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Home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in the country, Washington is undoubtedly a nature enthusiast’s paradise. Because the rolling mountains, flowing rivers, waterfalls, and plentiful forests attract so many people each year, it’s easy to overlook Washington as a destination for sophisticated urban getaways. Yet, the state offers plenty of cities packed with culture, history, and nightlife. These cities also provide a great blend of urban and natural attractions. So whether you’re looking for a city getaway or an outdoor adventure, these five cities top our list of the best to visit in Washington State.
But before you venture out, be sure to grab all the gear you’ll need to get the most out of your experience. PNW Journey has the top clothing, apparel, and accessories you’ll need to enjoy all the outdoor and indoor activities in this beautiful part of the world. And best of all, you can feel good about wearing PNW gear knowing it was made with the planet in mind.
The largest city in the state has well earned its reputation as being equal parts cosmopolitan and rugged. Located on the Puget Sound and back-dropped by Mount Rainier, Seattle’s natural scenery alone is some of the most breathtaking in the country. With plentiful bike and walking paths and nature preserves, it’s easy to take in all of Seattle’s natural and man-made beauty on foot. The city’s many parks, including Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Gas Works Park, and Alki Beach Park, are great places to check out during any season.
Just as impressive as the landscapes are Seattle's cultural attractions. The city’s most iconic structure, a 605-foot spire called the Space Needle, was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and today houses an observation deck and restaurant. The famous Pike Place Market boasts over 50 shops and 100 restaurants, where fishmongers toss the catch of the day behind the counter to be wrapped. One of Seattle’s most famous claims to fame is the music scene, which includes the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Seattle Repertory Theater — not to mention the city is the birthplace of grunge music. All these reasons, plus Seattle’s robust food scene, are why the Emerald City takes our top spot.
Spokane is a must-visit place for those who love the outdoors. The city sits at the confluence of the Spokane and Little Spokane Rivers, where many small falls cascade their way through the town. Spokane’s picturesque Riverfront Park is a popular place to view these falls and picnic. Surrounding the town are many different recreational areas, which feature camping, hiking, and skiing.
Not to be outdone by the outdoor activities, Spokane also offers a robust arts scene that includes the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Opera Spokane, and Ballet Spokane. The renowned Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture houses a collection of more than 10,000 pieces of art. And if you’re looking for even more natural beauty, head to the Manito Park Arboretum & Botanical Garden. It’s no surprise the thriving arts community, brewery scene, and natural wonders make Spokane a top destination.
Bellingham is a charming city with a vibrant downtown area located about 90 miles north of Seattle on the Puget Sound. It has a lively arts and music scene, great coffee shops, a bustling nightlife, and a plethora of parks. The city hosts many local festivals throughout the year, like the popular Whatcom County Fair, whose main attraction is a rodeo.
The city is also very walkable and bike friendly, which are both great ways to take in the scenery of Mount Baker and the Cascade Mountains. The popular San Juan islands are merely a ferry ride away and visible from downtown Bellingham. All this and more make the city one of the most fabulous towns to visit in the state.
Olympia has tons to offer visitors, despite being humble in size. The historic city was founded in 1846 about 60 miles southwest of Seattle and serves as the capital of Washington State. The city is dotted with many charming, historic buildings, while the natural beauty of Capitol Lake and the Olympic Mountains are a feast for the eyes.
A booming arts and culture scene includes many restaurants, shops, museums, and galleries. The city also hosts the Olympia Film Festival as well as the popular Olympia Farmers Market, where you can find fresh produce and other foodstuffs. Next time you visit Washington, be sure to check out the hidden gem that is Olympia.
Walla Walla is home to one of the most booming wine scenes in the country. When you’re done sampling wines, be sure to check out the downtown area’s unique stores and amazing culinary scene. And don’t forget to explore the Oregon Trail at the Fort Walla Walla Museum. If you want even more fun in this charming city, there’s plenty of hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities in the surrounding area.
Before you venture out to see all the cultural and natural wonders these cities have to offer, be sure you travel with the right gear. Heels and fancy pullovers may be perfect for the night scene, but don’t forget the right footwear for all the hiking, walking, and biking you may be doing during the day. Our graphic shirtsare not only comfortable for your adventures, but feature art that captures a bit of the region’s beauty. We keep this beauty top of mind as our apparel is sustainably manufactured with eco-friendly materials. We strive to create the best products available while protecting the environment around us, so we can continue enjoying it. Now grab a shirt, grab your camera and get out there to check out these top-five cities for yourself!
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