Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Mount Vernon, WA

  • Published 2022/11/24

Expect to do many things in Mount Vernon when you stop by during your trip to Washington.

Incorporated in 1889, Mount Vernon is the seat of Skagit County, with the Skagit River meandering on the city’s western and northern peripheries.

This city was first settled in 1870 and was named after the Potomac River plantation estate of George Washington upon its incorporation.

Tucked within 12.62 square miles in northwestern Washington, Mount Vernon has earned the rating “Best City in America” in a ranking among small U.S. cities.

Mount Vernon has also earned the nickname City of Tulips, recognizing the millions of colorful flowers blooming in the city and the Skagit Valley region.

Check out the following list of things to do in Mount Vermont, Washington.

See the Blooming Flowers at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Colorful tulips during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Pierre Leclerc /

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival offers a month-long window for Mount Vernon visitors to celebrate amid blooming fields of colorful tulips.

Starting in 1984 as a two-day affair, this festival grew so popular that it is now held throughout April.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs as a driving tour organized by dedicated volunteers holding an office on West Kincaid Street near the historic Lincoln Theatre.

Those joining the festival’s tour visit the tulip fields of RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co., Inc. in various locations in the Skagit Valley.

A windmill surrounded with tulips at Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Artazum /

Three other tulip gardens—Tulip Town, RoozenGaarde, and Garden Rosalyn—also display tulips for visitors.

A visit to an alpaca farm, where you can meet these friendly, furry creatures, is a bonus to the festival’s tours.

In addition, the festival offers art shows, a gala celebration, and a Tulip Pedal Bicycle Ride.

Vibrant tulips at Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Emily Marie Wilson /

Enjoy the Tulip Festival Street Fair

The corridor of 1st Street in Mount Vernon celebrates the city’s April tulip month via the Tulip Festival Street Fair.

This street fair was launched in 1985 as one of the highlights of Mount Vernon’s month-long Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Historic downtown Mount Vernon hosts the street fair for an extended weekend, typically around mid-April.

The treats on 1st Street that await visitors of the Tulip Festival Street Fair include offerings from more than 140 artisan vendors, food trucks, entertainers, and children’s fun activities.

Among the picks for fair visitors are one-of-a-kind handmade items, such as jewelry and wearable art.

Go Organic at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market

Don’t fret if you miss out on the annual edition of this street fair, as Mount Vernon holds a similar downtown event from mid-May to early October.

This event, the Mount Vernon Farmers Market, is held during these months every Saturday on South Main Street at the city’s Riverwalk Plaza.

The Mount Vernon Downtown Association started the farmers market in 1987.

This merchants’ group launched it to support local and regional artisans and producers, especially those advocating sustainable organic agricultural practices.

Talented local musicians are also invited to perform during the Mount Vernon Farmers Market.

Paddle along the Skagit River with Spudhouse Boat Launch

The waters of Skagit River

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Vernon offers the city’s Spudhouse Boat Launch as an ideal starting for boaters navigating the Skagit River.

Located a short distance south of Calhoun Road and Penn Road’s east terminus, this boat launch is where the river forks north and south.

Starting from this strategic location is an advantage for boaters going on a loop following the Skagit River as it empties into Skagit Bay near Puget Sound.

This route affords beautiful and tranquil views of farmlands and natural landscapes, including the Skagit Wildlife Area-Wiley Slough.

The immediate area of the Spudhouse Boat Launch itself is already ideal for birdwatching and viewing wildlife.

Restrooms and parking are available at Spudhouse Boat Launch.

Catch a Concert at Skagit Riverwalk Park

This park on the east banks of the Skagit River stretches along the flanks of downtown Mount Vernon’s 1st Street, Myrtle Street, and Gates Street.

The plaza of the Skagit Riverwalk Park comes alive with the music and dancing of a summer concert series on Thursday nights in July and August.

Local and regional musicians perform for two hours during this family-friendly event, free to the public.

The park features 30,000 square feet of space.

Park visitors can enjoy strolling along its 24-foot-wide pedestrian river walk built on the floodwall of this waterfront revitalization and flood protection project in Mount Vernon.

Seats and picnic tables are available at the scenic Skagit Riverwalk Park, which also features a Tulip Dance Sculpture as a landmark.

Take a Stroll at the Mount Vernon Lions Club Roadside Park

Immerse yourself in the serene views of the Skagit River via a stroll on the Skagit Riverwalk Trail north of the Mount Vernon Lions Club Roadside Park off Freeway Drive.

This riverfront trail stretches for about one and a half miles from West Kincaid Street on the southern edge of the Skagit Riverwalk Park.

The trail, a paved walkway of cement/brick about eight feet wide, is also open to bikers.

The Lions Roadside Park spreads over 1.6 acres and provides a grass play area and playground equipment.

It also offers sheltered and outdoor picnic areas with tables, public restrooms, and ample parking.

Climb the Decks of Little Mountain Park

The view from Little Mountain Park

RonaldL /

Relish the most outstanding panoramas of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest from the view decks of Little Mountain Park.

Accessible via Little Mountain Road, this heavily forested park features one observation platform at its South Viewpoint.

This covered observation deck is on the park’s summit parking lot.

It provides awe-inspiring views of the Olympic Mountain Range, the lower Skagit Valley, Whidbey and Camano, and Puget Sound.

Go to the park’s North Viewpoint, a paraglider-styled deck, for panoramic views of Burlington and Mount Vernon against the backdrop of Mt. Baker, the San Juan Islands, North Puget Sound, and Padilla Bay.

Besides these two observation decks, the park offers visitors ten miles of hiking and biking trails along mountain slopes and woodlands.

The Little Mountain Park also provides a gentler interpretive trail with a bridge over a seasonal creek leading to a shaded picnic area.

Explore the Kulshan Trail

The Kulshan Trail is a car-free, multi-use corridor extending over two and a half miles.

The trail is open only to cyclists and pedestrians; it stretches east to west from Bakerview Park on North Waugh Road.

Its western terminus on Freeway Drive links it to the Lions Club Roadside Park and the Skagit Riverwalk Park, both off the east banks of the Skagit River.

The Kulshan Trail took over a stretch of a former logging railway, and its route passes along natural forest areas of the Kulshan Creek, salmon-rearing ponds, and local schools.

Other points of interest along the trail include several beautiful metal sculptures installed by the students of Skagit Valley College and Burlington Edison High School.

Play a Fun Game at Bakerview Park

Bakerview Park was developed over 40 acres off East Fir Street in northeast Mount Vernon.

This park offers fun outdoor activities for your family to pick from.

These choices include games in its two sand volleyball courts, three soccer fields, four basketball courts, and four little league fields.

Visitors of the park can also enjoy the action at its skatepark, disc golf course, and BMX dirt track which regularly hosts an open house with bikes available for free.

In addition, the park provides a children’s playground, picnic areas, outdoor barbecue areas, restrooms, a concession area, and a dog park with a designated area for small pets.

Indoor recreational facilities are also available at the 22,000-square-foot YMCA in Bakerview Park.

You can access the Bakerview Wetlands Trail just east of the YMCA along a lush, restored wetland area.

This path shortly links north to the Kulshan Trail and its diverse points of interest farther east toward the Skagit River and Downtown Mount Vernon.

Try to Catch Trout in Clear Lake

Lake cavanaugh at Mount Vernon

Joyce Marrero /

Anglers visiting Mount Vernon have several choices of great fishing spots within the city limits, with Clear Lake as one ideal pick.

Located in its eponymous park on South Front Street, the lake spreads over 220 acres, where you can cast a line on the park’s fishing pier.

Clear Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, and anglers can bait the lake’s resident coastal cutthroat trout, yellow perch, largemouth bass, and bullhead catfish.

Aside from its fishing spot, Clear Lake Park offers a sandy beach for swimming, restrooms, and picnic tables.

Besides Clear Lake, fishing on the Skagit River is convenient, too, flowing along the city’s riverfront parks and the river access on Baker Street.

See Traditional Games at Edgewater Park Highland Games

The amenity-rich Edgewater Park off Behrens Millet Road on the west banks of Skagit River hosts the annual Skagit Valley Highland Games & Celtic Festival.

Traditionally held on a weekend early in July, this unique event draws thousands for its Scottish clan competitions and activities akin to a three-ring circus.

The festival’s activities include Scottish Highland dancing, solo bagpipe and drum competitions, bagpipe bands, fiddling, and traditional Scottish athletics.

Outside this festival, the 54-acre Edgewater Park offers various recreational facilities, including a disc golf course, playground, boat launch, and ball fields.

It also offers opportunities for fishing on the river and hiking on its nature trails.

Enjoy Ice-Cold Beer at District Brewing

Downtown Mount Vernon boasts a wide selection of watering holes, with District Brewing on South Main Street among the most popular choices.

This craft brewer is a top pick mainly because of its superb location across the scenic Skagit Riverwalk Park.

District Brewing has also won over craft beer patrons with its delicious offerings of pizzas, wings, and salads.

In keeping with the theme of its renovated historic building—the Lyric Theater—the signature pizzas of this craft brewer are named after blockbuster movies.

See a Show in the Historic Lincoln Theater

Exterior of the Historic Lincoln Theater

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Feel the historic ambiance of downtown Mount Vernon while seeing a show at Lincoln Theatre on 1st Street.

This restored performing arts venue initially hosted vaudevilles and screened silent movies when it opened in 1926.

The theater still has its original Wurlitzer organ, one of 98 remaining in U.S. theaters.

Benevolent ghosts from the past are supposedly mainstays at the Lincoln Theatre, performing recitals and dancing under the small, single-bulb light onstage.

However, the main draw of the historic Lincoln Theater is its plays, comedy acts, concerts, and showings of classic and contemporary movies.

Try Skagit Hash at Calico Cupboard Old Town Cafe & Bakery

Located on Freeway Drive, Calico Cupboard Old Town Café & Bakery takes pride in its “Skagit Hash,” a breakfast item staple in Skagit Valley.

Available all day, this gluten-free breakfast fare is an excellent protein and fiber source.

Skagit Hash comprises a generous serving of country red baby potatoes covered with bite-size fresh spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, feta, and mozzarella cheese.

The café’s lighter Old Town Lunch is equally satisfying, offering a homemade bread half sandwich combined with a crisp green salad or a cup of soup.

Housed in a repurposed, vintage three-story brick-and-mortar building, the café serves beverages, including local craft beer.

Take the Kids to Jungle Playland

Jungle Playland is a non-profit family-oriented entertainment center on Martin Road.

This fun facility features an animal-themed indoor playground where kids aged 12 and below can enjoy tunnels, three-story slides, a rock climbing wall, and ball pits.

Kids two years and below can play in a “Lil Jungle,” a 700-square-foot area with equipment suited specifically for toddlers their age.

Jungle Playland also runs a snack bar serving fries, pizza, chips, and drinks.

The First Baptist Church and Cascade Christian Center’s children’s ministry run Jungle Playland.

Final Thoughts

Just a stop at downtown Mount Vernon can unlock plenty of life and leisure activities indoors and outdoors, especially during holidays throughout the year.

What are you waiting for?

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Mount Vernon, Washington!

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