Things to do in Port Townsend
By Karen Donovan and Alison Ward
Headed to Port Townsend for STG's THING festival this August? Described by Sunset Magazine as "The Paris of the Pacific Northwest," Port Townsend would make for a fun adventure all on its own. This charming historic town offers everything from window shopping, to art galleries, restaurants and ice-cream shops—to wineries, breweries, a unique farm-to-table culinary scene and more!
THING attendees are free to come-and-go from the festival to explore the nearby downtown area. There's a free shuttle to take you back and forth from Jefferson County Campground to downtown. Here's STG's guide showing all of what downtown Port Townsend has to offer.
Before THING: Enjoy Soundcheck, Port Townsend's own festival
Get to Port Townsend early to enjoy arts, music and culture offered in downtown Port Townsend during the seven days leading up to THING. Soundcheck—Port Townsend's own festival—begins on Friday, Aug. 19 with numerous performances, interactive events, and local artists.
Soundcheck kicks off Friday with Band-o-Rama and the Uptown Street Fair Saturday. All ages are welcome to catch a show from a great band in an excellent venue, take in a gallery walk, dance your pants off outside at an inclusive swing event, marvel at a burlesque troupe or at a collection of short films. Movie nights are also offered for families and friends to get together and enjoy the indoor showing of Encanto and the outdoor showing of Hook.
In the mood for something more grown-up friendly? Hop on the free Soundcheck bus at noon on Thursday, Aug. 25 to visit breweries, wineries and a distillery on the craft beverage tour.
For more information about the Soundcheck festival, go to ptsoundcheck.com.
Eat and Drink
While Port Townsend offers spectacular views and architecture, it's also home to amazing locally sourced restaurants. From tasty wine and beer to fresh seafood and homemade ice cream, Port Townsend has it all. Here are a few places to eat and/or drink downtown
- Bayview Restaurant—American cuisine, known for their homemade pies!
- Fountain Café—Fun and funky American bistro with a large selection of dishes and drinks.
- Silverwater Café—Mediterranean and Asian-influenced American cuisine with a great atmosphere.
- The Old Whiskey Mill—Casual American food in a historic building with a pub vibe. Happy hour is available Monday through Friday 3 p.m.–5 p.m.
- Waterfront Pizza—you can smell the delicious pizza from down the street—so hard to not grab a slice!
- Go to enjoypt.com/eat-and-drink/ for more information on dining in Port Townsend.
More options for the foodies out there are available through The Olympic Culinary Loop, a culinary organization located on the Olympic Peninsula. The Loop offers fresh and delicious culinary treats. The Olympic Peninsula's local fare is influenced by the region's diverse climate, coastal proximity, and S'Klallam Indigenous heritage. You'll find an abundance of locally grown produce, game, sea fare and wine.
The Outdoors and Penninsula
The Peninsula offers a variety of places to stay before, during or after THING including resorts, a restored Old Alcohol Plant and several parks. Recreation is abundant with maritime activities, beautiful hikes and biking. Outdoor lovers can find numerous ways to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and smell the fresh sea air.
Fort Worden and the Olympic National Forest offer many hikes for beginners and avid hikers. If hiking isn't your thing (but the water is)—jump aboard a sailboat or kayak or go whale-watching. Port Townsend and the surrounding area are very bicycle friendly with bike lanes, trails, and cycle mechanics prevalent throughout the area. The Cicmahan trail showcases the Indigenous history of the area and is bikeable from 1 mile to 12 miles as you choose.
Arts and Music
Mingle with the locals while taking in the great live music and beautiful art galleries around town. The Concerts on the Dock series on Thursdays throughout July and August showcase free performances from a diverse lineup.
The newly formed Creative Arts Alliance includes Centrum, Copper Canyon Press, Corvidae Press, KPTZ Radio, Madrona MindBody Institute, Northwind Art, Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Rainshadow Recording. These eight creative arts non-profit groups are making plans to reside in Fort Worden's historic newly renovated Makers Square, creating an arts and culture corridor on the campus. From classes to artists in residence to performances and movement, there are lots of activities, programming, and events to engage in.
Enjoy plenty of art opportunities during THING (August 26-28, 2022) and learn more about other art, dining, and adventure opportunities at enjoypt.com.