Woodinville, WA is one of my favorite little towns in the state, boasting lots of wineries, restaurants, and shops. I love visiting Woodinville for an afternoon stroll or an evening out on the town, and I want to share with you some of my must-visit spots.
The first place you visit in Woodinville should definitely be Grounds Coffee Co. Grounds has become one of my favorite coffee stands in the area, and they always serve up delicious (and beautiful!) creations. Pictured here is an aloha mocha and a snickerdoodle iced coffee – yum!
After getting your caffeine fix, it’s time for lunch (or dinner) at one of my favorites, Hollywood Tavern. Hollywood Tavern is a small but beautiful restaurant with cozy decor, a massive outdoor fire pit, and a great selection of food. I love visiting over the summer and enjoying cocktails and live music in their outdoor area! Their crispy brussel sprouts and fried pickles are delicious starters, and one of my favorite entrees is their green goddess salad with salmon added on top. While ordering salad may not be your first inclination when dining out, theirs is truly delicious and always my go-to. Hollywood Tavern also shares a parking lot with Woodinville Whiskey Co., another cool spot.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a trip to Woodinville without stopping by a winery. Woodinville is considered renowned wine country, and you’ll find wineries of all sizes on almost every corner. Even if you’re stuck being the DD, most of the wineries have excellent atmosphere for hanging out, sharing small bites, and enjoying the beautiful region. JM Cellars is a great option if you want to feel a little removed from the heart of Woodinville. The property is beautiful and spacious, with rustic decor and a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy. My personal favorite winery visit was to Chateau Ste. Michelle. Not only do they make some of my favorite wines, but the winery itself is beautiful and truly makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the French countryside. Their tasting room is also gorgeous, with dark and moody fixtures that make you feel like a VIP.
All in all, Woodinville is definitely on my list of must-visit Washington towns. The whole town is cozy and quaint, making it the perfect spot for date night, girls night out, or dinner with family. Have you visited Woodinville before?
If you’re look for a quick day trip from the Seattle area with plenty of shopping, food, and beautiful scenery, Bainbridge Island is the perfect destination for you.
Bainbridge Island is a small island in the Puget Sound located just a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The ferry ride itself is part of fun, as it offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline. Even with cloudy weather, the city’s beauty truly shines through, and I highly recommend heading to the ferry deck to catch a glimpse for yourself.
Once you arrive on Bainbridge Island, I suggest making Pegasus Coffee Company your first stop. Pegasus Coffee Company is a quaint coffeeshop that looks plucked straight from the English countryside. Inside, the shop is cozy and welcoming, with delicious coffee and pastry options – including some awesome vegan treats as well!
After warming up with some coffee, make your way over to Riverfront Park, where you can catch beautiful views of sailboats, costal homes, and maybe even some some sea life! We were lucky enough to spot a family of otters playing and swimming around the dock when we visited.
After a stroll through the park, return to the downtown area to do some shopping. There are loads of cute shops and boutiques lining the main street through town, and there’s definitely something for everyone in the family to enjoy. One of my favorites was Town & Country Market, a quaint supermarket with lots of local goodies, like candles and chocolates. If you need another pick-me-up, I recommend Coquette Bake Shop, a walk-up coffee stand conveniently located right downtown.
Once lunchtime rolls around, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy a variety of cravings. From American classics at Doc’s Marina Grill to delicious pies at Westside Pizza, you’re sure to find something yummy. A half-day is plenty of time to experience Bainbridge Island, but there are plenty of other activities if you’d like to make a full day or weekend of it. From museums to wine-tasting to hiking, the quaint island has a lot to offer.
I can’t wait to return and explore even more of Bainbridge, and I hope this guide helps you as you plan a visit for yourself!
Kubota Garden is a gorgeous outdoor escape just outside of Seattle, Washington. The garden is unique in that it combines traditional Japanese landscaping with native Pacific Northwest plants. Kubota Garden has 20 acres of moderate walking trails making it a great spot for visitors of all ages. As a bonus, the garden is free to visit and dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash!
Today we’re embarking on a slightly morbid tour of Seattle, visiting some landmarks of famous icons who walked the streets of Seattle and whose legacies live on in the city today.
The first, and probably best known, stop on this tour is Viretta Park/Kurt Cobain’s house. Kurt Cobain is one of the most iconic musicians to emerge from Seattle’s grunge scene in the 90’s. Nirvana is one of my favorite bands of all time, so this was a must-visit spot on my list. Located in Lake Washington, Viretta Park sits right next to the home once owned by Cobain, which is also where he sadly passed away. The house itself is very private, but you can catch a glimpse of it from the park, where a bench stands to memorialize Cobain. This is a beautiful area to drive through, and Viretta Park is a great tribute to such an iconic artist.
The next two stops on our tour are all about Jimi Hendrix, another famed Seattle musician. First up is the Jimi Hendrix Memorial, located in Greenwood Memorial Park. Hendrix’s actual grave in Greenwood Memorial Park is very simple, so the memorial serves as a place for fans to remember the artist and pay tribute to him. Another stop for Jimi Hendrix lovers is hisstatue, located on Broadway Street in downtown Seattle. The statue depicts him playing the guitar, and is a beautiful reminder of his work and the impact he had on Seattle’s music scene.
Last up, we’re heading to another cemetery to see the graves of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon. Their graves are located side-by-side in Lake View Cemetery, a beautiful spot in the heart of Seattle. I had no idea before visiting the graves that the Lee family had any connection to Seattle, but I learned Bruce lived in Seattle for several years. During his time in Seattle, he took classes at the University of Washington and began teaching martial arts in Chinatown. Although the father and son’s passings were unfortunate and untimely, it is comforting to know their final resting places are together in a beautiful spot.
If you visit any of these places, I encourage you to do so respectfully, considering that these were not just celebrities, but fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands.
Today we’re going on a tour of some famous filming locations throughout Seattle (and the surrounding areas). Seattle is an awesome town that has served as the setting for some pretty iconic movies and TV shows, so keep reading if you want to experience some of these locations for yourself!
Gasworks is one of my favorite Seattle parks to visit, regardless of whether you’re a movie buff or not. Located right on Lake Union, it provides fantastic views of the skyline, and is the perfect spot for a stroll or picnic. You might recognize Gasworks from 10 Things I Hate About You, one of my favorite 90’s romance movies. In the film, they converted the park into a paintball field, and while this was sadly just for the movie, the park is still well worth a visit. Gasworks was also featured in Singles, another well-known 90’s movie.
Speaking of Lake Union, the houseboat that served as Tom Hanks’s home in Sleepless in Seattle can be found docked in Lake Union. My personal favorite way to explore Lake Union is by paddle-boarding, though I’m sure it would be a blast to sail around as well. Lake Union is located in the heart of Seattle, and will give you great views of the city as you enjoy the outdoors. Even if you don’t spot the exact houseboat from the movie, they’re all fun to see (though deceivingly expensive)!
Continuing on the 10 Things I Hate About You theme, next up is Stadium High School. Stadium High School is an actual public school located in Tacoma, about 45 minutes south of Seattle. The school served as the main setting for 10 Things I Hate About You, and the football stadium was featured in the iconic scene where Heath Ledger serenades Julia Stiles from the stands. You’re welcome to park and wander around the grounds, although they do close the stadium during football games.
Twede’s Cafe, located about 45 minutes east of Seattle in the town of North Bend, is an iconic establishment featured in the TV show Twin Peaks. The cafe has a cool retro feel, and most of the employees are happy to point out some of the filming spots throughout the cafe that were used for the show. Even if you just pop in for some pictures, I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy a “damn fine cup of coffee” and a cherry pie! It is the place where pies go when they die, after all! I even have a whole guide to North Bend and the neighboring town of Snoqualmie if you want to make a day, or weekend, trip.
Of course, a list of famous filming locations throughout Washington wouldn’t be complete without mentioning possibly the most famous PNW-set series of all: Twilight. Twilight is set in the small town of Forks, located several hours northwest of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. Forks is a quiet town that has definitely capitalized on the success of Twilight by putting up signs marking the border between vampire and werewolf territory and even opening a museum featuring memorabilia from the movies. Another great option is to visit Rialto Beach, located in Olympic National Park, or La Push, located in the Quileute Reservation. Both spots provide beautiful opportunities to stroll along the rocky beaches and take in gorgeous views of the coastline. Check out my guide to the Olympic Peninsula if you want more recommendations for your visit!
What are some of your favorite Seattle-set movies and TV shows? Are there any iconic filming locations I missed?
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is a peaceful escape in the heart of Bellevue, perfect for an after-work stroll or a family outing. The garden is free to visit and features several trails and walking paths through 53 acres of gorgeous forests and meadows. There are 11 unique areas within the garden that offer plentiful opportunities to wander around and explore.
The majority of paths within the garden are gravel, and there is minimal elevation change, making it a great option for families and hikers of all experience levels. The garden is open year-round, and is gorgeous in every season, though I find spring and fall to be exceptionally beautiful.
My favorite areas within the garden are the Ravine Experience and the Yao Garden. The Ravine Experience features a massive 150′ suspension bridge that leads you over a deep ravine. This is a great spot for photos, and to observe the surrounding forests. The Yao Garden, a traditional Japanese garden, is also a beautiful area. During the fall, the maples throughout Yao Garden turn an incredible shade of bright red.
The garden also hosts several seasonal events, such as a Mother’s Day event and a holiday light display in the winter.
Bellevue Botanical Garden has become one of my favorite spots to explore because I always discover a new area, path, or photo op every time I visit. If you seek a relaxing nature escape but don’t want to drive far out of the city, Bellevue Botanical Garden is the perfect spot.
Franklin Falls is a 2 mile out-and-back hike in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that’s perfect for hikers of all experience levels.
The trailhead for Franklin Falls is located about 25 minutes outside of North Bend on Denny Creek Road, just past the campground. While you can enjoy Franklin Falls year-round, Denny Creek Road does tend to close in the winter which will add 4 miles roundtrip to your hike. Franklin Falls is also a very popular destination for hikers, photographers, and families, so try to visit during off-times (such as weekdays or early mornings) when possible.
Pro tip: parking is $5/day or free with a Northwest Forest Pass – more info at fs.usda.gov.
The trail runs parallel to the Snoqualmie River most of the way and, with only 400′ of elevation gain in total, is very family-friendly. The river does flood on occasion which may make the trail exceptionally washed out or muddy, so be prepared to get a bit soaked along the way. It’s also fun to spot the gorgeous A-frame cabins along the river as you hike.
After a mile, you’ll begin to hear the roaring of Franklin Falls and soon, you’ll spot the stunning 130′ waterfall. Be careful as you hike downward over slippery rocks to the base of the waterfall and take in the full beauty of the falls.
A short hike back will return you to your car to carry on with more adventures! Franklin Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the area because you get a stunning view for minimal effort, so let me know if you’ve visited or plan to soon!
The towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend, located in the Snoqualmie Valley, are some of my favorite areas to visit when I find myself in Washington. This guide is an overview of what I consider the must-see spots in Snoqualmie and North Bend, and my idea of the perfect weekend spent exploring this area!
Start your day off on the right foot by enjoying an indulgent brunch at the Salish Lodge & Spa. The Salish Lodge is a picturesque establishment situated right on top of Snoqualmie Falls. The dining room features stunning views of the surrounding forest and the Snoqualmie River, and the whole lodge feels cozy and welcoming. For brunch, I would highly suggest treating yourself to their country breakfast, a multi-course affair with fresh baked goods, pancakes, oatmeal, meat, eggs, and more. The highlight of this breakfast is the “Honey From Heaven” service where they drizzle house-made honey atop freshly baked biscuits. If you have the option, I’d also recommend pairing the breakfast with a mimosa or Snoqualmie coffee (both alcoholic).
After brunch, you’ll probably feel like going to your room and passing out, but I encourage you to take the time to explore Snoqualmie Falls. There’s an upper and lower park, and both offer uniquely beautiful views of the waterfall. The upper park is less than a minute walk from the Salish Lodge, overlooking the dramatic falls and Snoqualmie River. To access the lower park, you can either hike about 3/4 mile down along a gravel trail, or drive to the lower parking lot. From the parking lot, you can follow a boardwalk along the Snoqualmie River that will lead you to a viewpoint at the base of the falls. There are also a lot of informational signs and exhibits around the park to learn about the history of the falls and the Snoqualmie Valley.
Fun fact: I actually used to work at the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Museum, located across the river from the Salish Lodge! The museum is open seasonally during the summer, but I would check the website for updates before stopping by. The museum is small but mighty, packed with information about the history of the hydroelectric plant located within Snoqualmie Falls.
Once you’ve explored Snoqualmie Falls, it’s time to drive over to downtown Snoqualmie. Downtown Snoqualmie is small and quaint, consisting mostly of local shops, restaurants, and a few more museums. There are lots of small shops and boutiques to pop in and out of if you’re searching for souvenirs and locally-made goods. If you’d like to learn more history about the area, I also suggest checking out the Northwest Railway Museum, which educates visitors on the railroad in the region. The museum also hosts seasonal events like a Santa Train around the holidays and a Thomas the Tank Engine weekend in September.
If you’re starting to get hungry for lunch/dinner, I’d recommend Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, a low-key spot with great beer and food options. Remember to save room for ice cream though, as a visit to Snoqualmie Ice Cream is a must, and the perfect way to end your first day of adventures.
Return to your room at the Salish Lodge, curl up by the fire for a bit, and get a good nights rest before kicking off day 2!
Snoqualmie and North Bend are surrounded by the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, which offers endless options for hiking. Near the Snoqualmie Valley you can opt for Mount Si, a difficult hike to sweeping views of the valley, or something more family-friendly, like Franklin Falls. I personally recommend Franklin Falls because the trail is short, easy to moderate in difficulty, and absolutely stunning. The trailhead is about 40 minutes from the Salish Lodge, making it a convenient destination for a quick morning hike. The trail itself is only about 2 miles roundtrip and will lead you to a 130′ waterfall. The setting is beautiful, though this hike does get quite popular, so try to head out early in the day, if possible.
After relaxing and freshening up following your hike, it’s time to head to North Bend, another picturesque town. North Bend is just about a 10 minutes drive from Snoqualmie, and make sure you look for elk along the way, as you can frequently spot herds beside the road. You’ll also be granted with beautiful views of Mount Si as you drive. Once in town, there are a number of small shops to explore, and even an independent theater that showcases classic films and hosts special events, like film festivals and comedy shows.
The real star of North Bend, however, is Twede’s Cafe, which you may recognize from the iconic show Twin Peaks. The diner was featured extensively in the show, and the staff are usually kind enough to show you some of the well-known filming spots and memorabilia throughout the restaurant if they have time to spare. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, Twede’s Cafe is like stepping back in time, making it a super fun dining experience. At the very least, you must enjoy a slice of cherry pie and an order of their “damn fine cup of coffee.”
And there you have it folks: my guide to an ideal weekend spent exploring Snoqualmie and North Bend. I hope you have an opportunity to visit these towns for yourself and experience their beauty and history, and I hope this guide provided you with some ideas on what to do and see!
Ah, road trips. A classic American experience that some love and others hate. I, personally, love embarking on a good multi-day, cross-country road trip, but one of the hardest parts to plan for is how to stay healthy while you’re on the road. When you’re trapped in the car all day, it’s easy to reach for candy, chips, and soda, and even exercise is virtually out of the question. But trust me, there are ways to enjoy the journey while still treating your body well, and I’m here to pass along some of my favorite tips for doing just that!
It may seem obvious, but planning out your meals and snacks ahead of time will give you the best opportunity to nourish your body without resorting to grabbing handfuls of gas station snacks because you ran out of food or are simply just bored. For my recent road trip from Colorado to Washington, I stopped by my local grocery store the night before leaving town and selected a few snacks and meal options I was excited to eat, that were still at least partially nutritious. Road trips should be fun, so don’t force yourself to eat a head of broccoli as a snack if you’re not actually craving it. On the other hand, be wary of over-indulging, or you’ll set yourself up for a long and painful drive.
Avoid fast food when possible
My personal strategy while road-tripping is to eat breakfast and lunch in my hotel room or the car, and then enjoy dinner out on the town. Fast food is undeniably tempting, and sometimes a greasy, salty, McDonald’s breakfast really hits the spot, but for the most part, I’d rather make the most of my time and money by enjoying a nicer, sit-down dinner in the evening than rushing through a drive-thru at the very beginning or in the middle of my day. Alternatively, if I’m passing through a town where I know there are food options I’m interested in, I will stop for lunch or a snack and then enjoy dinner in my hotel room at the end of the day. Eating locally is one of my favorite ways to experience an area’s culture, and I always like to try new food when the opportunity arises.
Stretch your legs
One of the most uncomfortable parts of a road trip is obviously the extended hours sitting in a cramped car. I will try to stop every 2-3 hours to give myself a break from sitting and take even just a short walk outside of my car (this is especially necessary when traveling with a pet, like I recently did). I also brought along some 5 pound dumbbells so I could do a very short workout in my hotel room in the evening. This isn’t something I always manage to stick to, but for me personally, it feels good to get my body moving for at least 10-15 minutes after a long day of driving. Whether it’s a workout with weights or even just a body-weight workout in the room, a quick walk through town, or a swim in the pool, getting in some kind of movement will make your body and mind happier.
Balance is key
At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that everything has its place in moderation. If you want to indulge in some fast food or a snack you would normally deem “unhealthy,” then enjoy! If you don’t want to do any kind of workout and would rather just pass out at the end of the day, you deserve it! Road trips are truly one of the best reminders that the journey is often more important than the end destination. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy your time on the road however you like, and it will make the experience so much more enjoyable. Listen to your body’s cues about what it’s craving in regards to food and movement, and you will feel emotionally, physically, and mentally satiated.
Whidbey Island is one of the most underrated destinations in Washington, offering a number of activities for history buffs, hikers, and foodies alike. Whidbey Island may not be as well-known as Mount Rainier or downtown Seattle, but the island and surrounding areas provide a beautiful escape from the hustle of the mainland. If you only have one day to explore Whidbey Island, here’s exactly how to do it to get the most out of your trip.
Begin your day by hopping on the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry which will take you directly to Whidbey Island. If you’re not a fan of ferries or don’t want to pay the fee, you’re more than welcome to drive via Deception Pass Bridge, but we’ll take that route on the way home. Mukilteo is another cool area to explore as well – check out my photo diary from a recent visit!
Pro tip: swing by Southern Cross Espresso in Clinton for a quick cup of coffee. I highly recommend their London Fog as well!
From Clinton, begin the drive north to an area known as Ebey’s Landing. Ebey’s Landing is a historical preserve with beautiful hiking/walking trails that educate you on the island’s rich history and provide opportunities to spot wildlife. The historical preserve spans a few hundred acres, and my favorite area to explore is the Prairie Overlook Trail. For specific information on this hike, check out my adventure guide on Outdoor Project.
Pro tip: some areas in Ebey’s Landing require a Discover Pass, so come prepared!
You’ve probably worked up an appetite after exploring the bluffs at Ebey’s Landing, so it’s time for a quick lunch break. It’s a short drive over to Coupeville, a gorgeous coastal town with a number of restaurants and shops. If you’re craving fresh seafood, Front Street Grill is a great option located right on the water. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll see otters or seals, too! I also recommend Ciao Food and Wine for delicious pasta and desserts.
After lunch, your next destination is Lavender Wind Farm. I had never been to a lavender farm before coming to Washington, and it has become one of my favorite summer activities. Lavender Wind Farm is u-pick, so you can stroll through rows of flowers and pick lavender as you go. Before leaving, stop by the on-site store for more lavender goodies like soap, bath salts, and lip balm.
Pro tip: the lavender u-pick season typically runs from May to September, so make sure to check the farm’s website before planning a visit.
Now it’s time to make your way off the island, but the adventures aren’t over just yet. Instead of returning home on the ferry, I recommend making the drive over to Deception Pass State Park. This area is absolutely beautiful and a great place for families to visit, either for the day or a weekend. There are lots of walking trails through the forests or along the water, and plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife like eagles and otters.
Pass over Deception Pass Bridge, another iconic landmark that is stunning in and of itself, and you’ll find yourself on Fidalgo Island which soon connects you back to the mainland. Before driving home, swing by Snow Goose Produce in Mt. Vernon. Snow Goose Produce is a large country market with awesome local products like fruits and vegetables, hot sauces, seafood, beer and wine, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. There’s truly no better way to end the day!
Pro tip: Snow Goose is another seasonal operation, so make sure they’re going to be open before making the drive over!
I hope you found this travel guide useful and incorporate some of these spots on your next visit to Whidbey Island!