, respect the artwork, and, due to cultural restrictions, avoid taking photos of any petroglyphs of the human form.

RELATED:   Aboriginal rock art of the North West »

17. Horizontal Falls

A boat crossing Horizontal Falls in Talbot Ba

Western Australia’s Kimberley region is home to a rich Aboriginal cultural heritage, a long pearling history, and some of the most striking landscapes in the country. It can also lay claim to Australia’s largest tides. At its most extreme, the tidal difference can reach 10m or more, causing a rushing effect as the water ebbs and flows over the course of the day.

The fast-moving water can be seen all around the Buccaneer Archipelago, but it’s in Talbot Bay where the tide really puts on a show. Each day, water gushes through the narrow gaps in the McLarty Range, forming what’s known as the Horizontal Falls (or Garaanngaddim to the Dambimangari people). Witness it from the air on a scenic flight from Broome or Derby, or land on the water before jetting through the falls on a high-speed boat.

RELATED: Great drives in the Kimberly and Pilbara »

18. Abrolhos Islands

Aerial shot of Abrolhos Islands

Rottnest isn’t the only idyllic island that lies off the west coast. The Houtman Abrolhos – better known as the Abrolhos Islands – is a chain of 122 small islands and islets 90-minutes from Geraldton by fast ferry or even closer by light plane. With most of the islands nothing more than brilliantly white sand, turquoise waters, and coastal scrub, they’re a day-trip destination only.

Pack a snorkel and take to the waters, where seagrass meadows and tropical coral reef meet. The islands are home to the southernmost tropical reef in the Indian Ocean, a product of the warm Leeuwin current passing through the otherwise temperate waters. On dry land, get to know the infamous history of the islands (it includes shipwrecks and mutiny), and watch the sea lions and tammar wallabies bask in the sunshine.

19. Lake Argyle

 Aerial shot of Lake Argyle at sunset with boats in the water

Technically classified as an inland sea, the mammoth Lake Argyle is Australia’s second-largest artificial reservoir. The freshwater system just out of Kununurra covers approximately 1000km2 and holds 32 million cubic litres of water – that’s some 20 times larger than Sydney Harbour.

Fed by the fertile Ord River, the lake is a thriving marine environment. A wildlife cruise along the lake’s shoreline, its 70 islands, and up the Ord River will expose you to the region’s plentiful native flora and fauna, including wallabies, freshwater crocodiles, and more than 240 species of bird. Cruise at sunset and the odds of ticking them all off the ‘spotto’ list increase exponentially. But, to truly appreciate the size of Lake Argyle, it’s best seen from the air.

20. Mitchell Falls

Mitchell Falls three-tiered waterfall

There are arguably no Australian falls more beautiful than the Kimberley’s Mitchell Falls (known as Punamii-Uunpuu to the Wunambal people). An intercept along the Mitchell River’s path, the falls tumble down a series of red rock tiers, collecting in deep, emerald-coloured pool after pool.

Swimming is permitted in the top pools, where it’s safe to cool off without the threat of the local wildlife. A dip comes as a welcome treat after the 4.3km walk out to the falls, taking the Punamii-Uunpuu walking trail from the campground.

Less energy is expended seeing the icon by air, either on a scenic flight or helicopter tour departing from Kununurra.

Need a place to stay in the Kimberley?

RAC members enjoy exclusive discounts across RAC holiday parks and resorts* including RAC Cable Beach Holiday Park.

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*Terms and conditions apply. RAC member discount not applicable on already discounted rates. Discounts available on direct bookings only made online or via phone. For more information visit our website.

Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

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33 Best & Fun Things To Do In Leavenworth (Washington)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: August 30, 2022  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

things to do in Leavenworth, WA

Folk dancers.

Snow-covered inns on sleepy streets.

Big, breathtaking mountains in the distance.

This is just a snapshot of Leavenworth, Washington.

Best known for its quaint and charming Bavarian village, it’s also a prime sightseeing destination nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, offering tons of opportunities to explore nature.

You can go skiing, camping, climbing, horseback riding, sleigh riding, and more.

A prime festival destination, Leavenworth also hosts a number of special events each year, so there’s always a reason for fireworks in the town square.

From Maifest to Oktoberfest, you could fill your entire calendar with its celebrations!

There’s also the charm of the town itself.

Though it has the look of an old-fashioned German village, there’s plenty of modernity in its trendy basement wineries and gourmet cheese shops.

It balances the old with the new quite nicely.

Ultimately, however, this Bavarian-themed town is a year-round destination.

Let’s talk about all of the cool things to do in Leavenworth!

Table of Contents

1. Downtown Leavenworth

Downtown Leavenworth

melissamn / Shutterstock

With its unique cultural charm, downtown Leavenworth isn’t like any other downtown that you’ve visited.

Forget the gleaming spires of modern skyscrapers: Leavenworth offers quaint, alpine-style architecture framed by misty mountains, making it a cross between a ski village and a historic German town.

The buildings have thatched roofs, wooden shutters, and wide balconies.

The town center is filled with mom-and-pop businesses that range from pubs and candy shops to old-fashioned inns.

All foot traffic is directed down Front Street, a pedestrian-friendly avenue where people can be seen milling around at all hours of the day; you can eat, drink, shop, and explore from sunup to sundown.

Make sure to enjoy some traditional German favorites such as bratwurst and beer while you’re there!

Downtown Leavenworth is exactly what you’d expect when you first hear about the Bavarian-style village in Washington State.

Let your visions come to life by stopping here first.

Address: 800 Front Street, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

2. Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

WellyWelly / Shutterstock

Held over the course of not one, not two, but three weekends, Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the country.

It also celebrates German culture in ways that go far beyond beer.

Bavarian culture, of course, can be seen in everything from the music to the dress; it’s not uncommon for visitors as well as staff to put on their best trachten.

Other forms of culture can be found in food stalls, craft tables, demonstration booths, and more.

Let’s be honest, however.

If you’re going to Oktoberfest, you’re going for the beer.

The good news is that the taps never stop flowing, and authentic, imported brews can be found in every beer garden.

There are also plenty of brats to fill your belly and help you keep pace!

If you’re wondering what to do while in Washington, check the calendar.

If it’s October, the answer is always Oktoberfest.

Address: Leavenworth, WA, United States

3. Greater Leavenworth Museum

Greater Leavenworth Museum

Kirk Fisher / Shutterstock

There are many points of interest in Leavenworth, so if you don’t want to miss any, take a trip to the Greater Leavenworth Museum .

Not only can it bring local landmarks to your attention, but the museum also offers walking tours around town with the price of admission.

You can make your bucket list as you go!

The museum itself is dedicated to the preservation of Leavenworth’s history and its role in the economic development of Washington.

As you might imagine, there’s a big emphasis on Bavarian culture and the German immigrants who brought it over and turned it into the town’s mainstay.

When you’re done with the exhibits and galleries, take the guided walking tours.

One, the Railroad and Mill Tour, will take you along the Wenatchee River and show you how early settlers harnessed the power of water for steam-engine trains.

Another, the Town Walking Tour, will chaperone you around downtown Leavenworth and showcase local shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and government buildings.

With so many things to see in Leavenworth, it helps to have knowledgeable locals telling you where to go.

Visit the Greater Leavenworth Museum to make the very best of your time in town.

Address: 735 Front St 2nd Floor, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

4. Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum has to be seen to be believed.

Lined, stacked, and stuffed with more than 6,000 nutcrackers, it’s the largest museum of its kind, and it pays homage to endless styles of nutcrackers from all around the world.

You’re probably familiar with the traditional wooden dolls from ballets like The Nutcracker.

In fact, since the museum was started by a former ballet dancer, these kings, knights, and soldiers are the most colorfully prominent collections in the building.

There are many others, however, ranging from Victorian silver to Asian bezel to European ivory and porcelain.

Some are finely carved figures; others are crude, shapeless tools forged in blacksmith shops.

You can walk the galleries and see nutcrackers of all shapes and sizes that date back literal centuries.

The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum is one of the most unique places to visit in the city.

If you’re looking for Leavenworth attractions that’ll make a great story when you get home, go visit a building filled with thousands of nutcrackers.

Address: 735 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

5. Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park

Roman Khomlyak / Shutterstock

Washington is known for its lush scenery, and nowhere is this more apparent than Waterfront Park .

Stretching along the river with trails that weave in and out of shaded woodlands, it offers the best of land, water, and sky in Leavenworth.

Hiking, of course, is the main attraction, but there are other outdoor activities to enjoy as well.

You can hit up a beach inlet on a hot day or go bird watching in the thickets on a cool one.

Other popular pastimes include fishing, tubing, and picnicking.

Another great thing about Waterfront Park is that it’s a year-round destination.

From dazzling yellow leaves in the fall to crackling, icy currents in the winter, you can find beauty in every season.

There are also fun seasonal events like the salmon making their way upstream in late summer.

All things considered, a trip to Waterfront Park is one of the top things to do in Leavenworth.

No matter when you’re headed to the Pacific Northwest, you can enjoy a breath of fresh air here.

Address: Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

Visiting other parts of Washington? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Seattle ?

6. Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

Leavenworth Reindeer Farm

All Things Country / Shutterstock

As a charming, old-fashioned European village tucked into the foothills of the mountains, Leavenworth has a strong association with Christmas.

You can channel your own holiday spirit with a trip to the Reindeer Farm .

Family-owned and operated, the Reindeer Farm will be a delight for all ages.

It’s home to dozens of reindeer, including baby reindeer when the season is right, and visitors can directly interact with the animals via petting and feeding.

You can also tour the stables and grounds to learn more about the farm and its conservation efforts.

When you’re done, make sure to hit up the gift shop with its plethora of reindeer-themed souvenirs!

The Reindeer Farm is one of the most fun tourist attractions in the city, so even if it isn’t Christmastime, feel free to stop by and see Santa’s most loyal friends.

The grounds are open year-round.

Address: 10395 Chumstick Hwy, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

7. Smallwood’s Harvest

Smallwood's Harvest

Smallwood’s Harvest

Though technically located in Peshastin, Washington, Smallwood’s Harvest is only 20 minutes away from Leavenworth.

Even more importantly, it’s a day trip worth making!

Serving as a cross between a country store and a small amusement park, Smallwood’s Harvest offers all kinds of games, goodies, and activities for visitors of all ages.

The store is its central attractions, and its shelves are packed with everything from fresh kettlecorn to canned jams and jellies that could survive for decades in a bunker.

The store also lets anarchy reign supreme outside.

There’s a petting zoo and a duck pond; there’s a cow-themed kids’ train; there’s a place to hunt for gold and a place to get lost in a maze.

When you’re done with the shop, you can also hop right over to Prey’s Fruit Barn, a similarly bustling attraction that also has the distinction of being Washington’s largest fruit stand.

If you’re wondering what to do in Leavenworth, do it all.

A trip to Smallwood’s Harvest will be fun, chaotic, and thoroughly memorable for everyone involved.

Address: 10461 Stemm Rd Suite A, Peshastin, WA 98847, United States

8. Enchantment Park

Enchantment Park

Enchantment Park

If you’re on a budget, there are many free things to do in and near Leavenworth.

One such activity is a trip to Enchantment Park .

Inspired by Field of Dreams and one man’s mission to build a baseball diamond, locals labored for years to create a park and sports complex that would benefit the community.

Enchantment Park is the result of their efforts, and it includes playgrounds, sports fields, and a number of trails.

The trails are a particularly noteworthy feature of the park since they’re connected to an entire network of nature paths and trailheads along the Wenatchee River.

Other cool places to see include the Enchantment Park Pond, also known as the Blackbird Island Pond, a fishing hole that’s open only to youth, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.

It’s a safe space for them to explore their hobby without the crowds of other fishing spots.

All in all, Enchantment Park is just as enchanting as its name, and it’s a fun, free destination that won’t cost you a dime.

There are definitely worse ways to spend an afternoon with the kids.

Address: 300 Enchantment Park Way, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

9. Leavenworth ZipLines

Leavenworth ZipLines

Ammit Jack / Shutterstock

Anyone can go for a scenic drive around a mountain.

How many people can say that they’ve soared across treetops and scoped out entire canyons and valleys from 190 feet high?

This is the experience that you’ll have at Leavenworth ZipLines .

Offering nine different ziplines, you can basically choose your own adventure and strap in.

From suspension bridges to double-decker platforms, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for breathless, exhilarating fun.

Other stuff to do in the area includes sightseeing and shopping.

You can even grab a bite to eat at the nearby Old Mill Cafe, home to Texas-style country cooking that’ll make you feel like you’re in the south rather than Washington!

Between its food, fun, and fantastically death-defying rides, Leavenworth ZipLines is definitely a stop worth making while you’re in town.

Address: 19115 Chiwawa Loop Road, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

10. Rhein Haus

Rhein Haus

If you love the Bavarian theme of Leavenworth’s attractions, you won’t want to miss the most German tradition of them all: eating a hearty meal with a cold beer to wash it all down!

Rhein Haus isn’t the only restaurant in the city to embody Bavarian culture, but it’s a favorite among the locals, so you can rest assured that it’s authentic.

The atmosphere is warm and unpretentious.

The menu offers all kinds of staples, including bratwurst, kielbasa, and schnitzel, as well as fun extras like beer-cheese fondue served with gigantic pretzels.

There are plenty of entertainment options, too.

With multiple bars, patios, and biergartens, you can wander this “house” like a real tourist attraction.

When you’re feeling hungry in Leavenworth, make your dinner stop a good one.

Fuel up on traditional Bavarian food in a traditional Bavarian setting.

How many times in your life will you get this kind of chance?

Address: 707 US-2 unit f, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

Exploring other areas of Washington? Why not check out some of the things to do in Spokane ?

11. Leavenworth Ski Hill

Leavenworth Ski Hill

Leavenworth Ski Hill

The Leavenworth Ski Hill is one of the most iconic places to visit in town.

It’s been around since the early 1900s, so it’s a site of much childhood nostalgia for the locals, and everyone will recommend it to you when you’re looking for wintertime in Leavenworth.

It started as a simple incline where kids gathered with their sleds.

Today, after decades of expansion, the entire “Leavenworth Ski Hill Historic District” encompasses hills, trails, and lodges for overnight stays.

There’s plenty of fun to be had on the hill.

Skiing is in the name, but there’s also snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and fat biking.

You can even visit in the summer to enjoy warm weather activities like mountain biking and running alpine obstacle courses.

You don’t have to visit fancy ski resorts to enjoy powder-fresh slopes in Washington.

Just swing by the Leavenworth Ski Hill, home of generations of fun!

Address: 10701 Ski Hill Dr, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

12. Lake Wenatchee State Park

Lake Wenatchee State Park

Victoria Ditkovsky / Shutterstock

Picture a basin of bright blue water surrounded by majestic, snow-capped mountains.

This is what it looks like at Lake Wenatchee State Park .

Offering hills, lakes, cliffs, canyons, lagoons, and more, this park is a jewel of the Pacific Northwest.

Its stunning scenery is topped only by its staggering amount of fun things to do on a day trip.

From sailboarding to dog sledding to shellfish harvesting, you can explore the great outdoors in ways that you’ve never even considered before.

It’s a particularly popular destination with windsurfers thanks to its unique topography!

Filled with natural wonder, Lake Wenatchee State Park is among the top of Leavenworth’s attractions.

There’s a reason why it attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Check it out!

13. Mountain Springs Lodge

Mountain Springs Lodge

Mountain Springs Lodge

There’s so much fun to be had at the Mountain Springs Lodge that you won’t know where to start.

Though it’s primarily a resort, it offers a wide range of activities to get you out of your room and into the great outdoors, including skiing, snowmobiling, kayaking, ziplining, fly fishing, and sleigh riding.

The resort is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Though it has a country-style aesthetic that befits the mountains and the open sky, it’s luxury lodging through and through.

You can book honeymoon suites with jacuzzis and wet bars.

You can rent out entire buildings for weddings, corporate retreats, and other large-scale events.

The sight of mountain peaks in the distance will be outdone only by the pools and gardens right in front of you.

If you’re looking for top-dollar accommodation during your vacation, the Mountain Springs Lodge is the place to be.

You’ll fill up this weekend and the next with indoor luxuries and outdoor adventures.

14. Front Street Park

Front Street Park

Front Street Park

Located in the heart of downtown, Front Street Park is a great recreational spot for couples, families, and solo travelers who want the perfect selfie with vintage German charm.

A gazebo sits in the center of the park, and it’s often used as a gathering spot for local events, including concerts, folk shows, and Christmas lighting ceremonies.

A maibaum, or maypole, represents the town’s Bavarian roots, and it sees a lot of use during fairs and festivals.

“Art in the Park” is a recent addition to the area that showcases the talent of local artists and sculptors.

The natural scenery is beautiful, too.

Its tree-lined lawns are ideal for picnicking and stargazing.

Its hills are popular sledding sites in the winter.

Front Street Park is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Leavenworth.

What’s more, it’s conveniently located in the downtown area, so you can hop right from the commercial pleasures of dining and shopping to the quiet peacefulness of the park!

Address: 820 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

15. WooHoo Winery

WooHoo Winery

WooHoo Winery

Give a shout for the WooHoo Winery !

Sourcing its grapes from central Washington’s vineyards, it’s a lovely, community-oriented business that prides itself on good flavors, quality ingredients, and a welcoming atmosphere for visitors from all over the country.

Its tasting room is its point of pride.

Tucked into the basement and perfect for staying warm on cold Washington nights, it’s a quaint and cozy kind of place.

The tables are made from aged oak barrels, and they’re topped with everything from cheese platters to little games to play while you sit and sip your wine.

Samples are available if you don’t know what you want.

Bottles can be purchased once you find a favorite.

Whether you’re a sommelier or just a person who enjoys a nice glass of red, the WooHoo Winery is a must-do in Leavenworth.

It’s one of those places to go that will remain in your memory long after you’ve returned home.

Address: 725 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

Going on a road trip around Washington? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Tacoma ?

16. Bavarian Icefest

Held every January, the Bavarian Icefest is one of those fun places to go that’s all the more magical for being temporary.

The town is transformed for Christmas, and the festival takes place amidst a half-million holiday lights strung between angels, icicles, reindeer, and other thematically appropriate decorations.

As for the IceFest itself, things to see include everything from snowshoe demonstrations to live ice-carving competitions.

You can also participate in events like the Snowball Toss and the Ice Cube Scramble.

If you’re a thrill seeker, you’ll love the snowmobile rides and skiing and snowboarding lessons; if you’re the quieter type, you can enjoy the tranquility of ice fishing or trying your hand at building a snow sculpture.

A fireworks show will mark the end of the festival.

If you’ll be in Leavenworth at the start of the year, you won’t want to miss the Bavarian IceFest.

It’s a beautiful sight that offers good, clean family fun, so it’ll be a nice stop for visitors of all ages.

17. Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery

Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery

T.Schofield / Shutterstock

The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery is a grand complex that used to be even grander.

When it was originally built in the 1940s, it was the largest fish hatchery in the world!

It’s been outclassed by other hatcheries since then, but it’s still an impressive place: It processes more than 1.2 million Chinook salmon each year.

If you’re interested, you can take a tour of the hatchery to learn more about this process and why it’s so vital to the local economy.

Otherwise, feel free to explore the other attractions offered on the complex grounds, including nature trails, picnic areas, fishing areas, and public boat launches.

If you’re in town in September, it also plays host to the annual Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, one of the top attractions in the region for seafood lovers.

If you’re looking for fun places to visit in the central Washington area, consider the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.

Even if you aren’t a fisherman yourself, it’s hard not to marvel at everything that happens here.

Address: 12790 Fish Hatchery Rd, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

18. Icicle Gorge Trail

Icicle Gorge Trail

jenrla / Shutterstock

Located within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the Icicle Gorge Trail is a bit of a misnomer.

It isn’t cold or treacherous; it’s actually quite beautiful.

It received the name Nasikelt from the indigenous people of Washington, and this was later mistaken for the word “icicle.”

Today, visitors to the Icicle Gorge Trail can enjoy a relatively easy 4.5-mile trek through the mountains.

The path is rugged but well maintained, and there’s signage every step of the way.

You’ll be able to see rivers, cliffs, hills, woods, and a variety of flora and fauna.

Many folks from nearby cities like to come here to get a breath of fresh air while surrounded by nature’s splendor.

If you’re in Washington and wondering what to do this weekend, consider hitting up the Icicle Gorge Trail.

Not only is it a beautiful destination near Leavenworth, but it can also serve as a gateway to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest if you feel like exploring the wilderness even further.

19. Autumn Leaf Festival

Autumn Leaf Festival

Pictoscribe – News Fatigue Syndrome / flickr

If you’ll be traveling to Washington in the fall, you won’t want to miss the Autumn Leaf Festival.

It’s one of the longest-running festivals in the state, and it draws thousands of visitors each year to walk under the brilliantly colored leaves and sip on warm ciders.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however.

This multi-day festival offers food, drink, music, and more.

Attend a car show; throw your hands up at outdoor musical performances; sit back and watch a parade filled with floats and fireworks.

As you might imagine, most things at the festival have a fall theme, so expect to see lots of apples and breathe in the constant scent of cinnamon and pumpkin spice.

However, true to Leavenworth’s roots, there’s usually Bavarian culture on display as well.

The parade often has Bavarian folk dancers, for instance.

The Autumn Leaf Festival is among the nicest of Leavenworth attractions.

In addition to its spectacular scenery, it offers an abundance of fall-themed fun that takes advantage of both time and place to become an event that’s truly memorable.

20. Eagle Creek Ranch

Eagle Creek Ranch

Eagle Creek Ranch

Are you tired of hiking and biking the world’s nature trails?

How about experiencing them on horseback?

It’s just one of the many activities offered by Eagle Creek Ranch , a family-run establishment that has special permission to operate within protected areas of the Wenatchee National Forest.

Not only will it be a fun trip for you, but it’ll also be an exclusive one: Most tourists aren’t able to see the places that you’ll see.

Summer is the season for horseback riding.

In the wintertime, you’ll transition to horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Ranch tours, meanwhile, are offered year round, so you can explore the grounds and learn what it’s like for the various stallions of Washington.

You don’t have to be an equestrian to appreciate Eagle Creek Ranch.

It’s one of the top things to do in Leavenworth for anyone who can appreciate the beauty of nature from either a sled or a saddle.

Address: 7951 Eagle Creek Rd, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

21. Penstock Trail

Penstock Trail

Adam Lusch / flickr

You can’t visit a ruggedly beautiful destination like Washington without experiencing the great outdoors.

Thankfully, places like Penstock Trail are accessible to hikers of all ages and skill levels.

Also known as the Old Pipeline Trail, the Penstock Trail was originally a gigantic water pipe that delivered kinetic energy to steam-powered trains.

Today, it’s been converted to a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Wenatchee River, and it offers stunning aerial views of the currents and their surrounding pines and canyons.

Summer and fall are the best times to go; spring often sees the path flooded, and winter can make it too icy to navigate.

When the weather is right, however, this is an easy, beginner-friendly path that’ll let you get some fresh air without huffing and puffing.

It’ll make for great vacation photos, too.

A stroll down the Penstock Trail is one of the most scenic places in USA .

Address: Freund Canyon Rd, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

22. Leavenworth Summer Theater

Leavenworth Summer Theater

Leavenworth Summer Theater

From The Secret Garden to The Sound of Music, there’s always another curtain call at the Leavenworth Summer Theater .

However, this isn’t a stuffy performance venue where you have to squeeze yourself onto a crowded balcony.

It’s a completely outdoor stage!

With the mountains rising in the distance, you’ve never seen a theater quite like this one.

All performances are open air, so whether they’re singing, yodeling, or tap dancing, the people on stage are belting it out with real force.

The audience is kept small, so there’s not even a need for audio or video equipment.

You’ll be close enough to see them, hear them, and count the stitches on their costumes.

Like its name suggests, the Leavenworth Summer Theater is a summertime phenomenon, so you’ll need to be in town at the right time to enjoy it.

If you can make it, however, it’ll be a truly one-of-a-kind experience to see Fiddler on the Roof under an open sky.

Address: 928 Pine St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

23. Icicle Outfitters and Guides

Icicle Outfitters and Guides

Icicle Outfitters and Guides

With so many tourist attractions in Washington, how are you supposed to know which ones are worth your time?

One solution is to book a tour with Icicle Outfitters and Guides .

Offering single- and multi-day excursions into the wild, Icicle Outfitters and Guides can take you to all of the major points of interest in the Cascade Mountains.

You can view cliffs and canyons; you can walk among fields of wildflowers under big blue skies; you can lay under glittering canopies of stars that have never known light pollution.

You won’t be just an observer, either.

You’ll have opportunities to go fishing, camping, photographing, horseback riding, and more.

All that you need is a sleeping bag.

Your tour guides will take care of the rest.

If you’re ready to explore the best of Washington’s natural beauty, call Icicle Outfitters and Guides!

Address: 7503 Cyo Rd, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

24. Blue Spirits Distilling

Blue Spirits Distilling

Blue Spirits Distilling

There are several breweries and distilleries in Leavenworth, but Blue Spirits Distilling is the best.

It takes a foundational approach to its vodkas, tequilas, rums, and whiskeys, basing everything off the clear and pure waters that run through Icicle Creek.

Its motto is “no spirit can be better than the water that makes it proof.”

The bar is open daily, and an on-site restaurant offers tastings and “small bites” to complement your drinks.

You can also sign up for special events like demonstrations of the cold still brewing equipment.

The latter won’t cost you a dime, so if you’re on a budget, it can be an option for free things to do in the city.

Consider a drink at Blue Spirits Distilling if you’re thinking about what to do with your time in Leavenworth.

Vacations are always better with a buzz, especially a high-quality buzz made with the freshest of ingredients!

Address: 1310 US-2, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

25. Bavarian E-Bike Tours

From the misty mountains of nature to the quaint little bookstores of downtown, Leavenworth has many interesting things to see.

But what if you aren’t physically fit enough to go hiking or climbing?

Or what if you just aren’t interested in a traditional walking tour?

Bavarian E-Bike Tours offers an alternative to the usual methods of sightseeing.

On an electric, pedal-assisted bicycle, you can enjoy a leisurely trip around the city without having to huff and puff.

You’ll be able to hit all of the major landmarks, and you’ll be out in the fresh air and sunshine while you do it, but you won’t have to sweat along the way.

You won’t even have to navigate: A tour guide will lead you.

One thing to note about Bavarian E-Bike Tours is that they’re only available through the months of May to October.

Otherwise, however, feel free to give them a call.

They’ll provide a unique and interesting way to see Leavenworth.

Address: 321 9th St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

26. Northwest Mountain School

Northwest Mountain School

Northwest Mountain School

Mountaineering is one of the most fun things to do in Leavenworth, but if you’ve never picked up a trekking pole before, it might seem like a daunting task.

This is where the Northwest Mountain School can help.

Offering AMGA-certified instructors, this school can get you started in skiing, rock climbing, alpine hiking, and more.

Lessons are tailored by skill level, and tours always come with a guide to help you navigate the terrain and have a great experience on the mountain.

Another noteworthy aspect of the school is that it also offers its services abroad, so if you’re ever headed to Japan, Canada, or Italy, you can call up your old friends at the Northwest Mountain School to schedule another trip with them!

Address: 10171 Chumstick Hwy, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

27. Maifest

Maifest

wcjho / Shutterstock

Leavenworth is one of the best places to go to celebrate Maifest, also known as “Mayfest,” the German arrival of spring.

It runs for the entire month and is jam-packed with events, activities, and demonstrations that herald the start of a new season.

Traditional festivities range from maypole dancing to alphorn playing; more unusual ones can include live chainsaw carving or watching folk dancers in all of their livery.

There’s also food and drink as far as the eye can see, so you’ll never go hungry, and you’ll get to experience all of the staples of German fair cuisine.

The culmination of Maifest is the Festzug, or Grand March, in which hundreds of Bavarians parade around town in full cultural dress.

From kids to senior citizens, you’ll see all kinds of colorful outfits that date back centuries.

Leavenworth isn’t the only town in America to celebrate Maifest, but since it has such strong Bavarian roots, it’s the perfect place to enjoy this quintessential German tradition.

Swing by with your lederhosen and check it out!

28. Wedge Mountain

Wedge Mountain

Peter Stevens , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Are you done with the Cascade Mountains?

Are you ready to conquer your next peaks?

Located about 40 minutes from Leavenworth, Wedge Mountain has some of the most dramatic natural scenery in Washington State.

Like its name implies, it’s full of angles, and the rugged landscapes give it a stark and enduring kind of beauty.

You’ll see everything from craggy cliffs to deep, jagged valleys filled with slow-melting glacier water.

As for ways to entertain yourself on the mountain, they include all of the classics such as hiking, climbing, and backpacking.

There are also a number of local businesses that have set up shop at the foothills, so you can enjoy shops and restaurants with great views.

There’s even a winery!

Of the many things to do in Leavenworth, a hike up a mountain is one of the most popular and enduring among the locals.

Venture on over to Wedge Mountain once you’re explored every nook and cranny of the Cascades.

Address: WA, United States

29. Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village

Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village

Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village

History comes alive at the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village .

Located in Cashmere, Washington, about 20 minutes outside of Leavenworth, it’s a cultural heritage site that’s dedicated to the earliest residents of the area.

These include European pioneers as well as Native Americans.

Objects on display at the museum range from antique furniture to real, sepia-toned treaties that were signed by generations past.

If you like nature, there are taxidermy animals and geological samples and specimens; if you like fashion, there are collections of moccasins, headdresses, and feathered vests.

Outside the museum, the village is an authentic replica of 19th century living.

You can explore wood cabins and waterwheels that look the exact same as they would have to Leavenworth’s first settlers.

If you’re at all interested in history, the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village is a top 10 destination in Washington.

While not quite within the city limits of Leavenworth, it’s definitely worth a side trip if you’re in the area.

Address: 600 Cotlets Way, Cashmere, WA 98815, United States

30. Sleeping Lady Resort

Sleeping Lady Resort

Sleeping Lady Resort

If you’re looking for peace and tranquility during your trip to Washington, consider booking a weekend at the Sleeping Lady Resort .

It’s nestled snugly into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, so you’ll be able to wake up every morning to birdsong, gentle breezes, and the kind of fresh, crisp air that you can only get from the true outdoors.

Despite the country charm of its lodgings, the resort isn’t a rustic one.

In fact, it boasts everything from an organic garden to a yoga studio, so you can enjoy modern amenities in an old-fashioned environment.

It even has an outdoor pool and hot tub fashioned like hot springs!

The Sleeping Lady Resort is one of the best places to visit for a relaxing time in Leavenworth.

The surroundings will soothe you; the luxuries will pamper you.

Book online today, and you could be stretching out in a suite as early as this weekend.

Address: 7375 Icicle Rd, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

31. Washington State Apple Blossom Festival

Held every year in the nearby city of Wenatchee, the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival is a recognition of springtime and all of its rebirths and new beginnings.

However, it distinguishes itself from Maifest with its emphasis on one thing: apples!

Started by the wife of an apple farmer, this annual celebration is all about the juicy red fruit.

You can find apple-themed everything among its many vendors.

Florals are another big focus since apple trees blossom with beautiful pink and white petals before they bear fruit.

If you aren’t a fan of Granny Smith, there are other attractions to enjoy, too.

The festival has grown from a single day of fun into an 11-day extravaganza.

The main event is a carnival filled with food, drink, music, games, and rides, but there’s plenty more in terms of entertainment.

There’s an arts and crafts fair; there’s a parade with floats and cannons; there’s even a golf tournament, of all things!

The good folks of Washington State never miss a chance to throw a party.

If you’ll be near Leavenworth in the early days of spring, be sure to check out the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.

Address: Unnamed Road, Wenatchee, WA 98801, United States

32. The Cheesemonger’s Shop

The Cheesemonger's Shop

The Cheesemonger’s Shop

You’ll die and go to cheese heaven at The Cheesemonger’s Shop .

From soft and smokey to sharp and stinky, there are all kinds of dairy delights to be explored here.

Best of all, you can enjoy free samples as you shop!

The first thing to know about The Cheesemonger’s Shop is that it’s the real deal.

It offers high-quality cheese and cheese products made in Washington, so everything is locally sourced and organically produced.

The next thing to know about The Cheesemonger’s Shop is that it offers a lot more than just cheese.

The owners know full well that cheese tastes best when paired with sausages, crackers, jams, and other snacks, so they’ll make sure that you have a nice spread on your charcuterie board!

A visit to The Cheesemonger’s Shop is one of the tastiest things to do in Leavenworth.

You’ll definitely want to drop by if you’ve worked up an appetite in the village… as long as you aren’t lactose intolerant.

Address: 819 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

33. Christkindlmarkt

The German term for “Christmas market,” Christkindlmarkt is a hallmark of Leavenworth, and it’s a must-see destination if you’ll be town during the holidays.

As previously mentioned, the city pulls out all of the stops for Christmas, decking the rooftops, railings, and street posts in a half-million lights.

However, this is just the start of the festivities at Christkindlmarkt.

You’ll be dazzled at every turn with the wondrous decorations that go hand-in-hand with the activities and events of the market.

Things to do include shopping, caroling, and attending ornament- and lantern-making workshops.

There’s a touch of Bavarian culture, of course, with folk music performances taking on a festive spirit.

You can even enjoy displays of böllerschützen or traditional firecrackers!

Christkindlmarkt is one of the most impressive places to see in Leavenworth.

Even if you aren’t feeling the spirit beforehand, you’ll definitely have it in your heart when you leave.

Address: 1001 Front Street, Leavenworth, WA 98826, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Leavenworth

These are just a few of the best and most exciting things to do in Leavenworth, Washington’s very own Bavarian town.

Whether you’re interested in quaint cultural delights or the wide, breathtaking scenery of the surrounding mountains, this is the destination for you!

Happy travels.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle's Top 25 Things to Do

We dare you to do them all.

In no way is this a comprehensive list of all the incredible experiences to be had in Seattle, but it’s a start. Let’s go!

SEATTLE CENTER

tourist attractions in wa

Space Needle

Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the 605-foot-tall Space Needle quickly became an icon of the city that today is recognized far and wide. On the observation level, which you can reach via a 43-second elevator ride, see the doodle-on-a-napkin concept that led to the Space Needle design. Views from the top feature Elliott Bay, the Cascade Mountains, and even Mount Rainier.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Center Monorail

Another World’s Fair relic, the Seattle Center Monorail links Seattle Center—home of the Space Needle and several other notable attractions—to downtown’s Westlake Center along an approximately one-mile route. The designated historic landmark can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour and weaves between skyscrapers above the city streets.

tourist attractions in wa

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Music, science fiction, and pop culture all come together at the fascinating Museum of Pop Culture . The Frank Gehry-designed building looks like a smashed guitar from above, while inside, its colorful exhibits cover everything from the history of indie video games and horror films to Nirvana, the Seahawks, and more.

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tourist attractions in wa

Pacific Science Center

This family-friendly museum is where science lessons come to life. At Pacific Science Center , explore galaxies near and far in the planetarium, get up close and personal with colorful creatures in the Tropical Butterfly House, maneuver a two-ton granite ball, find out what it means if you can roll your tongue, and much more.

tourist attractions in wa

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is dedicated to the work and career of locally born, world-renowned glassblower Dale Chihuly, who was introduced to the craft while studying at the University of Washington. It is the most comprehensive collection of his art to date, with interior galleries featuring a variety of his work in the medium. The pièce de résistance is the glasshouse, with a vibrant 100-foot-long sculpture in hues of red, orange, and yellow suspended from the ceiling.

tourist attractions in wa

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Among the top echelon of dance companies in the world, Pacific Northwest Ballet performs a variety of classical and modern shows in Seattle Center’s beautiful McCaw Hall. Under the creative direction of renowned dancer Peter Boal, Pacific Northwest Ballet offers transformative performances that are sure to impress. Don’t miss its recently revamped version of The Nutcracker , an annual holiday tradition.

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE

tourist attractions in wa

Pike Place Market

From the iconic market sign and Rachel the Piggy Bank to the gum wall, the original Starbucks cafe, well over 225 local artisans selling their wares, the famous fish-tossing tradition, and music-playing street performers, there are enough sights and sounds at Pike Place Market to pack a day (or more). The market added its historic MarketFront expansion in 2017, featuring an open-air plaza and fantastic views of Elliott Bay.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Art Museum – three ways

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is the city’s largest museum dating back to the 1930s and housing a varied collection of artwork that spans multiple eras and geographic regions. Take the time to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park , an outdoor extension of the museum that’s open to the public for free about a mile away at the waterfront. And don’t miss exploring SAM’s Asian art collection at the Seattle Asian Art Museum , located just east of downtown in Capitol Hill.

tourist attractions in wa

Central Public Library

You’ve never seen a library quite like this— Seattle Central Library ’s architecturally distinct structure boasts enough glass to cover more than five football stadiums. Head to the 10th floor for a light-filled reading room with peekaboo views of Elliott Bay, or take a self-guided cell phone tour by dialing 206-868-8564*.

tourist attractions in wa

Smith Tower

Visit the city’s first skyscraper, built in 1914, and ride the historic, manually operated elevators to the 35th-floor observatory, where 360-degree views await. Displays tell the tale of characters who made Smith Tower what it is today, while the tower’s Prohibition-themed Temperance bar serves themed cocktails.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Aquarium

Down at the Seattle Aquarium on the waterfront’s Pier 59, learn all about salmon, meet a few adorable sea otters, and greet the various sea creatures of the Pacific Ocean, from puffers to giant clams. Watch scuba divers feed the fish, gawk at sharks swimming overhead in the underwater dome, and even touch a sea anemone.

tourist attractions in wa

Washington State Ferries

A ride across Puget Sound aboard one of 22 Washington State Ferries vessels is a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience. Enjoy the breathtaking views from the bow of the boat as you cruise to the nearby communities of Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. This is one of those cases where the journey is as much fun as the destination.

tourist attractions in wa

Seattle Great Wheel

Although it was only built in 2012, the Seattle Great Wheel has quickly become a fixture of the city’s skyline—plus it adds an entirely new sightseeing perspective, thanks to its location perched on the end of Pier 57. Enjoy three revolutions around in one of the air-conditioned gondolas to see the city, water, and mountains on the horizon.

tourist attractions in wa

Museum of Flight

Aviation buffs, take note: The Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space collections in the country, with an overwhelming number of things to see—like a Boeing lunar rover and an Air Force One from the Eisenhower era—and do, including NASA space shuttle trainer tours and flight simulators.

tourist attractions in wa

Woodinville Wine Country

Western Washington’s wine outpost is in Woodinville, a charming town just a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle. There are more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms pouring there (including Chateau Ste. Michelle , the state’s first winery), ensuring something for every palate.

tourist attractions in wa

Boeing Future of Flight

Boeing Future of Flight is one of Washington state’s premier aerospace attraction and experiences, 25 miles north of downtown Seattle. It is located in Mukilteo at Paine Field. Guests are welcome for the Gallery, Sky Deck, and Boeing Store.

tourist attractions in wa

T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field

Cheer on the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park , one of baseball’s prettiest ballparks (with gourmet food, to boot!), or root for the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC at neighboring Lumen Field , known for its boisterous atmosphere. Both stadiums offer behind-the-scenes tours during the offseason and when the teams are away.

a light blue viewfinder points in the direction of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle prominently front and center.

This picturesque Queen Anne spot looks down at the Seattle skyline from the north. It’s the ideal place to get the quintessential view of the city, featuring the Space Needle, Elliott Bay, downtown skyscrapers, and (on clear days) Mount Rainier.

tourist attractions in wa

Pioneer Square

Seattle’s original downtown is full of beautiful old buildings in Romanesque Revival style, underground tours that take you beneath the streets to see the remains of the city’s first buildings, and an ever-growing slate of hip shops and restaurants. Take an afternoon or more to explore Pioneer Square ‘s ivy-covered buildings and pop into bars, boutiques, and hidden gems, like Waterfall Garden Park .

tourist attractions in wa

Chinatown-International District

The ornate Chinatown Gate welcomes you to this diverse neighborhood, where the food scene is incredible. After eating your fill of everything from pho to sushi, visit Wing Luke Museum , dedicated to the Asian Pacific American experience; practice your pinball game at the Seattle Pinball Museum ; and shop for Japanese snacks and cute gifts at the Uwajimaya supermarket.

tourist attractions in wa

Ballard Locks

In Lake Washington’s Ship Canal sits the century-old Ballard Locks , where you can watch the water levels rise and lower to create a “boat elevator” for boats and even kayaks passing between freshwater lakes and the salt water of Puget Sound. The on-site botanical garden and fish ladder are also worth a visit.

tourist attractions in wa

South Lake Union

The always bustling Lake Union, located just northeast of downtown, hosts a variety of seaplanes and boats of all kinds, including the floating home from Sleepless in Seattle . Get out on the water at The Center for Wooden Boats , which offers rentals and tours. And explore the area’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene.

tourist attractions in wa

Kenmore Air

If you want to get a better look at the city, the views from Kenmore Air ’s Seattle Scenic Seaplane Tour are unbeatable. Board the floatplane at Lake Union for an exhilarating takeoff, leisure flight, and gentle landing back on the water.

tourist attractions in wa

Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)

Known as MOHAI , this museum on the shores of Lake Union encapsulates what Seattle is all about, with a dash of smart history, a dose of technology, and quirky artifacts around every corner (think a pink truck with toes). Permanent exhibits showcase everything from the city’s maritime history to modern tech innovations.

tourist attractions in wa

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

You won’t have trouble finding a Starbucks here in the company’s hometown, but you’ll want to seek out this special Starbucks experience on Capitol Hill. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a Willy Wonka–esque coffee wonderland, where you’ll find exclusive beverages, various brewing methods, a coffee library, and more.

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OnlyInYourState

Everyone In Washington Should Check Out These 9 Tourist Attractions, According To Locals

W hen compiling your Evergreen State bucket list , it pays to hit the street and find out what spots are local favorites . The following entries — a mix of mainstream and off-beat — provide newcomers and life-long residents alike with a bird’s eye view of what’s worth exploring in our region.

Pack your car for a tour that will take us from the Pacific Coast to the Palouse, featuring everywhere from our state’s largest city to its quaintest towns.

1. The High Steel Bridge, Shelton

2. marsh's free museum, long beach, 3. edith macefield's house, seattle, 4. world's largest sitka spruce, quinault, 5. the fremont troll, seattle, 6. ape cave, cougar, 7. suzzallo and allen libraries, seattle, 8. the winlock egg, winlock, 9. the twin sisters rock, kennewick.

Whether you’re a lifelong PNWer or visiting from out of state, these favorite local attractions in Washington reflect the range of what our region offers adventurers.

What are some of your favorite spots?

The post Everyone In Washington Should Check Out These 9 Tourist Attractions, According To Locals appeared first on Only In Your State ® .

Everyone In Washington Should Check Out These 9 Tourist Attractions, According To Locals

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Rottnest Island

The 20 top tourist attractions in Australia

These are the places actually worth visiting in the land Down Under

Melissa Woodley

Australia is pretty hard to beat when it comes to natural landmarks and epic experiences . However, it’s hard knowing which ones live up to the hype. We’ve done the hard yards and compiled a list of the top tourist attractions in Australia, spanning from the east coast to the west. 

While the Big Banana didn’t make the cut this time around, you’re sure to be amazed by these spectacular sights, including the world’s largest coral reef, the oldest continually surviving rainforest, and the best sunset-watching location on Earth.

Start compiling your great Australian bucket list. And if you’re looking for a bit more travel inspiration, check out the best places to visit in A ustralia  right now.

An email you’ll actually love

Top tourist attractions in Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT

Escape the hustle and bustle of Australia’s capital cities and journey to the country's red centre, where the skies are clear, the stars are out and the landscapes are spectacular. Uluru recently took out gold for being the best sunset-watching location on Earth and we suggest experiencing the magic for yourself.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106089369/image.jpg

Daintree Rainforest, QLD

Tropical, lush and leafy, the Daintree lives its life in all shades of green. This World Heritage-listed wonder is the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world, with more tree species in one hectare than in the entirety of the United Kingdom. Explore the emerald canopy via a river cruise, rainforest boardwalk, crocodile tour or treetop zipline.

Rottnest Island, WA

Rottnest Island, WA

Not to be dramatic, but Rottnest Island may be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This tiny island an hour off Perth is host to a bunch of fluffy, legitimately smiling marsupials called quokkas (who aren't found anywhere else in the world), pure white sand and numerous tiny, perfect beaches that you can bike ride between in one day.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106018227/image.jpg

Blue Mountains National Park, NSW

There’s a very good reason why the epic vistas of the Blue Mountains are World Heritage listed. Several in fact. Firstly, it has some of the most breathtaking geological formations, gorges and waterfalls anywhere in the country. Secondly, it’s one of the largest national parks of its type (the top spot goes to Kosciuszko National Park, also in NSW), covering more than a million hectares. Just imagine all the hikes that await you.

Great Barrier Reef, QLD

Great Barrier Reef, QLD

You can live your best Little Mermaid fantasy at the Great Barrier Reef – the largest coral reef in the entire world. Made up of more than 100 islands and 3,000 individual reef systems, this is easily one of Australia’s most sought-after tourist hot spots. You can experience the technicolour marvels of the reef on and off the water, with experiences like snorkelling, scuba diving, glass-bottomed boat viewing , helicopter tours, whale watching and swimming with dolphins. 

Sydney Opera House, NSW

Sydney Opera House, NSW

You can’t visit Sydney without snapping a picture at one of the world’s most photographed and famous performing arts venues. Along with its spectacular roster of classical and contemporary music, opera, theatre and dance shows, Sydney Opera House offers different tours that allow you to get intimate with the building. If you don't feel like shelling out, it's still free to sit on the steps for a quick lunch by the water and gaze in marvel at those 1,056,000 pearly, self-cleaning Swedish tiles.

Great Ocean Road, VIC

Great Ocean Road, VIC

Justifiably one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations, the Great Ocean Road snakes all along the southwest coast of Victoria, starting in Torquay (1.5 hours from Melbourne’s CBD) and finishing up just before Warrnambool. There are jaw-dropping vistas at every turn on this winding stretch of road, including the 12 Apostles, Loch And Gorge, London Arch, Bells Beach and Erskine Falls. Make sure to stop for a scallop pie at the Apollo Bay Bakery en route. 

K’gari (Fraser Island), QLD

K’gari (Fraser Island), QLD

K’gari is not only the largest sand island on Earth, but boasts the fourth most crystal-clear waters in Oceania. You would have to run three marathons to get from one end to the other, leaving room for lots of dips in the sparkling waters and a long sun bake on the soft white sands.

Wineglass Bay, TAS

Wineglass Bay, TAS

This crescent-shaped bay is easily one of Tasmania’s most photographed views, and deservedly so. It’s less than an hour's hike up to Wineglass Bay lookout, where you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the breathtaking blue waters and sparkly white beach (shaped in a wine glass, of course). If you’re lucky, you may even spot whales or dolphins swimming in the bay. 

Lake Hillier, WA

Lake Hillier, WA

Just like a strawberry milkshake, this protected pink lake is a delight for the senses. You’ll find Lake Hillier on Middle Island in the pristine wilderness of Western Australia’s Recherche Archipelago. The natural wonder, shaped like a footprint and 600 metres in length, gets its bubblegum colour from a mix of salt-loving bacteria and algae. You can truly appreciate the magical contrast between the pink waters and the dark blue Indian Ocean from the sky.

Australian War Memorial, ACT

Australian War Memorial, ACT

Canberra gets a bad rap compared to other Australian capital cities, so you might be surprised that it’s home to one of the top ten free tourist attractions in the world. At the Australian War Memorial, you can discover the Australian experiences of war and connect with the stories of people and events that shaped our nation. Place a poppy on the Roll of Honour to remember the sacrifice made by our servicemen and women, and stay for the moving Last Post closing ceremony. 

BridgeClimb, NSW

BridgeClimb, NSW

Take a walk over the most iconic bridge in the world and get a bird's eye view of Sydney that's worth every penny. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, you have to wear an unflattering grey jumpsuit. But, the feeling as you summit the fourth-longest single-span steel arch bridge is one to last a lifetime. 

Cradle Mountain, TAS

Cradle Mountain, TAS

Standing 1,545 metres above sea level in the heart of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain is easily one of Australia’s most famous peaks. The bushwalkers' paradise comes alive in every season, with snow-covered mountains to hike, crystal-clear lakes to swim in and ancient rainforests to explore. Keep a lookout for hungry echidnas and waddling wombats in the grass.

Kakadu National Park, NT

Kakadu National Park, NT

Covering an incredible 20,000 square kilometres of the Northern Territory, this is Australia's biggest national park and also one of its only UNESCO World Heritage-listed. Along with its tiny yellow butterflies, ancient rock art galleries, immense red gorges and deep blue pools, Kakadu boasts a powerful history, having been a sacred place of living and ceremony for Indigenous people for 65,000 years. This really is the place for an adventure of a lifetime. 

Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk, NSW

Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk, NSW

Trust us: there’s more to this hippie beach town than what you saw on Byron Baes. Wake up with the sun and walk along the headland to the old-fashioned Cape Byron Lighthouse (which happens to be Australia’s most easterly point). Keep your eyes out for wallabies, dolphins and even whales, and pack your swimmers for a post-climb dip in the sparkly blue shores at Wategos Beach.

Cable Beach, WA

Cable Beach, WA

It’s quite likely that you’ll let out an audible gasp after catching your first glimpse of Cable Beach in Broome. This sparkly 22km white sand beach earned bragging rights as the third best in the world, according to TripAdvisor’s 2023 Travellers’ Choice Awards. Rise early and hike the 7.7 kilometres from Cable Beach up to Gantheaume Point , where you can take in the most spectacular vistas in Broome. However, a camel ride or cocktail on the beach does the trick too.

MONA, TAS

No trip to Tasmania is truly complete without a day trip to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). This transcendent palace of big, bad and mad ideas doesn’t discriminate when it comes to art, so you could see everything from a classical wall of ceramic vaginas to an intricate glass machine that produces legitimate faeces, or a wax head of an Italian man from the 17th century. MONA only opens from Thursday to Monday, so plan your trip wisely.

Paronella Park, QLD

Paronella Park, QLD

There are few (if any other) tourist attractions in the world that are heritage-listed, eco-certified and completely carbon neutral. This five-hectare fairytale wonderland ticks all the boxes. Within Paronella Park, you’ll find a Spanish-style castle, a waterfall (with a fully operational 1930s hydroelectric generator), and more than 7,500 tropical plants and trees. 

Adelaide Central Market, SA

Adelaide Central Market, SA

One of the largest undercover markets in the Southern Hemisphere, this fresh food mecca buzzes with more than 80 traders from over 40 nationalities under the one roof. Eat your way through the stalls, sampling everything from seafood paella and spicy coconut laksa to canelés and chocolate torte. Then fill your tote bags with locally-made brie, green ant gin and pastel-pink macarons for the way home. 

The Ghan, SA

The Ghan, SA

Perhaps the most renowned (and Instagrammable) overnight train journey in Australia, the Ghan is one experience worth splurging on. You can take in the wonders of Australia’s vast outback, with four different routes travelling between Adelaide, Darwin and Alice Springs. The best part? You get all-inclusive dining, beverages and off-train experiences to the likes of Kakadu National Park, Cooper Pedy and Katherine Gorge. 

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Google, where do Americans want to go?

The research team at  SFT Project  analyzed Google search results to determine the most googled tourist attractions in each state over the last year.

Overall, Americans were most interested in visiting national parks and outdoor settings filled with nature, with people in 30 states searching for these types of trips more than any other tourist destination. 

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina washed away the competition for the top spot most Americans want to visit.

Residents in eight states — Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — were most excited about booking beach chairs along the Carolina coast.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC

Seeking a different kind of aquatic adventure, many Americans looked into driving up to the border of the Great White North to see Niagara Falls’ beauty .

People living in Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and Wisconsin were most drawn by the waterfalls.

Continuing to show Americans’ love of the great outdoors, the Grand Canyon was the third most searched tourist attraction — with residents living in Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Dakota most interested in exploring the expansive natural wonder.

Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon aren’t the only national parks attracting Americans.

Niagara Falls CANADA

In fact, visiting a national park is the top type of destination Americans looked into booking, just behind national landmarks, geographical attractions and beaches.

Craving more of a thrill, residents in seven states — Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Florida and Massachusetts — searched for amusement parks and other entertainment attractions, including Universal Studios Florida , Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland and Silver Dollar City in Missouri.

Grand Canyon in Arizona

Meanwhile, those living in New York, California, Michigan and West Virginia were more interested in visiting historic and cultural sites — the Museum of Modern Art, Alcatraz Island, the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, respectively.

NYC was also crowned the winner in Time Out’s recent ranking of the 50 best cities in the world .

For the list , thousands of city dwellers were surveyed about the “food, culture and nightlife scenes in their city and how their city makes them feel.”

The results were paired with insights from 100 Time Out staff writers and editors based in cities around the globe.

Time Out chose New York as this year’s best city “for its quality of life for locals and for its global appeal for visitors.”

The outlet cited the city’s cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the American Museum of Natural History as major draws. Let’s not forget it’s also home to the MoMA, the Guggenheim and several must-see galleries. 

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The 12 Best Washington, D.C. Tourist Attractions

Updated : January 23, 2024

AAA Travel Editors

Table of contents.

  • Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
  • Smithsonian National Postal Museum
  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park
  • Tour the White House
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • LEGO Discovery Center
  • International Spy Museum
  • The Capital Wheel
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • U.S. National Arboretum
  • Explore Memorials

Plan Your Trip to Washington, D.C. With AAA

If you love museums, monuments and other historically significant attractions, you are the perfect candidate for a visit to Washington, D.C. This is an amazing destination simply because it offers so much for every type of vacationer. It's also a great place to visit on a budget , as many top museums are free of charge and, depending on where you stay, it's possible to bypass a rental car.

Questions about what to do in Washington D.C. are not easily answered, simply because there is so much to experience. You could spend weeks along the National Mall and still barely scratch the surface. If you are intent on discovering the best attractions in Washington D.C., however, you will need to plan carefully and prioritize. To get your itinerary started, we've highlighted several must-visits below:

tourist attractions in wa

1. Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

  • Address: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW
  • Price: Free
  • Time Needed: 4-5 hours

If you only have time to explore one attraction from this guide, make it the iconic Museum of American History. You could easily spend an entire day exploring its many exhibits, which detail the nation's complex political and cultural history. This world-class museum has many recognizable and deeply meaningful items on display, such as:

  • Dorothy's red slippers from The Wizard of Oz
  • Jim Henson's original Kermit the Frog puppet
  • Greensboro Woolworth's lunch counter
  • Apollo 11 Command Module

Accompanying these and other historically significant exhibits: a wealth of text, plus audio and visual content that provides a deep dive into historical events and perspectives that you'll discover through fresh eyes. Interactive programs and events are regularly scheduled and, if you book an exclusive guided tour , you can get even more behind-the-scenes insight.

tourist attractions in wa

2. Smithsonian National Postal Museum

  • Address: 2 Massachusetts Ave NE
  • Time Needed: 2-3 Hours

Another spectacular Smithsonian attraction, the National Postal Museum doesn't always top the list of most-visited attractions — but maybe it should. This underrated museum provides a deep dive into the fascinating history of the United States Postal Service, including details on how the mail was delivered centuries ago and why stamps really are spectacular.

Special exhibits on military mail and law enforcement within the postal service are definitely worth examining, with other areas of the museum displaying the many vehicles required through the years to help mail reach its intended destinations. Many interactive opportunities are provided, so restless kids can keep entertained while adults take their time examining a wealth of historic artifacts and unique stamps.

tourist attractions in wa

3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park

  • Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW

Museum hopping can be a blast, but if you crave something a bit different — or if you need to entertain young children — the zoo can be a wonderful alternative. If nothing else, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park is worth visiting because it is one of the nation's oldest zoos. It doesn't necessarily outshine the nation's other major zoos, but it can break up the day and keep little ones entertained.

Over 2,000 animals call this zoo home and many will be active when you visit, especially if you stop by during the winter or right away when the zoo opens in the morning. The bears and big cats are always fun to visit, although some kiddos will be more inclined to hang out at the bee-themed playground or the carousel.

tourist attractions in wa

4. Tour the White House

  • Address: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Time Needed: 1 Hour

Any visit to Washington, D.C. should include a visit to the White House. If you're intrigued by this iconic structure, a short stroll or quick snapshot might not be enough. Instead, consider seeing the White House up close and personal as you attend on of its exclusive tours.

Scoring a spot won't be easy, but it is worth the effort. Get in touch with your congressperson at least three weeks in advance and be prepared to work closely with a congressional tour coordinator. If you're lucky enough to reserve a spot, you'll have the chance to explore the East Wing — a rare opportunity that few are fortunate enough to experience.

tourist attractions in wa

5. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • Address: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW
  • Time Needed: 3-4 Hours

While not being a feel-good attraction, but the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum absolutely warrants a visit. This museum presents a fascinating, but sobering narrative history of the Holocaust, along with important exhibits detailing Americans' response to these atrocities and other genocides.

The Holocaust exhibit is navigated chronologically, with a blend of film footage, photos and artifacts telling the tales of Kristallnacht, the Polish invasion and the Final Solution. You will almost certainly be saddened by the time you emerge from this exhibit, but you will also be determined to confront hatred and do your part to prevent future atrocities.

tourist attractions in wa

6. LEGO Discovery Center

  • Address: 6563 Springfield Mall Suite 12004, Springfield
  • Price: $25.99

Need somewhere to get the wiggles out? Head for the LEGO Discovery Center. While designated as LEGO's D.C. location, this attraction is actually located in nearby Springfield. It's definitely worth the trip, however, especially if your D.C. adventures involve toddlers or preschool kids. Youngsters are especially fond of the LEGO Mini World area and the DUPLO Park's dinosaur carousel.

Meet and greets with LEGO characters are always a blast, but ambitious builders will want to take advantage of the center's workshops and other creative opportunities. This attraction even has an indoor ride: the Imagination Express, which provides an unforgettable journey through whimsical worlds.

tourist attractions in wa

7. International Spy Museum

  • Address: 700 L'Enfant Plaza SW
  • Price: Varies, Usually Around $29-30

See the world through the eyes of a spy at a vast museum that is entirely dedicated to the art and science of espionage. There are many interactive exhibits, which introduce you to code-cracking, surveillance technology and more.

Along the way, you'll learn fascinating stories about successful (and not-so-successful) missions all around the world. You'll get to test your newfound skills as you go undercover and even receive a debrief at the end of this exciting experience. This is the perfect option for older kids and teens who are otherwise difficult to impress.

tourist attractions in wa

8. The Capital Wheel

  • Address: 141 American Way, Oxon Hill
  • Time Needed: 15 Minutes

Although technically located outside of D.C. (in Oxon Hill), the Capital Wheel is a must for kids and kids at heart. This Ferris wheel provides an excellent view of D.C. and the Potomac. The vistas are amazing any time of day, but you're in for an especially spectacular sight if you plan a sunset visit. Consider splurging for the VIP gondola, which boasts leather seating and a glass floor.

tourist attractions in wa

9. National Museum of African American History and Culture

  • Address: 1400 Constitution Ave. NW

The National Museum of African American History and Culture represents a crucial (albeit, underrated) part of the D.C.'s Smithsonian complex and one that addresses historical events and injustices that other museums might gloss over. The exhibits delve into the origins of the slave trade while also offering insights into segregation and many cultural phenomena. The exhibit on Emmett Till is especially memorable.

As with the Holocaust Memorial Museum, this can be an emotionally challenging destination, but it's essential for personal growth and reflection, not to mention, the best opportunity for gaining a well-rounded, deeply nuanced understanding of US history. Give yourself plenty of time to experience this whirlwind of emotions as you pay homage to our nation's most fascinating and inspiring figures.

tourist attractions in wa

10. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

  • Address: 600 Independence Ave SW

Boasting the largest collection of space and aviation exhibits in the entire world, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a true spectacle. Even if your time in D.C. is limited, you should take a few minutes to at least stroll through this museum's main galleries. Many are currently under renovation, but there is plenty to see — plus the promise of new, even more impressive displays in the future.

If you're willing to take a short drive to see even more, head for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in nearby Chantilly. Its vast hangars house all kinds of amazing spacecraft and aircraft, while the onsite IMAX theater promises to astound with its vivid portrayals of adventures in air and space.

tourist attractions in wa

11. U.S. National Arboretum

  • Address: 3501 New York Ave NE

Because the arboretum is so expansive, you will likely need at least two hours to discover its most stunning displays, although you could easily spend even more time there during the spring blooms (especially when cherry blossom season arrives) or if you want to walk all the trails.

No matter how ambitious you feel, you can be confident that you'll stumble upon several photo-worthy locations. After all, this arboretum is regularly referred to as one of D.C.'s most Instagrammable destinations. The National Capitol Columns are especially impressive and, if you visit at the right time, you'll also get the unique chance to view cherry blossoms away from the commotion of the Tidal Basin.

tourist attractions in wa

12. Explore Memorials

  • Time Needed: Full Day

Memorials are among the top things to see in Washington D.C. as they are stunning and thought-provoking. Chances are, you will encounter several as you stroll from one museum to the next. If you're intent on visiting them all, however, you may need to get a bit more strategic. Some tourists prefer to dedicate a full day to hitting up as many memorials as possible. Essentials include:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • African American Civil War Memorial

If you don't feel like going it alone, you can always take advantage of local memorial tours , which go beyond the usual photo ops. Knowledgeable tour guides can bring greater context to memorial visits, revealing little-known details about the historical figures or events honored by these structures, as well as the actual process of building and maintaining them. They also provide insider tips to help guide the rest of your D.C. adventure.

Join the over a million people who are AAA members and start planning your trip to Washington, D.C. today. Dream up the perfect trip with our and use your membership to get the best discounts on hotels, rental cars and entertainment tickets .

AAA Travel Editors are AAA Travel Experts.

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16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Bellingham, WA

Written by Brad Lane Updated Dec 22, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Brad Lane lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys his annual trips to Bellingham.

Not far from the Canadian border, Bellingham is a Northwest gem of a city and represents everything the region has to offer. With seaside access to the San Juan Islands and only a stone's throw from North Cascades National Park , Bellingham is convenient to several of Washington's best attractions .

Mount Baker seen from Yellow Aster Butte Trail

Outdoor recreation is easy to find. Within city limits, places like Whatcom Falls Park offer abundant hiking trails and ways to get outside.

Pacific Northwest culture is also easy to find in Bellingham. With many museums and numerous local storefronts, Bellingham is also home to Western Washington University. The campus puts a notable college town twist on this city of 89,000. Whether it's the friendly faces in the streets or the abundance of trailheads to explore, Bellingham is one city in Washington worth more than just a weekend getaway.

Discover the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Bellingham.

1. Whatcom Falls Park

2. chuckanut drive, 3. fairhaven historic district, 4. nooksack falls, 5. boulevard park, 6. spark museum of electrical invention, 7. go for a hike in bellingham, 8. lake padden park, 9. galbraith mountain bike park, 10. larrabee state park, 11. bellingham farmers market, 12. mt. baker ski area, 13. mount baker theatre, 14. whatcom museum, 15. lake whatcom, 16. big rock garden, where to stay in bellingham for sightseeing, bellingham, wa - climate chart.

Whatcom Falls Park

Whatcom Falls Park is a 240-acre city park on the eastern edge of Bellingham. This public space features modern park amenities, some of Bellingham's best hiking trails , and plenty of open space to explore.

The four different waterfalls within the park, created by the cascading Whatcom Creek , are a sightseeing favorite and among some of the best waterfalls in Washington . Among other trails, the Whatcom Creek Trail Loop explores these falls.

The Stone Bridge, constructed near the parking lot of Whatcom Falls State Park, provides a scenic viewpoint not to miss on a visit. This iconic walkway is often photographed, but no-one completely captures the classic Pacific Northwest beauty of the mossy green environment and running water. This monumental bridge gives a testament to the park's century-plus history in the city.

Whatcom Falls Park

Paths wind throughout the entire park, catering to short hikes after a picnic or longer trail runs. Visitors to the park also find picnic tables, basketball courts, and covered shelters.

Address: 1401 Electric Avenue, Bellingham, Washington

Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway

The Chuckanut Mountains converge upon Samish Bay just south of Bellingham, offering a dramatic landscape of the Cascade Mountains colliding with the sea. Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway (WA-11) navigates the narrow shoreline, offering several pull-offs to explore the postcard environment.

Chuckanut Drive begins near the Fairhaven Historic District and spans 20 miles south to Burlington. The northern half of the route, in particular, is a tourist destination and has been for several years. Larrabee State Park , Washington's first state park, beckons visitors along this route with sprawling amenities and hiking trails.

Fairhaven Historic District

Fairhaven the town, or Fairhaven the village, sparked to life in 1889 with its seaport location and the booming impacts of the logging industry. After two decades of rapid growth, Fairhaven joined with three other towns in the area to form what is today considered Bellingham.

Fast forward to the present time, and the streets of the Fairhaven Historic District still ring to life with bustling sidewalks, red-brick Victorian architecture, and the same beautiful views of Bellingham Bay .

Alongside its placement on the National Register of Historic Places , Fairhaven has sprouted many unique shopping and dining attractions that add to the Bellingham experience. Whether looking for local shops or cozy spots to enjoy a meal, places like Village Books or Skylark's Hidden Cafe easily satisfy an appetite.

Fairhaven Winterfest spans the month of December and features festive lights and horse-drawn carriages. The Bellingham Cruise Terminal is also near Fairhaven and caters to whale-watching tours and San Juan Island explorations.

For some of the most scenic lodging in Bellingham, the Fairhaven Historic District also offers seaside accommodations like The Chrysalis Inn and Spa or the Hotel Bellwether .

Nooksack Falls, Mount Baker Scenic Highway

Nooksack Falls is one of several stunning natural attractions lining the Mount Baker Highway (SR 542) north of the city. However, this waterfall certainly stands out thanks to its 80-plus-foot plummet and easy access. It's only a short detour from the highway and an even shorter walk from the off-road parking area.

A fence surrounds the cliff's edge with the best view of the falls. Heed the warning signs throughout, as slippery conditions exist and accidents have occurred. However, keep a safe distance and enjoy the dazzling view.

This ease of access makes Nooksack Falls great for an easy side adventure or standalone family outing. The rest of Mount Baker Highway, east and west of Nooksack Falls, has a nearly endless adventure appeal. The highway itself ends at the aptly named Artist Point, with jaw-dropping views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.

Read More: Top-Rated Waterfalls in Washington State

Boulevard Park

Boulevard Park is a charming bay-side community space connecting the Fairhaven Historic District to the south and downtown Bellingham to the north. The park features a performance stage for local concerts, open space for throwing a frisbee, and some of the best views of Bellingham Bay found anywhere else in the city. The park also has great walking and biking trails along the shore.

Woods Coffee is centrally located in the middle of the park and provides an extra boost of caffeine during the day. Public barbecue pits and sandy beaches make Boulevard Park popular for picnics. Fishing is also a fun activity, and the park has several shoreline fishing spots and a boardwalk where visitors can drop a line.

Address: 470 Bayview Drive, Bellingham, Washington

SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention

The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention proudly displays some of the biggest innovations that have shaped the modern world as we know it. This family-friendly, fully interactive downtown establishment guides visitors through four decades of electric milestones.

The museum features five permanent collections ranging from the Birth of Electricity to the Golden Age of Radio. Replicas of Edison's first light bulbs are on display, as are thousands of radios from throughout their history of design.

Among the many other tourist attractions, a nine-foot Tesla Coil , known as the "MegaZapper," also keeps the whole family interested and engaged. The "MegaZapper Electrical Show" takes place every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year.

Address: 1312 Bay Street, Bellingham, Washington

Mount Baker

With so much mountainous terrain to explore, hiking is a way of life in Bellingham and a top tourist attraction. From the glaciated slopes of Mount Baker to the Chuckanuts abutting the sea, the best hikes in Bellingham put the Pacific Northwest allure on full display.

A few iconic hikes in Bellingham include the trails at Whatcom Falls Park and Oyster Dome in the Chuckanut Mountains. Larrabee State Park , Washington's first state park, is also a hot spot for hiking trails in the Chuckanuts. Farther north, Mount Baker is an epicenter of world-renowned hiking trails, catering to a wide range of day trips.

It's not all mountain climbing and rugged terrain when it comes to hiking around Bellingham. Several spots, like Lake Padden Park and Boulevard Park , offer accessible gravel paths throughout waterfront landscapes. All abilities have hikes to look forward to in Bellingham.

Read More: Top-Rated Hiking Trails in Washington State

Lake Padden Park

Lake Padden Park is a popular place for recreation on the southeastern tip of Bellingham, next to Interstate 5. With dozens of hiking trails weaving in and out of the woodlands, as well as challenging mountain biking trails , fun at Lake Padden is often forward motion.

Outside of the blood-pumping recreation, picnic areas are available for an afternoon meal. Visitors to Lake Padden Park can also let their furry friend run free at the off-leash dog park, or maybe catch a quick 18 holes at the adjacent Lake Padden Public Golf Course .

Lake Padden itself is also a top attraction. This 160-acre lake provides the perfect opportunity for paddling a SUP around the water or fishing from the dock. The sunsets at Lake Padden also provide a memorable experience. Spring, summer, and fall are the most popular times of year to visit.

Address: 4882 Samish Way, Bellingham, Washington

Read More: Best Lakes in Washington

Galbraith Mountain Bike Park

Galbraith Mountain Bike Park is a defining feature of Bellingham recreation. While the outdoor space and hiking trails encourage many activities, most people visit Galbraith Mountain for mountain biking. Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) operates and maintains the mountain and provides more than 50 miles of groomed mountain bike trails.

Trails at Galbraith Mountain range from flowy and friendly to fast and frightening. All the trails on Galbraith Mountain cross private land, and access to these trails is reliant on rider stewardship and the efforts of the WMBC. Access to these iconic Bellingham bike trails is available from the north entrance on Birch Street or the south entrance on Samish Way.

Riders and visitors are encouraged to tread lightly and pack out whatever they bring in. Frequent and first-time users are also encouraged to donate or become a member of the MWBC.

Address: Birch Street, Bellingham, Washington

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee State Park is a central location within the Chuckanut Mountains on Chuckanut Drive. It operates with the impressive designation as Washington's first state park and holds a certain charm from this longevity. The stunning coastline confronted with tall Cascade peaks also leaves quite the impression.

Larrabee State Park caters to every activity the Chuckanuts have to offer. Hiking, boating, mountain biking, fishing, and camping are everyday things to do at the park. And much of the excitement includes exquisite sightseeing across Samish Bay toward the San Juan Islands .

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee offers more than 50 electric campsites and a boat launch to explore Puget Sound . Reservations are recommended throughout the summer months and into the shoulder seasons. The area is also well known for its first-class mountain biking trails.

Address: 245 Chuckanut Drive, Bellingham, Washington

Read More: Best State & National Parks in Washington

Vegetables for sale at the Bellingham Farmers Market

The Bellingham Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from April through December downtown at Depot Market Square . Over 100 vendors comprise the rows of local shopping opportunities at these markets. Fresh produce, homemade confections, and local artisan goods comprise many of the stalls. Local live music also accompanies this lively public event.

Third Saturday Markets take place throughout January, February, and March. These winter markets occur within an expansive indoor pavilion and feature similar fares. Bellingham Farmers Market also features special events throughout the year, including a Spooktacular celebration in October and Demo Days once a month.

Address: 1100 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, Washington

Mt. Baker Ski Area

Just over 50 miles east of downtown Bellingham, Mt. Baker Ski Area is one of Washington's top ski resorts . It's not only a powder destination for residents of Bellingham, but the dramatic backdrop and impressive slopes draw tourists from around the world. The mountain features more than 1,000 acres to explore, ranging from bunny hills to expert-only cliff areas, with something for nearly every level of winter athlete.

With an average of more than 600 inches of snowfall each year, fresh tracks are common at this Cascade Mountain ski mecca. Within the boundaries of Mt. Baker Ski Area, the community also hosts annual events, including the acclaimed Mt. Baker Film Fest and the Legendary Banked Slalom race in February. This acclaimed winter event is one of the largest snowboarding races in the world.

Address: Mt. Baker Hwy, Deming, Washington

The historic Mount Baker Theatre occupies half a city block in downtown Bellingham's Arts District .

The theater dates back to 1927 and experienced major renovations in 1996, with its former elegance remaining in decorative features like the Main Stage auditorium. Today, the theater operates three different venues that host national and local performances throughout the year

The theater puts on a wide range of entertainment, including musicals, magicians, and classic instrumentalists. Many shows run late, providing several evening performances and things to do at night. The theater is also involved with several community events.

Mount Baker Theatre is also home to the touring and popular Missoula Children's Theatre camp.

Address: 104 N. Commercial Street, Bellingham, Washington

Whatcom Museum

The Whatcom Museum , spread throughout downtown Bellingham, recently celebrated 75 years as a regional showcase of arts and culture in the northwest. It's accredited by the American Association of Museums with more than 200,000 artifacts in its collection, offering more to explore than possible to see in a single visit.

The collection is spread across the three Arts District buildings, including the iconic and historic Old City Hall, as well as the modern Lightcatcher Building. Whatcom rotates its exhibits throughout the year, but the collections all focus on regional art, relics, and an impressive vault of photographic archives.

Numerous events and educational experiences that cater to adults and children occur at the museum. Regular scheduled programming includes workshops, lecture series, and summer camps.

Address: 121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, Washington

Lake Whatcom

Lake Whatcom, directly east of Bellingham, provides the drinking water for the city. This 10-mile lake services nearly 100,000 residents in Whatcom County and offers several recreation activities. Boating, swimming, and fishing are all popular things to do on the water. Because of its important role as a drinking water supply, certain restrictions and boat regulations apply when visiting.

Shoreline activities are also popular at Lake Whatcom. Hikers should head to Lake Whatcom Park to find some trails. The Hertz Trail at Lake Whatcom Park follows the shoreline of the lake on a converted railway line.

Lake Whatcom

No campgrounds are currently available near the shore, but private cabins and cottages to rent line the lakeside.

The city of Bellingham has overseen this small community treasure known as Big Rock Garden since 1993. This 2.5-acre garden sits within a lush forest landscape atop Lake Whatcom, with over 37 permanent pieces of art on display. No admission is necessary for this family-friendly destination, where the public can explore at leisure.

Several renowned and local artists contributed to the statues and installations at Big Rock Garden. The park also hosts a seasonal sculpture show in May to reveal new works. However, the changing seasons reveal the most artistic evolution throughout the year. Visit during the spring, summer, and fall for a rotating pallet of color.

Bellingham is blessed with many great hotels. Several hotels are southeast of the downtown district, near the Western Washington campus, and cater to a variety of stays. More hotels, including some of Bellingham's nicest hotels, are north of the city near Bellis Fair Mall. Other charming options are in Fairhaven Village and near the coast.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • North of the city near Bellis Fair Mall, Oxford Suites Bellingham has one of the best reputations for a good night's sleep in the city.
  • Nearby, the TownePlace Suites by Marriott also features modern rooms with extra amenities, like granite countertops and adjustable workspaces.
  • In Fairhaven Village south of town, one of the best places to stay is the Fairhaven Village Inn .

Budget Hotels:

  • Bellingham has several budget hotels to choose from, and some are better than others. The Coachman Inn is one such recommended budget hotel, close to downtown and Western Washington University.
  • The GuestHouse Inn Bellingham is another affordable hotel option that doesn't skimp on service.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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Other Washington Cities to Explore: If you like the cultural flavor of Bellingham, the capital of Washington, Olympia , provides a similar mid-size city culture. For a bigger city, Bellevue features a beautiful downtown park and other places to visit, like the Bellevue Botanical Garden. The ultimate cultural experience of the Pacific Northwest is found in Seattle, and our guide to attractions in Seattle is a great place to start planning a vacation.

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More Places to Visit in Washington State : The top attractions in Washington span from east to west throughout the state, as do the adventures. The best state and national parks in Washington are a good place to start exploring Washington's wild side. For a weekend retreat and a great place to escape, our guide to the best small towns in Washington features secret gems and cozy getaways.

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    1. Olympic National Park 2. Seattle Center and the Space Needle 3. San Juan Islands 4. Mount Rainier National Park 5. Seattle Downtown 6. Leavenworth 7. North Cascades National Park 8. Puget Sound 9. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument 10. Deception Pass State Park 11. Port Angeles 12. Riverfront Park, Spokane

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    Whether you like the view from the top of Seattle's Space Needle or shopping at the bustling Pike Place Market, Washington State has something for everyone. Here is a list of the 12 best attractions to enjoy in Washington. 01 of 12 Explore Olympic National Park TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris View Map Address

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    1. Olympic National Park Source: evenfh / shutterstock Hoh Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, Washington The Olympic National Park in Port Angeles is a great place to enjoy the nature on offer in the state of Washington.

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    1. Seattle Center & the Space Needle The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, is often included on a first trip to Seattle. And for good reason.

  8. 11 Top-Rated Things to Do in Everett, WA

    25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA. 12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Olympic National Park. 11 Top-Rated Things to Do in Everett, WA. Written by Brad Lane Updated Mar 24, 2023. Everett is 25 miles north of Seattle and is the largest city in Snohomish County.

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    Explore the diverse and vast attractions of Western Australia, from rock formations and Aboriginal sites to wineries and ocean waters. Find popular destinations, trips and itineraries, accommodation, transport and more for your trip to Western Australia.

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    2023. 2. Pike Place Market. 21,930. Farmers Markets. The Pike Place Market has been a defining Seattle icon for more than a century. Considered by many "the soul of Seattle," the Market spans nine historic acres in the center of downtown where everyday locals and tourists alike shop, visit, eat and discover.

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    1. Cable Beach, Broome Aerial view of Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia Cable Beach is Broome's crown jewel and one of the most famous places in Western Australia. Backed by striking red cliffs, this iconic shoreline stretches for 22 kilometers, with sweeping white sands and turquoise waters.

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