Port Townsend, Washington is known as a historic Victorian seaport. It’s at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula bordered by Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, also known as the Salish Sea. You’ll enjoy the historic homes and buildings, views of the water and snow capped Olympic Mountains and discover the art, food and culture of the area. While a day will just whet your appetite for more, here are some key things to do in a day’s visit.
30-minute tours in open-air electric vehicles will give you an overview of the history and scenery of Port Townsend. The route includes Downtown’s Water Street, Point Hudson marina and beach, and then travels in Uptown by several impressive Victorian homes. An extended tour can take you to see historic Fort Worden State Park with its Officer’s Row and bluff-top views. For more information see PTeRider.
Of course you can also walk Port Townsend. The Uptown (impressive Victorians) and Downtown (shops, restaurants and the Marina) are linked by the Taylor Street Stairs. Get a map at the Visitors Center on Sims Way, park in town or at the Port Hudson Marina and follow the walking tour.
If you would like a guided walking tour stop by the Jefferson Museum of Art and History next to City Hall downtown. June through September the museum leads walking tours through the Downtown and Uptown districts, helping visitors to glean the exciting history of the area.
Uptown was where the merchants, sea captains and professionals of Port Townsend built their homes. The Uptown district is high upon the bluff overlooking the port and the buildings of Downtown. There are beautiful Victorian homes to see (some are B&B inns) and the only Fire Bell Tower still standing in the U.S. I highly recommend the beautiful Ravenscroft B&B Inn for your Uptown stay.
Uptown is home to a small business district and the seasonal Farmer’s Market. When you finish strolling Uptown, you can take the stairs on Taylor Street to the Haller Fountain on Washington Street and continue exploring in the downtown area.
Downtown is where the businesses, warehouses and port activities once took place. The large, ornate brick buildings now house shops, hotels, restaurants and museums. Walking Water and Washington Streets and stopping for lunch or dinner can take up your day.
No doubt you’ll get hungry while exploring Port Townsend. I can highly recommend The Fountain Café on Washington Street and the Silverwater Café on Taylor.
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