A city dear to my family’s heart. My husband grew up here, and often shares his childhood memories with me about Gig Harbor. I can see his inner little boy come out as he tells me about his adventures. Once we started dating, my husband shared all these quaint features of the city with me as I’m about to share with you. One by one, slowly I too fell in love with this gorgeous city.
The Harbor is a city made up of a little over 9,000 people as of 2016. This makes the city seem more like a small town when in fact, the surrounding areas make it extremely busy and at times it can feel a bit crowded. As a suburb of Seattle, it is a prime location for raising a family and commuting to work. It also has plenty of waterfront properties and views that make the area appealing. If you can sneak off the beaten path and drive through some of the neighborhoods, you will find million dollar homes, one after another with multi-million dollar views. Real estate is high in this area needless to say, but for those who can afford it, it’s worth the Benjamin’s!
For those of us just wanting to swing in for a visit, the City never disappoints. Best place to spend an afternoon is on the water, so why not mix in a bit of shopping and delicious grub, all while walking the Harbor? Start in Downtown Gig Harbor. Parking can be hard to find, but hang in there. Obviously your chances of finding a prime parking location depend on the time of day and week. There’s only a few parking lots and stalls along the street as the old downtown area is a tight location. Feel free to pack up the stroller if you have the littles with you as the streets and store entrances are family friendly.
Smell the salt in air, feel the breeze hitting your cheeks, you’ll get in the mood for a latte in hand before starting out on your northwest adventure. Coffee shops are found everywhere because we NEED to feed the addiction. Grab one ASAP and head out to the wooden planked docks floating along the glossy, clam water. With all of Washington you’ll find the tourist areas perfectly line the waterfronts, and Gig Harbor is no exception.
Along the Harbor’s shores sits the Gig Harbor Marina, where you can walk along the docks and see the sail boats and yachts along with small fishing boats alike. With some of the boats you can get up close and personal, admiring the true craftsmanship and character each of these boats possess, all unique and beautiful in their own right. Check out the names of the boats, no doubt you’ll find a few to laugh at. These docks bring back memories of my husband and I taking our wedding engagement pictures. It was so romantic and even when it started to sprinkle a bit of rain we got some amazing shots with the iconic umbrella of the PNW.
After admiring the seamen and their pride and joys, continue walking toward the painted wooden built store fronts also along the water and across the street facing the water. Antique shops and nicknack shops will certainly have that unique item to bring home to your best friend! Don’t pass up that souvenir that catches your eye, as you will regret not having something to remember this place. Remember how much we cherish our coffee, so a coffee mug never disappoints.
Just past the few store fronts facing the water, there is a set of stairs that climbs the steep hill up to a viewpoint you will not want to miss! Finholm View Climb. This is a must see even if you do nothing else, please climb up to this viewpoint on a clear blue sky day. You will see the most incredible view of Mt. Rainier, the Harbor underneath and rolling hills of Tacoma, Washington sandwiched between. The mountain often looks as though it is floating on fluffy clouds in the sky making it feel unreal, imagined and dreamy in all its splendor. This is where my husband took my parents after lunch one day, just when we first started dating. He must have impressed my dad because my dad gave us his blessing right from the start. Now you see what this view really can do!! A must see!
After a bit of shopping, you’ve worked up an appetite, it was inevitable. So if it’s lunch time, or if it’s one of the best meals of the day, “brunch”, please stop into the Netshed nestled right along the water’s edge. This locally sourced, seasonal menu is all about pairings and combos you would never imagine but please try to imagine! Think, “down home cooking meets gourmet”. I always go in for their scratch cinnamon rolls made in a small, individual sized cast iron skillet. The type of rolls depends on the time of year, but it doesn’t matter what kind they have available, they are all amazing. I once found myself pregnant and craving these rolls (living too far away unfortunately), thus complaining to my friend who lives in Gig Harbor. So she comes up to visit me just days later with the rolls as a special delivery. When you’re pregnant, you eat the entire serving in one setting, don’t judge.
Time for an activity, an experience with memories attached to it forever. Kayaking the harbor. My husband and I highly recommend it!! Rent a one or two-seater for a couple of hours. If you have never kayaked before, know that a two-seater might be more comfortable and easier for your arms to handle, you start to feel the burn after an hour of rowing! Remember the boats you saw from the dock? Kayaking allows you to truly experience the marina, from a whole new angle. And as you make your way further out of the Harbor, you pass by gorgeous homes until you finally make it to the Harbor’s mouth taking in the stunning view of the mountain while sitting in water, being rocked by gentle swells.
At this point, you might seriously be thinking about dinner. You can tie your kayak alongside Tides Tavern private dock, for dinner if within your rental agreement timeframe. Tides Tavern is like it sounds, a pub, only it’s a family friendly pub with delicious PNW pub food. And who doesn’t like a cold, local beer or hard cider to end the day? They are known for delicious fish and chips and make sure to order a bowl of clam chowder too. One of the best parts about this place, other than the food and lively crowd, is the location. The views are stunning. When you can get delicious, affordable food and drinks while along the water, it’s a no-brainer. Kayak back to where you started to end your downtown Gig Harbor experience.
If there’s still time in your day, and hopefully some energy left, head up to Uptown Gig Harbor for some more shopping, be it a bit more mainstream/department store like. A few more options for food are found in this shopping center as well as a great place for an evening coffee after dinner. Cutters Point Coffee makes a mean cup of coffee, original to the area and roasting their own beans, it’s a true Washingtonian experience. Hop across the parking lot to finish your night at the I-max theater or call it a night because you’re truly exhausted. Gig Harbor is Worth every ounce of energy and money spent! Just wait, you’ll see!