If there is one thing Skagit Valley is known for, other than our cabbage seeds (yes, not cabbage, but cabbage seeds), it’s the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The entire month of April is dedicated to the festival and brings in over 300,000 visitors to the small community. It’s a huge boost to the local economy, and, have I mentioned, tulips! Millions of tulips! What more could someone want?
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is truly one of my favorite festivals throughout the year. There is no official festival location or headquarters. There are some permanent sites at Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, and some orchestrated activities including a parade, fun run and a weekend street fair. However, most of the festival is just go and find it! Crops rotate every year, so you head out into the valley, mostly between the towns of Mount Vernon and La Conner, and find the tulips. Don’t worry, with well over a million tulips, they are easy to find!
Visiting the surrounding towns is another big part of the fun that the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival brings. La Conner is where the majority of Tulip Festival events take place. It is a truly picturesque Pacific Northwest town chock-full of unique boutiques, art galleries, and fabulous places to eat. The Museum of Northwest Art, or MoNA as the locals call it, features wonderful artists, both local and from the region that is considered a must see for art lovers. Nell Thorn is a world class restaurant featuring local cuisine that everyone walks away from full and happy.
Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island but just a hop and a skip over a bridge from La Conner. It boasts the ferry that will take you to the rest of the San Juan Islands, along with a thriving and quaint downtown area, known as Old Town to the locals. Old Town is known for it’s great pub scene, with a pubs per capita ratio that rivals towns in Ireland! Anacortes has plenty of it’s own festivals too, so if you miss it for Tulip Festival, you can always come back for the Arts Festival, or the Waterfront Festival, or Shipwreck Day, or the Wine Festival, or Bier on the Pier, or you get the idea.
Mount Vernon, is where you will most likely come through to get to La Conner and the tulips. Mount Vernon is a little more scattered, although there is a cute downtown area. One weekend they host a street fair for the Tulip Festival. If you’re a beer connoisseur there are many outstanding local breweries in Mount Vernon, including Skagit River Brewery, Farmstrong and North Sound Brewing.
Get your travel plans in place for next year! What’s your favorite part of the Tulip Festival?