As an avid hiker, I find myself passing through Monroe quite often. It is a great starting point for all the fantastic trails that branch off State Route 2. But let me tell you, Monroe is more than just a stopover. It is a little-known gem with plenty of places to stop, so I’m here to tell you about all the things to do in Monroe.
Recently, I dedicated an entire day to uncovering Monroe’s charms, and naturally, there was some hiking involved (you know how much I love it!). But it wasn’t just about the trails. I explored the local hangouts, visited the cute coffee shops, and tasted some delicious meals at the local restaurants. I also got to chat with some of the owners and locals, and they were thrilled to share their stories, with a big theme being that they absolutely love calling Monroe home.
So, whether you’re just breezing through or considering a more permanent move, you should give Monroe a look. Despite being a popular thoroughfare, it’s got a community vibe that’s hard to beat. I had a fantastic time there, and I bet you will too. Monroe’s worth a visit – you might find it’s exactly the place you’ve been looking for.
This post is sponsored by Tri Pointe Homes, but all opinions are my own.
1. Savor a Cozy Cup of Coffee at Monroe Coffee Co.
There’s no better way to start a day of exploring than at a local coffee shop, which is why I went straight to Monroe Coffee Co. to grab a latte before I started my hike. While I only intended to be there for a minute, I ended up sitting down because it was such a cozy setting. They have large round wooden tables, similar to what you’d find in a family dining room, which was full of locals conversing early in the morning.
They also have a large gift shop if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone, or you can grab a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans that they roast all week long.
2. Explore the Exotic Species at The Reptile Zoo
I’ll be honest – I am not a reptile person, and my skin often crawls when people talk about snakes, so I’ve always continued past The Reptile Zoo when going on Highway 2. However, I told myself I needed to see what it was all about finally, and you know what? It’s actually a pretty cool place.
After paying a small admission fee, you’re free to explore all the different exotic species they have here. They had what seemed like every snake here – anacondas, boa constrictors, pythons, and more. There are also smaller, friendly reptiles to see, such as iguanas, and even one I hadn’t heard of before: the albino crocodile.
No matter what you’re looking at, each exhibit shows you a very educational printout about where the reptile is from, how old they grow to be, and more, which was probably my favorite part. This is the perfect place to stop if you’re on your way to explore Leavenworth and you need a break.
3. Enjoy a Picnic at Skykomish River Park
As someone with two kids, I’m always looking for places to get their energy out, so I was thrilled to find the gigantic Skykomish River Park. There’s so much to do here – a giant playground with a huge surrounding field and walking trails and outdoor exercise stations are available. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Monroe with kids.
If you go further down, you’ll discover a huge dog park, so everyone in your little family can get their energy out. We travel to Lake Chelan every year to go camping with our kids and dogs (where there are so many fun Chelan activities), so we will definitely be stopping here on the way there next time to tire everyone out. It’s also an ideal place to get out a blanket and pull some snacks and drinks out.
4. Discover Local History at Monroe Historical Society
When I travel, I like to learn about the local history so I can better understand the place I am visiting. That’s why I suggest paying a visit to the Monroe Historical Society in the city center.
You’ll see a variety of exhibits from back in the day, and you’ll learn how Henry McClurg first established Monroe in 1864. The town then experienced a surge of growth due to its fertile farmlands, plentiful timber supply, and close proximity to the Great Northern Railroad. When you’re done, head to one of the many nearby restaurants on Main Street.
5. Pick Your Own Strawberries at Tualco Valley Farm
If you love u-pick farms, you’ll want to stop at Tualco Valley Farm to get your own strawberries straight from the farm. I often do this at various farms around Seattle during the summertime, as it feels rewarding to get your own fruit fresh off the vine.
You can also just buy a flat of strawberries if you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like picking your own, but either way, I guarantee they’ll be much sweeter than the berries you’ll find at chain grocery stores.
6. Set Off on a Hike off Highway 2
There is no shortage of hikes near Monroe, and I could easily expand this paragraph into a whole post of its own about all the active things to do in Monroe. However, Cherry Creek Falls is one of the closest ones to Monroe (just south, about 15 minutes) and provides one of the most rewarding views. This is also an ideal wintertime hike in Washington, as the area rarely gets snow.
While it’s five miles roundtrip, it only has an elevation gain of 450 feet, so it’s pretty flat for Washington hiking standards. It’s easily one of my favorite new waterfall hikes around Seattle to go on.
Here are a few more that are nearby:
- Wallace Falls State Park: 5.6 miles roundtrip, elevation gain of 1,300 feet, highlighted by a trek through lush forests leading to a series of stunning waterfalls, including the impressive 265-foot Wallace Falls.
- Heybrook Lookout: 2.6 miles roundtrip, elevation gain of approximately 850 feet, characterized by a steep climb to a historic fire lookout, which offers panoramic views of the Central Cascades, including Mt. Index and Bridal Veil Falls.
- Lord Hill Regional Park: Over 6 miles of trails, variable elevation gain depending on the chosen trail, featuring a mix of forests, wetlands, and open fields with views of the Snohomish River and the Cascade Mountains.
7. Devour a Seafood Lunch at Monroe Fish and Chips
I stopped at Monroe Fish and Chips after hiking Cherry Creek Falls, and it was the perfect fuel after hiking five miles. It’s an adorable little restaurant with a casual feel, and I very much appreciated that since I was a bit wet and dirty from hiking.
They have a variety of seafood options, and I opted for the 2 piece fish and chips. I was impressed by how quickly it came out (which was ideal because I was starving), and it seemed to be a hit among locals due to the crowds there.
8. Challenge Yourself with a Round at Tall Firs Disc Golf Course
If you’ve never played disc golf before, you’ll want to give it a try. I previously discovered a course in Canada with my friends years ago and absolutely loved it. You’re essentially throwing a frisbee in a giant basket, but it’s similar to golf in that there’s a whole course to go through, complete with tees to aim for (or baskets, in this case).
I recommend getting a group of friends to come here and challenging yourself with a round, and then going to celebrate with beers after (which leads to my next point).
Convinced to visit yet, or even move here? This disc golf course is right by Woods Creek Vista by Tri Pointe Homes, which would be an ideal place to call your home base with all of these activities nearby.
Here are a few things you’ll love about these homes:
- You’re conveniently only minutes away from grocery stores, shops, and restaurants.
- Stevens Pass is just an hour away when you feel like skiing or snowboarding.
- There are dozens of beginner hikes and moderate trails to choose from that are only 30 minutes away or less.
- You can choose from three to five bedrooms to fit your lifestyle.
- You’ll be surrounded by 40 acres of nature and have access to your own neighborhood park.
You can find out more on the Woods Creek Vista website.
9. Sample Local Brews at Route 2 Taproom
This taproom is the only place on this list I’ve actually been to multiple times before, as it’s the ideal spot to stop for post-skiing or hiking beers. I’ve always been impressed with it because they have a large beer menu, so almost anyone in your group can find what they like.
They also have a large food menu full of items such as wraps, burgers, salads, and more. A big plus for me is they’re kid-friendly and even have a separate menu for them, which I always look for when traveling with my family.
10. Indulge in a Mediterranean Feast at Bella Balducci’s
Ready for some dinner before you call it a day? Stop at the delicious Bella Balducci’s for Mediterranean food. Bella Balducci’s in Monroe is a medley of Greek, Italian, and Mediterranean flavors, from warm, fluffy pita and succulent kebabs to fresh, tangy tabbouleh and creamy hummus. There is something for every taste, from heavy, comforting main courses to light, refreshing salads.
I quickly talked to one of the brothers working there, and they mentioned how nothing is frozen, and they pride themselves on making everything fresh each day. I got a Greek salad, which felt like the perfect meal to end a busy day of exploring all the things to do in Monroe.
Map of Things to Do in Monroe
Here’s a quick way to see a map of what to do in Monroe:
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to do in Monroe, Washington. Again, while it’s fun to stop in for the day, it would also be an amazing place for a home base. I can’t imagine being close to so many hiking options and all the restaurants to choose from! It’s also a very family-friendly area, which is ideal when you’re looking for an area to raise your kids in. I know I’ll be back over and over again!