The State of Washington is known for its rainy climate and special points of interest, such as the Seattle Space Needle, but it also offers an endless supply of activities, events, and community spirit to those who visit or live here. Nestled in the Northwest region of the United States, just below British Columbia, Canada, Washington state was named after the first American President, George Washington, and is the 13th most populated state in the country.
Due to the vast history of the state, Washington has become a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, with a large settling of Native American tribes. Currently there are 29 official tribes living in the state, which are federally recognized to date. This includes the Hoh Tribe, Kalispel Tribe, Nooksack Tribe, Squaxin Island Tribe, Spokane Tribe, and many more. This adds to the creativity and artistic flow of the state with many folk art and native art exhibitions across the cities of Washington.
Due to the above mentioned art influences in Washington, a partnership formed early on between ArtsWA and Washington State Parks and Recreation. This bond provides the arts community with a number of state park exhibitions and opportunities. Art ranges from native and folksy to urban and modern, with a number of youth programs being continuously integrated to bring young people off the streets and into artistic pass times.
Those who want to see the art that the state has to offer can visit the Seattle Glassblowing Studio, Tacoma Art Museum, Steinbrueck Native Gallery, The Old Hotel Art Gallery, and more. Depending on the city in Washington which you are visiting, you may have an opportunity to see an outdoor exhibition, or participate in a creative event of your own.
The Wine Culture
Second only to California in wine production, the state of Washington has tens of thousands of acres of vineyards which export products to more than forty countries. Mild temperatures and lengthy sunny days prompt the crops to grow successfully for a longer portion of the year than grapes in California. This takes place near the Columbia River for the most part, although there are few other areas were grapes grow well. The large supply of precipitation which arrives in the state also helps agricultural pursuits of this kind.
Being a state famous for its wine, vineyard tours are also an option while visiting. It provides an additional source of economical growth for the state, along with being a tourist attraction. Some vineyards provide tours, wine tastings, and include full restaurants on their properties. If you are visiting for a wedding, Washington vineyards make a picturesque background for photographs, and create a lasting impression for guests.
Events And Festivals That Should Be On Your List
If you’re making a list of things to do in Washington, then you should definitely check out the local listings on city websites throughout the state. You may be able to attend multiple festivals if you plan your trip carefully and keep track of dates and times for certain attractions. During the summer months, you can take part in the Mt. St. Helens Bluegrass Festival, check out local county fairs, or participate in various swimming and boating events across the state. Winters, on the other hand, allow visitors and residents alike to watch the annual holiday parades, tractor pull events, food festivals including county chili cook-offs, and plenty of other parties taking place.
During January and February the Seattle Boat Show is something to see, with more than a thousand boats in participation. April brings the Daffodil Festival to cities like Tacoma and Orting, with a street parade of flowers. In July, it is fun to take part in the Raspberry Festival in Lynden, and September brings the Washington State Fair to Puyallup.
Whether you are visiting in Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring, there is something to participate in and see Washington all year round. If you can’t find something in one city, there is likely an event taking place nearby that you may be interested in. You may find that each location makes use of its own traditions and customs when it comes to events.
Sights You Won’t Want To Miss
Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, is a treasure trove of well, treasures! Loaded with tiny stalls, food stops, and various shops sporting all types of goods, you can find just about anything here. One of the most popular reasons to stop at the market is the large assortment of fresh seafood ranging from King Crab to Tuna, but flower shops, craft booths, and eateries also line the street. Mount St. Helens is another stop on your Washington tour that you won’t want to miss. This live volcano last erupted in 1980 and with that eruption came a large portion of destroyed earth which now stands as a monument to the volcano. Tourists and locals can visit this area for photos, and interactive exhibits.
If you’re looking for less to do and more to see, there are plenty of picturesque views across Washington state for those who love to drive. The Mount Baker Highway provides amply opportunity to see these by car, motorcycle, camper, or even bicycle if you are feeling ambitious. Starting at Highway 542 near Bellingham, it passes through 60 miles of natural beauty unlike any other state can offer. Stops following the highway allow for picnics and other tourist activities.
Of course, no trip to the Washington state is complete without a stop to the Seattle Space Needle. At 605 feet up in the air, you get a view of Seattle that can’t be seen anywhere else besides postcards. Elevators take you up at 10mph to an observation deck and restaurant where visitors to the needle can relax and enjoy food and drinks while looking over the Seattle cityscape. Photos and text along the inside of the building provide tourists with an explanation of the history and architecture of the building, and a gift shop allows visitors to take a little piece of Seattle home with them in the form of a travel mug, snow globe, or other unique treasure.
The Great Outdoors
Washington is known for its beautiful nature, and with nature comes those who like to utilize it to its full potential. Whether you want to hike, swim, bike, or boat, there is a lot to do outdoors. Hunting and fishing are two pastimes that many Washington residents enjoy, and how to get licensed for these sports and others can be found on the government website. Bike and boat rentals are also easy to come by and are generally very affordable. A visit to the marinas in Washington will show you a large selection of watercraft, some of which are available for sightseeing, fishing, and leisure use. Public parks with access to waterways also sometimes carry paddle boats, canoes and kayaks for rent.
Bird watching is also a great hobby of many naturalists in the state, with the American Goldfinch being the state bird. Geese, swans, ducks, widgeons, blue-winged teals, and several other bird species also grace the woods and fields in this region, making it a prime location to watch them in their natural habitats.
Living in the State of Washington
Life in Washington has many perks outside of the wonderful views and opportunities for enjoyment in family activities and community events. Depending on the city in which you choose to live, you will usually find that the cost of living is reasonable, with many affordable options for houses and apartments. The closer to large cities you choose to live, the higher the price of these dwellings. However, even Seattle has affordable living options if you know where to look.
High rise apartments make up much of the housing in large city centers, while outside of the cities in more suburban and rural areas, there are plenty of houses to shop for. Senior homes, daycare, and schools are also found in large numbers. Ultimately, you will have to base your choice of city on which of these are best suited to your family’s needs.
Taking the time to drive around the various communities, speak to residents, and take tours of available apartments and houses can make the choice much easier. This also gives you an opportunity to see what types of shopping districts, schools, and outdoor activities are available in each location.
Education and the Washington School System
If you are planning on moving to this state with children, there are plenty of options for educational facilities including various public and private facilities. From preschool to high school and beyond, there is no lack of opportunity for a top education.
The University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University located in Seattle, Pullman, and Bellingham are some of the top post-secondary institutions in the state.
So, whether you’re coming to Washington to see a live volcano, enjoy the mountain views, ride the elevator to the top of the space needle, or take in the folk art, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone. Visit with the family, or check out the various possible communities for a new living arrangement.
I love living in Washington and working as a Vancouver WA SEO professional. Not only is it a great place to visit because of it’s beautiful seasons and a great place to enjoy the outdoors, but living and working here is great.