Kicking off January 20, Bellingham's music festival sets toes tapping with live performances and workshops around downtown. Informal jams spring up between scheduled events, and concerts range from more formal seated sessions to stand-up and dance-along versions.
Downtown Ellensburg turns a chilly month into a beery celebration with more than 25 breweries and cideries pouring tasters at its annual fest. Music performances liven the mood, and entry comes with a commemorative tasting glass.
Freeland's new pho-focused eatery opens with to-go orders only at first, packaging its rich beef or vegetable noodle soups, banh mi, and—when it's on special—a kimchi pimento grilled cheese sandwich. From its location in southern Whidbey Island, the shop is an ideal stop for hiking food when headed to trails at Ebey's Landing, Double Bluff Beach, or Fort Casey Historical State Park.
Beverly McNeil of the Admiralty Audubon Society leads birdwatching walks through Marrowstone Island's Fort Flagler on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month (weather permitting), pointing out all the loons and grebes and marbled murrelets you'd miss on your own. McNeil knows her stuff; her bird photography is on display at a Port Townsend gallery. Email reservations required.
Sucks that so many winter festivals are crammed into December and the frantic holiday season. Lake Chelan knows what's up, moving their snow party to the quieter days of January 14–23. Fireworks light the sky in two different shows, and ice sculptures put the freezing Central Washington temperatures to good use.