Community June 1, 2023

From Coffee to Culture: A Perfect Day in Port Townsend

Nestled on the northeastern tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is a picturesque coastal town that exudes charm. Known for its Victorian architecture, rich maritime history, and natural beauty, “PT” has an array of attractions, and it’s only about an hour from Kingston. Here are some of its must-visit places.

Local History

Start your day by immersing yourself in history and elegance at the Manresa Castle Hotel. This stunning 19th-century castle, now a hotel, boasts magnificent views, uniquely decorated rooms, and manicured gardens.

Another local gem with fascinating history is Fort Worden State Park. A historic military base, Fort Worden is now a sprawling parkland with over 430 acres to explore and campsites to enjoy. Wander through its barracks and bunkers, and stop to appreciate the beautiful vistas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Don’t miss the iconic Point Wilson Lighthouse, which has guided ships through the treacherous waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca since 1879. Please note that a Discover Pass is needed to visit a campsite, in the beach area, and at the main trailheads for day-use parking.

If you’re a maritime lover, dive into Port Townsend’s maritime heritage at the Northwest Maritime Center. This educational facility showcases the region’s seafaring traditions through exhibits, workshops, and events. Get hands-on with interactive displays, learn about wooden boat building, or even sign up for a sailing lesson to experience the joys of the open water.

Immerse yourself in the town’s history at the Jefferson County Historical Society and Museum. Housed in the historic city hall building, this museum has exhibits that depict the area’s Native American heritage, early European settlement, and maritime history.

Beautiful Parks

Located on the waterfront, Pope Marine Park is home to the historic Northwest Schooner Society and features beautifully restored boats. There’s also a great little playground right there by the water if you’re visiting with young children.

Take a walk up the hill from the main downtown area to visit Chetzemoka Park. It’s a lush green space with mountain and water views. Explore the park’s gardens, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax while watching boats sail by.

Cafes and Treats

For an excellent cup of coffee, head to Velocity. This popular coffee shop has skilled baristas who will craft your drink with precision and care. The café also offers a selection of delectable pastries, and it’s right next to the interesting Wooden Boat Chandlery. Another fantastic option downtown is Better Living Through Coffee. Whether you’re a fan of pour-over coffee or a velvety flat white, they have you covered. They also have tasty homemade soups, quiches, and more. And, you’ll love their picturesque ocean view.

Indulge your sweet tooth at Elevated Ice Cream. This beloved ice cream parlor offers a wide range of flavors, from classics like chocolate to unique creations like lavender. Additionally, Elevated Ice Cream has a wonderful back patio on the waterfront.


Photo by Leo Phillips.

Unique Shops and Attractions

There are many interesting shops and art galleries in Port Townsend. In fact, you could easily spend the entire day shopping. Abracadabra is a whimsical shop featuring an eclectic collection of books, unique jewelry, funny socks, and so much more. Other unique shops include Mad Hatter for great hats and accessories and The Spice & Tea Exchange for loose-leaf teas and gourmet spice blends. Venture beneath the streets of downtown Port Townsend to check out the underground shops. Each one has its own distinctive character.


Photo by Leo Phillips.

Relaxing Activities

If you’re looking to truly relax in Port Townsend, treat yourself to a blissful soak at Soak on the Sound. This tranquil spa offers private salt-water soaking tubs and saunas so you can really unwind.

Another option is to take a stroll from North Beach Park to Glass Beach. Along this scenic trail, you’ll encounter driftwood-strewn shores and the opportunity to collect colorful sea glass on Glass Beach. Listen to the waves crashing against the shore and breathe in the fresh ocean air.

Arts and Festivals

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Port Townsend by exploring the Port Townsend Creative District. This district is home to numerous galleries, studios, and creative spaces where local artists showcase their talents. Admire the diverse artwork on display, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more.

Depending on when you visit Port Towsend, you may be able to experience one of their fun festivals. For example, the annual Rhododendron Festival is held each May and features a grand parade, live entertainment, and a variety of community events. In July and August, the waterfront offers live music at Concerts on the Dock. Held annually in September since 1978, the Wooden Boat Festival is an internationally renowned festival that celebrates the art of wooden boat building and restoration. Marvel at the stunning vessels on display, watch skilled craftsmen at work, and participate in hands-on activities, workshops, and more.

Dining and Nightlife

Whether you’re craving seafood or want something you can easily enjoy on the go, Port Townsend has many great restaurants to choose from. And, their nightlife includes fun pubs and live music.

If you’re a sushi lover, Ichikawa Sushi Bar is a must-visit. They have expertly crafted sushi rolls, sashimi, and traditional Japanese dishes. For a delectable lunch with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients, look no further than Silverwater Cafe. If you love Thai food, we recommend Khu Larb Thai. From aromatic curries to the classic Pad Thai, there’s something for everyone. For fine dining, Finistère offers a culinary journey of Pacific Northwest flavors with a French flare. This highly-rated restaurant has been praised by The Seattle Times.

When it comes to nightlife, there are many places that host talented local musicians and bands. And, there is no shortage of options for craft beers and fine wines. For a laid-back and inviting ambiance, head to Pourhouse, a popular establishment known for its local brews and excellent beachfront location. For a lively evening, head to Sirens Pub. They have an impressive selection of beers on tap, signature cocktails, and live music performances. The In Between is a cozy bar and eatery that offers a casual atmosphere and a diverse menu. Or, Uptown Pub & Grill is another great spot where you can join in on one of their trivia nights, karaoke, open mic, or hear some great live music.

Wherever you decide to spend the day when visiting Port Townsend, we hope you have a wonderful time. If you’re looking for other PNW day trips or nearby getaways, check out peaceful Port Ludlow.