Washington: Diverse terrain with hip city attractions


You’ll know you’re in Washington when the wild and rugged scenery of the Pacific Northwest unfolds before you—and you only left the big city of Seattle moments ago. (Plus, there’s at least one espresso shop on every block.) Washington is the only state in the ‘Lower 48’ where you can explore a national park in a temperate rainforest in the morning, hike the trails at the National Volcanic Monument. Smell the desert sage as noon and sun go down.

Seattle is the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, with wondrous mountain ranges overlooking lush rainforests and dramatic beaches. Two national parks – Mount Rainier and Olympic – offer astonishing encounters with nature just as the San Juan Islands are off the coast.

The region is also known as the darling of the music world, especially with the advent of alternative and grunge rock from the 1990s. The music scene flourished decades ago and continues to this day. Document history with the Journey to Experience Music Project.

Fans of the “Twilight” series will want to visit Forks, the town in which author Stephenie Meyer’s novels were based. International glass artist Dale Chihuly inspired some of the attractions, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.

Tourists will not go hungry or thirsty here. More than 900 wineries cultivate 40 grape varieties in 13 growing regions. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971, and independent shops contribute to the city’s 2.5 coffee shops per 1,000 people, the largest concentration in the country. The thriving coastal waterways and the state’s agricultural abundance provide a thriving food scene and the opportunity for visitors to interact with farmers, artisans, and chefs specializing in their locally grown and sourced fare.

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