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.
Housed in an 1892 Odd Fellows Hall overlooking Friday Harbor, The Whale Museum is the local center for Salish Sea stewardship and research. See a young orca skeleton, watch free videos, and find treasures in the gift shop. Upstairs, visit the Gallery of Whales and learn about how you can Adopt an Orca to support the 80-plus Southern Resident whales that call Northwest waters home. [more...]
At Be Chic Boutique you'll find fresh and feminine clothing with a Northwest flair. We carry hand picked clothing, shoes, lingerie, jewelry and accessories to keep you current on all the new fashions. Styles are individual and eclectic, mixing cutting edge fashion with classic and comfortable clothing. Be Chic carries clothing by Charlotte Tarantola, Jag Jeans, Anne Ferriday, For Love & Liberty, Worn Jeans, Johnny Was Collection/JWLA, Rock Revival, Leatherock, Royal Plush, Tribal, Hanky Panky, Nougat, One Girl Who, David Kahn Jeanswear and many more designers. [more...]
Experience premiere whale watching with San Juan Excursions aboard the 64-foot, twin-engine, classic motor yacht the 'Odyssey'. The largest whale watching boat in the islands, the ‘Odyssey" offers guests excellent, comfortable indoor and outdoor viewing with heated cabins, lounge-style seating, a snack bar, two restrooms, padded outdoor seating, and wrap around decks. We see orca whales on a high percentage of our tours and if you do not see an orca, then you are welcome to come out another day -- free of charge. [more...]
The Friday Harbor Drug Company on the corner of Spring and 2nd Streets is an an amalgamation 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, operating as the town's only pharmacy ever since. [more...]
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art provides quarterly exhibits that reflect the best of the visual arts from the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada. The IMA's mission is to connect people with art that inspires, challenges, and enlightens. [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 - September 20 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, and more -- plus local musicians will present live music throughout the evening. [more...]
Whether you are looking for a premier whale watch tour, quality family adventure, or a fun-filled fishing excursion, Legacy Charters is here to make it happen. Offering whale watching and fishing charters for groups of six or less assures the most authentic and personalized charters available. [more...]
From your first step over our threshold into our earthy, sensual environment, you will feel comfortable exactly as you are. Like our island home, our warm, accessible ambiance invites visitors to reconnect with the beauty and wisdom within. [more...]
Watch local marine life up close at the Spring St. Landing Aquarium, a 400-gallon saltwater tank displaying a variety of creatures such as sea cucumber, tube worms, singing scallops, nudibranch, sea stars, sea urchins and anemones. A great free attraction for kids. [more...]
The SJC Fairground is a multi-use event center with indoor rental facilities, group camping, RV sites and year round activities. The annual Fair in August draws thousands of visitors and is a sweet, small town county fair with an arts festival feel and major fun for the whole family! The 14-acre fairground rental facilities include a 10,000-square-foot exhibit hall for large events; 1,800-square-foot building for receptions, parties, meetings, concerts, etc.; seven RV sites with full hookup and group camping areas. [more...]
Opening in late May, we are one of Friday Harbor’s newest attractions for active kids and their favorite adult. Located in the heart of downtown; this happy and colorful indoor space is filled with creative and imaginative play areas, designed for ages 1 to 8. It is the perfect spot for kids to move, build, create, socialize and explore, while parents can relax, catch up with a friend and are always welcome to join in the fun. [more...]
We are Friday Harbor's oldest antique shop, with complete estate services, licensed auctioneers and certified appraisals. Come in and browse one of the Northwest's best shops featuring unique, eclectic and one-of-a-kind treasures-since 1984. [more...]
Located in the Port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Canvas is a full service marine canvas shop. We offer sail repair as well as the occasional custom sail. San Juan Canvas sells a line of unique canvas and sailcloth bags designed and made here in our shop. Stop by for visit. [more...]