It is hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend is already almost here! If you have yet to figure out how to spend your long weekend, you do not have to look any further than your own backyard, as there are plenty of May things to do in Portland. Experience a few of the features that make the city unique, like wonderful wines and beers, the lively biking community and the many flowers found in the city; after all, Portland is the city of roses. It looks like Portland is due to have a fabulous weekend in terms of weather, so there is no better time to get out and explore the city.

Taste or Cycle Your Way Through Portland

Willamette Valley grapes.

Willamette Valley grapes.

Wine and bike enthusiasts rejoice! This long weekend grants to you the opportunity to immerse yourself in either your favorite grapes or the creative world of cycling or a mix of both if you desire. Travel to Williamette Valley for Memorial Weekend in the Wine Country where you can sample wines from over 150 wineries and tasting rooms in the area. Relax and take in stunning views while you taste new wines from your favorite labels, sample food and specialty wine pairings, listen to live music, tour a winery or enjoy a vineyard picnic.

Still from Cyclocross Jump by Patrick Deijkers. Photo courtesy of Filmed by Bike.

Still from Cyclocross Jump by Patrick Deijkers. Photo courtesy of Filmed by Bike.

If bikes and films are more your speed, check out the 13th Annual Filmed by Bike Festival, which features the best bike movies from around the world. The event kicks off with a street party hosted by New Belgium, where attendees can enjoy live entertainment, a speed raffle, a beer garden, a video storytelling booth as well as a photo booth. During the festival, you can get a glimpse into worldwide bicycle cultures by watching these 50 short films that have been produced as close to home as right here in Portland, to as far as way as Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal, Australia, France and Ireland. Throughout the festival there will also be variety of special events each day, such as filmmaker question and answer sessions, a panel discussion on women in cycling and a biking brewery tour with the filmmakers.

Stop to Smell the Flowers and Enjoy the Festivals in the City of Roses

Rose. Credit: Eric Huff.

Rose. Credit: Eric Huff

Celebrate the city of Portland with the CityFair, also known as the Rose Festival. The event opens on May 22 just time for Memorial Day weekend and continues to run for the two subsequent weekends, ensuring you get a chance to enjoy the fair. On the first night of the fair there will be a dance party and concert as well as gigantic fireworks display. The second weekend of the Fair is filled with more music, and activities that are also great for the whole family, like an exotic animal zoo, arts and crafts, and treasures from past festivals in the Rose Festival Museum. This weekend you can also watch the ever popular Starlight Parade that has been a Portland tradition since the early 1900s. About 100 illuminated floats, some of which are even hand built, along with marching bands and other community groups parade down through the city. Festival-goers in the mood to continue partying after parade, can attend the first ever Starlight After-Party in the Rose Festival “RoZone” and dance the night away to Sir Mix-A-Lot, Crazy 8s and Nu Shooz. The third and final weekend is a treat for those interested in all things maritime, as it highlights Fleet Week with ships from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Maritime Forces.

Luckily, all the fun events in Portland do not end with Memorial Day weekend, in fact it is just the beginning. The following weekend starts another renowned festival in the city, the Festival of Flowers, which takes place in the heart of Portland. Every year the Pioneer Courthouse Square collaborates with a local artist or design firm to create a colorful design that spans the Square grounds out of thousands of plants and flowers. This year’s design, titled “Donut Trip” celebrates two Portland classics, coffee and donuts. The design has yet to be created, but the site plan for it looks pretty incredible. While you will want to make sure you catch sight of these flowers when they are on display, the festival is followed by a flower sale where you can cheaply purchase the plants used to make the design.

More May 2015 Things to Do in Portland

This time of year is all about taking in the culture of the city and enjoying the longer, warmer days by finding more activities to do outdoors, and there are a number of May things to do in Vancouver, BC that can help you do exactly that. Celebrate the arts by attending some of the many art festivals and performances around town. Likewise, get ready for summer by visiting a farmers market to stock up on fresh, local goodies or by attending a beer and tequila festival to discover what drinks you should have on hand for your summer barbecues and parties. Whether you are entertaining or want to be entertained, there is no shortage of things to do this month.

Discover Local Brews and Foods at Farmers Markets and Festivals

Raspberries at the West End Farmers Market. Creative Commons Licensed by Jennifer.

Raspberries at the West End Farmers Market. Creative Commons Licensed by Jennifer

One of the best things about this time of the year is the return of farmers markets. Most of Vancouver’s farmers markets open this month, with a few opening in June, so you can peruse through the stalls for fresh produce, meats, flowers as well as artisan food and arts and crafts. The Richmond Night Market is also now open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 12. The market features a variety of goods, with 80+ food vendors and 250+ retailers. You can also expect to find live entertainment and carnival rides.

Taps at Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

Taps at Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Beer Week

If you are looking for some new brews to wet your whistle this summer, indulge in Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which runs from May 29 to June and features a lumberjack theme this year. Whether or not lumberjacks are your thing, the week’s proceedings certainly will be, as the festival includes 60 breweries, over 30 venues and more beer events and tastings than you can you can imagine. The week kicks off with an opening night gala where attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited craft beer samples and canapés from the CRAFT Beer market. Other events throughout the week include a rare brews and barbecue tasting, a trivia night, sandwich and beer paring, a Belgian beer showcase, sour beer paired with six food courses, fruit beer tastings and more.

However, if you prefer your beverages slightly harder, there is also the Vancouver International Tequila Expo that features over 25 tequila and mescal brands. Better yet, tickets to the festival get you 20 tokens to use for drink samples.

Take in Vancouver’s Arts and Culture

Vancouver International Childrens Festival. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver International Childrens Festival.

Vancouver International Childrens Festival. Photo Courtesy of Vancouver International Childrens Festival

This May there are also a number of opportunities to take in Vancouver’s arts scene with performances and art shows. Enjoy a show set in a forest full of whimsical and enchanted creatures with Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai. To check out visual arts, head to Art! Vancouver the first international art fair to be held in Vancouver, which is designed to showcase fine arts like paintings, sculptures and photography. During the festival collectors and visitors can go guided art tours, listen to lectures from prominent art professionals and see musical acts.

There’s even a chance for kids to experience arts and culture, with the International Children’s Festival. Performances include stories by Anne Glover featuring a woven loop of string, an extravaganza of circus, music, theatre and comedy all rolled in to one show put on by Les Parfaits Inconnus, French-Canadian folk music and a puppet show. Kids also have the opportunity to get an the action by learning circus skills, exploring a musical maze or playground, playing string games, creating origami or bicycle spin-art or getting their face’s painted.

More May 2015 Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

Orca

Credit: Justine Buckmaster / Clipper Vacations Naturalist

On May 22, we will kick off our annual Whale Watching and Sealife Search excursions. Departing directly from the Seattle waterfront, these trips include 2.5 hours of whale watching followed by two hours in Friday Harbor.

The Victoria Clipper III is the only whale watching vessel that departs from Seattle. It features three viewing decks with both outdoor and enclosed options. Whether in the open air or behind large windows on the enclosed decks, passengers will be guided by an experienced naturalist as they search for orcas, minkes, humpbacks and more. At 25 knots, the speed of the Victoria Clipper III allows the captain to track whales more easily.

Victoria Clipper III

Victoria Clipper III with three viewing decks, over 200 feet of rail space and a 360 degree viewing deck.

This has been a very exciting year for the Southern Resident Orcas so far. A number of new orca calves have been born in both the Southern Resident Orca pods and the Transient orca pods. One of the newest additions to J pod, dubbed J50, has been confirmed to be the calf of 42-year-old J16. This makes J16 the oldest known orca mother! There have been new additions to the Transient pods as well. In April, Clipper naturalist Justine Buckmaster spotted transient calf T75B1 with mother T75B just north of Friday Harbor.

With all of these additions to the local orca pods, we are thrilled to see them all in action this summer. To ensure you catch sight of these beautiful marine mammals yourself, get a jump start on planning your summer activities and book this fun and exciting day trip, which is available from $99 pp for adults and $25 for children 11 and under when booked at least one day in advance. If you want to have more time to explore the San Juan Islands, you can extend your visit by upgrading to our Overnight Package.

Orca in Puget Sound. Credit: Justine Buckmaster / Clipper Vacations Naturalist

Orca in Puget Sound. Credit: Justine Buckmaster / Clipper Vacations Naturalist

There have been some pretty lovely, sunny weekends in Seattle the past couple of weeks, which causes to us to excitedly anticipate the even warmer weeks ahead and the opportunity to get out and explore the region we call home. In case is this not enough to get you in the spirit of summer, there are a variety of fun May things to do in Seattle itself as well as the areas surrounding the city.

The beginning of Memorial Day weekend kicks off one of our favorite times of year – whale watching season! Hop on the Clipper III to enjoy a Whale Watching & Sealife Search Day Trip or overnight to join a trained onboard naturalist to look for orca, minke and humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, seals and migratory birds. During the trip you will also have time to dine, shop, kayak in Friday or explore other things to do in the San Juans. However, there are not just whales to look forward to this month, but also all kinds of concerts, festivals and fairs. If you have not started planning your Memorial Day weekend festivities yet, now is the time!

Relax at an Outdoor Concert

Northwest Folklife Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Seattle Municipal Archives.

Northwest Folklife Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Seattle Municipal Archives

Now that the days are longer and warmer, there is no better way to spend a spring or summer evening than outdoors on a picnic blanket with your friends listening to music. The Washington state concert season begins with two popular events on either side of the state. In Seattle, there is the Northwest Folklife Festival , a celebration of ethnic, folk and traditional art, crafts and music held over Memorial Day weekend. The event features performances from North American and European traditional musicians from a variety of genres such as Irish, Quebecois, Old-Time, music and dance showcases and a Discovery Zone with family-friendly hands-on activities and workshops.

Meanwhile, Sasquatch! is held on the eastern side of the state during the same weekend. During this three-day festival attendees can camp out at the Gorge and watch performances by Modest Mouse, Lana Del Rey, Ryan Adams, Of Monsters and Men, The Decemberists, Spoon, Milky Chance and more. Whatever venue you visit, you can expect a weekend full great music and stunning views of the city and Space Needle or the Gorge and Columbia River.

Discover New Neighborhoods by Attending a Festival

University District Streetfair. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel.

University District Streetfair. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel

In addition to being the beginning of the concert season, spring and summer are also peak season for festivals and fairs. These events run the gamut from film to food and are located all over the greater Seattle area. As a result, you can simultaneously do something fun and check out a neighborhood you have never visited. Venture over to Coupeville on Whidbey Island to celebrate the Penn Cover Water Festival, where you can enjoy Native American food and some of the tasty mussels the region is famous for, watch tribal canoe races as well as Native storytelling, dance performances and arts and crafts. While you are in town, make sure to check out the historic Coupeville Wharf that houses a number of shops, restaurants and even a gray whale skeleton. Likewise, there is the University District 46th Annual Streetfair, which is the longest running street fair in the US and features music, arts and over 300 craft and food vendors. If you don’t find enough goods to suit your fancy, you can also continue shopping on the Ave or head over to University Village for designer apparel and home decor.

Although many May days are glorious, there are still the occasional rainy ones mixed in, which is a great time to check out new films at the 2015 SIFF International Film Festival. The festival begins on May 14 and runs until June 7, providing you with plenty of time to catch the movies you want to see. This year, SIFF has broken the movies into categories based on moods like “Love,” “Make Me Laugh,” “Thrill Me,” “Show Me the World” and more so you can find something that suits you.

More May 2015 Things to Do in Seattle

Victoria's Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Credit: Natalie Ortiz

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us and with it comes lots of great ways to spend time in Victoria. From farmers markets to boat races, there are tons of great things to do in Victoria this month.

Swiftsure International Yacht Race

The 72nd annual Swiftsure International Yacht Race kicks off on May 23 in Victoria, offering three thrilling days of sailboat races for participants and spectators alike. Thousands will flock to Victoria’s Inner Harbour to watch more than 175 vessels compete in five races over Memorial Day Weekend. Races begin 9:00am Saturday, with festivities running from Thursday through Sunday.

Victoria Public Market 

If the Swiftsure festivities have left you famished, swing by the Victoria Public Market. Located in the ground floor of the iconic Hudson Bay Co. building, the Public Market is home to an incredible assortment of both pre-made foods and ingredients that are sure to please. The Market is open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm and 11:00am-5:00pm on Sunday.

Night at the Museum: Gold Rush!

Step into the shoes of a prospector or adventurer! The Royal BC Museum is hosting “Night at the Museum: Gold Rush!” on May 23-24 from 6:30pm-9:00am. This special event features a thrilling night of activities, games and more. The night will include a hunt for gold nuggets, a special IMAX screening and a behind the scenes tour of the museum! Admission is $80 per person with a 10% member discount.

More May Things to Do in Victoria

 

 

One of the reasons Seattle is one of the most visited cities in the Northwest is because there is a seemingly endless array of free things to do in Seattle. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, foodie or art lover, you are sure to find an activity or tour that is perfect for you. Even better, there plenty of attractions that are completely free, allowing you to explore popular sights without spending a dime.

Attractions Abound Around the Sound

Space Needle and International Fountain at the Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen.

Space Needle and International Fountain at the Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen

Stroll the grounds of Seattle Center to view the Space Needle (however, there is a fee to travel to the top) or splash around in the International Fountain on warm days. One of Seattle’s other famous landmarks, Pike Place Market, is also free to visit. Stop by and say “hi” to Rachel the Piggy Bank, the mascot of the Market and then watch the fish throwers (who are well-known for their teamwork) toss fish and other seafood across their stand. Wander through the rest of the market to enjoy everything from flowers to handcrafted arts and crafts to fresh produce and artisanal food (often times you can even snag a free sample or two). While you are in the area, make sure to stop by the Gum Wall on the outside of the Market Theater, which is found in Post Alley under the market. Although the wall may not be the cleanliest of attractions, its uniqueness and bright colors make it a popular and often photographed attraction that has even appeared in movies.

Fremont Troll. Photo Courtesy Alex C. Chang.

Fremont Troll. Photo Courtesy Alex C. Chang

Northwest of the city you will find the famous Fremont Troll under the Fremont bridge. The troll clutches an old Volkswagen Beetle in one hand and keeps an eye on visitors with his one good eye created out of a metal hubcap. You are welcome to climb all over the 18-foot troll and take pictures with him, which is sure to delight kids.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

Not too far away, you will also find the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, which enables boats to travel between Puget Sound and the Ship Canal. The ability to raise and lower the water level in the Locks to allow ships to pass is an interesting and unique process and is fun for both locals and visitors to watch. The Locks also feature beautiful grounds filled with plants and flowers and a fish ladder where you can watch salmon jump to reach either fresh or salt water.

Plenty of Parks

Green Lake. Creative Commons Licensed by Steven Pavlov.

Green Lake. Creative Commons Licensed by Steven Pavlov

Seattle’s moderate climate results in a number of lush and beautiful parks to explore. While they are fun to visit any time of year, they are simply stunning during Seattle’s spectacular summer season. Walk, jog, bike or skate around Green Lake or swim and boat in the lake itself and play soccer, basketball, Frisbee and picnic in nearby grassy fields. On the other hand, plant lovers will enjoy the Washington Park Arboretum that has at least 200 acres of flowers, plants and trees from around the world.

Gas wWrks Park. Photo Courtesy Jeff Tisaacs.

Gas Works Park. Photo Courtesy Jeff Tisaacs

If you are after iconic views of Seattle, head to Gas Works Park on Lake Union, Kerry Park on Queen Anne or Alki Beach Park in West Seattle, all of which are great for photo ops.

Experience Seattle’s Rich Culture

Olympic Sculpture Park in the snow. Photo Courtesy Jeffery Cohen.

Olympic Sculpture Park in the snow. Photo Courtesy Jeffery Cohen

In addition to sightseeing and parks, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the culture of Seattle and take in the fantastic arts scene. Discover interesting sculptures at the waterfront’s nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park while taking in views of the Puget Sound and Cascade Mountain Range. If you want to spend more time on the water without actually traveling out of the city, stop by The Center for Wooden Boats where admission is free and you can walk the docks, explore and browse maritime exhibits.

If you happen to be in town on a rainy day, visit the Frye Art Museum, where admission and parking are also always free. The museum contains a variety of paintings and sculptures from the 19th century to present day and holds regular workshops and art classes where you can learn how to create your own fine art. A number of other museums in the Seattle area have free admission on the first Thursday of each month, such as the Seattle Art Museum, Burke, Wing Luke Museum, Museum of Flight, Museum of History and Industry.

The Hammering Man outside of Seattle Art Museum. Creative Commons Licensed by Natokh.

The Hammering Man outside of Seattle Art Museum. Creative Commons Licensed by Natokh

No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find a variety of free things to do in Seattle that you and your whole family will enjoy. Discover unique neighborhoods by exploring local farmers markets or study the amazing architecture (and the many books) of the Seattle Public Library if you are in need of a quiet moment. Still need more ideas on ways to fill your time? Check out this list of things to do in Seattle.

This is a guest post from Kathy at Copperworks Distilling Company. Copperworks is a Seattle craft distillery and the latest addition to the Victoria Clipper duty free shop beginning May 8. They will also be joining us onboard select departures May 14 serving signature cocktails, sharing recipes and answering questions. 

Wander down the Seattle waterfront before or after your Victoria Clipper cruise, just past the Seattle Great Wheel, and you’ll come to Copperworks Distilling Company. We’re a locally owned, small-batch distillery that produces gin, vodka and whiskey, right there on the waterfront.

Copperworks Distilling Company

Copperworks tasting room and stills. The copper stills were handcrafted in Scotland tailored to Copperworks unique process. Photo courtesy of Copperworks Distilling Company

Pop into the tasting room and the first thing you’ll see is four gigantic copper stills. You can taste Copperworks award-winning gin and distinctive vodka, and we typically have a limited-edition aged gin available for tasting as well. Distillery tours are offered on weekends.

Our single malt whiskey is aging in barrels with expected release sometime in 2016. So no tasting of that yet, but you can learn how we make our whiskey and see the big wall of oak barrels where it’s aging.

At the heart of the distillery are four huge, gleaming copper stills that were hand-built by expert coppersmiths in the highlands of Scotland. While traditional in design, they were tailored specifically for our unique processes and the ingredients we’ve chosen.

Copperworks Distilling Company

Copperworks tasting room is located on Seattle’s waterfront. Photo courtesy of Copperworks Distilling Company

All Copperworks’ spirits are distilled from a high-quality craft beer, made from a base of Washington-grown malted barley. Malted barley is the most expensive ingredient to base spirits on, but we believe it produces the most flavorful, high-quality spirits.

And beer is the first love and area of expertise of our two co-owner/distillers, Jason Parker and Micah Nutt. Jason has a long history in the Seattle brewing industry, starting as the first brewer for Pike Place Brewing (now Pike Brewing Company) and ultimately working as Brewmaster for Pyramid Breweries. Micah is an experienced and creative home brewer. They now apply their knowledge and love of malted barley, and craft beer, to producing flavorful distilled spirits.

Copperworks Distilling Company

Co-owner/distillers Jason and Micah running the still. Photo courtesy of Copperworks Distilling Company

Copperworks opened its doors in late 2013 and now more than 100 restaurants and bars in the Seattle area serve craft cocktails using Copperworks spirits. And we’re excited to be joining the duty-free shelves on the Victoria Clipper.

We’re proud to be one of many distilleries in the Seattle area and across Washington State. It’s a new industry for the state, but Seattle already has more distilleries than any city in the U.S. A huge variety of clear spirits, whiskeys, brandies, liqueurs and more are produced by more than 20 distilleries located in the greater Seattle area. There are a lot of spirits tasting and distillery tours to enjoy here!

Gin-Gin Mule

The vodka-based Moscow Mule is all the rage right now. But gin also goes very nicely with ginger. This is an easy and tasty variation of the classic – and no copper mug required!

1.5 oz. Copperworks Gin
.75 oz. simple syrup
.75 oz. lime juice
2 oz. ginger beer
8 – 10 mint leaves
Garnish: sprig of mint

Gently muddle the lime juice, simple syrup, and mint in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add gin and ice, shake well. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer and a sprig of mint.

Copperworks Distilling Company

1250 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA  98101
206.504.7604
www.CopperworksDistilling.com

Happy spring! Even though we are already halfway through the month, there are still plenty of April things to do in Vancouver. Celebrate the joys of spring by taking in flowers at the Cherry Blossom Festival, going for a run, attending one of the many arts festivals around the city or cheering on the home team – the Vancouver Canucks – as they head in to the first round of playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Cheer on the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Vancouver Canucks hockey game. Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung.

Vancouver Canucks hockey game. Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

April promises to be an exciting time in Vancouver, as the Vancouver Canucks head into the first round of 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Calgary Flames. The first two games of the series will be held on April 15 and April 17 at Roger’s Stadium in Vancouver, while the second two games will at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. After missing out on the playoffs last year, the city of Vancouver is thrilled to be hosting the beginning of the playoffs and to have their team back in the action. However, the series will be close fought, as the Vancouver Canucks are ranked 5th in the NHL and are 2nd in the Pacific Division, while the Calgary Flames are ranked 6th in the NHL and are 3rd in the Pacific Division. Interestingly, the Vancouver Sun reports “every time the Canucks and Flames have met in a first-round series, the winner has advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.” We hope this is harbinger for the Canuck’s success and will be watching the next four games with baited breath, while cheering on the team.

From Photography, to Fashion, to Cuisine, the Arts Reign Supreme

Pentax Camera. Creative Commons Licensed by  Martin Taylor.

Pentax Camera. Creative Commons Licensed by Martin Taylor

The Stanley Cup playoffs are a huge event, but this month the city of Vancouver is also all about the arts. In fact, this there is a festival for almost every type of art you can imagine from culinary to performing arts, and everything in between. As Vancouver has produced some of contemporary art’s best photographers, there is no better than kick off a month’s work of art-related events than with a festival dedicated to photography. Called Capture, the festival is a celebration of local and international photography and lens-based art, featuring exhibitions at art galleries around the city, public installations and a series of community-based workshops, tours and arts talks. Whether you are a photographer or simply interested in learning more art of photography, this festival is sure to please.

Canstruction design from Disney.  Creative Commons Licensed by Chakshu101.

Canstruction design from Disney. Creative Commons Licensed by Chakshu101

If you are interested in design and giving back to the community and the world, there a two fascinating events this April that will likely leave you inspired. First up is Eco Fashion Week, which focuses on creating a more sustainable fashion with zero textile waste. In addition to viewing the beautiful collections created by the participating designers, one of the best parts of Eco Fashion Week checking out special challenge assignments such as the “Thrift Chic Challenge” or “68 Pound Challenge” that require designers to create collections from thrift store finds or repurpose old clothes into new outfits. Secondly, there is Canstruction Vancouver, which challenges teams of architects, engineers and designers to construct giant sculptures made entirely out of canned food. After the structures are built, they are viewable to the public as art exhibits. Last year’s creations included incredible designs like a huge traveling gnome, a Lego spaceman, hot air balloon, oyster and more! When the contest is over, all canned food is donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Banks. Stop by either event to see what innovative designs they come up with this year.

Samosas at EAT! Vancouver. Creative Commons Licensed by Kris Krug.

Samosas at EAT! Vancouver. Creative Commons Licensed by Kris Krug

Last, but not least, at the end of April through the beginning of May foodies will have the opportunity to eat their heart out at EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival. This week-long event showcases Vancouver’s extraordinary culinary culture and is the largest food festival in Canada. At the Eat! Vancouver, you will get to experience and taste Vancouver’s vibrant cuisine as well as great food from around the world, participate in hands-on workshops, attend collaborative chef dinner with some of the top chefs in Canada and watch as some of the best chefs and bar tenders in the country faceoff in fast-paced competitions.

The abundance of sporting and arts events occurring in Vancouver this spring will provide you with a chance to explore the vibrant and diverse culture of the city. Likewise, the variety of April things to do in Vancouver is just a taste of the exciting events to come during the warmer summer months.

More April Things to Do in Vancouver

If you are looking for April things to do in Seattle, all you have to remember this month are the four “Fs” – flowers, fairs, food and, of course, fun! The early spring weather has caused flowers to bloom around the greater Seattle area, and there are several festivals happening this month to celebrate them. April also features events that allow you to sample the delicious cuisine Seattle is known for or provide a chance to get the kids out of the house to make new friends. Whatever your interests are, you are sure to find plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Tulip Fields. Credit: Melissa Sitrin.

Skagit ValleyTulip Fields. Credit: Melissa Sitrin

The perennial favorite Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has begun! With the aforementioned early spring the area has been experiencing, the flowers are already in full bloom, the valley appearing as though it has been covered with rainbow colored blankets. Stop by the RoozenGaarde to view the beautifully landscaped display garden that features a Dutch windmill and is filled will 100+ tulip varieties as well as daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, iris and specialty flowers. Behind the display garden is an additional 25 acre field filled with tulips and a 15 acre daffodil field. If you would like to see more manicured tulip displays, visit Tulip Town, which features expansive fields, gardens filled with unusual and hybridized tulips and indoor show featuring tulip bouquets set in front of painted murals.

In addition to the paid gardens, there are also many other fields that allow you to admire the flowers without paying a fee. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, try visiting the fields mid-week if possible. The festival runs the entire month of April, but since the flowers bloomed earlier this year, the earlier in the month you come, the more color and blossoms you will see. Make sure to plan your visit soon so you don’t miss the show.

Delight in Seattle Cuisine

Beecher's Cheese, one of the many tasty samples you will find at the Arcade Lights Festival. Courtesy of Savor Seattle.

Beecher’s Cheese, one of the many tasty samples you will find at the Arcade Lights Festival. Courtesy of Savor Seattle

Another much loved favorite, Seattle Restaurant Week, returns this month. With over 165 restaurants offering 3 course meals for only $30, you have the chance to visit any of the restaurants that were on your fall list that you did not make it to or revisit old favorites. If Restaurant Week is not enough to get your mouth watering, check out the Arcade Lights Tasting Festival at Pike Place Market. During this one night extravaganza, you will get to sample artisan food (you can expect both savory and sweet bites) along with craft beer, Washington wine and other drinks from over 60 local food and drink purveyors.

If you are looking for a little adventure along with your food, Argosy Cruises resumes their Tillicum Village Cruises and Salmon Bake mid-month. This trip transports you from the Seattle waterfront to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. Upon your arrival to the Village, you will served steaming calms and nectar followed by a buffet of alder wood smoked salmon. After the meal, you will be treated to a one-of-a-kind performance by the Tillicum Village dancers. You will also have time after the show to explore, shop or take a stroll on trails and beaches before cruising back to Seattle.

Enjoy Time with Your Whole Family at Fairs and Festivals

International Fountain at Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen.

International Fountain at Seattle Center. Creative Commons Licensed by Dimi Talen

Spring is a great time to get kids who have been cooped up inside all winter out of the house. Take your family to the Spring Fair at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe to get outdoors. You’ll be able to see baby animals, pig races, a garden show and a demolition derby and enjoy rides and fair food.

There are also a few kid-friendly events taking place at the Seattle Center this month. The Seattle Center Whirligig! festival kicked off on April 3, and will run until April 19. This event is full of supersized inflatable rides, juggling, storytelling and live music that is sure to keep kids 12 entertained and busy for hours – an excellent way to get rid of any excess energy. Whirligig! Is closely followed by the Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival, which celebrates the ethnic heritages of children at the festival through music, ballet and folk dance. Not only is this festival is a great way to teach children about other cultures, but it also and encourages kids to become friends with people from all backgrounds.

More April Things to Do in Seattle

The Butchart Gardens' Japanese Gardens in the spring. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

The Butchart Gardens’ Japanese Gardens in the spring. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

Spring has definitely sprung in Victoria. The results of last month’s 39th Annual Flower Count have been tallied, and Victoria is proud report a whopping 17,257,368, 541 blooms, with the Bloomingest Community being awarded to the City of Colwood for the second straight year. Of course admiring the beautiful flowers is just one of many April things to do in Victoria. Earth Day is on April 19 this year, and there is no better way to celebrate than to get outdoors. Go for a bike ride, nature walk or hike through local forests, the options are endless!

Take Victoria by Bike

Bikes all ready to go. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours.

Bikes all ready to go. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours

Bicyclists rejoice! On April 19th, Victoria will be hosting the 5th Annual Saanich Cycling Festival. The event kicks off with the BIG Family Bike Ride at 11:00 am, which is 5 km mass participation bike ride along the Shelbourne Corridor to celebrate Earth Day 2015. To ensure younger children are also able to participate in the Earth Day ride, there is a shorter Kids Bike Ride for riders age six and under. During the festival there will also be stage entertainment, a bike rodeo, a biking skills challenge, face painting, a bouncy obstacle course and giant slide and even a treasure hunt with a bike as the prize.

If you are not able to attend the festival, there are still more biking adventures to be had in Victoria on several new cycling tours. Travel through Victoria’s historic and unique neighborhoods on the Bicycle Tour of Castles, Hoods and Legends. During the tour you will be able to take in scenic views of the Dallas waterfront, imposing mansions and the tallest totem pole in the world. You will stop at, and have the opportunity to explore, popular landmarks like Craigdarroch Castle, Chinatown, Beacon Hill and Cook Street Village.

Cyclists looking out to sea. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours.

Cyclists looking out to sea. Photo courtesy of The Pedaler Bike Tours

Cycling enthusiasts who also enjoy a good brew can experience some of the best craft beer in Victoria with the Hoppy Hour by Bicycle tour. Along your bike ride through Victoria, you will stop at three distinct breweries where you can sample the taps. If you want to continue the fun after the ride and try even more delicious beers, your guides will point you in the right direction. Finally, families of all ages, but particularly those with young riders will enjoy Family Fun on Bicycles, which can be tailored to the ages and skill levels of your kids and take you to visit petting zoos, feed seals, fly kites or check out native heritage sites.

More to Explore in the Victoria Outdoors

Redwood tree. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

Redwood tree. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

The 39th Annual Flower Count may be over, but that does not mean the flowers and the wonderful weather are, in fact this is just the beginning! To celebrate the spring and summer weather, the Capital Region District (CRD) Regional Parks have a variety of naturalist-guided walks and hikes from April through June. Rent a car or take a bus and venture 20-40 minutes outside of Victoria to discover the tall trees of Devonian Regional Park, take in the spring wildflowers of Mill Hill (while learning interesting plant lore), enjoy a forest tea party or bird watch from Island View Beach Regional Park. Most of these guided tours are free and do not require registration unless noted on the tour. There is no better time to get outside, learn something new and explore new regions of Victoria.

More April Things to Do in Victoria

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