Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.

Washington is in the Pacific Northwest and is known as the “Evergreen State” because of its lush forests. The state’s largest city, Seattle, is called the “Emerald City” for much the same reason — frequent rainfall makes the area verdant. But Seattle is perhaps most famous for its striking skyline, its high-tech companies and its plentiful coffee shops.

Outdoorsy types can explore Washington’s national parks, which include beaches, lakes and (mostly dormant) volcanoes. And this coastal state is a seafood lover’s paradise.

Take a ferry to the islands dotting Washington’s Puget Sound — where you’ll find art galleries and whale-watching opportunities. Also, throughout the state, there are cultural centers devoted to the region’s American Indian tribes, whose history is recorded in totem-pole carvings.

U.S. map highlighting Washington state in red (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

Dizzying heights, massive trees

Olympic National Park, near Port Angeles, includes the Sol Duc Hot Springs and the giant conifers of the Hoh Rain Forest.

Trees and mountains (Shutterstock)
Hurricane Ridge, seen here, is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. (Shutterstock)

Emerald City hot spots

No trip to Seattle is complete without stopping by the Space Needle, which commands panoramic views of the city from its observation deck and its restaurant, which slowly rotates. The downtown waterfront features Pike Place Market, one of the oldest public farmers markets in the U.S.

Man holding large fish with more fish on ice (Shutterstock)
A fish seller at Seattle’s Pike Place Market holds up a large salmon for prospective buyers. (Shutterstock)

Museums and more

Aviation fans can visit Seattle’s Museum of Flight — the largest air and space museum on the West Coast — and the Boeing factory in Everest, which offers a tour billed as the “Future of Flight.” In Tacoma, check out the LeMay America’s Car Museum, celebrating America’s love affair with the automobile, and the Museum of Glass, which displays international, contemporary art glass.

Seattle’s own glass-themed museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass, showcases renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Colorful glass sculptures (Jllm06/Creative Commons)
Dramatic glass creations at Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass museum (Jllm06/Creative Commons)

Tranquil oasis

Spokane, a major Washington city that borders Idaho, is home to Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. The park’s five gardens — including the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden — feature biking paths, playgrounds and a duck pond.

Bridge, pond and colorful trees (Shutterstock)
The Japanese Garden at Spokane’s Menito Park pays tribute to Nishinomiya, Japan, Spokane’s sister city. (Shutterstock)

Rushing waters

Snoqualmie Falls, an 82-meter waterfall near the town of Snoqualmie, is one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. Set within a family- and pet-friendly park, the falls can be seen up close from the on-site observation deck.

Waterfall, mountains and trees (Shutterstock)
Tourists from all over the world flock to Snoqualmie Falls, a popular site for weddings and picnics. (Shutterstock)

Learn more about Washington state and the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.