Washington State offers both a bustling, hip urban scene and virtually un-touched islands, bays, mountains, and parks. The state also has a vibrant arts scene and there are galleries and museums throughout the state. Seattle is the largest city and this trendy city is known for its eclectic style, the Space Needle, and world-famous Pike Place Market. For those who love the outdoors, the state's national and state parks. Here are the best things to do in Washington State.
1. Chihuly Garden and Glass
© Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit in the Seattle Center that displays the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. Chihuly has played an important role in the in-ternational glass art scene and the museum presents a representative collec-tion of the renowned artist's work. The centerpiece of the site is the Glass-house, a 40-foot-tall building that features a 100-foot-long glass sculpture in a red, orange, and yellow color palette. Additionally, there are eight galleries and three Drawing Walls that demonstrate a variety of Chihuly's works and art styles. There is a garden onsite with four impressive glass sculptures as well as a theater that shows a short film about the artist's life and work.
305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-753-4940
2. The Museum of Flight
© The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is an air and space museum located at the King County International Airport in Tukwila. The museum is the largest privately owned air and space museum in the world and is home to more than 150 aircraft. Some of the aircraft on display include a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, which is a replica of the plane flown by Amelia Earhart. Additionally, the exhibits in-clude a Concord 214, the Caproni Ca.20, and the first presidential jet, a Boe-ing VC-137B. The museum is dedicated to several educational programs as well, including K-12 learning experiences, the Challenger and Aviation learn-ing centers, and a yearly summer camp.
9404 E. Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108, Phone: 206-764-5720
3.Sky View Observatory
© Sky View Observatory
The Sky View Observatory is a public observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center in Seattle. The observation deck is the tallest of its kind in the Northwest United States and the impressive view includes Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Bellevue, Elliot Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle, and other parts of the city of Seattle. Tickets to visit the ob-servatory can be purchased in advance online. The Sky View Cafe serves seasonal, fresh artisan dishes and local draft beer and wine to visitors of the observatory. The Sky View Observatory can be rented for private events, weddings, and parties.
701 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, Phone: 206-386-5564
4.Pike Place Market
© Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market is a public shopping market on the Elliot Bay water-front in Seattle. The market has been operating continuously since 1907 and is one of the oldest of its kind in the United States. The market features goods from local farmers, merchants, and crafters and is the most popular tourist attraction in the city. The market features several levels of unique shops, including antique stores, comic book stores, and small restaurants. The upper level features world-famous fishmongers, fresh produce, and more. The market has a unique policy, whereby most of the products and goods must be grown or produced by the person selling them, allowing visi-tors to meet the producers of the items.
85 Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-682-7453
© The Wing
The Wing or the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience was opened in 1967 in Seattle’s Chinatown. This history museum of Asian Pacific American history, culture, and art celebrates Asian trailblazers and pioneers, using a range of exhibits to show how they helped shape Seattle of today. Exhibits tell real life stories, including the story of Bruce Lee. The exhibit called Day in the Life of Bruce Lee shows his personal life and habits and his Seattle connection. The museum offers a tour of the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, providing an insider point of view of its history, foods, and the most significant sights.
In Seattle's Chinatown-International District, 719 South King Street, Seattle, WA 9810, Phone: 206-623-5124
6. Space Needle
© Courtesy of RG - Fotolia.com
The Space Needle is an iconic Seattle landmark and observation tower that was built in the Seattle Center on the occasion of the 1962 World's Fair. The observation deck is at 520 feet and the rotating SkyCity restaurant is located below it, at 500 feet. The tower offers an impressive 360-degree view of the downtown Seattle skyline, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Elliot Bay. Guests to the Space Needle can reach the top by fast-moving elevators that make the trip in only 41 seconds in good weather. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance.
400 Broad Street, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-905-2100
7.LeMay - America's Car Museum
© LeMay - America's Car Museum
The LeMay-America's Car Museum is an automotive museum located next to the Tacoma Dome in the city of Tacoma. The museum features the car col-lection of successful businessman Harold LeMay and contains 350 cars that are impressive for their speed, design, and technology or for playing a signif-icant role in American car history. The museum features gift shops, car res-toration shops, and a cafe. Additionally, the museum has educational facilities that include lecture halls and more. The museum has an outdoor area that is perfect for car shows, auctions, and car club events. Several of the muse-um's levels offer stunning views of downtown Tacoma, the Olympic Moun-tains, and surrounding waterways.
2702 E D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421, Phone: 253-779-8490
© Benaroya Hall
Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony and consists of two halls: The S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the larger of the two, and the smaller Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. The performance complex occu-pies an entire city block in downtown Seattle. The hall offers a variety of mu-sical performances throughout the year. Individuals and groups may tour the Benaroya Hall or observe a demonstration recital by organist Joseph Adam free of charge. The hall is home to several cafes, bars, and coffee shops and can be booked for private event use, including weddings, receptions, private parties, and more.
200 University Street, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-215-4800
9.Hands On Children's Museum
© Hands On Children's Museum
The Hands On Children’s Museum is an interactive museum designed for chil-dren to learn through participating in exhibits and programs. The museum's displays include science, art, and other types of exhibits and is specially de-signed for children from birth through ten years. The galleries include more than 150 exhibits, both indoor and outdoor. They range from interactive art exhibits to a climbing and play structure called the Tides to Trees Climber. In addition to scores of interactive exhibits, the museum also offers educational classes and programs for both children and adults. The Hands On Children's Museum also has a gift shop and the Play Day café, which serves a selection of small entrees, sandwiches, and snacks.
414 Jefferson Street NE, Olympia, WA 98501, Phone: 360-956-0818
10.Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center
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The Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center was established a few short years after the eruption of the nearby volcano. The center features educational exhibits and programs related to the historical significance of the area, the impact of the eruption on the ecosystem, and more. The mountain is visible both from the center and along the walking trail. Exhibits in the visitor center include a large, interactive model of the volcano, a working seismograph with live-feed from Mount Saint Helens, and a theater program which shows a film twice an hour. The 0.6-mile walking trail features boardwalks along Silver Lake, where visitors can enjoy the natural surroundings and wildlife.
3029 Spirit Lake Highway, Castle Rock, WA 98611, Phone: 360-274-0962
11.Columbia River Gorge
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The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a protected area that con-tains the canyon where the Columbia River winds its way through the beauti-ful Cascade Mountains. The landscape in the park include stunning cliffs and overlooks that offer views of both Washington and Oregon and the park fea-tures several waterfalls, hiking trails, and more. The Columbia River Gorge provides nearly endless opportunities for recreational activities. Several campgrounds and cabins are located throughout the park. Additionally, guests can hike, bike, or ride horses on the park's many multi-use trails, while water sports, fishing, and boating are popular ways to explore the park by water. Nearly every type of outdoor adventurer will be able to find their choice of activity in the park.
902 Wasco Avenue, Suite 200 Hood River, OR 97031, Phone: 541-308-1700
12.Washington State Capitol
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The Washington State Capitol is the home of the state's government. It contains the office of the governor as well as chambers for the state legislature and the Washington Governor's Mansion and Supreme Court are also located nearby. Docent-guided public tours of the legislative building are available every day, are provided free of charge, and last about an hour. The tours are first-come, first-served and leave from the tour information desk on the second floor. The group size is limited to 25 visitors. Tour guides provide interesting information about the building as well as Washington State history and other fun facts.
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504, Phone: 360-902-8880
13.Museum of Glass - Chihuly Bridge of Glass
© Museum of Glass - Chihuly Bridge of Glass
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is an impressive 500-foot-long pedestrian over-pass linking the Chihuly Museum with downtown Tacoma. The bridge was de-signed by architect Arthur Andersson with artistic direction provided by Chi-huly himself. The bridge comprises three distinct sections. The section closest to the museum is called the Venetian Wall, which is an 80-foot-long section that includes 109 of Chihuly's sculptures. The center section is called the Crystal Towers, which has towers rising some 40 feet above the bridge that are illuminated at night. The last section, the Seaform Pavillion, is a ceiling comprising 2,364 glass items placed on top of a 20-foot ceiling made of plate glass.
Bridge of Glass, Tacoma WA, 98402, Phone: 866-468-7386
14.Jefferson County Farmers Markets
© Courtesy of Jamie Hooper- Fotolia.com
Jefferson County Farmers Markets provide the Port Townsend area with fresh, locally-sourced produce, encouraging residents and visitors to shop local and introduce healthy eating habits into their everyday routine. Three seasonal farmers' markets are offered in the area throughout the week, including the Port Townsend Saturday Market, one of the nation's largest regular small-town farmers' markets. More than 70 vendors sell produce, meats, dairy, baked and pantry goods, coffee, beverages, and artisan and home goods every week between April and December. The Port Townsend Wednesday Market is open during the afternoon hours and offers a chance to stock up on produce mid-week in a more relaxed environment, while the Chimacum Farmers' Market operates Sundays between June and October.
202 Lawrence St, Port Townsend, WA 98368, Phone: 360-379-9098
15.Pelindaba Lavender Farm
© Pelindaba Lavender Farm
Pelindaba Lavender Farm is a premium lavender production farm on San Juan Island. the farm follows all of the principles of organic farming and has the highest organic certifications. They place an emphasis on sustainable ag-riculture and eco-friendly practices. The company produces essential oils in their on-site distillery as well as a large selection of beauty, culinary, house-hold, and pet care products. Visitors can tour the farm with the owner and founder, tour the distillery and educational exhibits, and shop at the Gate-house Farm Store. Additionally, the farm features a demonstration garden that allows visitors to see over 50 types of lavender being grown. The best time to see the lavender blooming is during the months of July and August.
45 Hawthorne Lane, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-4248
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16.Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
© Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
The Future of Flight Aviation Center is an aviation museum and education center that is located on Paine Field in Mukiteo. The museum is the jumping-off point for the Boeing Tour, which visits part of the Boeing company's pro-duction facility in Everett. This facility produces the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft lines. The museum itself features a 28,000-square foot exhibit space that contains an array of interesting exhibits, including a comparison between a Boeing 787 fuselage and one of its predecessor – the 707. Addi-tionally, there is a genuine Boeing 727 cockpit that guests can sit in, several full-sized airplanes suspended overhead, a variety of videos and presenta-tions, and a rooftop observation deck that offers views of the factory, Paine Field, and beyond.
8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukiteo, WA 98275, Phone: 800-464-1476
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17.Museum of Pop Culture
© Museum of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture is a non-profit museum that is dedicated to con-temporary popular culture. The museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and was previously known as the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. The museum features interac-tive exhibits, displays, sound sculptures, and a variety of educational re-sources. Exhibits cover various aspects of popular culture, including fantasy, horror cinema, video games, costumes, and science fiction literature. Inter-active activities include the opportunity to explore rock and roll by playing real instruments in front of a virtual audience. The museum hosts several events each year, including the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Series each winter.
325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-770-2700
18.Museum of History & Industry
© Museum of History & Industry
The Museum of History and Industry is a history museum located in the his-toric Naval Reserve Armory in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. The museum is the state's largest private heritage organization, maintaining a collection of nearly 4 million different artifacts. A small portion of the collec-tion is displayed in the museum's gallery space. Items in the collection in-clude the first commercial plane built by Boeing, the Petticoat Flag, which was sewn by women during the Battle of Seattle, and a 12-foot neon "R" sign that came from the Rainier Brewing Company. The museum offers educa-tional programming for adults and young people and hosts a variety of public events.
860 Terry Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109, Phone: 206-324-1126
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19.Maya's Legacy Whale Watching
© Maya's Legacy Whale Watching
Maya's Legacy Whale Watching is a sightseeing company that offers person-alized eco-tours in and around San Juan Island. The tours include visiting the best location to spot orca whales in the wild. The tour groups are small and designed for a personal experience and include binoculars, blankets, and hy-drophones so you can even hear the whales. Each tour is hosted by two knowledgeable guides who help insure a fantastic experience. In addition to whale watching and wildlife tours, Maya's Legacy offers private charters that can be customized to meet a group's wishes. The company is involved in conservation efforts and operates responsibly around wildlife.
1997 Mitchell Bay Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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© The REACH
The REACH is a prominent natural history and cultural museum in Richland, showcasing the fascinating history of the Columbia Basin region and the Hanford Reach through a variety of immersive visitor exhibits. The museum, which has been open since 2014, offers four permanent galleries, including a natural history gallery detailing the formation of the region's landscape as a result of Ice Age flooding and basalt lava flows. A cultural and military history gallery teaches visitors about the Manhattan Project and the impact of World War II and the Cold War on the region, while a Columbia River-focused gallery highlights clean energy production techniques in the Pacific Northwest. An outdoor gallery showcases a restored 1954 GMC bus, a crop garden, and an animal trail.
1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352, Phone: 509-943-4100
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21.Washington Park Arboretum
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Washington Park is a public park in Seattle with an arboretum that features a wide selection of plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest as well as some rare and exotic plants from around the world. The Graham Visitors Center houses an information desk, gift shop, and exhibits related to the park and its plants. Guests may explore the park on their own or take part in a docent-guided tour. The arboretum offers classes for the public and often hosts oth-er events. The arboretum also features water access to Lake Washington, while some nearby companies offer canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals. Wild-life that may be spotted in the arboretum and on the surrounding waterways include beavers, waterfowl, owls, hawks, and more.
2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112, Phone: 206-543-8800
22.Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
© Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is a 723-acre park in Eastonville. The park's most popular activity is a 50-minute tram tour that traverses the park's 435-acre free-range area. The tram tour is narrated by a guide who points out animals and provides information about the wildlife and the park. Many baby animals can be seen in the park, including young bison, elk, beavers, otters, and more. Guests can traverse sections of the park on foot to see many an-imals native to the Northwest in naturalistic enclosures. The Cheney Discov-ery Center provides an interactive kid-friendly environment that hosts crafts and activities as well as animal encounters. The park also features an adven-ture ropes and zip-lining course for true thrill-seekers.
11610 Trek Drive East, Eatonville, WA 98328, Phone: 360-832-6117
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23. Woodland Park Zoo
© Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is a 92-acre zoological park in Seattle. The zoo is divided into zones based on climate and habitats include the African Savanna and Af-rican Village, the Pacific Northwest, Tropical Rainforest, and Australasia, among others. Guests can interact with select animals during their visit through the Ambassador Animals program. The zoo is home to a working, 1918 vintage carousel on which guests may ride. The zoo has two conven-iently located ZooStores, which sell a variety of toys, educational games, clothing, handicrafts, souvenirs, and more. In addition, there are several beverage and food options in the park, ranging from coffee and snacks to full meals.
5500 Phinney Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98103, Phone: 206-548-2500
24. Seattle Art Museum
© Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum is an art museum spread across three different facil-ities in Seattle. The main museum is located in downtown, but the museum holdings also include the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park and the Olym-pic Sculpture Park on the waterfront. The museum boasts more than 28,000 pieces and also hosts traveling exhibits. Some of the museum's most signifi-cant exhibitions include the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit, a 1954 exhibi-tion of 25 paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, a Van Gogh exhib-it, and many others. The museum has a café and shops that sell art and art-inspired gifts and souvenirs. Several different public tours are available throughout the year.
1300 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, Phone: 206-654-3100
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25.Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
© Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is located in the former residence of Ester and Charles Webster. The 1951 home is made of plate glass and timber and was built to function as a home and artist's studio. The woods surrounding the home include a variety of sculptures hanging in trees and hidden by foli-age. The woods and its artwork can be explored independently via a system of trails. The Fine Arts Center hosts a range of fine arts exhibitions and events throughout the year. From time to time, the museum hosts special in-teractive and educational events for children as well.
1203 E Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, WA 98362, Phone: 360-457-3532
25 Best Things to Do in Washington State
- Chihuly Garden and Glass, Photo: Chihuly Garden and Glass
- The Museum of Flight, Photo: The Museum of Flight
- Sky View Observatory, Photo: Sky View Observatory
- Pike Place Market, Photo: Pike Place Market
- The Wing, Photo: The Wing
- Space Needle, Photo: Courtesy of RG - Fotolia.com
- LeMay - America's Car Museum, Photo: LeMay - America's Car Museum
- Benaroya Hall, Photo: Benaroya Hall
- Hands On Children's Museum, Photo: Hands On Children's Museum
- Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center, Photo: Courtesy of Julien - Fotolia.com
- Columbia River Gorge, Photo: Courtesy of David Gn - Fotolia.com
- Washington State Capitol, Photo: Courtesy of CrackerClips - Fotolia.com
- Museum of Glass - Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Photo: Museum of Glass - Chihuly Bridge of Glass
- Jefferson County Farmers Markets, Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Hooper- Fotolia.com
- Pelindaba Lavender Farm, Photo: Pelindaba Lavender Farm
- Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, Photo: Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
- Museum of Pop Culture, Photo: Museum of Pop Culture
- Museum of History & Industry, Photo: Museum of History & Industry
- Maya's Legacy Whale Watching, Photo: Maya's Legacy Whale Watching
- The REACH, Photo: The REACH
- Washington Park Arboretum, Photo: Courtesy of Steven - Fotolia.com
- Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Photo: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
- Woodland Park Zoo, Photo: Woodland Park Zoo
- Seattle Art Museum, Photo: Seattle Art Museum
- Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, Photo: Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Bill Perry - Fotolia.com
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Fort Vancouver was an 19th-century fur trading post and headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company's Columbia Department. The fort played a key role in the international trade between the United Kingdom and China. Additionally, Fort Vancouver was involved with the War of 1812 and for a long time was the largest non-indigenous settlement in that part of the country.
Today, visitors can tour a full-scale replica of the fort, which has been com-pletely reconstructed, including its internal buildings. Visitors to the park can explore the historic site's four main attractions, which include the fort itself, the Pearson Air Museum, and more. The park also has a visitors center with explanatory displays and hands-on educational exhibits.
1501 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661, Phone: 360-816-6230
Bellevue Botanical Garden
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in the town of Bellevue consisting of 53-acres of restored woodlands, natural wetlands, and land-scaped gardens. The gardens include many plants that grow well in the Pacif-ic Northwest. The grounds include horticulture demonstrations related to gar-den design and gardening techniques. There are many events throughout the year, including holiday light festivals, plant sales, musical performances, art installations, and more. The Copper Kettle Coffee Bar at the Shorts House serves tea, coffee, and a selection of baked goods. The Trillium Store in the visitors center offers a variety of souvenirs, gifts, books, and apparel.
12001 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98005, Phone: 425-452-2750