Bloom Into Spring

After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Beyond more daylight and warmer weather, the season brings with it a fresh start. This fleeting — but beautiful — time of year presents the perfect opportunity to admire the natural wonders our region has to offer, from meticulously sculptured gardens to expansive fields of flowers.

To help you make the most of the season, we’ve found some great spots to stop and smell the flowers.

This annual tradition is a must-see for anyone with even a passing appreciation for tulips. The festival is making a strong comeback after having to cancel almost all of its events last year due to the pandemic. This year, the festival has made arrangements for Covid-safe events from April 1 – 30, and the outdoor nature of the festival makes it relatively easy to keep your distance and admire the treasure trove of tulips. While it doesn’t cost anything to drive through the valley and admire the flowers from a distance, to make the most of the experience consider purchasing a ticket to see the gardens at either Tulip Town ($10 per adult) or Roozen-Gaarde ($15).

Encompassing multiple gardens, including the UW Botanical Gardens, Rhododendron Glen, Azalea Way, the Pacific Connections Garden, the Japanese Garden and more, the Washington Park Arboretum is a great place to get lost for a little while. While all the buildings are currently closed, the park is free to visit (with the exception of the Japanese Garden) and is open to visitors so long as they follow current Covid protocol. In particular, the ¾-mile stretch of Azalea Way and Rhododendron Glen are the areas to spot peak blooms this spring.

Normally, the Quad at the University of Washington is a go-to spot for those eager to admire the cherry blossoms in the spring. However, this year, the university is encouraging visitors to engage in a different way. Although it is still possible to visit the campus in person, the university is recommending visitors instead use the live webcam feed of the Quad or take a virtual tour that will be updated with new photos throughout the season. This way, everyone can still enjoy the bright pink scenery without crowding the area.

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