Things to See and Do in Friday Harbor

 

Things to See and Do in Friday Harbor and the San Juans!

 

Historic Preservation Month

Every year in May, Friday Harbor joins the National Trust for Historic Preservation in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month. We offer free guided history tours, local history talks, events at historic sites, a parade, quilt shows, bake-offs,  and a host of other activities that celebrate the history and culture of the San Juans. Check our calendar for upcoming events.

 

Walking Tour Guides and Brochures

There a lots of ways to uncover the rich and colorful history of  Friday Harbor and the islands. There are maps and guidebooks, and free guided walking tours. Discover the stories that make this part of the world unique, and find out for yourself what kind of people were, and continue to be, drawn to life on an archipelago of islands in the Salish Sea.

 Historic Friday Harbor on Foot: Downtown

A self-guided tour guide is available at several locations in Friday Harbor.

Friday Harbor Town Hall at 60 Second Street, Friday Harbor (during regular business hours).

San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price Street, Friday Harbor. Call for hours.

Griffin Bay Bookstore, 155 Spring Street  Friday Harbor, (360) 378-5511

Discover Historic Friday Harbor: Then and Now

Printed tour guides are available at these locations:

Friday Harbor Town Hall at 60 Second Street, Friday Harbor (during regular business hours).

Griffin Bay Bookstore, 155 Spring Street  Friday Harbor, (360) 378-5511

San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price Street, Friday Harbor. Call 360.378.3949 for museum hours.

San Juan Island Visitor Information Center at 135 Spring Street. Open 10am – 4pm 7 days a week (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).

English Camp

English Camp Historic Guided Walk

A self-guided tour guide is available from the National Park Service or for sale at the Visitor’s Center located at American Camp.

American Camp Historic Guided Walk

A self-guided tour guide is available from the National Park Service or for sale at the Visitor’s Center located at American Camp.

The History of Roche Harbor

Learn about the history of Roche Harbor and when you visit you can pick up a fold-out map from the front desk of Hotel de Haro to guide you around the historical village.

Emily’s Guide Map of the San Juan Islands, Washington

Created by longtime island local Emily Reed, Emily’s Guide Maps take you to people and off-the-beaten-track places you might miss without it. It’s colorful and informative pages are filled with maps, heritage sites, farms, art studios, hiking trails, island lore and many more valuable tips.

 

Dining in Historic Settings

Fine dining is enjoyed in the following historic buildings:

Several other fine restaurants located in the historic district are housed in contemporary buildings that were designed to compliment Friday Harbor’s vernacular architectural style. They include: the Cask & Schoonerpublic house & restaurant, The Bean coffee shop, Pablito’s Taqueria and the Golden Triangle Thai restaurant.

 

Shopping, Art, Beauty and Culture

Much of Friday Harbor’s downtown shopping resides in historic buildings, or newly-constructed historic district buildings that were designed to compliment Friday Harbor’s vernacular architectural style. Of particular note:

  • Acanthus (1913 Craftsman) is a charming boutique filled with a complement of American, European and Asian antiques, inspired art and decor for home, garden or gift.
    Arctic Raven (contemporary) is a fine art gallery of Northwest Coast, Inuit and Eskimo art. (new construction/complimentary design)
  • Be Chic Boutique where you’ll find fresh and feminine clothing with a Northwest flair.
  • Gourmet’s Galley (c. 1883) 21 Spring Street. Tools for serious cooks, rare ingredients, local specialties, and gifts for your favorite cook!
  • Clipper Ship Barber Shop (c. 1948) Old-style barber shop with the revolving barber’s pole  outside.
  • Daisy Bloom  (c.1924) offering a nice blend of cottage-style and contemporary gifts, books and other treasures, clothing and accessories.
  • Friday Harbor Drug (c. 1889 & 1929) The town’s only pharmacy for over a hundred years. This grouping of two historic buildings carries prescription and over-the-counter medicines, personal care products, cards and sundries.
  • Griffin Bay Bookstore, (c. 1900s) New books, gifts and coffee shop.
  • King’s Marine & Clothing (c. 1907) Supplies for sailing, fishing and other marine activities, and outdoor clothes and shoes.
  • Needlework Boutique (c. 1876) Currently closed
  • Osito’s (contemporary) Children’s toys, clothing and gifts.  (downtown store-new construction/complimentary design)
  • Pelindaba Lavender  (contemporary) This local island agricultural producer sells lavender plants, essential oils, teas, drinks, culinary goods and other handcrafted lavender products. Downtown shop and farm approximately 4 miles outside Friday Harbor. (downtown store-new construction/complimentary design)
  • Post San Juan, (c. 1900) Cards, mailing supplies, and package mailing depot.
  • Sandpebble (c. 1890 & 1948) Eclectic gifts, jewelry, clothing, and home furnishings to fit any style or occasion.
  • Second Act (c. 1914) Quality clothing resale and consigned.
  • Serendipity Books, (c. 1892) Seller of used books, including Northwest themes, fiction, children’s books and other topics.
  • The Toy Box (c. 1916) A classic children’s toy store.
  • Vital Elements (c. 1916) Handmade jewelry, beads, supplies and eclectic art for gift, home and other special places.

Entertainment

For an updated list of art and other cultural activities, visit the San Juan Island Vistors Bureau.

Farmers Market -Summer
Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Brickworks in Friday Harbor. Open May to mid-October weather permitting.

Farmers Market -Winter                                                                                                                                                                                     Open May to mid-October weather permitting, one Saturday per month, November – May in the High School Commons, 45 Blair Avenue. Look for signs.

San Juan Community Theatre (contemporary) Showcases local and regional theatre, music and comedy on two stages year-round.

Palace Theatre (c. 1914), the two screen cinema at 209 Spring Street shows first-run movies nightly on two screens; weekend matinees. Call them at 370-5666.

 

Outdoor Adventures

The San Juan Islands are known internationally by outdoor, nature and photography enthusiasts for sailing, cycling, kayaking and whale watching tours.Numerous outdoor recreation companies serve visitors here, with departure points throughout San Juan Island. For a complete list of these companies and contact information, visit the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.

MV Catalyst – photo courtesy of Pacific Catalyst Expeditions

Below are some located in historic buildings in town:

  • Island Bicycles, (c. 1939) Bikes and cycling equipment for sale or rent. Also repairs.

More adventurous travelers will enjoy extended marine adventures aboard the historic Pacific Catalyst II, a 1930s wooden research vessel that has been thoughtfully restored with period staterooms, a gallery and a wood-paneled salon. It is available for mothership kayaking and whole boat charters in the San Juan/Gulf Islands in September and October, depending on interest. The Catalyst is registered with the National Park Services Maritime Heritage Program, and when in port, welcomes visitors.