Monroe, Washington, sits at the crossroads of State Route 522 and US Route 2 and is the gateway for most travelers heading to destinations in and around the Steven Pass area of the Cascade Mountains. Monroe represents a place to get gas and a snack on their way to the mountains for those travelers. However, the savvy traveler knows that Monroe is a destination of its own, with interesting local businesses, a premier trails system for running and biking, and a thriving local community.
Downtown Monroe looks like a quintessential western downtown. Its building recalls an era where small-town downtowns were centers of activities. While many small American downtowns are shuttering businesses, Monroe maintains unique, long-standing shops and places to satisfy your appetite.
Books galore at Main Street Books
If you are a book lover, Main Street Books has an extensive collection of new and used books that you can browse or stop by to say hi to the shop cat. Sports and outdoor enthusiasts can visit Pacific Mountain Sports, the newest Pacific Bike and Ski location, a locally owned bike and ski business with Duvall and Sammamish locations. Vintage and antique shoppers will delight in shops like Black Barrel Vintage Company or M & M Antiques. While you shop, grab a cup of coffee downtown at either Original Pilot House Coffees or Sharinabean’s On Main. Sky River Bakery has a thirty-plus-year history of business in Monroe and was recently purchased by new owner Darrin Davis.
A reptile zoo and BBQ? Monroe says, “YES!”
A visitor can also find some unique shopping and visiting experiences in Monore. Where can you find a reptile zoo, espresso, and a BBQ all in one place? The brave reptile aficionado can head just west of Monroe off US Route 2 to the Monroe Station Reptile Zoo to see an albino alligator, a two-headed turtle, and many types of slithering reptiles. If lizards and snakes are not your thing, head into the shopping area on the other side of US 2 from downtown and visit the Bricks and Minifigs store to satisfy your Lego nostalgia.
Outdoorsy types will appreciate the access to parks and trails. Lake Tye’s 1.63-mile paved route is a flat paved trail for road bikers and walkers. Al Borlin Park is an option for unpaved trails and river views. The premier destination is Lord Hill Regional Park which covers 1,300 acres of wilderness that includes forest, lakes, and miles of running and hiking trails.
The Mug Club wall at Dreadnaught Brewing
Finally, what would a trip to any Washington local be without discovering the local brewery scene? The Route 2 Taproom has a tap list of thirty local beers and ciders to sample. Dreadnaught Brewing, near Lake Tye, has friendly staff and a mug club whose mugs create a showpiece of art in the taproom. Crooked Label Brewing Company is the newest entrant. Owner Dan Haff opened in December of 2020 in a side entrance of a marine boat Sky Valley Marine and serves the brews himself from behind the bar.