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.
Schooners North offers sailing adventures in the San Juan Islands aboard our traditionally rigged vessel. Spike Africa is the last West Coast working top-mast schooner. Come set sail with us for the experience of a lifetime. [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.
Location: 315 Argyle St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-3060
Hours: call for seasonal hours [more...]
Experience premiere whale watching with San Juan Excursions aboard the 65-foot, twin-engine, classic motor yacht "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 design by architect Richard Hobbs features interior Main and North Galleries within the walls of the existing building and a proposed outdoor South Terrace Gallery, the combination of which invites all to participate and be involved in the world of the IMA visual arts experience. The new San Juan Islands Museum of Art will provide quarterly exhibits that reflect the best of the visual arts from the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada.
Location: 540 Spring St., Friday Harbor; (360) 370-5050
Hours: call for seasonal hours [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.
Gallery 9 features local arts and gifts from the Northwest Islands. Handmade art can be found in this stunning and chic downtown gallery from almost 35 artists, including art cards, elegant yoga and art wear, furniture, fiber art, nature photography to painting, jewelry, ceramics, glass, encaustic and sculpture. On the way up to the Whale Museum, stop in and see the changing display of fine contemporary art.
Location: 60 First St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-9193
Hours: call for seasonal hours [more...]
"Discovery Sea Kayaks, known by reputation, selected for adventure!" Kayak Tours and Bike Rentals. Discovery Sea Kayaks was awarded "Best Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine 2008 and 2009. We offer truly unique, small-group, year-round sea kayaking adventures in the San Juan Islands. [more...]
We gladly welcome visitors to shop at the San Juan Island Food Co-op where we vote with our forks in order to support local food production & consumption, reduce trucking & warehousing, and promote healthful nutrition by sourcing responsibly, sustainable & organically produced foods.
50% of our grocery offerings are local & regional, including pastured meats & poultry, wild-harvested fish, farm fresh produce, eggs, cheese, & milk products, and much more than we can list here! [more...]
Why Choose Captain Carli's Whale Watching Tours? Captain Carli has lived on San Juan Island for over 30 years and first started driving whale watching boats professionally in 1995. Small boats are personal and offer direct access to Captain Carli, (have a question…just ask him). Walk off the Washington State ferry in Friday Harbor and two minutes later you are on-board "Soulmate,” Captain Carli"s boat. He belongs to an orca whale spotting network located on Vancouver Island. If the whales are in the area he will know about them. [more...]
Built in 1892, this charming house, complete with white picket fence and gingerbread touches, was first a home for one of the owners of San Juan Trading Company. Renovated in 1903 by the Presbyterian Ladies Guild, it served as an event space, and then housed many Friday Harbor families and businesses over the last century. Now, this well-organized shop carries more than 40,000 used books on every subject imaginable. Serendipity is open seven days a week and is a great spot to spend an afternoon browsing for books about the islands, sailing, cooking, travel and many other subjects. [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...]
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...]
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...]
Enjoy the waterfront walk down to the Port of Friday Harbor, appreciating the Coast Salish Portals of Welcome house posts and the many visiting boats from around the world. The piece is titled "Interaction" and was created by Salish Coast artist Susan Point, a member of the Musqueum Tribe, as a symbol of welcome and an acknowledgement of the Native presence in the San Juan Islands. "Interaction" is also dedicated to welcoming all to work together in the stewardship of our precious marine ecosystem.
Location: Friday Harbor waterfront, near the Port offices [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...]