Beyond Seattle: 7 Things You're Missing Out On By Sticking To The City
A Local's Perspective on Things To See Outside of Seattle
If you’ve been following our blog, you probably know that we highly prefer small towns and countryside to big cities. So it may not come as a shock to you that while we live within an easy driving distance from Seattle, Washington, we really prefer to stay away.
What was once the city of grunge and coffee has turned into an overpriced corporate cafeteria for the tech industry. And if you ask some true locals, they are none too pleased about what the city is morphing into.
Luckily, the Seattle area is still home to some interesting sights and activities both in and out of the city, so hopefully, the area can still retain some local colour. Whether you are a first time visitor to the Emerald City or are planning a return trip, we thought we would compile a list of places and activities off the beaten path for you to enjoy.
Here are seven things to do and see outside of the city of Seattle:
Distance from the Space Needle: 15 minutes (without the inevitable traffic)
1. Bellevue Botanical Garden
Bellevue is quickly becoming Seattle Part II with its constantly rising skyline and high-end shopping centres since it is home to many of the tech companies that are overpopulating the area. However, this means there are a lot of good restaurants in Bellevue, so at least some good has come of it.
But if an escape from the city life is what you are after, visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden, which is free to enter and spans 53 acres. Featuring our state flower the rhododendron, this garden has multiple areas with different landscaping techniques and has something to see no matter the season.
It makes a lovely walk and is a great place to relax and have a picnic if you happen to be there on a day when it isn’t raining. You might even see some wildlife such as ducks, squirrels, raccoons and rabbits.
Fall City and Snoqualmie, Washington
Distance from the Space Needle: 30 minutes (without the inevitable traffic)
2. Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge
Do you like water? This visit instead of going to see the Ballard Locks, head on over to Snoqualmie to feast your eyes on Snoqualmie Falls. Not only is this an impressive waterfall, it is also home to Salish Lodge which you might recognise from the TV series “Twin Peaks”.
Considering we live just 15 minutes away from Snoqualmie, we visit the falls quite often. There are two main viewpoints, one from the top and one from the bottom of the falls, both with free parking. You can hike between the two if you are feeling a bit more active.
If you are hungry while you are at the falls and are not spending the night, you can still get a fabulous lunch or dinner with a view at The Attic inside Salish Lodge. Still on the pricey side, but not nearly as much as their main Dining Room which is open for brunch and dinner daily and more suited to special occasions.
If you are in Seattle without a car, you can still enjoy the falls by booking one of these tours:
3. Treehouse Point
Fancy a night away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Consider spending some time in the forest at Treehouse Point where you can actually stay the night in a real, state-of-the-art treehouse. Located in Fall City, this is also a convenient location to visit Snoqualmie Falls and Carnation.
To truly enjoy the serenity of your natural surroundings, they offer yoga, massage, tai chi and hypnotherapy onsite which need to be booked ahead of time.
Distance from the Space Needle: 35 minutes (without the inevitable traffic)
In the past, Carnation and its surrounding area have been viewed as “the sticks” by people in the Seattle area, however, this town is quickly becoming more and more populated as the tech industry expands its reach and housing costs keep climbing. Nevertheless, Carnation is still a nice quiet rural area with tons to offer.
4. Remlinger Farms
Remlinger Farms is a U-Pick farm turned amusement park in Carnation that grows strawberries, raspberries, and pumpkins and is open daily May through October. They have a lot of kids activities including rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay maze, and more. They also have a farm market and restaurant on site so you can take home some of their produce or locally made fruit pies.
Take the kids and visit the farm animals such as alpacas, horses, goats, pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys, and we even found emu the last time we were there! Stop at the market on your way out to pick out some locally made goodies to take home as a souvenir.
If petting zoos and pony rides aren't your thing, Carnation and the surround area is full of local farms, a lot of which are open to the public. Here is a list of all the farms in the Puget Sound region if you want a more authentic farm experience.
Distance from the Space Needle: 40 minutes (without the inevitable traffic)
5. Woodinville Wineries
There’s a good chance that you or someone in your travel party enjoys wine. If so, skip the city wine bar and head out to Woodinville where you can spend a whole afternoon tasting all the wine Washington has to offer. You won’t find vineyards here (those are in eastern Washington), but the town of Woodinville is home to tasting rooms from most of the major Washington wineries.
Some of the larger wineries include Chateau Ste. Michelle, which boasts an impressive estate with daily winery tours and outdoor concerts during the summer, as well as Columbia Winery, Delille Cellars and Silverlake Winery.
But we recommend visiting some of the smaller wineries as well which have more unique offerings and a more intimate atmosphere. There are over 115 to choose from! Wine not your beverage of choice? Woodinville is also home to several breweries and distilleries as well. Something for every palette!
Want to hire a designated driver for the day? Try out this tour:
Don’t feel like schlepping all the way back to the city after a day of tasting? Stay at Willows Lodge and have brunch the next morning at The Barking Frog!
Distance from the Space Needle: 60 to 120 minutes (without the inevitable traffic)
6. Whidbey Island
A lot of the articles I read about Seattle mention Bainbridge Island because you can take a ferry right from downtown. But did you know Washington State has over 50 islands you can explore? While we recommend you see all the islands this great state has to offer, one of the easiest to visit besides Bainbridge is Whidbey Island.
There are two ways to get to Whidbey Island from Seattle. You can take the 45 minute drive up to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal and take the ferry across to the town of Clinton on Whidbey Island, or you can take the longer but much more scenic route to the island via the spectacular Deception Pass. We recommend taking the route through Deception Pass for the fabulous views, but keep in mind there could be traffic in the summer especially on weekends due to the popularity of this scenic wonder.
Once you are on Whidbey Island, there are countless of things to do including beaches, art galleries, historical structures, parks, and of course great food and wine. We recommend visiting Greenbank Farm where you can peruse the art galleries, demonstration garden, and then have lunch and dessert at Whidbey Pies & Cafe. Definitely try the loganberry pie and the strawberry rhubarb if it is in season!
7. Go hiking!
Even though the city life keeps expanding its reach further and further away from downtown Seattle, Washington still has a plethora of options when it comes to outdoor activities. An easy one to participate in if you are visiting is a day hike. Head about 20 minutes east of Seattle to the Cascade foothills and you will find plenty of hiking trails on Tiger Mountain and Cougar Mountain in my hometown of Issaquah, or if you are feeling a little more adventurous head a little more east to find Rattlesnake Mountain and Mount Si in North Bend.
Did we forget something? If you are from the Seattle area or have visited many times, let us know about your favourite thing to do outside the city in the comments!
About the Author
Liked this article? Pin it!