Introducing Pacific Northwest
Located on America’s rain-lashed Pacific Rim and characterized by its vibrant, dot-com–fuelled economy, the Pacific Northwest region has stamped its mark on modern world culture like an errant 21st-century Cinderella. Culturally speaking, the manifestations are everywhere. You don’t have to be a guitar-wielding caffeine junkie to have heard of Starbucks coffee or grunge music, while other ingenious northwestern innovations such as Microsoft and Amazon.com have hijacked the technological superhighways everywhere from Beijing to Bratislava.
But it’s not all computer gadgetry and tall dark-roast skinny lattes. Immortalized by their spectacular mountains and vast primeval forests, the states of Washington and Oregon are as spectacular as they are economically vibrant. While some regions exhibit their past glories in buildings and architecture, the Pacific Northwest measures out its history in ancient trees (Washington’s red cedars are older than most of Europe’s medieval castles) and rugged mountain peaks – the snowcapped Cascades, which run like a spine from Canada to California are punctuated by a string of magnificent but menacing volcanoes.
Elsewhere, this robust and famously rainy northwest pocket has embellished the nation with a host of eye-catching and unique geographical features. Encased in four splendid national parks is one of the world’s only temperate rain forests, more glaciers than anywhere else in the lower 48 states and some of America’s most mystical and awe-inspiring mountain peaks.
It’s no small wonder that armies of hard-working Seattleites and Portlanders often switch off their ubiquitous laptops a couple of hours early and head hedonistically for the great outdoors.
Adventures in the Columbia River Gorge
The state border between Oregon and Washington is notable for one thing: a river runs through it. But not just any river – the mighty Columbia, the fourth-largest river in the US, flowing through a massive gorge that’s up to 1219m (4000ft) deep and over 128km (80mi) long.
Pacific Northwest destination guides
Top 10 US travel destinations for 2013
Every year our US-based editors team up with Lonely Planet’s expert authors to compile a list of US destinations that are prime for the next year.
Morning Tour of Boeing Factory from Seattle
Love flying? Now you can tour the factory where they build and test the famous Boeing aircraft, the world's number one aerospace company! This amazing 1.5-hour small-group tour showcases the magnificent 747, 767, 777 aircraft used worldwide and the Dreamliner which is currently in production, all housed here in the world's largest building.
Get the Seattle CityPASS, the best deal in the Emerald City. Your Seattle CityPASS gives you tickets to Seattle's premier attractions including the Space Needle, saving you time and money.
On the road in America: travelling in the US without a car
Travelling in the US without your own wheels doesn’t have to be a form of purgatory. Beat writer, Jack Kerouac, unwitting inventor of the modern American road trip, never owned a car or a driver’s license.