How to Spend a Day in Mount Vernon, Washington

Established in 1889, Mount Vernon is a small city located 60 miles north of Seattle. Most visitors know Mount Vernon as home of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, held annually during spring. But there are plenty of year-round attractions too. Mount Vernon's historic downtown has seen some extensive revitalization in recent years; its renovated riverwalk coupled with a variety of small businesses will keep you occupied for the day or an entire weekend. In the words of Mount Vernon Downtown Association, "It's happening!" Here's how to spend a day in Mount Vernon.

Get Out
Start your day with a cup of joe from Ristretto Coffee Lounge in the heart of downtown. Then hit the trails at Little Mountain Park — Mount Vernon's outdoor playground. The well-maintained, volunteer built trails here are open to hikers, bikers, and runners. Those not looking for a workout can simply drive to the 934-foot top of Little Mountain for excellent valley views.

After your workout (or anytime, really), treat yourself to a massage. Calm Water Massage is conveniently located in downtown Mount Vernon's Pine Square. Their relaxing environment combined with experienced therapists makes for a winning combination: Calm Water Massage has won the "Best of Skagit" award six years in a row. Check their website for seasonal specials, and be sure to call for an appointment.

Time for lunch? Grab some healthy eats at the ever-popular Skagit Valley Food Co-op. Their delicious deli makes fresh soups, salads, sandwiches and more daily. Or grab a smoothie to go. On Saturdays in the summer, walk up to the riverfront for a taste of the Mount Vernon Farmer's Market. Featuring live music and plenty of seasonal goods from local farmers, the market showcases the very best of Mount Vernon.

Drink and Dine
When it's time for happy hour, head over to Trumpeter Public House for some classy pub grub. Featuring burgers, steaks, seafood, and more, their menu doesn't disappoint. But Trumpeter's true highlight is its vast selection of fine spirits, wine, and craft beer. Enjoy a drink by the fire before heading out to sample some more.

Next stop is Rachawadee. This hole-in-the-wall Thai cafe has just eight stools and serves up some of the best Thai food in the county. If the stools are taken, order your Phad Thai to-go and drive over to North Sound Brewery. This brewery has no restaurant — opting instead to focus on making great beer — so they welcome outside food. Try the Goosetown Brown, Hopsolute IPA, or any of their seasonal brews.

There are, of course, too many great restaurants and attractions in Mount Vernon to list here. Visit Downtown Mount Vernon for more ideas, or simply ask a local.

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based freelance writer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he contributes to a handful of publications including Washington Trails, WhatcomTalk, and Outdoor Project.