Top 10 Most Famous Washington State Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Known as the heart of the Great Northwest and as the birthplace of grunge music and the use of coffee as an art form, the state of Washington is one of the most individualistic of the fifty United States both in terms of landscape and culture, too. The Evergreen home boasts both natural and man made famous Washington State landmarks that keep visitors coming back time and time again. We’ve put together the best ten of them according to travelers past and from mountaintops to needle points, there is something to cure everyone’s rainy day in the state of Washington.
1. Space Needle: Not only is the nearly 185-foot tall observation tower the most well known of all Seattle tourist attractions, it’s also famous all over the world. Originally, the tower was designed to be included in the center built for the World’s Fair in 1962, however it has remained the most popular icon amongst Washington state landmarks ever since. Although no longer a competitor for many records, at one point it was the tallest man made building west of the Mississippi, although today it’s quite markedly trumped by the similar Stratosphere tower in Las Vegas.
2. Freemont Troll: It’s nearly impossible to miss this enormous, downtown Seattle icon sitting beneath the George Washington Memorial Bridge near 36th street. A quartet of artists dreamt up the sinister looking creature that, perhaps not surprisingly, won a 1990 art competition, securing its current under the bridge home and ranking amongst Washington state landmarks. While first prize in a competition might be the icing on the cake for the interactive creation, it’s underlying purpose and that of the contest it took first place in is maybe more so. In an effort to clean up the area under the bridge and reduce the incidence of drug dealers and undesirables in the area, the art competition was formed with both tasks in mind.
3. Mount St. Helens: A bit north of Portland, Oregon can be found this active stratovolcano, a part of the Cascade Range and an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. In terms of Washington state landmarks with a tumultuous past, none top this over eight thousand foot high monster, which caused immense devastation in the year 1980 following an enormous eruption. In the years since the volcano’s last eruption, which claimed the lives of over fifty people, it has again become a recreational hotspot, attracting tourists looking for climbing and hiking opportunities in one of the unique areas of the Pacific Northwest.
4. Maryhill Stonehenge: There are no surprises here! This appropriately named monument to the fallen soldiers of World War I is a replica of the confusing and still mysterious authentic Stonehenge. What’s unique about these concrete Washington state landmarks is that they are a true representation of longevity. Originally placed in the middle of Maryville, the area around them burned completely, leaving only the concrete structures that comprise the memorial standing.
5. Mount Rainier: St. Helen’s northern cousin is yet another stratovolcano that beats our number one landmark out substantially in terms of height. At over fourteen thousand feet, it towers over the Earth around it. Not only the tallest of all Washington state landmarks but also amongst the tallest in the United States, Rainier draws tourists with its snow capped peak which can literally be seen from the city of Portland if weather conditions are right. Unlike it’s nearby lava filled neighbor, the last time Rainier erupted was more than a half decade ago. And, although the area surrounding the mount is beautiful, it’s often too challenging to climb due to glaciers, and is best appreciated from level ground.
6. Tacoma Glass Museum: This 75,000 square foot museum may be just over a decade old, but it celebrates one of the oldest art mediums on the planet, glass. It not only features a wide range of exhibits (some of which change from time to time) but also educational programs as well. The building itself is worth seeing from the outside almost as much as it is from the inside. The large, towering cone (called the Hot Shop) is well on its way to becoming one of the most well known of all Washington state landmarks. Aside from the conical glass blowing structure, the Bridge of Glass is also a well known fixture of the museum.
7. Snoqualmie Falls: Just east of the capital can be found a true tribute to the past people of the lands surrounding Seattle as well as their natural beauty. Known as one of the most scenic and most popular of all Washington state landmarks, the falls found at Snoqualmie draw in visitors with their over 250 foot high cascades, best viewed by the observation deck nearby. While nothing extra is needed to make people want to experience the falls, this landmark is famous for another reason aside from its natural beauty. It was featured in a popular television show called Twin Peaks.
8. Olympic National Park: Although it may sound related to that every four year international athletic event, the National Park found here near Seattle is actually named for Mount Olympus, an area around which is considered both an international Biosphere Reserve as well as a World Heritage Site. There are numerous different types of environments found here at what might be the most diverse of all Washington state landmarks, and a cool rainforest meets glacial splendor, creating an ecological wonderland. Visitors here enjoy the abundant wildlife and lush forests and partake in activities like hiking and bird watching.
9. Dungeness Spit: Arching out right into the Strait of Juan de Fuca very near Victoria, Canada can be found this partial ring of sand that encloses an area of water called Dungeness Bay. There is little to see here, aside from a single lighthouse that remains one of the only Washington state landmarks visible here for miles. It’s open all throughout the year, but is subject to the fury of nature. Since only a single road services the entire spit (the longest in the world) storms and shifty tides can cut off contact between the lighthouse and mainland for up to months at a time.
10. San Juan Islands: While they may have a tropical sounding name, these northern islands found near Victoria, Canada couldn’t be further from the heat and sun of the Caribbean. The condensed archipelago features a quartet of ferry accessible islands that shuttle guests over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to check out the plants and animals that call the unique area home. European rabbits, sea otters and harbor seals can be seen here, however what makes these Washington state landmarks quite irresistible are their famous orca populations.