When searching for things to do in Washington, one thing's for certain: you won’t have trouble staying awake. Coffee is the state’s unofficial beverage, as a caffeinated stroll through Seattle’s Pike Place Market will attest. The first Starbucks Coffee store has been in continuous operation here since the 1970s, and smaller roasters also sell their beans along the Elliott Bay waterfront. It’s good that Washingtonians have a means by which to keep their eyes wide open, because they wouldn’t want to miss the urban attractions and natural wonders of the Evergreen State.
You don’t have to be an astronaut to visit the Space Needle, which serves as the centerpiece of Seattle’s iconic skyline. The pointed structure rises 520 feet above sea level to afford a 360-degree view of the city and nearby Puget Sound. The Smith Tower Observation Deck offers similarly breathtaking views of the downtown waterfront, where the Seattle Great Wheel whisks more than 300 passengers into the sky inside fully enclosed gondolas.
All of these structures seem tiny in comparison to the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier. The fact that it’s an active volcano shouldn’t scare you away from Rainier’s wildflower meadows, glacial peaks, and evergreen forests. Among more than 120 state and national parks, Washington hosts one of the largest rainforests in the United States, the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula.
There is no better way to experience Washington’s natural beauty than from its more than 20 scenic byways. Chief among these is State Route 20, which locals simply refer to as the North Cascades Highway. It provides gorgeous views of the Methow Valley and the jagged crests of the route’s namesake, the Cascade Mountain Range. In Nez Perce National Historical Park, Native Americans have left more than 240 pictographs and petroglyphs at a site known as Buffalo Eddy. Archeologists believe that many of these were created approximately 4,500 years ago.