Born and raised in Washington for 18 years, I will always call this place home. While I grew up in the Seattle area, I have ventured all throughout the state and discovered the most amazing things it has to offer. However, after 18 years, I needed something new and left for school not realizing how many wondrous things there are to love and miss about Washington. Now, as I am 3,000 miles away, I reminisce on all the things Washington has to give. Here are just a few that I miss dearly when I’m away…
1. Dick’s Drive-In
There is nothing quite like riding up to Dick’s at 1 am and getting two deluxe burgers, fries and a chocolate milkshake, and then sitting in your car singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of your lungs. Dick’s fills not only the stomachs but also the hearts of all Washington natives, and has for 70+ years. Sorry, In-N-Out lovers, but you just can’t compete with this place.
2. The weather
Yes, call me crazy. But it is possible to miss the rain and the gray clouds. There is something so comforting about it that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, you don’t feel like a horribly lazy person for staying indoors all day watching Netflix. However, it’s not always rainy, contrary to popular belief. Seattle boasts all four seasons and each one is as beautiful as the rest.
It pains me when I’m in another state and see “Seattle’s Best Coffee.” It’s true Washington does have the best coffee, but that cafe is not where you’ll find it. Sure, we may be home to Starbucks (don’t hold it against us), but there are about a thousand more amazing coffee shops boasting the best coffee in the nation. Any true Washington native will miss the warmth of an actual good cup of coffee each morning they’re away.
You can find a teriyaki place basically every few blocks around Washington, especially in central cities like Tacoma or Seattle. They’re about as common as gas stations, and for some reason no where else can live up to their standards. These teriyaki restaurants have mastered the thick, savory teriyaki sauce, the salad dressing, and the never ending menu choices to make each trip a perfect one. It’s hard walking down the street and not see the huge signs in red, bold lettering showcasing “TERIYAKI.”
5. The incredible hikes
One great thing about Washington State is that there are a lot of protected land that has been monitored and looked after by the Washington Trails Association. There are hundreds of incredible hikes for virtually any experience level all across the state that you can venture on. From Rattlesnake Ridge, to dozens of trails in the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, and even Mount Ranier, you can find the most beautiful and mesmerizing hikes of all kinds. I’m often left daydreaming of hiking through the green trees up to the tippy-tops of mountain peaks.
6. The mountains
They’re everywhere! No, seriously. We are surrounded between two major mountain ranges (the Cascades and the Olympics). Look out onto the water and across the way they’ll always be on the other side. Their snowcapped peaks and jagged forms never fail to leave you in awe. While we may not compete with the Rocky Mountain States, our mountains give us a beauty of their own that always makes me miss home.
7. Seeing evergreens everywhere
You can see them driving along the highway. You can see them along the neighborhood streets. There are multiple National Parks that are completely covered in them in all shapes and sizes. Washington is so beautifully green (I mean, we’re even labeled the Evergreen State). Sure, palm trees are great and all, but they just don’t compare. Plus, there’s nothing like the smell of fresh evergreen needles.
Everywhere you go in Washington you are either near the ocean, a lake, or a river. Washington State is covered in hidden alpine lakes and while being hugged tightly by the Pacific Ocean. It is all crisp, clean and cold and there’s nothing quite like looking over the water to the other side surrounded by trees and mountains. In a secondary sense, Washington State also has some of the best drinking water in the nation. Sip on that.
9. The laid-back vibes (and people)
While I know you can find nice people anywhere you go, everyone in Washington is always so welcome and kind. Not only that, they are super chill. People will smile at you on the sidewalk, you can wear a flannel and sweats without judgement and you can spend hours at a coffee shop talking with whomever. Any Washingtonian will know what I’m talking about, and miss the connections Washington people share simply by being from the state.
It’s the #2 best restaurant in the nation according to Yelp and if that isn’t convincing in itself, then I don’t know what is. There’s no place like it and although you likely always have to stand in a 20+ minute line, it is entirely worth it. The smell of sautéed onions, the crunch of the baguette, and the stickiness of your fingers is an experience like no other. And to leave it behind simply breaks hearts.
So there you have it, Washingtonians. I hope I didn’t make you too homesick. We know there’s so much more than just this list that us Washingtonians miss, and that fact alone makes it such a unique and amazing place. The plus side of missing all of this: it makes it that much more exciting to return to. And if you’ve never been to Washington, then I hope I’ve given you some reasons to go.