Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
If you sometimes long for a time when life was simpler, more tranquil, and slower paced, you’ll be enchanted by Friday Harbor’s ambience—a charming, walkable seaport built on a hill leading up from the harbor ... small, friendly stores and restaurants ... a refreshing absence of fast-food chains ... a place where you’re likely to recognize your smiling grocery store clerk onstage at the community theater or in the band that plays Sundays at the Port, and where three cars at a stop sign is a traffic jam. But most of the coffee shops offer wireless, a number of restaurants boast world-class chefs, the Palace Theater shows first-run movies, and Smart cars have replaced horse-drawn buggies.
Arts & Music
From paintings and photographs to sculptures, fiber art and pottery, Friday Harbor is alive with art—and artists. You’ll see murals and tile mosaics by islanders on buildings and walls (check out the hardware store), and a stroll through the galleries, gift shops, and boutiques will give you a taste of the extraordinary variety of artwork created on this small island. San Juan Community Theatre and Island Stage Left put on a plethora of performing arts featuring multi-talented islanders.
In the summer, enjoy free live music at the Port on Fridays and Sundays, “Music on the Lawn” behind the San Juan Island Historical Museum on Wednesday evenings, and "Shakespeare Under the Stars" during July and August. Several restaurants feature live music, and many summer weekends offer a delightful range of island musicians performing at festivals, fairs and shows.
What’s your pleasure? Seafood, local farm fresh, Thai, Tex-Mex, vegetarian/health food, Italian, Chinese, pub fare, or good ol’ American diner food? Fine dining? Casual? Count on your palate being pleased and your taste buds titillated in Friday Harbor’s variety of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, all within easy walking distance. And check out the farmers market at Brickworks Plaza. Many of the town’s eateries are on or overlook the water, so you can enjoy your meal and the view at the same time.
Want to settle into a cozy B&B? A modern motor inn? An elegant, small hotel? A water-view suite for a week? You’ll find a warm welcome in Friday Harbor at a variety of lodgings.
History & Culture
Check out The Whale Museum to find out about the local orca pods (every whale has a name) and local marine mammals (great gift shop), the San Juan Historical Museum (the town celebrated its centennial in 2009). Learn more about the fascinating history of the Friday Harbor waterfront, and how Friday Harbor got its name. Take a self-guided walking tour of historic Friday Harbor, which includes turn-of-the-century buildings, street names, churches—and even trees. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Friday Harbor one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2008.
In town you can also book whale/wildlife tours and sailboat or kayak excursions. Rent bicycles, mopeds, or three-wheeled scootcars, or catch a San Juan Transit bus with stops around the island along the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway route.
Established in 1980, San Juan Kayak Expeditions is the original sea kayaking company in the San Juan Islands! Your kayak adventure begins at our conveniently located Sea Kayak Center kiosk directly across from the ferry dock in Friday Harbor. We offer fun outings for all tastes and budgets such as our guided Whales Ho! Full Day tour and our Griffin Bay Full Day, Half Day or Sunset tours! [more...]
Unique small ship cruises in the San Juan Islands, up the southern inside passage of British Columbia, and in SE Alaska aboard the 1932 historic wooden vessel, MV Catalyst. Hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing. Historic 1924 historic motor yacht, MV Westward, available for day trips, special events, custom cruises, weddings, in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia.
From their studio overlooking Friday Harbor, designer goldsmiths Dan and Diane Levin enjoy an enthusiastic international following. The exquisitely detailed designs they create stand out among the classics of fine jewelry design the world over.
Levin original designs are copyrighted and each individual creation receives the Levin signature, hand-engraved by the artist. [more...]
WaterWorks Gallery is San Juan Island’s première gallery for contemporary artwork, established in 1985 with the concept of showcasing artists based in the San Juan Islands and the Pacific Northwest. The work of the gallery’s painters and sculptors reflect the unique Northwest experience. Artists and their visions evolve and change, stimulated by the changing times we live in. Art jewelry is a new addition to the gallery. Monthly show schedule posted online. Seasonally adjusted hours. [more...]
Friday Harbor welcomes a new Friday evening experience, the Friday Harbor Art Market, just steps from the ferry landing, on Fridays from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m., June 21 - August 29 at the Brickworks Plaza on Sunshine Alley. Approximately 20 local artists will feature a variety of creations for sale—pottery, jewelry, photographs, clothing, sculpture, textiles, paintings, soaps, woodwork, food from Cynthia's of Course and more. [more...]
Join a "Kayak Quest for Whales” today! Our specialty is finding orca whales while kayaking. Sea Quest was selected by National Geographic in their “10 Best Trips in the World for 2011” and USA Today picked us for their “World's Top 10 Adventure Bargains.” Visit our website now to watch fantastic videos made for National Geographic TV and ABC News. [more...]
The Friday Harbor Drug Company, on the corner of Spring and Second Streets, is an amalgam of two historic structures. The 2-story building at 220 Spring St. was built by Dr. George Wright in the 1890s to house the town's original pharmacy. This building went on to become Friday Harbor's first public library; on its inaugural day, the library's entire 28-volume collection was checked out. The corner building, built between 1908 and 1912, operated as a clothing and gift store, the U.S. Customs office and as headquarters for The Islander newspaper. The two buildings were joined in 1929, and was the town's only example of Spanish Eclectic architecture popular in the West at that time,operating as the town's main pharmacy ever since. [more...]
We offer guided or unguided kayak trips, starting at 2 hours, from downtown Friday Harbor to the inner harbor, Brown Island, or to beautiful Turn Island State Park, where you can hike the trails, enjoy a beach picnic, and explore the tide pools. Our fleet of Hobie kayaks includes singles, tandems and trimarans, and can be paddled, pedaled, sailed or even driven by an electric motor. The unique and versatile Hobie kayaks are extremely stable, and suitable for pros or beginners of any age. [more...]
Island Studios is an art gallery representing exclusively island artists and craftspersons. This unique gallery offers a large collection of paintings, photographs, prints, jewelry, glasswork, sculptures, textiles, pottery, books and music. [more...]
Adventure awaits you! Join Western Prince Whale Watching on an intimate sized tour (limited to 32 passengers on the Western Prince II and 15 passengers on the Western Explorer) as we explore protected waters and discover the islands' abundant wildlife and spectacular beauty. [more...]
Join owner Captain Hobbes aboard "Natsilane" for an intimate whale & wildlife tour of a lifetime. Limited to only 6 passengers, come discover the unique ecosystems of the Salish Sea in a comfortable and stable boat with a heated cabin, indoor & outdoor seating, and a restroom. Tours depart one or two times daily depending on the season. [more...]
Founded in 1964, the San Juan Island Yacht Club's membership has grown to over 300 active boaters. Our clubhouse is a full service facility with large meeting room, bar and kitchen facilities. The San Juan Island Yacht Club is a cruising club. Our members travel as far north as Glacier Bay and south to the Gulf of California. We sponsor 10 to 12 local cruises each year along with major racing events, including the Shaw Island Classic. Additionally, sailors are invited to participate in the One Design race series. [more...]
A port for all seasons! Unsurpassed natural beauty pervades this privileged haven, whatever the season. Visitors can ferry, boat, sail or fly a seaplane into the Port of Friday Harbor's Marina. Visitors can also fly into the Port of Friday Harbor's airport. [more...]