Explore Small Towns Around Metro Seattle

Bigger isn’t always better.
Washington State Vacation
Washington State Vacation

Nothing may compare to the buzz of big cities like Seattle and Spokane, but Washington's smaller towns exhibit charm that’s seemingly unaltered by their technology-centered neighbors. Fall in love with small-town livin’ in one of these petite Metro Seattle cities, where you'll find picturesque farms, historic places and antique-shopping havens. 

Read the other articles in our series about Washington small towns, organized by region (in no particular order): North Cascades, The Islands, Peninsulas & Coast, The Gorge, The Volcanoes, North Central, Wine Country, Northeast and Southeast.

This historic community may have roots in lumber, but Edmonds circa now is all about quaint, small-town charm. Its stroll-worthy downtown brims with vintage street lamps, cafes and boutiques—plus a waterfront featuring off-the-pier fishing, a 27-acre underwater dive park and the bustling ferry terminal connecting Edmonds to Kingston.

Known as the “Antique Capital of the Northwest,” specialty shops, art galleries and sweet cafes pack its downtown—Snohomish takes its history seriously. Homes display the year they were built, and the Snohomish Historic District in the center of town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Read more about Washington's antique-shopping-friendly towns.

Little Gold Bar celebrates its mining heyday with July’s Gold Dust Days, which includes 
a parade, live music and vendors selling
 all things that glitter. Just outside of town is Wallace Falls—actually nine falls in all, with the grandest being 265 feet tall and worth the five-mile round-trip hike.

Situated between the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers, Carnation is located at the heart of U-pick berry paradise. Miller’s Mercantile—part gift shop, part community event space—brings the farmland vibe into town with giant sunflowers painted across its facade. Tolt-MacDonald Park on the edge of town is another treat. A suspension bridge sways to the other side of the Snoqualmie, transporting brave crossers to a little bit of paradise.

Once a mill town out in farm country, Fall City is now a scenic 2,000-person burg with a mind to preserve its heritage. The historical society has already saved a 130-year-old hop shed, and the lodge-like Last Frontier Saloon proudly pours beers at the spot where Fall City’s trading post was built in 1869.

Made famous by the TV show "Twin Peaks," North Bend is a sweet little town at the foot of Mount Si, a popular hiking destination. After conquering the 4,167-foot peak, drop by Twede’s Cafe for a slice of cherry pie and a coffee à la Special Agent Dale Cooper. Two blocks away, the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum showcases the non-Hollywood history of the area.

A 20-minute ferry ride from West Seattle transports travelers to a place far removed from city life, where farms still surround
 the tiny center of commerce, bikes wait for their owners unlocked and everyone knows everyone at the cheery summer farmers' market. The island is ringed with rocky beaches and laced with curvy roads through wooded wonderlands—plenty of room for adventure.

Learn more about Washington's towns and regions >>

—Anne Larkin

Photo Credit: iStock/rhyman007