Looking for a great staycation idea? Or a place to spend a day? Or even a town to move to that's close to Tacoma and Seattle...but not too close? Gig Harbor is an adorable and pleasantly small harbor town just across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma. While much of the town consists of quiet residential neighborhoods and homes tucked along the water, there are many things to do in Gig Harbor's "downtown" especially on a warm summer day.
Explore galleries and antique shops, walk along the water, or even go beer and wine tasting. Downtown Gig Harbor has a lot packed into just a few blocks.
Walking the Waterfront
One of the best things to do in Gig Harbor is totally free—taking a walk around the harbor area. There's a pathway along Harborview Drive, which follows the water’s edge and takes you past most of the things to do in the area. You'll pass by shops and restaurants, Skansie Brothers Park, kayak and SUP board rentals, marinas and more—all set against a backdrop of marinas and sailboats and green hills. Pick up a bite to eat at the Harbor General Store, which sells take out foods that are ideal for a picnic along the water watching sailboats go by.
Skansie Brothers Park
Skansie Brothers Park is not a large park, but its location right by the water makes it a great stop. Grab a snack at Kelly's Cafe or the General Store or bring your own food and you can sit in the grass or at a picnic table and enjoy a picnic with a view. Since Gig Harbor is indeed a harbor, the waterfront is lined with marinas with picturesque sailboats galore. This is also the perfect place to hang out if you have dogs or kids with you.
Dotting the Harbor and surrounding streets are several restaurants, ranging from casual to nicer sit-down places. For casual, look to Kelly's Cafe where you can get a burger, sandwich, cup of soup or ice cream on summer days. For mid-range, Tides Tavern has been a long-time Gig Harbor mainstay and has great breakfast and happy hour menus. For a more upscale dinner, Morso wine bar and Anthony's (seafood and Northwest cuisine) are both right on the water.
Shopping in the Harbor is not a big box store kind of experience (not that there aren't big box stores in Gig Harbor, but they're not located downtown). Located on Harborview Drive are dozens of small, locally owned shops, galleries and antique stores. Highlights include Gallery Row, a co-op featuring several artists all in one space; Gig Harbor Book Company and Mostly Books—both indie bookstores; and plenty of shops and boutiques with everything from kitchen wares to pet shops. The number of galleries packed into this relatively compact area makes shopping and wandering a special treat for the artistically inclined.
Just a couple of blocks from the heart of downtown Gig Harbor is the 7 Seas Brewery. If you enjoy well-hopped beers, head over to the tap room where you can relax with a beer. As a traditional taproom, 7 Seas does not have a kitchen or serve food, but you might find a food truck outside and you're welcome to bring in food from nearby restaurants or other food establishments. 7 Seas brews Rude Parrot IPA, Life Jacket Session IPA, Ballz Deep Double IPA and 253 Pilsner, but also serves a cider or two and gluten-free beer from Seattle's Ghostfish Brewery.
If beer isn’t your thing, never fear. Visit Heritage Distilling Co. at the corner of Pioneer and Harborview to taste small-batch whiskey, gin and vodka. You can tour the distillery’s main location at 3207 57th Street Ct NW, or you can enjoy a tasting experience in the downtown tasting room.
Kayak and Other Rentals
Walking along Harborview Drive is a great way to see the water and marinas, but an even better way is to get out onto the water. There are kayak rental and stand up paddle board rentals located along Harborview. Even if you’re a beginner, the rental shop can offer a few tips to set you on your way. Just a couple options for rentals are Lee's SUP (8829 N. Harborview Dr.), which has kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Also Emerald Yachts (3419 Harborview Drive) has kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.