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The Best of the West: Top Attractions in the Pacific Northwest

Updated on August 12, 2013

1. Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

This public farmer’s market opened in 1907 and is the only one to be named a National Historic Place; don’t miss the fish hurling antics in the fish mongers’ stalls.

Don't miss the world famous fish mongers at the Pike Place Market.
Don't miss the world famous fish mongers at the Pike Place Market. | Source

2. Historic Columbia River Highway & Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The majestic Columbia River slices between Oregon and Washington, separating the states and forming the Columbia River Gorge, one of the Northwest’s most visited attractions where you’ll find stunning vistas, scenic waterfalls, and endless hiking routes.

Looking east down the gorge with Vista House to the right.
Looking east down the gorge with Vista House to the right. | Source

3. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

Stretching 140 meters (460 feet) over the river bed 70 meters (230 feet) below, this historic suspension bridge is a must-see for those without a fear of heights.

Visitors walking across the heart-stopping 230-foot high suspension bridge.
Visitors walking across the heart-stopping 230-foot high suspension bridge. | Source

4. Crater Lake, Oregon

This stunning sapphire blue lake, formed by a volcanic eruption, is Southern Oregon’s claim to fame as the country’s deepest lake.

Crater Lake beneath a blanket of snow.
Crater Lake beneath a blanket of snow. | Source

5. Washington Park

Atop the western hills of Portland you’ll find Washington Park and the surrounding area that is home to more tourist attractions than anywhere else in the city, most within easy walking distance of one another, including the Oregon Zoo, the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Garden, and famous International Rose Test Gardens.

Fall colors in the Japanese Garden.
Fall colors in the Japanese Garden. | Source

6. Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Oregon

More of an institution than a festival, the bohemian town of Ashland’s Shakespeare Festival lasts from February through October and features a variety of contemporary and classical plays as well as theater-themed fun.

The Elizabethan Theater in Ashland.
The Elizabethan Theater in Ashland. | Source

7. Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver’s urban park is 10% larger than Central Park in New York City, and offers all-day entertainment for every type of tourist including hiking and walking paths, natural and manmade monuments, beaches, recreation facilities, and a swimming pool.

The seawall path in Stanley Park.
The seawall path in Stanley Park. | Source

8. Breweries, Portland, Oregon

With more per capita than any city in the world, you don’t have to walk far before you stumble across a brewery in Portland; a few of the most legendary, Rogue Distillery & Public House, Deschutes Brewery, and Bridgeport Ale House are located in downtown.

The Brewcycle, a unique way to visit a few of Portland's best breweries.
The Brewcycle, a unique way to visit a few of Portland's best breweries. | Source

9. Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

Just outside the city of Victoria you’ll find this ornate collection of floral displays and gardens that are one of Canada’s National Historic Sites, receiving more than one million visitors each year.

The Sunken Gardens at Victoria's Butchart Gardens.
The Sunken Gardens at Victoria's Butchart Gardens. | Source

10. Whistler, British Columbia

Not far from Vancouver you’ll find Whistler, a resort town that is home to year-round outdoor recreation and the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Whistler Village decorated for the holidays.
Whistler Village decorated for the holidays. | Source

11. Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia

Board the aerial tram to reach this 1,200 meter (4,000 feet) peak where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Vancouver and the surrounding wilderness as well as summer hiking or winter snow sports.

The view of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain.
The view of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain. | Source

12. Space Needle, Seattle, Washington

For amazing views of the Seattle skyline or just a little fun or fine dining, head to the top of this 518 feet tall tower and enjoy the view or a meal at the rotating restaurant.

The Space Needle and Seattle skyline.
The Space Needle and Seattle skyline.

13. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

14,000 feet tall Mount Rainier is the tallest peak in the Cascade Range and is the perfect place for outdoor recreation all year long.

Mount Rainier from Tipsoo Lake.
Mount Rainier from Tipsoo Lake. | Source

14. Timberline Lodge & Mount Hood, Oregon

Northern Oregon’s most famous landmark is the jagged snowy peak of Mount Hood, home to several ski resorts and the National Historic Landmark Timberline Lodge.

Summer at Timberline Lodge.
Summer at Timberline Lodge. | Source

15. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington

You might remember Mount St. Helen’s for its smoky eruption and ensuing destruction back in 1980, but even if you don’t know much about St. Helen’s this flat-topped volcano in central Washington is well-worth a visit to learn about the mountain’s history and explore the surrounding natural areas.

Mount St. Helens and the path its eruption left.
Mount St. Helens and the path its eruption left. | Source

* The items on this article are listed in no particular order because it’s too hard to pick the best. This list is based on research regarding the most visited tourist attractions and destinations.

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