If you are getting ready to move to Washington State, you are in for a treat! Whatever your interests are in, this state has it all from a vibrant downtown market in Seattle and world-famous vineyards to scenic hiking trails and electrifying major sporting events. Take a look at the top 50 Washington must-sees!
1. Space Needle – Seattle
Take the ride up 520 feet to the Observation Deck where you get a 360-degree view of the gorgeous Emerald City. This is a must-see for anyone new to the state or first time visiting Seattle!
2. Pike Place Market
Nestled in the heart of downtown Seattle in a nine-acre historic district, Pike Place Market is a lively neighborhood comprised of hundreds of farmers, artisans, small businesses and residents. Here you can buy everything from fresh-cut flowers, fruit, meats, breads, and so much more!
3. Cape Disappointment
Cape Disappointment is a gorgeous getaway! Explore the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, constructed in 1856 to warn mariners of the treacherous river bar where the Columbia meets the Pacific, known as “the graveyard of the Pacific” due to its numerous shipwrecks. The state park has 8 miles of hiking trails, a boat dock and 205 campsites and 15 yurts/cabins all within walking distance to the beach, a perfect place to watch the sunset over the Pacific!
4. Mount Rainier National Park
Standing at 14,411 feet tall, Mount Rainier stands as an iconic Washington landmark. Drive to Paradise (weather permitting) for hiking trails in the summer and snowshoeing trails in the winter. Paradise is also where you will find the Visitor Center and the historic Paradise Inn.
5. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Most commonly known for its most recent 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens offers incredible scenic hiking trails that vary from 30-minutes to multi-day trips. Enjoy breathtaking views of the crater, Spirit Lake, Mount Adams and Mount Margaret, it is truly a sight to see!
Washington’s very own Bavarian Village! As a german-themed town, decorated in an adapted German architectural style, Leavenworth celebrates its heritage throughout of the year. Whether you are coming for the spas, geocaching, wine tours, german food, or the museums, Leavenworth has it all!
7. Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan is one of the deepest lakes in the United States, reaching a depth of 1,500 feet. This gorgeous lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing and lakeshore camping!
8. Lime Kiln Point State Park
Located on a rocky bluff at the west end of San Juan Island, Lime Kiln Point is thought to be one of the best land-based spots for whale-watching in Washington. Lime Kiln Point is a 41-acre park with short walking trails to the water and lighthouse.
9. Ocean Shores
Considered Washington’s favorite beach getaway, Ocean Shores is a great destination if you are looking for high-energy activities or just want to relax on the beach. You can enjoy horseback riding on the beach, water sports, golfing, hiking, and fishing!
10. Snoqualmie Falls
Located in a two-acre park, Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington’s popular scenic attractions. At the beautiful 270 foot waterfall, you will find the falls observation deck and a gift shop.
11. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Looking somewhere fun to take the kids? Look no further than Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. The zoo sits on a 29-acres park that has animals from all around the world from sharks and polar bears to wolves and elephants!
12. Wolf Haven
Wolf Haven, located in the South Puget Sound, is a wolf sanctuary where you can enjoy a 50-minute guided walking tour, learn about wolves both in captivity and in the wild, and see actual wolves! Keep in mind, wolf haven is a hands-off sanctuary, to there is no physical contact between visitors and the wolves.
13. Seattle Mariners / Seahawks
If you are a sports enthusiast, a trip to Safeco Field is a must! Catch a Seattle Mariners baseball game anytime between late March to late September! If baseball isn’t your sport, the Seattle’s NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks plays at CenturyLink Field from September to December.
14. Seattle Thunderbirds
If you are in search of a hockey game, Seattle’s very own major junior ice hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, play at the ShoWare Center in Kent, WA.
Nicknamed “The Viking City,” and “Little Norway,” Poulsbo is a small Scandinavian themed town in the northwestern part of Kitsap County. Enjoy authentic scandinavian pastries and Poulsbo Bread at Sluys or gaze at scenery at the town’s harbor.
16. Museum of Glass – Tacoma
Ever wondered how glass vases are made? Then you will enjoy the Tacoma Museum of Glass and watch as they demonstrate the process of creating works of art from molten glass!
17. Whale Watching
Many of Washington’s seaside villages offer a unique opportunity to view whales! Take a guided 3-4 hour whale watching tour and potentially see whales out in the wild! Langley on Whidbey Island and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island offer many whale watching tours.
18. Wine Tasting
Are you a wine enthusiast? Regardless your wine preference, Washington has it! Washington is filled with wineries, from Walla Walla and Yakima to the world-famous Horse Heaven Hills. Find the one nearest you!
19. Deep Sea Fishing
If you have the opportunity to live in Washington, you must experience deep sea fishing! There are various locations across the state that offer chartered tours.
20. Ferry Ride
Unlike many other states, Washington uses ferries to move between cities. Looking to take a ferry? The ferry ride from Bremerton to Seattle is definitely worthwhile; you can go to Seattle hassle-free with no I-5 traffic!
21. Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington’s founding winery, featuring award-winning wines and a breathtaking historic chateau. Even if you are not a wine enthusiast, the chateau offers summer concert series and is a popular wedding venue!
22. Kayak Tour
One of the many benefits to living in Washington is the endless array of water activities. If you are looking to get out on the water, try a kayaking tour! Tours can be found all over the state, Anacortes, Seattle, Friday Harbor, Gig Harbor, and Port Angeles to name a few.
23. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, held from April 1-30, is where you can see fields of tulips. The festival has no designated “enter site” since the fields of tulips are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley. Definitely a spectacular sight to see!
24. Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is perfect if you are looking for a beach getaway for the family. It is close to kite shops, ice cream shops, and is simply a gorgeous destination to relax!
25.The Dungeness Spit
The Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the nation, stretching for 5.5 miles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim, WA. The Dungeness is also part of the Wildlife Refuge that is home to over 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals and 8 species of marine mammals.
26. Olympic National Park
If you are looking for some gorgeous hiking spots, Olympic National Park has tons! Olympic National Park has incredible scenery and offers everything from coastline, forests, glacier-capped mountains, waterfalls, and a temperate rainforest.
27. Olympia State Capitol
Visit the state capital building in Olympia! Situated at the city center, the capitol building offers free, guided public tours. This gorgeous and historic building is truly something you do not want to miss!
28. Port Angeles
Port Angeles lies along the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula and is known for its outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, golfing, boating, kayaking, fishing, and more.
29. LeMay America’s Car Museum
Located in Tacoma, the LeMay Car Museum contains a 350-car gallery showing cars notable for their speed, technology and design. Throughout the summer, the museum also offers various events such as Drive-In movies.
30. Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, located on the west side of the Cascades, is one of the most visited forests in the country with tons of hiking trails!
31. Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River, near the Oregon border, stretching for over 80 miles. The Gorge and the local community offers various hiking, historical museums, wineries, art centers, and fine dining.
32. Moran State Park
Offering visitors 6 miles of horse trails, 11 miles of biking trails and 38 miles of hiking trails, Moran State Park on Orca Island has something for everyone! The park offers abundant camping and freshwater lakes for boating and swimming. It is a perfect destination for anyone looking to get outdoors!
33. Bainbridge Island
In the heart of the Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island is a small town rich in history and culture. The island is home to seven artisan wineries, a brewery, and an organic distillery in addition to a number of restaurants and shops.
34. Hands On Children’s Museum – Olympia
Voted the best family entertainment and best museum in the South Sound, the Hands On Children’s Museum is a great place to take your family! The museum provides exciting, hands-on exhibits for children of all ages.
35. Emerald Downs
Emerald Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack in Auburn, WA. Races occur April through September. The property also operates the Clubhouse Casino, which is open at noon daily.
36. Tulalip Casino
Tulalip Casino and Resort offers gaming, luxury accommodations, entertainment and fine dining. Come for the day and play in the casino or stay the night at the 4-star resort!
37. Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a strait that separates Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. With 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline, the park is perfect for fishing, hiking, and camping. Also enjoy mysterious coves, rugged cliffs, breathtaking sunsets, and a high bridge.
38. Crystal Mountain
Only six miles from Mount Rainier, Crystal Mountain offers miles of hiking and biking trails, guided horseback rides, disc golf, and live music events throughout the summer. In the winter, Crystal Mountain transforms into Washington’s largest ski area.
39. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Northwest Trek is a 725-acre wildlife park in the forest near Mount Rainier. The signature Northwest Trek experience is best known for their tram ride, where you can look into the lives of the animals in the 435-acre free-roaming area.
40. Seattle Art Museum
Known as “SAM” by locals, the Seattle Art Museum maintains three major facilities: the main Art museum in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, and Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront. Worth a visit if you are in Seattle and enjoy the art scene!
41. State Fair – Puyallup
The Washington State Fair in Puyallup runs from late August through late September with other events and concerts that take place throughout the summer.
42. Lavender Festival – July
The Sequim Lavender Festival usually runs for 3 days in late July. The festival hosts more than 150 crafts and lavender booths, a food court, live music and more. The event is also free to the public!