7 Things To Do In The Pacific Northwest, Because You Have To Go There This Summer
By now, your summer bucket list is probably pretty long. You may have planned a getaway with your girl crew, or mapped out a road trip across the country. You've always wanted to see cities like Chicago and San Francisco, but might not have considered one of the most beautiful corners of the country. There are so many things to do in the Pacific Northwest, and thousands of reasons why you have to go there this summer.
Recently, I spent a week in Portland, OR, and absolutely fell in love. I had been daydreaming about making it to the West Coast and seeing the teal waves for myself. Needless to say, this trip was long overdue and went beyond all of my expectations. We spent afternoons in aesthetically-pleasing coffee shops, and wandered just outside the city to the waterfalls.
Along the way, we met so many friendly people who had moved to the city years ago. Everyone said they couldn't picture living anywhere else in the world, and it was obvious why that was the case. Sure, there are those rainy days that give the Pacific Northwest such a bad rep. But, especially during the sunniest season of the year, there are so many things to do there that you won't want to miss.
1. Check Out Lots Of Coffee Shops
In my opinion, the Pacific Northwest has the richest coffee culture. Seattle is the home of Starbucks, and Portland has a cute independent place on every corner. You could spend hours just sitting at the counters that line big windows looking out on the streets of the city, and sipping on a cappuccino. People bring their laptops, or casually meet up with friends for some good conversation.
My favorite spots during my trip to Portland were Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Heart Coffee Roasters, that brewed some of the strongest flavors. Words seriously can not espresso how good a cup of caffeine tasted after a long day of adventuring. No matter where you go, you can find quality bean. But, I took a bag of the Stereo Seasonal Blend back home.
2. Road Trip To The Coastline
The West Coast truly is the best coast. If you grew up on the other side of the country, like me, then you've probably spent a lot of time wondering what the beaches were like. You pictured the surfers, big waves, and bustling piers. It's always summer in a place where the weather is consistently warm, and the California coastline has always called your name.
Just a bit north of the Pacific Coast Highway are spots like Cannon Beach and Seaside that are totally worth the trip. We rented a car for a day and trekked through the evergreens for a couple of hours before reaching the coastal towns. It was a little too cold to take a dip, but the views (and dogs) were worth spending some time on the road.
3. Experience At Least One Waterfall
The Pacific Northwest is known for the great outdoors, and we couldn't take this trip without spending lots of time in the fresh air. Multnomah Falls was a pretty short drive outside of Portland, and came up very unexpectedly on the road. One second we were driving, and the next we could see the falls pretty up close and personal.
Assume that you'll experience at least one waterfall during your time in the Pacific Northwest. Even if you're just driving down the Colombia River Gorge and stopping at the various viewpoints, you'll see mountains with water cascading down the side that'll make you swoon.
4. Hike Or Camp Along A Mountain
Seriously, spending time outside is a must when you're traveling in this corner of the country. Sure, the West Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches, but the mountains and evergreens are part of the experience, too.
If you're hanging out near Seattle or in Washington State, then you'll want to see Mount Rainier or Mount St. Helens. Oregon has Mount Hood, and you'll likely fly over its snowy peak during your last half hour or so on the plane. Maybe you'll go skiing, or you'll wander around the trails. Packing a pair of hiking boots and a reusable water bottle is probably a good idea. Take some pictures, but know that they never do the view justice.
5. Eat Your Way Through The Trip
This place is an ultimate attraction for foodies, so you'll never go without a good meal. Like New York or any other major city, you can find just about any kind of food when you're walking down the bustling streets of the Pacific Northwest. You can get the tastiest (and most filling) rolls at Bamboo Sushi in Portland, or hit up one of the best breweries, like Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle.
After all of that adventuring and fresh air, you'll love recharging with some gourmet food and good beer. We found that everybody addressed food allergies and dietary needs. Most of the food was farm fresh, and you could find something vegan on every menu.
6. Meet The Most Artsy People
I've always dreamed about the West Coast because I thought I'd fit in so well. The people I met were full of passion about living life to its fullest. This was quite different compared to the stressful and always in a rush lifestyle of places like New York City, that are so much closer to home.
From the moment we stepped outside of the airport, every face was friendly. Our Uber drivers talked up Portland and told us where we should go to eat, or see the best sights of the city. Even the waiters and waitresses at all the restaurants we stopped at were so welcoming. It wasn't hard to get comfortable, and I was convinced every person was probably a cool, Instagram lifestyle blogger, too.
7. Get The Best Pics For The 'Gram
Do it for the 'Gram, right? If you've been putting off your wanderlust, then now is the time to travel. You've been making so many excuses, but spend your free time at work watching vlogs on YouTube for places like Thailand and Bali. Why haven't you purchased the plane tickets, yet?
The Pacific Northwest should absolutely get you in the air and finally headed to a destination, if only for the pictures you'll snag for social media. Whether you're hanging out by the Space Needle, or relaxing near Crater Lake, everything is worth at least a couple of polaroids.
Portland doesn't necessarily have to be your next stop, but something in that corner of the country will definitely be the best for brightening up your feed this summer.