Visit the town near Seattle from the 1990's TV show 'Northern Exposure'
Roslyn is 1.5 hours east of Seattle, just off Interstate 90 in the beautiful Cascade Ranges near Seattle.
This former coal mining town is famous as the filming location for the iconic 1990's TV show Northern Exposure.
Roslyn's main street resembles an Old West town, with false-front wooden buildings, and one of the oldest saloons in the world. Many of the original buildings are intact, making you feel like you're stepping on the set of an old western movie. In 1978, the downtown area in Roslyn was included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Roslyn is a tiny town, but there's still lots to explore. Stop by the quaint museum to learn about Roslyn's coal mining boom in the 1880s, have a few beers at the historic Brick Saloon, a bite to eat at friendly Roslyn's Cafe, or the popular Coal Chute Cafe & Pub. The stunning Swiftwater Cellars is only a 3.4 mile drive away from Roslyn, and the perfect place for wine tastings or lunch.
Stay at the boutique hotel, Hotel Roslyn, in the heart of Roslyn's downtown.
10 best things to do in Roslyn
1. Find filming locations from the famous 1990s TV show, Northern Exposure.
Even decades later, fans still come to Roslyn in search of Northern Exposure filming locations, an iconic TV show from 1990 to 1995. Check out this self guided Northern Exposure Walking Tour to see key highlights, like Dr Joel's Office, KBHR Radio, and Shelley and Holling's Bar.
Village Pizza (105 West Pennsylvania Avenue) features in the opening credits of Northern Exposure.
The Roslyn Cafe mural with the iconic camel, was also in the opening credits of the series (201 West Pennsylvania Avenue). The camel mural pre-dates the series, painted in the 1980's by artist Dan O'Conner. An 's' was added during filming, to make it Roslyn's Cafe in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska. The Roslyn Cafe was constructed in 1896, and originally operated as a merchandise store and liquor shop. Today it's a lovely cafe.
Find Dr Joel's Office, with the distinctive Dr Joel Fleischman sign out on the window (112 West Pennsylvania Avenue). It also doubled as Cicely's Gift Shop.
2. Stroll along Roslyn's historic 1880s Pennsylvania Avenue.
Roslyn's Pennsylvania Avenue looks like something out of a wild west town. The clapboard, false-fronts buildings were constructed during the 1880s when Roslyn was a booming coal mine town. At the height of the boom its population swelled to over 4,000 people, but since the closure of Roslyn's last coal mine in the 1960's, its population now hovers around 900 people.
The row of stores along Harper's Front on Pennsylvania Avenue are beautifully preserved, and have been standing since the 1890s.
3. Enjoy Roslyn's restaurants and cafes.
Stop for a meal at the famous Roslyn Cafe, or savor the ambiance at the historic The Brick Saloon. The kid friendly Village Pizza or Roslyn Mexican Grill is perfect for families. In warmer months, Roslyn also has lovely outdoor patios at The Red Bird Cafe or Basecamp Books and Bites, and delicious food and games on the dog friendly patio at Logan's Bar.
If you drive a short distance outside of Roslyn, the atmospheric Coal Chute Cafe & Pub serves micro-brews and meals from locally sourced ingredients.
Relax on the lush patio outside the Red Bird Cafe.
4. Hang out at the Roslyn Yard village green.
Roslyn Yard is the town gathering place, with a grassy green used for summer movie nights, outdoor games, a food truck, and a patio serving food from Basecamp Books and Bites next door.
The Roslyn Yard is centrally located along Pennsylvania Avenue.
There are plenty of outdoor games for kids on the grassed area, and in summer free movies are projected up on the brick wall (check schedule).
Purchase beer, wine and meals at the food truck at the Roslyn Yard.
5. Stop by Basecamp Books and Bites.
Basecamp Books and Bites has a fun atmosphere and is at the heart of the Roslyn community. Enjoy cocktails, wine, beer and cider at the bar, warm up at the firepit with outdoor seating, pick up a book, local hiking map or Pacific Northwest themed gift, and relax in the restaurant with a kid's menu for families.
6. Load up on icecream and candy!
Step inside a historic bank building and enjoy the fantastic selection of candies and ice-cream at the Roslyn Candy Company, complete with the original bank vault and vintage bank teller counters.
7. Do a wine tasting at Corks.
The sophisticated Corks wine bar is the perfect spot for a wine tasting, with a gorgeous patio in summer to enjoy a wine flight!
8. Visit the famous Brick Saloon.
The Brick Saloon oozes history, and opened in 1889.
Step inside to see the Brick's magnificent, 100 year old bar originating from England, with an original 23' running water spittoon to wash away waste.
9. Stay at the boutique Roslyn Hotel.
Stay at the boutique Hotel Roslyn, in Roslyn's downtown, a convenient walk to everything.
10. Shop at the Old Company Store.
The Northwestern Improvement Company Store building (1889) has some of the best shopping in Roslyn, with a boutique, gallery, upscale furniture consignment store, visitor center, and of course the popular Heritage Distilling Company tasting room!
This building was originally used as a supply store for Roslyn miners. There's a Coal Miner's Memorial out front with a list of all the miners who perished in Roslyn mines from 1892 to 1960. The building also featured as the headquarters of the KBHR radio station in the 1990s Northern Exposure TV series.
Stroll along the historic main corridor to see all the interesting shops.
The Heritage Distilling Company also has a stylish tasting room.
Fused Gallery Workshop is fully of beautiful glassworks.
11. Visit the Roslyn Museum to learn about the biggest mining disaster in Washington history.
The Roslyn Museum does a great job of bringing history back to life, explaining Roslyn's mining roots, and showcasing a collection of items from Northern Exposure. Check open hours.
Roslyn was founded in 1886, after coal deposits were discovered by surveyors from the Northern Pacific Railroad. The mines were seven levels deep, extending an incredible 2,700 feet below the town of Roslyn!
However, coal mining was a dangerous profession, and many miners lost their lives. In 1892, an astounding 45 coal miners perished when an underground explosion in the Northern Pacific Coal's Number 1. coal mine in Roslyn caused the worst mining disaster in Washington State History. Families were devastated, and 29 women lost their husbands, and 80 children lost their fathers. In 1909, another 10 coal miners lost their lives in an explosion at Number 4. coal mine.
The height of the boom was in 1910, when 2 million tons of coal were being dug up each year. The industry boomed for 35 years, supplying coal for the steam engines operating in the Cascades Ranges. When the steam engines converted to diesel, the boom was over, and the last coal mine in Roslyn closed down in 1963.
These are the original wooden carriages that transported loads of coal from the Roslyn mines, holding 2,000 pounds of coal each.
The relocated Kerstetter Cabin was constructed in the 1930s, by a prospector hoping his family could take advantage of the amazing tales of gold and iron deposits in the surrounding area.
12. Book a Roslyn Walking Tour.
13. Stroll along the old Coal Mines Trail.
The Coal Mines Trail stretches 4.7 miles from Cle Elum to Ronald, passing through Roslyn. It follows the old route of the Northern Pacific Railway Line along a dirt track, highlighting 20 historic sites with markers. One of the most significant landmarks is the site of Northern Pacific Coal's Number 1, where 45 men lost their lives in the 1892 explosion.
You can access the Coal Mines Trail on E Washington Avenue, just behind the Northwestern Improvement Company Store building, or get directions at the Roslyn Museum.
14. See the gravesites of the 45 miners who died in the May 10, 1892 explosion.
The Roslyn Cemetery has an incredible piece of history, where you can visit the gravestones of all 45 men who died in the 1892 mining explosion.
These men had come to Roslyn from all over the world to take part in the boom and strike it rich. If you visit the Roslyn Cemetery, you'll see it divided into an astounding 26 different ethnic groups or lodges, including Serbians, Italians, Poles, Lithuanians and Croations.
There was a huge funeral procession down the main street of Roslyn, but the lives of the women and children left behind were forever devastated.
15. Learn about the fire that destroyed much of Roslyn in 1888.
After a fire destroyed much of Roslyn's commercial area in 1888, buildings were rebuilt using brick and locally quarried sandstone. These included the Brick Tavern (1889) the Northwest Improvement Company Building (1889), Roslyn Cafe (1896) and the Piemonte Saloon (late 1800's).
The Piemonte Saloon (below) is now an events venue known as StoneHouse 101, popular for weddings.
16. Catch a show at the historic Roslyn Theater.
The Roslyn Theater oozes rustic charm, and has cosy seating for up to 100 patrons (101 W Dakota Avenue, check show times). It's interesting to learn that this building was previously a mortuary!
Fun things to do near Roslyn.
The Swiftwaters Cellars Winery is 3 miles from Roslyn, housed in a beautiful northwestern style lodge at the site of the historic Roslyn Number 9. coal mine. It's the perfect place for a relaxing lunch or a wine tasting at the bar, and the restaurant offers patio dining in summer in a superb natural setting.