The Northwest is a wonderful place. Whether you are single, starting a family, or looking to retire, the Pacific Northwest has something to offer. Its cities are filled with entertainment, from the high-brow to the underground. Its mountains and rivers provide endless recreation. The Northwest welcomes you to bask in its splendor.

Oregon

Falling asleep in Portland is blissful. When you wake up, open your blinds to reveal the Willamette River—it is teeming with life. There are fisherman preparing bait, kids learning to sail, and wildlife frolicking in the water. After catching up on the news with one of the local newspapers, head down to your local coffee shop to try one of the handcrafted, locally roasted brews for which Portland is becoming known. Weather in Portland is an excellent example of northwest finery: winters are crisp and wet and summers are warm but temperate.

When you are finished with your coffee, step out into the city. The sidewalk is filled with people, but no one appears rushed. Pedestrians make room for you to enter and wish you good morning. If you are hungry for breakfast, there are numerous eateries to choose from. Voodoo Doughnut has become a local legend; voodoos ranging from the mundane, if large, like a cruller the size of a saucer, to the bizarre, like a chocolate-frosted voodoo doll shaped doughnut, complete with jam blood and pretzel stick pins. They’re always coming up with new combinations, so the novelty never wears thin for even the most frequent patrons.

If you are ready for the outdoors, head for Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood provides outdoor enthusiasts with numerous activities of all sorts, like hiking, skiing, horseback riding, rock-climbing, and white water rafting. If time permits, and you are feeling adventurous, add kiteboarding to your list of activities. The Hood River is a great place for catching the breeze and catching some air.

Next, drive to Willamette Valley to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir. The northwest is an up and coming region producing some of the best wines in the United States. If wine is not for you, try a craft beer. Oregon has a great community of specialty brewers, so there are plenty of local beers, from the artisanal to the eclectic, to choose from.

Washington

When people think of Washington, they cannot help but think of Seattle. Seattle is home to one of the most highly educated and literate populations in the United States. But this should come as no surprise, considering its thriving tech and biological research industry.

Companies like Microsoft and Seattle Genetics Inc., are proud to call Seattle home, as well as the medical research Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Because of the influence and drawing power of companies like these, Washington also has some of the best universities in the country for people interested in pursuing science and health degrees.

But do not make the mistake of thinking Washington is filled entirely with scientists. Washington is home to a thriving culture and robust entertainment options. Do you like music? Seattle has a lot to offer. Regardless of whether you are looking for a large forum or a hole in the wall, Seattle has it. Seattle also hosts an annual film festival featuring independent films from international filmmakers.

As a center for culture and art, it should come as no surprise that its politics are generally liberal-leaning. Washington residents tend to vote Democrat and are conscious when it comes to health and environmental issues. They have taken initiatives to ban smoking in public places and invest in health care.

Any article can only scratch the surface of the delights that await visitors to the Pacific Northwest. The only way to know for sure what this verdant landscape has to offer is to come find out for yourself.