The sun is out, flowers are in bloom, and people are starting to think about summer vacation, COVID-19 style.

With ongoing restrictions in place in most of the world, they’re also having to think of creative ways to enjoy their getaway without going far.

Edmonds is the perfect choice for so many reasons.

Situated in the southwest corner of Snohomish County, and cradled next to beautiful Puget Sound, with the great Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains just beyond crystalline waves, this seaside town offers picturesque views from every vantage point, five miles of shoreline and 23 city parks (189 acres) to take advantage of all those open and preserved spaces, whale/bird watching, ferry, and scuba diving adventures, unique shopping and dining, and an exciting nightlife, with all the bells and whistles found in big cities.

Deep community roots, warm, welcoming vibe, fascinating history, and award-winning creativity in the food you eat, the cocktails, spirits, wine, and beer you toast to, paintings and sculptures you admire adorning wide, open, unconventional spaces, live music you spontaneously bust a move to…and so much more await.

And that’s not even including the headliners/acclaimed local acts, first-run/blockbuster movies, and fine, moving art regularly hitting the stage at Edmonds’ many *venues (ECA, Edmonds Theater,  Edmonds Driftwood Players, Phoenix Theatre, Cascade Symphony Orchestra, Olympic Ballet Theatre, Cascadia Art Museum). *Check with individual venues, some may still be closed or hosting virtual-only events.

Whether you’re ready to rock, shop, or dive into belly-warming, soul-sustaining food and drinks, even during the pandemic, Edmonds has your back.

From the baristas foaming the lattes and the retailers working the counters, to the chefs and line cooks in the kitchen and the gallery owners showing exquisite art, everybody here cares about your safety and well-being.

Merchants strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines, masking up, keeping six-ft. social distancing, and going above and beyond in many cases.

Leftcraft Restaurant & Taproom opened in August last year at 519 Main St., serving outstanding local craft beer and cutting edge food in as safe a setting as possible. Besides adhering to COVID protocols, co-owners Jamie Butler, chef Andy Walls, Travis Eaton, and general manager Jennifer Miller had a state-of-the-art UV air purification system installed on the premises. 

Same with Niles Peacock and his sci-fi liquid CO2 tank, installed special for his upcoming new Kitchen & Bar going up at 178 Sunset Ave. S., in Salish Crossing. He's stoked about the medical-grade liquid CO2 tank he's putting in at the bar. Rather, "embedded in the live edge bar," he says. "It will be a dispenser connected to [the] liquid CO2 tank, used for food sanitizing. When you press a glass down on it, it turns the liquid CO2 into a fog, that fog sanitizes the glass, and chills it, and, it’s cool-looking.”

Merchants also take full advantage of outdoor dining whenever possible, expanding seating into parking spaces and sidewalks to accommodate customers. They’ll be able to accommodate even more when city of Edmonds officials bring back Walkable Main Street. Implemented last summer at the height of the pandemic, three blocks of downtown traffic is diverted all day into the night, so businesses can bump out seating onto sidewalks and roads and social distancing for pedestrians is made easy.

Getting to the first designated Creative District in Washington is a snap. The seaside town’s close to two state highways, the state ferry, and many public transit stops.

Come by bike, car, ferry, The Sounder, Community Transit, or a short flight from Paine Field in Everett, barely 30 minutes away.

Once here, get out of the car and get around on foot or bike. Start in “The Bowl” downtown, and spread out to explore neighboring Westgate, Five Corners, Firdale, Perrinville, and the International District along Hwy. 99.

The actual town is about 18 square miles total. Totally doable.

If you prefer to stay longer than a day or a weekend — and who wouldn’t? — book a room at Best Western Plus Harbor Inn, right by the waterfront, close to all the action, including an awesome, bird-watching area just outside the lobby. The hotel features luxurious amenities and accommodations. Book early, because this is the only hotel in town.

Other options include vacation rentals, B&Bs/AirBnBs, and some hotels/motels off Hwy. 99, all the way up to Lynnwood to the north and Shoreline to the south. Check out more “Places to Stay.”

The best of both worlds — small town community and big, metropolitan city. Hard to beat that.

Banner photo and Marsh boardwalk courtesy of Edmonds Downtown

Niles Peacock-tail photo by Steve Parent Photography

All other photos by Janine Harles