Washington state is often eclipsed by the city of Seattle, but there’s more to explore. The low-key vibe of the Pacific Northwest encompasses the whole coast. You just have to decide whether to stay in the city, visit one of the islands, or head out into the wilderness.
Explore the Coast on a Clipper Ship
Washington state’s tourism industry revolves around the water. The ferry boats run between the mainland and the islands, and harbor cruises tempt tourists. True luxury resides on a Clipper ship, though. The Victoria Clipper docks out of Seattle and takes tourists to the San Juan Islands, up the coast to Portland, or all the way to Canada, where you can stop by Vancouver or Victoria.
Seattle is the type of city that begs you to walk its streets. The most popular activities are often within walking distance. Try to find hotels near the Frye Art Museum for a central location. The museum is worth a visit by itself, plus it’s close to the Victoria Clipper, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Space Needle.
Spend a Little Time in Seattle
If you go to Washington and don’t hang out in Seattle, then did you even visit Washington? It’s the capital of hipster culture and the birthplace of grunge and Starbucks. From Pike Place Market and Puget Sound to the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Great Wheel, the city’s full of quirky points of interest. Book accommodations near Bank of America Tower to place yourself squarely in the middle of it all.
Make Seattle your starting point. Then hop on the ferry and head to one of the islands, or make your Clipper trip a one-way ticket. Search for rooms close to the Seattle Amtrak station, and you can take off for California, Nevada, or Oregon. Train travel is beyond chic and terribly underappreciated.
Lose Yourself in Redmond
Spend some time in Redmond, the charming enclave between Bellevue and Seattle. It’s an outdoorsy town with open parks and trails designed for biking and hiking. Because Nintendo and Microsoft both have visitor centers there, the gamers and techies among you will want to search for hotels near downtown Redmond. Spare a few hours to visit the Vala Art Center or to go on a wine tour.
Get Cultured in Bellevue
Bellevue is a beautiful town nestled between Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. It has a variety of outdoor attractions, such as the Bellevue Botanical Garden, Kelsey Creek Farm, and Mercer Slough Nature Park. The reason you need to research accommodations in Bellevue, however, is because of its thriving cultural scene.
The Meydenbauer Center hosts an array of performances and shows. The Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra performs there, as does the Lyric Opera Northwest and the Bellevue Chamber Chorus. Plays and dramatic performances are often staged there as well. You can also visit the Arts Museum and check the community calendar to see which festival takes place next.
How would you enjoy a high-class Washington vacation? What’s one touristy thing you want to do?