West Bound: A Week in the Pacific Northwest

Welcome to my Quarantine Chronicles Series. This is my first installment.

This trip took place a little over a year ago and came together on one man’s spontaneous idea to pursue the cheap flights he saw online. West Bound! was the name of our trip planning google doc for this adventure.

Here’s how our itinerary broke down:

Days 1-2: Seattle

Our first stop was the Boeing Factory Tour. If you are into airplanes, I definitely recommend. If you aren’t, you will probably still find some of it interesting like I did.

The next morning we started our day at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. We figured that we had to get Starbucks at least once in Seattle, so we settled for the Reserve. I’m not a coffee snob so I guess you can take my review with a grain of salt, but I thought it was delicious and beautiful.

Next stop, Pike Place Market. We didn’t spend much time there but I think we easily could have. The shop owners we met were very friendly and the booths were endless.

Around the corner from Pike Place is the gum wall. We were slightly grossed out and highly entertained.

Then we went up the Space Needle. Personally, this is my favorite thing we did in Seattle. You probably don’t want to do it every time you go, but the moving glass floor is fun and the views are phenomenal!

We had brunch at the Fat Hen. I can only say, do that. Wonderful eggs Benedict. We were seated next to some cops who chatted with us and gave some great local recommendations. We decided that Seattleites are pretty friendly.

Next stop was the Ballard Locks. It’s no Panama Canal I’m sure, but still very interesting to watch the boats transfer from the fresh water lake to the ocean. We also got to see a salmon swimming upstream, even though it was not really salmon swimming season. I definitely recommend taking the tour as it gave me a better understanding of what all we were looking at.

We stopped at Gas Works Park to kill some time. It was an interesting park with great views of the city.

We ended our day at Waterfront Park. It has a Ferris Wheel we didn’t ride, lots of food, and views I highly recommend. Obviously, I’m all about a good city vista.

Day 3: Mt. Rainier

Mt. Reiner is pretty self explanatory. We drove to the visitor’s center in Paradise and did a little hike on the Nisqually Vista Trial. There was still snow on the trail in June but it was a perfect short hike for us. Our group loved the nature time after a few days in the city.

Day 4: Oregon Coast

Day 4 had us trolling down the Oregon Coast, stopping on our way for beaches and views as needed. My favorite stop was in the town of Seaside, because of the ocean views. It’s also the end of Lewis and Clark’s trail, so that was pretty cool.

My second favorite stop was at the Tillamook Creamery. The ice cream is delicious but they also have cheese and food and a fun little tour about how it’s all made.

I can’t remember any more where all we stopped, but these views are pretty easy to find, so if you pass a stopping point, pull off and hike a little.

Day 5 & 6: Portland

Our first day in Portland was very rainy, as to be expected I suppose. We stopped that the Multnomah Falls, just east of Portland, before tromping around the city for Blue Star Donuts and Powell’s Books.

Our last day in Portland, and of the trip, was spent flying through all of Portland’s main attractions. We started with the Pittock Mansion. One thing that is very interesting about the West Coast vs. the East Coast, is that the ‘old money’ of the city isn’t as old out west. Case in point, this mansion was built with electricity and fancy shower jets.

Next we rode the aerial tram for elevated views of the city.

A walk through the Rose Testing Gardens and a stop at the “Keep Portland Weird” mural concluded our day in Portland before our ‘red eye’ flight home.

And that was it. Thanks to Dervin for the idea and everyone for pulling it together. It came together like magic.

Why you should visit the Pacific North West:

  1. As you can tell from this post, Washington and Oregon offer a beautiful variety of scenery. It’s especially nice for groups because, as long as you keep it moving, everyone enjoys some part of the trip.
  2. It’s very tourist friendly but not overly touristy. While we definitely ran into other tourists (some from Australia even), most of our stops didn’t feel like tourist traps.
  3. The weather was delicious. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy heading north in the summer. There is something refreshing about needing a light jacket when all of your friends are sweating it out at home.
Love traveling with friends. Highly recommend!