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Waterfront city is ideal day trip for visitors to Seattle


Sometimes the most interesting getaways are right under your nose and Seattle residents figured out long ago that a quick 15-minute drive just Northwest of the city was well worth a day trip.

That's because Edmonds, Washington, has been built on a prime piece of real estate on the edge of Puget Sound and embodies lots of things people look for when they just want to spend a day exploring and getting their mind off work. Edmonds, in fact, is a great choice for people visiting Seattle because it's a quiet waterfront community that's easy to explore on foot, and because it's the location of the Edmonds-Kingston ferry which provides visitors access to other unique destinations in Puget Sound.

When we travel we always like to get out of the car and explore on foot. Edmonds is that kind of place, offering a quaint downtown packed with boutiques, cafes, shops, galleries and other attractions all closely situated in an area known for its tree-lined streets and small-town USA feel. You can time your visit to Edmonds to visit one of the many local festivals or do as most people do – just take the short drive from the Seattle metro area and park your car for a few hours to enjoy the sights.

In addition to the walkable downtown area, the area has beautiful beaches and Puget Sound views that you don't find just anywhere. It's no wonder with the atmosphere around Edmonds that artists flock to the place and that it's become known as an artist's community.

Art is everywhere downtown as you notice the colorful hanging baskets and vintage street lamps. A great way to explore Edmonds is to take a self-guided walking tour of art throughout the downtown area. In the center of down, you will find the Cedar Dreams, an iconic fountain art installation that tells visitors a story about local history. Murals and sculptures are found throughout the downtown area. If you're in town the third Thursday of the month, you can take the Edmonds Third Thursday Art Walk. And be sure and visit the Edmonds Art Festival Museum.

The Edmonds Center for the Arts is where you can hear the Cascade Symphony Orchestra, Sno-King Chorale and see the Olympic Ballet. Other live theater events are held throughout the year, so be sure and check ahead.

Also, don't forget the Summer Markets, which are held each Saturday May through October.

History is everywhere in Edmonds, too, with a log cabin visitor center welcoming guests to the city and remnants of the past such as the 1920s Art Deco movie theater and the Carnegie Library Historical Museum.

Of course a big part of Edmonds' charm involves its location on the water and the waterfront parks are one big reason people from all over Puget Sound take the short drive to Edmonds. You can fish from a public pier or just throw a towel or portable chair on the beach and completely relax. The views are spectacular and, if you're a boat nut, you'll enjoy seeing all the boats in the impressive Edmonds Marina. If you're a diver, there is a 27-acre underwater park. If you're a dog-lover, you'll be happy to know there is an off-leash area just south of Marina Beach on the waterfront.

Several parks are available for a picnic and some feature multiple walking trails. Visit Yost Park for the trails and a swimming pool; City Park and Hickman Park both have picnic facilities, barbecues and play toys for the kids. Should you be a bird enthusiast, the Edmonds Marsh is a unique urban saltwater estuarine marsh, where you can find over 200 species of birds.

If you think the activities described here are more of a half-day adventure, consider spending the rest of the day taking the short ferry ride from Edmonds over to Kingston where you can explore the Kitsap Peninsula and visit such charming areas as Poulsbo and nearby Bainbridge Island. It's then just another quick ferry ride back from Bainbridge to downtown Seattle, completing an incredible day of Northwest travel with enough photo opportunities to completely exhaust the memory in your camera.

In short, Edmonds is the kind of place that will appeal to anyone hoping to soak up a good measure of Pacific Northwest charm in a gorgeous waterfront environment that just happens to offer activities and attractions the whole family can enjoy.

For more information on Edmonds, phone 425-775-2525 or visit

Photos, from top: Ferry landing at Edmonds; Family enjoys beach outing near Edmonds; downtown Edmonds has lots of colorful shops and restaurans

Photos courtesy of Snohomish County Tourism Bureau

OTHER DESTINATIONS: If you're looking for other Northwest travel ideas, be sure to check out other Northwest Travel Advisor articles on Northwest zoos, Northwest water vacations, Port Townsend and Seattle attractions.

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