What Is Washington State Famous For? 27 Washington State Facts

I am gathering information about some of the places that I intend to visit in the United States and Washington State is one of the places that I want to visit. 

I already plan to visit Oregon and Washington is right next door, so I might just combine this part of my trip to make sure I get to see as many parts of the beautiful Northwest as possible!

To collect some travel ideas and get information about the State of Washington, I talked to a local from the state to make a list of the things to see and the places I shouldn’t miss out on going to when I visit Washington. Here are the items that we came up with!

What is Washington Famous For? Washington is known for being the birthplace of Starbucks, for its football team and for being rugged and stunningly beautiful. The state offers many different kinds of terrains and lots of great tourist attractions as well. While it can be a little cold and rainy, Washington State is one of the most beautiful locations in the Northwest.

The Washington resident that I worked with to make this list and I talked about what I should make time to do and what things I needed to see during my visit. Here is our list of 27 fun facts and things to do in Washington.

NOTE: This is not about Washington D.C. – It is about the state of Washington, where you will find Seattle, which is on the west coast of USA. The District of Columbia where the Capitol city Washington D.C. is located is on the east coast of USA, like New York city and Philadelphia

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Washington is the Only State Named After A President

This is a fun fact that even locals don’t always think about. 

Washington is unique in that it was named after the first president of the United States and is a memorial to his memory that is fitting due to the beauty of the state. 

No other US states are named after Presidents.

Seattle is the Home of Starbucks

Major coffee chain Starbucks opened its first coffee shop in Seattle downtown Seattle. 

This original Starbucks location is still in operation and visitors can be treated to the original coffee experience that has grown into an internationally recognized brand. 

Be prepared to wait in line but the experience is well worth the wait!

It Rains There-A Lot

Seattle and the state of Washington as a whole gets a lot of rain every year. 

Summer highs can be as low as 60 degrees in some areas but there are sunny breaks during the summer as well. 

If you are planning to visit, be sure to bring a jacket and enjoy the lush forests and lovely greenery made by all that rain. Thankfully the rain is more like drizzle and it will not stop you from doing any of the activities that you have planned.

PERSONAL NOTE: Honestly, this sounds like home to me. I drizzles and rains a lot in Denmark too.. 🙂

The Grunge Movement Was Born in Washington

Grunge music and grunge fashion style was born in Seattle. 

This gritty 90s music style and way of dressing quickly spread across the US during the 90s and is considered to be one of the most well-known contributions to the music scene of its decade. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jams and Sound Garden have ties to Washington State. 

The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle will give you a thorough history of the grunge movement as well as music history as a whole. Be sure to drop by if you go to the Space needle as they are right next to one another.

The Space Needle, Seattle

Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is a must-see stop for every tourist that comes to Washington State. 

You can ride an elevator to the top of the needle and see the city from every angle. 

It can be a bit breezy at the top but its well worth the views and the perspective it provides. 

TIP: Use the binoculars at the top to see even further across the city.

You can also aat at the restaurant there or buy a cute souvenir from the gift shop at ground level.

Learn to Blow Glass

Both Seattle and Tacoma are well known for their blown glass art and you can make an appointment to learn to do it yourself! 

Make ornaments or vases with experts and create a beautiful souvenir to take home with you when you are done! 

Most of the studios that offer you the chance to make your own glass also allow you to watch artists create amazing items many times a day. 

You can also buy items made by the glass shop that make great souvenirs for family and friends at home.

Washington has the Most Glaciers in the US

It is very cold in portions of the state and Washington is known for its large number of glaciers. 

The state has more glaciers than any other state. 

They can be visited with a tour guide and are well worth seeing. See them at Olympic National Park and if you are feeling adventurous, plan to camp in the park and make a longer hike to see the glaciers at the higher elevations.

Go to a SeaHawks Game

Seahawk pride looms large in Washington state and this famous football team calls a gorgeous stadium home. 

TIP: Make sure to buy some tickets and take in a game in comfort even if it is raining. 

The state of the art stadium is one of the best in the United States and the fan loyalty is exciting and moving to visitors. 

Buy some 12th man gear at one of the shops inside the stadium and bring some Seahawks spirit home with you.

Go to a Museum

Seattle is chock-full of museums to many different topics. 

There is a museum of art, a museum of music and even a glass museum. 

Plan some extra time for these attractions as they are large and well worth taking your time to enjoy completely. 

Most of the museums take donations for various causes as well, so you can make your visit really help Seattle and its residents with ongoing projects.

Go to Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is one of the most famous places in the United States. 

Originally a small local market, Pike Place has grown into a sprawling scene of street performers, market stalls and local beer and food options. 

Enjoy the hustle bustle near the pier and chat with locals who will be happy to tell the history of their state and their company to you while they serve you. 

Sneak into a little shop or café near the market place itself to warm up and make sure that you check out the lovely flowers offered by vendors near the marketplace.

Visit the Famous Fish Market

Located inside of Pike Place, the fish seller is one of the most famous of the stalls inside the market. 

Fish mongers working there laugh and joke and toss fish through the air to each other and to customers. 

The fish is fresh each day and there are many varieties on offer. The fish market is so famously cheerful that a training system for businesses to use was created surrounding their comradery and work ethic. It is called the Fish Philosophy and guides many Northwestern Businesses when they create their work culture. 

The fish market inside Pike Place is one of the very best reasons to attend the market during the morning and should not be missed.

Go for a Hike

Washington state boasts some of the most gorgeous hiking trails of anyplace in the United States. 

Olympic National Park offers many all ages and abilities climbs and the Hoh River trail winds through Washington’s Rainforest. 

If you have some good hiking shoes and a warm jacket with you, you can see some of the most gorgeous forest and river scenes on offer anywhere in the world. 

TIP: Consider making plans to catch a sunrise or sunset while you are out on one of these trails.

Visit Seattle Center

Built around the Space Needle, Seattle Center is home to museums, coffee shops, glassworks and much more all inside the confines of the 74-acre campus. 

This is a great place to shop for souvenirs, to eat a fantastic lunch and to drop by to blow some glass. 

The campus is built on the site of the World’s Fair and its style is eclectic and inventive and quintessentially Seattle.

Plan a Day Trip to the San Juan Islands

These islands that are north of the Puget Sound can be accessed by Ferry boat and offer a fun mix of amusement parks, restaurants and galleries. 

You can also whale watch and sea kayak near the islands. 

The weather is often more mild here too which can make it a nice break from the rain. 

TIP: Check out a B& B on the island for a fun day trip that extends overnight.

Ride a Ferry

Even if you don’t intend to get off the ferry on the other side, Seattle is famous for its ferry boats. 

The ride across the sound is beautiful and you can see dolphins and other animals during the trip. 

Make sure to sit where you can see the islands that you are passing by and pack a warm coat so you don’t have to miss out by sitting inside the whole ride.

Visit Mount Rainer

This iconic mountain is one of the best-known landmarks of Washington State. 

Located in South Seattle, this is an amazing location for hiking, sunrises and sunsets. 

The park can be visited year round and there are great campsites along the way. Enjoy national forest land and amazing waterfalls as you hike.

Visit Leavenworth

Leavenworth started life as a booming logging town but has now become a winter wonderland year round. 

The town has been converted to mimic a Bavarian Village and it is common for shop keepers and locals to wear lederhosen and play instruments while walking through the streets. Enjoy Bavarian treats and teahouses and much more in this quaint and charming town. 

NOTE: Christmas time is the best time to visit this little gem but it is authentic and charming any time of year.

Go to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount St. Helens erupted last in 1980, causing major damage to the Seattle area as well as surrounding states. 

The ash cloud created in the explosion traveled for miles and 150 square miles of forest was destroyed in the blast. 

The area around the volcano is still experiencing regrowth and if you go to the park you can learn all about the eruption itself as well as the efforts to rebuild the native fauna and flora. 

The eruption is one of the most well-known events that has happened in Washington State and it is well worth making the trip to go see the area.

See the Deception Pass Bridge

This bridge spans Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island in the Puget Sound and is iconic for the state. 

The State park that is on both sides of the bridge is one of the best anywhere in the US and is also worth seeing. 

You can enjoy tidepooling, hiking and also boating in the park and there is a great camp ground here too. 

TIP: Take a ride under the bridge in a boat to really appreciate the beauty of this landmark.

Go to Spokane

The eastern part of the state has different weather than the Seattle area and Spokane is right at the center of this better weather. 

Located near the border with Idaho, Spokane offers gardens, parks, museums and a Ferris wheel made in 1909. 

For those who love a hike, hike Mount Spokane while you are there. Spokane has zoos, theaters and a bustling downtown on offer and you can find nearly any activity that you want to try out in the Spokane area.

Attend the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Skagit Valley in Vernon Washington is the site for an annual tulip festival that is beautiful and very fun. 

It is held in the spring during the month of April and you can stroll through waving fields of brightly colored tulips that you might not see anywhere else. 

There is a driving tour as well for those who can’t walk all the miles to see the fields and the festival is so famous that people come from all over the world to attend it.

Go to the Hot Springs

Inside of Olympic National Park is Sol Duc. This is a resort built around Washington’s iconic hot springs. 

You can bathe in mineral pools and take in the offerings at the spa. 

Cabins and rooms are available for your stay and the resort has a campground and RV parking area as well. This is a must-see when you visit the state.

Eat at the Revolving Restaurant in the Space Needle

If you have always wanted to try a revolving restaurant, the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle is perfect for your first experience. 

Make sure to make a reservation and enjoy the beautiful city spread out before you while you eat you meal. 

The restaurant offers food for any taste and is well worth the effort of making a reservation.

See the Oldest Gas Station in the Northwest

Located in the tiny town of Zillah, the first ever gas station in the US is located in Washington State. 

The eclectic little station is built in the shape of a teapot and has been there since 1922. 

It was moved from its first location along US Route 12, and is now located on the Yakima Valley Highway. It is now a visitor center and offers up information about the state and the local area.

See the Wild Horses

Washington is home to 12,000 wild horses that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 

You might catch sight of them if you visit the Yakama reservation. 

Horses can be purchased from the tribe and you might be able to tour the facilities where the horses are kept and trained when they are brought in to sell. 

Seeing the wild horses also offers the chance to learn more about the native population in the area. 

Washington State is the traditional home of many Native American tribes who have a rich cultural history and are central to Washington’s story.

Whale Watch

Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching offers tours that allow you to get up close to the whales in the sound. 

The tours leave from the San Juan Islands and you will primarily see Orca whales although it is possible to see Gray, Humpback and Minke whales on your tour as well. 

This moving and memorable experience is seasonal, but if you are able to catch the right season for your trip, this is a must do.

Go to a Performance at Kitsap Forest Theater

This lovely theater feels like a trip to fairyland. 

Nestled in between old growth fir trees, the Kitsap Forest Theater offers a simple stage and plenty of fun plays and other entertainment to see during the warmer months of the year. 

TIP: Arrive early to walk through the surround Rhododendron Preserve before taking in a play put on by the local troupe of players.

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