There’s no shortage of fantastic things to do across the Northwest, but I love the ones that are augmented by a cup of local coffee in hand. Some of my favorite combinations involve things you’d normally forget to do otherwise—botanical gardens, sculpture parks and the like all ripe for the visiting (and often free) but overlooked in the busy day-to-day.
In these instances, a cup of freshly brewed coffee in one hand provides the perfect impetus for taking time to explore them. Here are four picks for field trips paired with coffee from a shop nearby.
1) Hop a ferry to Bainbridge Island, then sip Pegasus Coffee on the scenic ride back. Walk on to the 20-minute ferry that chugs across Elliott Bay from Seattle, then dock on Bainbridge Island and walk a half-mile more to Pegasus Coffee House for a freshly roasted brew. The view of the Seattle skyline on the ferry back redefines breathtaking—especially when you bundle up and take the ride as darkness falls. || Seattle & Bainbridge Island, WA
2) Grab coffee at Matchstick and stroll the walkways of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden and Park. Vancouver’s internationally lauded Chinese garden is fantastic to visit in the overcast months thanks to an intertwined system of covered walkways, which let rain cascade down to either side while you stay dry. From here, admire a traditionally harmonious intersection of plants, water, rock and architecture and keep warm with a piping coffee from Matchstick Roasters a few blocks away. || Vancouver
3) Pick up a cup at Columbia River Coffee Roasters and climb aboard the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. Columbia River Coffee’s Christmas-y Frodo’s Cup blend is back for the holidays, infused with ground Mexican chocolate and warm wintry spices like nutmeg. It’s the perfect accompaniment to sight-seeing in the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. For $1 a day, you get what amounts to a hop-on, hop-off guided sight-seeing tour thanks to the Astoria Riverfront Trolley and its well-informed drivers. From the birthplace of cable TV to the old red light district, there seems to be something of intrigue at every stop. || Astoria, OR
4) Stop at Big City Coffee on the short drive to the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Idaho’s historic Penitentiary once locked up some of the West’s most notorious names. Today, the compound’s facilities (ranging from Solitary Confinement cells to gallows) go unused, but make a fascinating $5 way to learn about a rich history including everything from escapes to executions. The site is just a few straight miles down the road from Big City—stop in on the way for a coffee to go. || Boise