Festivals & Events

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Happy summer! With so many fabulous, blue-skied days ahead, there is no better time to get out, enjoy your summer and discover all the July things to do in Victoria. You will find hanging baskets bursting with colorful flowers, public markets full of fresh, home grown produce and handcrafted goods and a variety of outdoor concerts and festivals. Whether you are an adventurer or foodie, there are a variety of fun ways in and around Victoria to fill your summer.

Celebrate Canada’s Birthday

Canadian Flag. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Webster.

Canadian Flag. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Webster

Help celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday by making merry at one of the many parties around town on Canada Day on Wednesday, July 1, which honors the day Canada became a new federation with its own constitution by signing the Constitution Act. Visit Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse to join in the festivities for this special day and take in fantastic views. Dance to live music, sing a rousing round of “Oh, Canada” or take part in a variety of fun activities for all ages. Of course, you must not forget to save room for a piece of “Canada Day’s biggest birthday cake” at the end of the evening.

Another option is to stop by Bear Mountain’s Canada Day BBQ to hangout by the pool in the afternoon with live music being spun by DJ Spencer Looysen or enjoy a Canadian inspired barbeque in the evening, live music performed by Shaky Ground, lawn games and great prizes. There will also be a bouncy castle and face painting for kids.

Take Pride in Your City

Rainbow. Creative Commons Licensed by  Anemone Projectors.

Rainbow. Creative Commons Licensed by Anemone Projectors

June 27 kicks off Pride Week in Victoria, and this year the city has done something extra special to lead up to the celebration. The intersection of Pandora and Broad streets have painted with three permanent rainbow crosswalks to celebrate the city’s diversity and show support for the local LGBTQ community. However, these colorful crosswalks are not the only fun thing happening during the Pride Week there is Youth Pride Dance, the Big Gay Dog Walk – a great way watch cute dogs in costumes, Pride in the Word and Drag Ball – Baseball. The event culminates in the annual parade and festival on July 5, which features more than 100 vendors and stages acts that everyone will enjoy.

In addition to Pride Week, there are a variety of other fun festivities and celebrations happening in Victoria throughout July. Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine returns for its seventh year highlighting locally produced food and wine. During the event more than 30 BC wineries will be pouring over 100 wines and treats from some of Victoria’s popular restaurants like the Fairmont Empress and Veneto Tapa Lounge will be served. Festival-goers looking for additional entertainment should check out the Victoria International Buskers Festival to watch flame throwers, acrobats, magicians, jugglers, unicyclists, balloonists, musicians and more. There is even opportunity to sample more cuisine as there will be an International Food Village with bites from a variety of countries. For a little music, head to the annual Rock the Shores concert in the scenic town of Colwood and enjoy performances by artists such as Black Keys, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jane’s Addiction, Bleachers and more.

Discover Local Arts and Crafts

Lavender Fields. Creative Commons Licensed by Silar.

Lavender Fields. Creative Commons Licensed by Silar

No summer in Victoria is complete without visiting at least one garden, so why not stop by the Damali Lavender Fest and stroll through the fragrant fields of lavender, get lost in the labyrinth or explore the vineyard where you can sample wine infused with lavender complemented by lavender treats. There will also opportunities to learn more about lavender, such as the harvesting process, an essential oil distillation and soap making demonstrations and a farm tour. If you would like, you can even get hands on and pick your own lavender or make a lavender wand.

Go local and attend festivals that showcase arts and crafts that have been produced right here in British Columbia. The Sooke Fine Arts Show features over 375 original works of fine art created by artists on Vancouver Island and the surrounding BC coastal islands. During the 11-day event you can enjoy live artist demonstrations, talks and music and of course view the beautiful jewelry, pottery, sculptures, photography and paintings created by the artists – you may even find a few pieces to take home!

More July Things to Do in Victoria

Seattle Skyline. Credit: Photo Courtesy Haykan Axelsson.

Seattle Skyline. Photo Courtesy Haykan Axelsson

While it appears that summer has already arrived in Seattle, after all 80 degree weather in the beginning of June is pretty spectacular, the season does not officially begin until June 21. However, since summer is one of the most glorious times to visit Seattle (picture sparkling waters, blue skies and verdant scenery) there are a variety of June things to do in Seattle before and after the beginning of summer, to help celebrate the arrival of the much anticipated season.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Stilters at the Solstice Parade. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel.

Stilters at the Solstice Parade. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel

One of the most popular ways to start the summer season is with the annual Fremont Solstice Parade and Fair. The festival begins on Friday, June 19 with the first Solstice Concert Series performances on the Redhook Main Stage and Main Stage Beer Garden. However, the things really heat up on Saturday with the Solstice Parade itself, which is full of floats, marching bands and bike riders outfitted in crazy costumes and body paint. During the weekend you should also keep an eye out for the Seattle Art Car Blowout, featuring over 75 cars decorated in funny and interesting designs, such as a phone, stiletto, fish and more. There will also be a street fair, craft market and a variety of buskers such as chalk artists, musicians, magicians and jugglers. The fair wraps up on Sunday, June 21 with a cute twist – the Sunday Dog Parade, where four-legged friends of all sizes will march through the fairgrounds. Do not forget to make time to do some sightseeing while you are in town and stop by the Fremont Troll, statue of Lenin or real Soviet-era rocket or visit many of the eclectic shops and businesses in the neighborhood.

Cheers to Dads and Grads

Beer Flight. Photo Courtesy Road Dog Tours.

Beer Flight. Photo Courtesy Road Dog Tours

The Solstice Parade is not the only fun way to kick of summer over the weekend. Toast to summer, dad as Father’s Day is also June 21 or recent school grads at the Washington Brewers Festival. Over 400 beers from 105 Washington breweries will be represented at the festival, as well wine and cider tastings, great food, live music and an all-ages playground featuring balloons, inflatable toys and kids crafts. There will even be a root beer garden, with different varieties on tap throughout the weekend, so families have a place to enjoy dinner together. Want to sip more local brews? Try going on the Seattle Brewery Tour, which will transport you to three of the best breweries in town, where information on what goes into a good brew, the history and culture of craft brew and plenty of beer will be freely dispensed.

Family Fun in the Sun

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival. Photo Courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival.

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival. Photo Courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival

There is no better way than spending every minute possible of summer weekends outdoors so you can soak up every ounce of the sun. In the mood for some art appreciation? Head over to the Edmonds Arts Festival, which features a field filled with over 240 artists booths containing everything from paintings, to jewelry, to photography to sculptures and yard art as well as 20 food vendors. Those needing a break from the sun can also find three juried art galleries in the nearby building and school art class exhibits with over 1,000 student creations.

If you would rather take in classics of another kind, visit Seattle’s historic waterfront to view over 50 stylish yachts during Classic Weekend. The classic ships will make for a stunning sight as they parade into Bell Harbor Marina on Friday, June 19 and you will be able to explore most of the yachts from the inside on tours throughout the weekend. While you are downtown, check out of the many new, local businesses that have set up shop on the Waterfront and in Pioneer Square that are helping revive this area steeped in history. Not sure which places to check out? Watch our video guide for ideas:

More June Things to Do in Seattle

Downtown Victoria. Photo Courtesy Brandon Godfrey.

Downtown Victoria. Photo Courtesy Brandon Godfrey

We are excited that there are a variety of festivals and June things to do in Victoria that are near and dear to our heart. This weekend is World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf, which is designed to help educate the community about how they can help care for and conserve our oceans. Keeping local waters clean is important to ensuring they remain home to amazing wildlife like orca whales, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles and migratory birds. Not to mention these very same waters enable us to quickly transport you between Seattle and Victoria. In order to teach everyone about the different ways to protect the ocean, there will be fun activities for all ages, such as a scavenger hunt, touch tanks and displays from Ocean Network Canada, Ocean Wise, Robert Bateman Center, Royal BC Museum and others.

Victoria's Inner Harbour. Credit: Ryan Reynolds.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Credit: Ryan Reynolds

In addition, one of the wonderful things about Victoria is that you do not need a car to get there; you can travel to Victoria with just a single step by hopping on the Clipper. As we like to say “You can walk between Seattle and Victoria from here.” Once you arrive in the city of Victoria itself, you don’t have to go far to shop or visit popular attractions like The Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress, Royal BC Museum and more. As such, we are happy to see Downtown Victoria celebrate its walkability with Car Free YYJ. During the festival, six blocks of Douglas Street will be taken over to host live entertainment, a craft beer garden, artishow, food trucks, farmers market and vendor booths full of unique goods.

Of course, Victoria would not be the city it is today without its original founders – BC’s Aboriginal people. Learn more about the First Nations with three days of performances by the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations as well other Aboriginal performers from across the province in celebration of National Aboriginal Day. Besides experiencing First Nations culture through dance, musical performances and storytelling, you can also explore their art as a number of Aboriginal artisans will be on-site with carvings, prints and jewelry for sale. Some artists will even be able to give demonstrations on the creative process for their crafts. While you are at the festival, make sure to try some of the delicious food, such as BBQ salmon, fry bread and clam chowder, created by the Songhees Nation and Chef Roger.

These festivals are just the beginning of the many things to do in Victoria this month. You can listen to the sweet sounds of blues and jazz, sample local cuisine or stock up on summer reading at the Comic Book Expo.

Dance the Night Away with Bluegrass and Jazz

View of the Sooke River. Creative Commons Licensed by Ruth Hartnup.

View of the Sooke River. Creative Commons Licensed by Ruth Hartnup

Experience the beginning of the summer the concert season with two lively festivals during the last two weekends in June. First, relax and camp on the banks of the Sooke River Campground (The Flats) and take in the beautiful views and music during the 13th Annual Sooke River Bluegrass Festival. Over the course of the weekend you will get to listen to performances by a variety of local and visiting acoustic talent. In addition, you will have the opportunity to attend workshops hosted by the artists themselves, so you can pick some tips on things like bluegrass harmony singing as well as bluegrass and old time rhythm guitar, fiddle, bango and more. The TD Victoria International JazzFest runs nearly simultaneously during the last week two weeks of June. Not unlike the Bluegrass Festival, JazzFest features a number of different artist performances and workshops. Thus, if you prefer jazz to blues you might want to head here or if you like both genres, stop by JazzFest during its second week so you can catch performances at both shows.

Taste Local Fare at a Variety of Fairs

Charcuterie on the Local Libations on the Peninsula Tour. Courtesy of West Coast Brewery Tours

Charcuterie on the Local Libations on the Peninsula Tour. Courtesy of West Coast Brewery Tours

If you are a foodie, do not miss your chance to sample gourmet food, local wine and craft beer from some of Victoria’s most popular restaurants, breweries or wineries during them at new the food festival, YYJ Eats. Tickets to the festival will get you ten tasting tokens and automatically enter you to win over $400 in gift certificates from the participating restaurants. However, this is not your only opportunity to sample delicious cuisine this month, there is also Fernwood Bites, which has treats from a few more our favorite vendors.

If you can’t get enough of tasty dishes and brews, revisit your favorite places or discover even more local hot spots on either the Victoria Food Tour or Local Libations on the Peninsula tour.

More June Things to Do in Victoria

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

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



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

Mt. Hood from Portland. Credit: Steven Taylor.

Mt. Hood from Portland. Credit: Steven Taylor.

Based on the weather so far, it looks like Portland is in for an amazing spring, and likely a lovely summer as well. With so many sunny days already there is no better time to get outside, and luckily there are many March things to do in Portland that involve the outdoors. Compete in the popular Shamrock Run, take in the vibrant spring blooms or visit the Oregon coast for a chance to catch a glimpse of gray whales. This month, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun in the sun before the tourists arrive.

Don Your Green Apparel for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, so you might as well get dressed up in green apparel and go out and celebrate. Work on your goal to be healthier this year and pick up some extra (green) workout gear at the Shamrock Fitness Fair. At the fair you can also get warmed up for the Shamrock Run on Sunday, March 15 with Bootcamp, Yoga, Zumba and Conteporary Ballet classes on the main stage during both days of the festival.

Of course, there is more to St. Patrick’s Day in Portland than just running. Kells Portland will be hosting a multi-day Patrick’s Day Festival beginning the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day through the holiday itself. Bring your friends or family to enjoy traditional Irish music, dancing, food, boxing and more!

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Sarah McD.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Sarah McD.

Get Outdoors and Explore Nature this March

Spring is a beautiful time in the Northwest, when a wide variety of plants are in bloom. One of the best ways to experience these flowers in all their glory is at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest, which features 40 acres of tulips in front of Mt. Hood and several local vineyards. Bring a picnic lunch, and even your dog, and explore the fields of flowers. While you are at the festival, make sure to check wooden shoe making demonstrations, crafter marketplace, photography classes and wine tasting at those nearby vineyards. There are also plenty of activities for kids, such as rides on the bump “Cow Train,” Easter activities and pony rides. Finally, don’t forget to grab some fresh cut flowers before you leave the grounds.

Just as the gray whales visit the San Juans and Seattle during the spring, they also pass by the Oregon coast on their journey north to Alaska. As a result, Oregon State Parks have designated March 21-28 as Whale Watching Week and places volunteers at whale watching sites along the coast, so they can help others spot the whales. These magnificent marine animals are only here a few times a year, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to see them. To learn more about the gray whales, you can visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, Oregon, where rangers will be available to answer your questions.

More March Things to Do in Portland

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