What to do in Washington

What to do in Washington
Things to do in Washington State

Things to do in Washington

Leavenworth (German town)

Here is a link if you are planning to go to Leavenworth for Octoberfest.

If you are planning to visit Leavenworth for Christmas, make reservations early! It is listed as one of the most “Christmasy” towns in the U.S.

Seattle Center has events all year round

Celebrations of special cultural events often take place in the summer.  With music, dance performance, and often a taste of the region’s food.    (Please check for event updates during the pandemic.) 

Memorial weekend in May every year is Folklife festival at Seattle Center, with music from around the world.  It’s a 3 day celebration.   Besides performances, you get to participate in partner dancing, including Swing, Waltz, Salsa, and other social dance.

Here’s a link to Seattle Center’s Facebook page.

Easy hikes

If you have children and you want to take them on hikes that are easy for them, check out the book Best Hikes with Kids:  Western Washington & The Cascades.

Have you explored Eastern Washington?  The landscape is completely different from Western Washington.  Palouse Falls State Park reminds me of Grand Canyon, maybe a little greener.   That’s how diverse Washington State is.

And if you are into wine, Walla Walla has some of the best wineries.   Here is a link to help you explore Eastern Washington.  

Columbia Gorge concerts

This is one of the most scenic concert locations in the world.  Some of the world’s best performers have played here.  Here’s a link to the Gorge Amphitheater.

Wine Country

Washington is also known for our wineries.  Here is a link for a rather comprehensive guide to wineries in Washington State. 

San Juan Islands

Considered to have one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world.  I recommend taking the last ferry back to Anacortes to experience a dark sky illuminated by countless number of stars.

Orcas Island has the most gorgeous view, in my opinion.  When you are on top of Mt. Constitution, you can literally “hear” silence.

Here is a link to things to do on Orcas Island.

Things to do at Moran State Park, Mt. Constitution, San Juan Islands, Washington.

I also heard that Friday Harbor’s Kiln Point Park is a good place to see whales.  One year in mid-July, a friend saw several whales within 20 minutes.  Just from the shore.  This is on the island of San Juan (the 4th and last ferry stop of the San Juan Islands)

I personally like Orcas Island because from Mt. Constitution (around 2000 ft.) you can see all the islands around you.  I haven’t seen whales there, but I heard that they can show up anywhere.

Orcas is the ferry stop just before Friday Harbor.

Quaint towns

One of them is Poulsbo.

Here’s an interesting article about where to dig for gem stones in WA.

Mountains

This is another lovely place I like.  Mt. Baker.  This takes an entire day if you are just driving there to enjoy the view, not including hiking.

If you are planning to hike, here is one article on the best hikes in Mount Baker, Washington.

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is another lovely place.  This takes an entire day.

And of course, Mt. Rainier.   This is the mountain you’ll see on the plane as you descend to Seattle.  If you are able to get on an evening flight, the snow looks magnificent from the plane your vantage point.   Here is a link with details on visiting Mt. Rainier.

U-pick Berry Farms

There are many u-pick farms in the area. You can pick strawberry, blueberry, and other berries.  Carnation has a few of these farms.

Here are 10 best berry picking farms near Redmond.

If you prefer a leisurely walk, try some popular hiking trails near Redmond.

Seattle area little known gems

I find that by letting myself get lost, I discover new places.

To see cherry blossoms,

1)  Look for a school named Holy Names Academy

728 21st Ave E  Seattle, WA 98112

Walk down 21st Ave. East

between E. Aloha Street and E. Prospect Street (a few blocks from Volunteer Park Conservatory)

Cherry trees line this block.  It’s like seeing snow, except the “snow” is cherry blossoms”

2)  A few blocks from Montlake Community Center, there are unique houses on East Blaine Street and East Howe Street, Boyer Ave. E.

The architecture of some of these houses makes me feel like I am visiting another country.  A fun way to spend an afternoon.

3)  If you go to U.W., the cherry blossom is in the “quad”  That’s the cherry blossom lane”.

4)  A client showed me this special room because it is his favorite reading room.  While at U.W. visit Suzzallo library, go up the stairs to the second floor.  The Reading Room looks like a room from Harry Potter movies.  It’s a special feeling in there.  Complete silence.  You have to turn off your cell phone.

5)  While at U.W., if you go inside the Henry Art Gallery, there is a special room with an oval opening on the top called the James Turrell Skyspace.  That IS the art.  You just enjoy the clouds in that room.

6)  After you leave U.W., go toward Roosevelt Way and turn left.  Roosevelt turns into Eastlake.  Turn left right after the bridge and look for Canal Market Grocery and Deli, 2919 Fuhrman Ave. E., Seattle, WA.  Park around there and walk to the intersection  of East Shelby Street and Fuhrman Ave. E.  The view is like something from a post card.

It is a residential area, so be discreet about using cameras.

Drive a little further on Fuhrman to around 19th, 20th, 21st. Turn either right or left and you’ll see houses with interesting architecture.

If you prefer not to get lost, here’s one landmark you can use on your GPS so you can always get back to a specified location.

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112

7)  And if you want to smell fresh flowers from Hawaii, visit the Hawaiian General Store

on 258 NE 45th St  Seattle, WA 98105

They have fresh leis shipped from Hawaii every week.  The price is very reasonable, given that they are sent from Hawaii, and your whole house smell great.

I hope these suggestions give you opportunities to enjoy more mini vacations.  If you discover some hidden gem, please email me at estrellachan@gmail.com, so I can share those with others.

If you find this article helpful, here is another one on Seattle’s hidden gems that tourists may not know about. 

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a free demo class with her, please email estrellachan@gmail.com

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