things to do in the American Northwest
Jetsetter's Taste of Summer
Trip Ideas

The Best Thing to Do in Every State This Summer: Northwest

Looking for things to do in the American Northwest? These states come alive in the sunlit days of summer—all the better for sampling locavore ice cream, fly fishing at a brand new resort, and tracking wild horses on the run. Interested in more U.S. regions? See here for the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest

See recent posts by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

Sage Lodge
Sage Lodge


Sage Lodge


Fly Fish at Montana’s Newest Resort

Opening this summer, Sage Lodge is as cinematic as Montana resorts come, set in verdant meadows along the Yellowstone River about half an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park. Thanks to their on-site casting pond and partnership with Sage Fly Fishing equipment company, this is the very best place to wade into your next favorite hobby. We can’t guarantee that Brad Pitt lookalikes will be there (remember A River Runs Through It?) but we have high hopes.

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Mount Rainier in Summer
Mount Rainier in Summer
Mount Rainier in Summer
Mount Rainier in Summer


Explore Wild Washington

Just a couple hours from urban Seattle, you'll find another world: rain forest-carpeted Mount Rainier National Park, home to a 14,411-foot-tall namesake mountain. Summer is unquestionably its most glorious season—the time to spot wildflowers like phlox, fringecup, and slender bog orchids flourishing in subalpine meadows. Hike the single-mile Nisqually Vista Trail for eagle's-eye views of Nisqually Glacier.
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City park at the Boise depot and balloon
Boise Hot Air Balloons
Boise Hot Air Company


See the Gem State By Hot Air Balloon

Trust us, there's truly no better way to experience Idaho than from above. Book a sunrise flight in Boise, which takes you on a 60-minute tour of the state's stunning landscape. You'll fly over the Boise River, forested landscapes, and lush valley while sipping champagne and soaking in the breathtaking views. 

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Anchorage Museum
Anchorage Museum
Anchorage Museum
Anchorage Museum

Photos by Kevin Smith, Jody Overstreet, Don Mohr



Eye the Most Exquisite New Museum Addition

You could easily mistake the Anchorage Museum’s brand new wing (which added 22,000 square feet to the once 3,000-square-foot space) for MoMa, but the salt-lick fresh air beyond its doors is a dead giveaway. With soaring ceilings and an airy, loft-like feel, the Art of the North galleries are the place to see indigenous artworks alongside Romantic period landscapes from the 19th century that could be Thomas Kincaid progenitors with their deft capturing of light and longing.

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Portland Japanese Garden
Portland Japanese Garden
Portland Japanese Garden

Photo by Jonathan Ley



Explore Japan’s Horticulture in Portlandia

Hidden away in Portland’s West Hills, you’ll find one of Portland’s best kept secrets, especially in the humid heat of an Oregon summer: the Portland Japanese Garden. Recently expanded by Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma to the tune of $33.5 million, the 12.5-acre wonderland of water terraces and koi ponds now has a new tea house inspired by Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera temple that could satisfy Queen Elizabeth II herself, with teas from Tokyo-based Jugetsudo tea company and snacks from Ajinomoto.

RELATED: The Best New Restaurants in Portland Now 

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Wild Horses
Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary
Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary


Take a Wild Horse Safari

You don’t have to slog to Africa to catch wild animals with unbridled beauty in action—just head to Wyoming’s Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary, located on the Wind River Indian Reservation near Lander, where 130 mustangs storm the prairie like it’s 1799. Book a guided tour ahead of your visit to see them up close and personal from the safe confines of a wagon or ATV.

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What to wear while you're there.

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