Having gotten its start in 1962, the Anacortes Arts Festival is one of the longest running community arts festivals in the Pacific Northwest. It has taken several different forms over the years, but today is a typical street format where the main road into downtown (Commercial Street) is closed off, and covered with booths selling the products of...more
There are actually several communities surrounding the area where the big tulip festival happens every April. Anacortes is the city on the sign at the most logical Interstate 5 interchange, but the event takes place about halfway between Interstate 5 and Anacortes, and mostly on farms south of this highway between Interstate 5 and Anacortes.The...more
If you come out to Anacortes, a visit to Deception Pass State Park is highly recommended. It has its own set of entries in the VirtualTourist database, so see the link below for more information.The scenery there is wonderful, though it can be a bit crowded on good weather days.There is camping, hiking, beaches, and a number of other activities...more
Some cities have monthly or annual art walks. Anacortes is more specific: every April, at the time of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, there is also an Anacortes Quilt Walk.Various institutions in downtown Anacortes participate in exhibiting quilts on the walls of their restaurants or stores.The various quilters that produce these works of art are...more
Constructed in 1929, the W. T. Preston was placed into service by the Seattle District of the US Army Corps of Engineers to remove navigation hazards from the shallow waters of Puget Sound. In 1981, the boat was determined to not be needed any more, due to the changing needs of navigation around Puget Sound, and was retired. It was the last of the...more
Here is the obligatory tulip field tip. The Skagit Valley produces more tulips than anywhere in the world, including the Netherlands (at least that's the claim). The Skagit valley is one of the more fertile places and grows pretty much everything, from flowers to veggies to trees. In addition to the tulips fields, the daffodils come into bloom...more
419 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, Washington, 98221, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Very disappointed. Great website, but the property does not match the quality of the website. Don't...more
916 33rd Street, Anacortes, Washington, 98221, United States
Good for: Solo
I can't tell you how the fresh baked pizzas are, or their other foods (they have various other things), but I went for the pizza by the slice available on the rack. Sure it may have been a bit old, but it was fine with me. They have a few varieties that they had available this way - not as many as you might find in a similar pizza restaurant in a...more
There really isn't too much to say about this place. It is a fairly typical Americanized Mexican restaurant - and provides a reasonably good value for its prices. As it is located quite close to the post office and the core downtown area, this can be a pretty popular place.I'm always amazed at how much Margaritas cost. They have a number of...more
There is no mistaking the sea theme of this restaurant. While the logical conclusion would be, I suppose, to order seafood here, you will find that the place also has a variety of other types of food, including burgers.There is a reasonably good selection of local beverages too, including beer made in nearby communities.There is outdoor seating,...more
The coffee house has a nice ambiance for relaxing, chatting, or just plain reading your early newspaper! There are awards of the restaurant on the walls - priding itself for being voted as the number one coffee house in Anacortes! There are stools and tables and comfortable brown leather couches where you can lounge while sipping your freshly...more
The Rockfish Grill has great food, great beer and great service. Their menu includes lots of seafood as well as plain fare like burgers and pizza. The food is fresh and well prepared. It has a bit of a gourmet flair without being pretentious. They are a microbrewery with quite a complete beer list. They feature many amber ales and lagers as well as...more
Great crowd, great owners, excellent beer on tap (and some really funky ones back in the fridge), fun locals... on a good night, pretty much the pub you picture when you picture the perfect cozy small-ish town place to mix with the local color...
Dress Code: Fleece and flannel. Hey, this is the Northwest!
It is not easy to get around in this part of Washington without a car. Many of the roads lack good places to walk, except in the downtown area of Anacortes proper. You will probably want to visit places that simply are beyond the current reach of public transit.However, if you do not want to drive to this location, it is possible to get here by...more
While it is cheap transportation, the transit bus connection from Anacortes to Seattle or Bellingham doesn't operate during certain times of the day.Therefore, it may be worth checking to see of the Belair Airporter service (which does connect western Washington to the SeaTac Airport, but can also be used as general intercity transport as well)....more
Linking the San Juan Islands and Sidney on Vancouver Island, Canada with the mainland is the purpose of the ferry terminal at Anacortes. The primary mode of transportation to get here is auto, and therefore the terminal really isn't that accessible from downtown Anacortes. It is approximately 2 miles west of town, with the road between downtown...more
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a man and wife team constructed a small narrow gauge railway that slowly expanded to include tourist passenger service that connected parts of downtown. The heart and soul of the operation was Tommy Thompson, who served as the engineer in every sense of the word, having designed the passenger equipment and rebuilt the locomotive from parts from an old mining locomotive. His wife and a few city volunteers helped out with ticket sales and other support activities.
The railway was built to 18 inch track gauge (the distance between the rails) and could be crammed around a number of existing buildings, including the old Northern Pacific train station.
In 1999, Tommy Thompson passed away. His wife operated the train a few times in his honor after that, but the family simply didn't have the ability to continue operating the railway.
The locomotive and passenger cars were donated to a steam power plant museum on the south side of downtown Seattle.
By the late 1980s, there were over 40,000 people coming to Anacortes to ride the train, and therefore downtown Anacortes experienced somewhat of a tourist revival thanks to this little train. The train no longer lives in Anacortes, but out of respect for the owner and the resulting positive changes to the city his dream allowed, the new bike trail that has been built on top of the old railroad right of way is known as the "Tommy Thompson Path" in his honor.
Even 11 years later, remains of the railway still linger in Anacortes, though. You will find streches of track along R Avenue south of 4th Street and along the south side of 9th Street.
The Anacortes Railway at Railfan.net has a few photos:
Last Run of Tommy's Train from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The ferry terminal that links Anacortes with Sidney, BC and the San Juan Islands should be a place with a few things to do, and at least a few restaurants. After all, during peak season people can wait in line for two hours or more just to get the next boat, and sometimes that may be full as well.
Sadly, there isn't much out here at the ferry terminal, and walking back to Anacortes isn't an option either as there is no safe place to walk next to the road that links Anacortes to the ferry terminal.
This is not for lack of trying, however. There are the remains of several attempts at restaurants at the ferry terminal, and at one time there was one that had a good reputation. Today, only the snack bar in the ferry terminal itself remains a source of food, and it is quite expensive. They know they have a monopoly here, and charge accordingly.
Even the walk-up coffee stand that once served the auto lanes has gone out of business. Today, it is a fortune teller - the only establishment that survives in the auto queue area for the ferries.
If it looks like you will be stuck in the ferry queue for a long period, and need a place to stop to eat, your chances of finding something good and reasonable are vastly better in downtown Anacortes than they are at the ferry terminal. It is possible that someone ambitious will once again take over one of the desolate closed restaurants at the ferry terminal, but alas it just doesn't seem to be a place where restaurants survive right now.
The intention of this trail is to serve as a bike and pedestrian connector between the ferry terminal and downtown Anacortes.However, only about 1/2 a mile (3/4 of a km) have been completed at the far end of the proposed trail. At some point it promises to be an interesting place to walk or bike, but today (August of 2013) it is simply that:...more
For a small town, Anacortes has developed a very good public arts program, and you will see evidence of this arts program in a number of sculptures and other works scattered through the downtown area.I suggest exploring the city's web site as well, as some of the proposals for public art as well as information on proposed changes and relocations...more
Currently the only real attraction that is within walking distance of the ferry terminal is the Ship Harbor Interpretive Preserve. There isn't much connecting the ferry terminal directly to the trail into the preserve as of yet. Construction of the boardwalk continues today in August of 2013.However, it is still possible to get to the trail from...more
Go to Gepetto's on Commercial street, buy panini from Michael, take them to one of the parks (Washington Park is my favorite), hike to somewhere private, and picnic
Fondest memory: Mountain biking to Whistle Lake, then jumping in, swimming out to the island, and jumping off the cliff. Very Tom Sawyer.