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15 Things to see in Seattle and The Pacific Northwest

Top places to visit in Seattle and surrounding areas in Washington & Oregon

Sightseeing in Seattle

We just got back from an EPIC vacation in the Pacific Northwest. I say epic because the hubs thinks he’s Clark Griswold and likes to visit everything within a 500 mile radius. I’m serious…we put 2,000+ miles on our rental car in 9 days and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t too much. It was amazing and overwhelming and exhausting and exhilarating. And I’m not sure I’d do all of this in one trip again, but here are some great places to visit in Washington & Oregon. 

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Favorite Places to visit in Washington & Oregon

If you love visiting national parks then you’ll want to visit the Pacific Northwest. Depending on how long you stay and how much driving you’re willing to do, you can visit several parks. Here are our favorite places from the trip, including parks and other places.


There’s so much to do in Seattle. Shopping, eating, sightseeing, and more. There’s truly something for everyone. As a bonus, the weather in July is phenomenal (but the traffic is nightmarish).

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington

You have to visit Pike Place Market and the waterfront area. There’s so much happening there with lots of food and fun events. It’s iconic Seattle. 

Fish market in Pike Place Market in Seattle

Craving some fish? They’ve got you covered.

Flower market inside Pike Place market, Seattle

Are you a flower fanatic? Then you’ll love it here.

Seattle, Washington's Pike Place Market

It gets really crowded but if you go early or late it’s not as bad. 

Seattle Great Wheel

Ferris Wheel in Seattle

My 17-year-old and I rode this and the views are spectacular. If you’re afraid of heights you might want to avoid it but it’s definitely worth it otherwise.

There are all kinds of charming shops around town. And the hanging flower baskets are everywhere. So pretty.

The Gum Wall

Gum Wall in Seattle

It’s gross and artsy at the same time. My daughter thought it was really cool. 

Chihuly Garden & Glass 

Hop on the monorail for a quick ride to the Chihuly museum for a boatload of glass eye candy. 

Chihuly museum glass orbs

The colors and patterns in this glass art are simply amazing and you’ll definitely be inspired.

Orange spiral glass Chihuly Light Fixture

Chihuly blue glass light fixture chandelier

Sun sculpture at Chihuly Art and Gardens

The Space Needle

Space Needle in Seattle, Washington

Another must see, the Space Needle gives you an unmatched view of the city and surrounding areas. We went at sunset and it was beautiful. Be prepared to wait at least an hour to go up, but there are interesting photos and tidbits of history on the wall next to the line.

Where we stayed:

  • Motif – great location, complimentary wine during happy hour, parking garage, gorgeous decor. The staff was very accommodating and allowed us to check in early and leave our rental car in the garage for a couple of hours after we checked out. Highly recommend them. 

Where we ate:

  • Wild Ginger – Our group had Potstickers, Angkor Wat Chicken, Seven Flavor Beef, Mandarin Chicken, Ginger Martini. 
  • Cupcake Royale – We shared the Salted Caramel, Lemon Drop, and Strawberry 66 flavors. All were excellent. 
  • Le Panier – a great little French bakery and sandwich shop next to Pike Place Market. We had sandwiches and shared a chocolate eclair and a Josephine strawberry and creme dessert. 

Olympic National Park

We visited the park in mid-July and there were all kinds of beautiful wildflowers blooming. The best months to visit are July though mid-October.

Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge was one of our favorite stops on the entire trip. The views are breathtaking. 

Sunset at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

Wildflowers in bloom at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Admit it, you want to start singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music” after seeing this, don’t you? I may or may not have sang it myself when I saw this view.

Scenic overlook at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

Memory making is what it’s all about. 

Lake Crescent

Peaceful Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Make the drive to Lake Crescent and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a blue, deep, glacially carved lake and it’s surrounded by mountains. You can kayak, hike, camp, fish, and picnic here. 

Where we stayed:

  • Olympic Lodge – The nicest place in town, it’s about a 10 minute drive to the entrance to Olympic National Park and not too far from Crescent Lake. It’s a warm, cozy, lodge with a huge stone fireplace in the lobby. 

Where we ate:

  • The Whistling Frog – conveniently located on the ground floor of our hotel, we had a wonderful breakfast here. They ONLY serve breakfast but it’s fresh and tasty.

Sequim, Washington Lavender Fields

Purple Haze lavender field in Sequim, Washington

We drove through here on our way to Oregon and stopped by Purple Haze Lavender Farm. The lavender was in full bloom when we were there so we were able to get some amazing photos. There’s also a nice little shop that sells lavender products including oils, soaps, lavender bunches, as well as ice cream and drinks. The lavender lemon ice cream was great.

Mt. Ranier

Visitors center at Mt. Ranier National Park, Washington

One of the highlights of the area, Mt. Ranier is a must see. The visitors center looks like a large Swiss chalet and the mountains are like no other. The tallest peaks were covered with clouds the day we visited but we still saw many beautiful snow covered peaks. Wildflowers are also blooming here in July. 

Oregon Coast, National Parks, and areas of interest

 Cannon Beach

Canon Beach, Oregon sea stacks at sunset

This is a small and beautiful beach on the Oregon coast with lots of pretty homes to stay at. We only stopped here long enough to grab a bite to eat and take pictures of the sunset on the sea stacks (giant rocks). I wish we had spent more time here as it had a great vibe.

Where we ate:

  • Pelican Brewery

Oceanside Beach

Early morning at Oceanside Beach, Oregon

Another nice beach on the Oregon coast, Oceanside is very small, laid back, and low key. We only stayed for one night but enjoyed the nice view from our large windows facing the ocean. 

Where we stayed:

    Tillamook Cheese Factory & Visitors Center

    Ice Cream at Tillamook Cheese Factory

    Just a few miles away from Oceanside Beach is the Tillamook Cheese Factory and Visitors Center. They offer free samples of their delicious cheese and they sell ice cream as well. As you can see, they give very generous portions! The visitors center has all kinds of food items and souvenirs. It’s a really fun place to visit.

    Crater Lake National Park

    Oregon's Crater Lake National Park

    It’s quite a drive to get here and is in the middle of nowhere, but it’s jaw-dropping. The bluest lake you’ll ever see, it’s filled with only melted snow and rain. 

    There was a volcano here thousands of years ago and it basically imploded, leaving a giant crater. No streams or creeks empty into the crater so the water stays clear. It’s also the deepest lake in North American. Go see it if you possibly can. 

    Mt. Hood, Oregon 

    Hood River Valley lavender fields

    Wow. You’ll say that a lot when you visit this area. We have mountains near our home but they’re older, less dramatic, and not usually covered in snow. Especially in mid-July. 

    Mt. Hood, Oregon and Hood River Valley lavender

    We made a visit to Lavender Valley and snapped some gorgeous photos with Mt. Hood in the background. The lavender was in full bloom when we were there and looked and smelled like heaven.

    Gorge White House, Hood River, Oregon

    Gorge White House Sunflower

    With a wine tasting room and acres of flowers and fruits, this is a wonderful place to drop by for a visit. 

    Gorge White House, Oregon zinnias in bloom

    Colorful zinnias at Gorge White House, Oregon

    Located in the Hood River Valley, it offers beautiful views of Mt. Hood.

    Multnomah Falls

    Oregon's Multnomah Falls

    Literally right off the interstate, this is an amazing sight. You have to see this if you visit the Columbia River Gorge area.

    Where we stayed:

    • Columbia River Inn – overlooking the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and the Bridge of the Gods, this is a really nice place to stay. Free breakfast at a real restaurant is included. 

    Where we ate:

    What we didn’t do but wish we could have

    • Wineries. There are dozens of wonderful wineries in the region. We were focused on national parks and scenic places on this trip but hope to revisit and go to some of the wineries in the PNW.
    • Ferry Ride. There are several islands in the Seattle area, including the San Juan Islands, that you can ride a ferry to. It was highly recommended by some of our friends, but we didn’t have time for this.
    • Whale watching.  No need to go all the way to Alaska. You can whale watch in the Seattle area. We’ll definitely be doing this on our next trip.

    Things to see and do in the Pacific Northwest including Seattle, National Parks, Oregon Coast, and Washinton

    What are your favorite things to do in the Pacific Northwest? 

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    1. 16 things to do… Your favorite thing was a dinner visit with your brother who was working in Washington. Seriously, my favorite thing to do beside marveling at the beauty is visiting all of the fantastic breweries in the NW. What a great region for beer and wine. Thanks sis for a great post as usual.

    2. What a wonderful trip you had! I so much enjoyed your pictures and you've made me want to travel to that area of the country.

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