Posts tagged things to do in pnw
5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

When I moved back to Washington, visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival got added to my adventure list real fast! We did a lot of adventuring growing up, but my appreciation for the state and the variety of things it has to offer is much clearer now as an adult! Plus, the last time I visited I was probably just a little bit taller than the tulips so it was time! If you’re not familiar, the Tulip Festival takes place each Spring in April (sometimes it starts a the last week of March) in the Skagit Valley, which is about an hour north of Seattle. They have a variety of events that happen locally each year, but the main draw is to visit the farms with rows and rows of all of those beautiful tulips! And yes, they really are THAT pretty! 🌷🌷🌷Now that I’ve visited and am clearly an expert on all things tulips now (onlyyyy kidding), I wanted to share some of my advice so you can plan the best trip up there too!

Prepare for Traffic & Crowds

Let’s just get this out of the way… there’s going to be traffic and crowds! it’s going to happen. You’re visiting farmlands full of a lot of two lane roads that are seeing more traffic now than any other time of the year. So just go into your adventure knowing it’s going to happen, make some good Pandora stations and you’ll be justtt fine. Obviously, the weekends are the most packed — especially on those rare sunny April days too so just be prepared for that. If you happen to have a job with days off during the week, I’ve heard that’s a great time to go, but most of us end up going on the weekends so.. yep you guessed it that crowd part comes into play. Everyone just wants to see those pretty flowers so give each other a break and just acknowledge the inevitable. That being said, we got there around 11am on a Sunday and the traffic wasn’t bad at all and we easily got a parking space. Realistically you’re not going to be there more than an hour or two so people luckily are in and out. The fields can get crowded but they’re so big that there’s plenty of room for everyone! We’re not talking Times Squares packed 😜

Pick Which Field You’re Going To

The next big question is which farm to go to. There are two main ones, Tulip Town and Roozengaarde and they’re not too far from each other. We went to Tulip Town for our trip, but the main differences I’ve heard are Roozengaarde’s fields are a lot bigger and Tulip Town is smaller (but still big) but they have a lot more color variety. Tulip Town also has an indoor display and some other family friendly activities too. I don’t think you can really go wrong whichever you decide though and the next time I go I’ll probably go to Roozengaarde so I can report on both! Their hours are a little different, but everything else is pretty similar so feel free to check out the info below to make your decision!

Roozengaarde

https://www.tulips.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids under 5 free

9am-7pm 7 days a week

Free parking

Tulip Town

https://tuliptown.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids 6-11 $5, kids under 5 free

Hours: 9am-5pm 7/days a week

Free parking

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Bring Cash

As someone who doesn’t carry cash much these days, this would be a time to make sure you have some on hand. Tulip Town only takes cash at their entrance gate (they do accept cards inside though) so my recommendation is to get some before heading there. Plus, often at events like this it can just be easier to have on hand in case places don’t take cards. FYI, they also don’t sell tickets online in advance — you’ll buy them at the gardens.

Pack the Rain Boots

It’s April in Washington… I think we’re one of the states that invented the phrase, “April showers, brings May flowers”. While we definitely get some solid sun in April, remember you’re visiting farms so when it rains during the week, it can still be pretty muddy days after. So I definitely recommend packing rain boots if you have them. I didn’t actually end up needing them when we visited, but I’m glad I had them on hand just in case because there were definitely a lot of spots that were super muddy. I’d double-down on this advice if you have kids too because.. well… kids!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Respect the Fields

Now, don’t worry you’re going to get all of the picture-perfect Instagram pictures you want… but remember to also respect the fields. There are signs everywhere to not walk down the rows, buttttt let’s just say a lot of people ignored that and being a true 1 on the Enneagram scale, you know I had to bring some attention to that! So here’s the deal, stay out of the rows! They say you can step 1-2 feet into them to get your photos, but any further than that you risk stepping on other bulbs and damaging future crops. Just don’t do it. RoozenGaarde did a great post on their Facebook page with more info and tips for getting the pics you want while protecting the fields.

Make a Day Trip out of your Visit

After you take in all the views at the fields, I recommend sticking around for a bit! Living south, I don’t get up north that often and in our experience, the traffic was a lot worse heading south than getting to the fields — so if you have the time make your adventure a day trip! Growing up in a farm town, I appreciate the slower pace that some of these towns offer so they were fun to explore. The tulip festival website is a great resource to find something that fits your fancy!

Evan had won a raffle at one of our local restaurant/bars of goodies from a brewery called Chuckanut Brewery that happened to be really close to the fields so we opted to check them out! We visited their South Nut tap room and it was great! Loved the farm vibes and the beer was solid!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

There were quite a few winery or tap rooms in the area so if that’s you’re kind of thing you are in luck! You’re also only about 20 minutes for Anacortes or Deception Pass (or both) if you’re looking for some more options. Which, of course we were ready to check out alllll of the places!

Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island and is such a cute little coastal town with gorgeous views! There’s also a lot of local restaurants , fun little shops, and outdoor activities. We kind of just poked around the downtown area and drove through some of the neighborhoods which were so adorbs!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

We also decided to stop by Deception Pass because it was so close! It’s about 15 minutes from Anacortes and 20 straight from the tulip farms. The pass is most notorious for its bridge which connects Fidalgo and Whibey Islands and apparently is one of the most photographed locations in the state. For good reason too, it’s gorgeous! We drove over the bridge and then made a pit stop at Deception Pass State Park where you can park and walk along the beaches under the bridge and just take it all in. Because it’s a state park, you will need a Discover Pass unless you visit on one of the free days — they are two in April so check their calendar!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Then our last stop of the day was to the Shrimp Shack. By this point in the day, we were getting hungry and had passed it on our way to Deception Pass so we decided to stop on the way back. We weren’t the only ones either, the place was hopping! We went for a basket of shrimp, but if you’re into oysters they’re known for their Oyster burger. They have a ton of options that are all local too so definitely worth a stop if seafood is your thing.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

I hope these tops have been helpful! The tulips are truly gorgeous so I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. Plus, the area up there in general is just such a breath of fresh air so it’s worth a visit even outside of tulip season. These days, I’m such a sucker for exploring smaller adorable towns and just taking in all that Washington has to offer and this adventure definitely fit the bill.

When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

I love being back in the PNW for mannyyy reasons that's for sure, but one of my favs is being able to hop in my car and drive whereverrrr the road may take me. Now don't get me, weekend getaways are totally possible in NYC and something I did take advantage of quite a bit, but being able to hop in your own car and just drive?! That feels dang near magical to me after so many years without a car -- 7 to be exact. So now that I'm back on the west coast I'm basically a born-again 16-year-old who just got her license and I'm still loving every second of it even a year later.

One of my favorite places to adventure to over the years has always been Portland, and now that it's a mere 2.5 hours away (traffic cooperating) you will certainly find me roaming my old hood quite a bit more. And can I please tell you... I swear every time I visit, the city gets a little cooler. Now I know some of the lifers might disagree with all of the growth Portland has had in the last decade, but personally, I love it. So much so, that if I didn't promise my Mom that I'd never move out of state again that I def wouldn't rule out moving south again. 😜#realtalk

So what is it about Portland that is so great? To me, it's a great sized city that has the amenities of big-city living, while still not feeling overwhelming and not being totally terrifying to drive in if you don't know where you're going. Plus it has an amazing food scene (you know me!), arts, culture, and it's still very walkable and accessible. I also happen to know some super awesome people down there so it always gets some extra bonus points for that too! The vibe in Portland is just really great and I only think it has gotten better with time. So that being said, what the heck are my fav places to visit when I'm there? Well today I'm sharing some of my must-visit spots no matter how short of a trip I'm on, which this weekend was less than 36 hours. 

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

Pine State Biscuits

If there is one place I pretty much always visit when I'm in town (and take everyone I'm visiting with to) it's Pine State Biscuits. Truly this place is heaven on a biscuit and the onlyyyy place around that I would wait an hour in the rain for. And trust me, when I lived in NYC we didn't wait on places and I've liked to stick to that mentality, but Pine State.. Oh I'll wait. Kathy originally introduced me to Pine State at least 10 years ago after seeing it featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives when they just had a little hole in the wall spot off of SE Belmont and I've been ordering everything off the menu ever since at their now 3 larger locations + their spot at the Farmers Market. At this point I have a few go-tos, although occasionally I'll branch out, or let's be real, someone I'm with will order something else and I'll sneak a bite or two. It's hard to venture from my favs though because they're just THAT good. So what are my go-to's? I'm talking about the McIsley, the Pine State Fried Club and the Reggie Deluxe when I'm feeling real indulgent.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

Powell's Books

Is it even a Portland trip if you don't stop by Powell's? Not in my books. Get it?! I'm a funny one... I, along with a million other people, have such a soft spot for this bookstore. It hails that it is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world and even if it wasn't I'd still love it. The bookshelves in here just go on and on and on and I love everything about it. One of my favorite things to do when I lived in Portland (and now when I visit) is to wander the halls and find a little corner in the astrology section and check out alllll of the books. Seriously.. I used to spend hours here. It doesn't matter what kind of book you're looking for either, they're going to have it and the best selection at that. Plus they have some really awesome events take place there and all and all it's just a rad place to spend an afternoon.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Now back to food, because, well you know who's writing this right!? Another one of my favorite places to stop when I'm in Portland (or Eugene if I'm catching a Ducks game) is VooDoo Doughnuts. You can find a lot of good donuts on the west coast, sorry east coast but we win at this... and VooDoo sits at the top of my list. If you're interested in some of the other great options locally as well, Little Duck did an awesome Portland Donut Crawl blog post that's worth a read too! Personally though, if I had to only pick one, VooDoo it is. I just love the novelty and the just delicious, fun and not overly fancy flavored donuts. Solid deliciousness. Insider tip too, if you want to stand in line foreves hit up the location downtown, but if you want to get in and out with a box full of your favs and a cute Instagrammable wall then you need to hit up their NE Davis VooDoo Doughnut Too location.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

NW 23rd Ave in the Alphabet District

Awww my old neighborhood! I mean I don't want to brag, actually yes I will brag for a sec, I've been pretty darn lucky to live in some of the best neighborhoods in the cities I've lived in. NW Portland, The Upper East Side in NYC, and the Stadium District in Tacoma. Heck yes! And this neighborhood, well it's truly one of my favs because it is just so stinking cute! I lived off of NW 23rd Avenue in the Alphabet District and it's one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon. When I moved there my mom called it her "happy place" and it's def still makes my list as well. Adorable shops, delicious food, and bars galore.. like what more do you need?

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

NW 21st Ave is a close second too being just a few avenues over too. A greattt option for nightlife too. So many fun memories and truly something for everyone! Some places I definitely always love to stop at are Saint Cupcake -- their mini cupcakes are to die for! One of the McMenamins locations for some cajun tots and Ruby beer and maybe even an extra stop at their bottle shop that's now open at the end of the ave to grab some Ruby to go too! Pssttt, we're actually getting our own McMenamins in Tacoma in 2019 and this girl is PUMPED to have one of my favorite Oregon spots so close! Wherever you go over here you really can't go wrong!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design : When in Portland! 5 Places I Always Stop at When I'm Visiting

Pearl District

Last but not least, another one of my favorite neighborhoods to wander is the Pearl District. After a trip to Powell's of course! (It's nearby) I'm such a sucker for repurposed factories and industrial vibes mixed with new construction and the Pearl combines all of that. Pair that with great options for Happy Hour, art galleries and some seriously amazing food and it has me feeling a little fancy! I worked at the neighborhood Safeway while finishing up college and just fell in love with the neighborhood from day 1 and it has only expanded and grown since. So many fun places to visit and it's just a cool pocket of the city.

Now of course, there are SO many more incredible things to do, see and eat in Portland that I could write for dayssss about but these are just a few of my favs that I always try to make it to. If you have some other recs or places you think I'd like definitely drop a comment below!