Spending a Day in Mount Vernon

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’s plenty to do here year-round. Mount Vernon’s historic downtown has seen extensive revitalization in recent years — its renovated riverwalk coupled with numerous small businesses and attractions will keep you occupied for the day or an entire weekend.

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Ristretto Coffee

Start your day with a cup of joe from Ristretto Coffee Lounge & Wine Bar in the heart of downtown Mount Vernon. This cozy, European-style cafe serves coffee creations and breakfast all day. Wine, beer and cider are served alongside lunch options in the afternoon. Whenever you visit, Ristretto is a relaxing and comfortable place to read, work, or meet up with friends.

Skagit Valley Coop

For some of the best food in town, don’t miss the Skagit Valley Coop. The Coop itself is a market where you can find everything from fresh produce and baked goods to a busy deli counter. Stop here for lunch on-the-go (soups, salads, sandwiches). If you’d prefer a sit-down restaurant experience, head over to the Coop’s C-Square and Third Street Cafe. Here you’ll find a delicious farm-to-table menu, weekend brunch, and happy hour daily. All products are sourced as locally as possible, including the curated beer and cider tap list.

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Breweries

Mount Vernon is also an up-and-coming beer destination. For many years there has only been one brewpub in downtown, Skagit River Brewery. That will change when two new breweries open in 2020. Keep an eye on District Brewing, which will open on the riverwalk in the historic Lyric Theater building. Also scheduled to open in 2020 is Temperate Habits Brewing, which will be conveniently located between Skagit River Brewery and District Brewing. 

Outside of downtown, North Sound Brewing and Farmstrong Brewing are worth the drive to round out your tour de brew. Both breweries have sunny outdoor patios during summer. For more local beer, check out Skagit Beer Week in the spring.

Valley Shine Distillery

Walking into Valley Shine Distillery, the first thing you notice is its grand facade. The massive double doors — flanked by attractive wood paneling and 100-year old brick walls — offer a taste of what to expect inside: quality and craftsmanship. You’ll find fun food options alongside craft spirits and cocktails in their family-friendly tasting room. 

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Get Outside

The easiest way to get outside in Mount Vernon is by strolling along its riverwalk. Walk any downtown street west to the Skagit River, where a wide promenade offers riverfront views. During summer, a lively concert series is held at the Riverwalk Plaza. This area also hosts the Mount Vernon Farmers Market, held Saturdays between May and October. 

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For more of a workout, drive 10 minutes out of downtown to Little Mountain Park. Featuring over 500 acres of forest and miles of volunteer-built trails, Little Mountain is Mount Vernon’s outdoor playground. You can hike, trail run, mountain bike, or simply walk the dog here. Those not looking for a workout can drive to the top of Little Mountain for birdseye Skagit Valley views from two overlooks. 

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Relax With a Massage

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 nine years in a row.

Theaters

Rainy day? If you’re looking for entertainment, Mount Vernon is home to two unique theaters. The historic Lincoln Theater was built in 1926 as a vaudeville & silent movie house. Today it hosts concerts, films and events in the center of downtown Mount Vernon. For theater, dance, live music and more, head to McIntyre Hall — the modern performing arts center at Skagit Valley College.

Explore Beyond Mount Vernon

To see more of the Skagit Valley, take a day trip from the city. The nearby waterfront towns of La Conner and Anacortes offer endless options for dining, drinks, shops and recreation. 

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Brandon Fralic

Brandon Fralic is the author of Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest, a guidebook pairing hikes with breweries in Washington, Oregon, and BC. Based in Bellingham, he writes about trails, beer, and travel for numerous regional publications. Follow Brandon at @beersatb on Instagram and at his website: beersatthebottom.com

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