Historic Gig Harbor

Photos and Text by Kristin Giordano

Only twenty minutes from Tacoma, this commercial district is nestled into the shore of the picturesque harbor, full of sailboats and surrounded by enviable waterfront mansions. City leaders successfully managed the transition from small town to bedroom community that began with the completion of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the 1950s. Despite upscale home prices, Gig Harbor retains a small-town congeniality that makes it a favorite with tourists and boaters.  Shops here focus on Northwest and maritime art, with a few wild cards thrown in for variety.


1. 3210 Harborview Drive Java & Clay Café (253.851.3277)  At this sister store to Proctor’s Art & Soul, you can sip lattes while making art. A wide selection of white bisque pottery awaits: from plates and coffee mugs to dog bowls and abstract vases. Live music every Friday.


2. 3106 Harborview Drive Imagine Great Things (253.851.4474)  Traveling the back roads of Java, Bali and other exotic locales, Marge Pires and Janell Israel collect fair-trade treasures: hand-tooled copper bowls, hyacinth baskets, mother-of-pearl serving pieces and cinnamon-bark boxes.  Every object comes with a story.


3. 3102 Harborview Drive Gallery Row (253.851.6020)  A co-op featuring the work of fifteen local artists, including Rebecca Baumgartner’s beautiful empty landscapes and Rick Gardner’s vessels, carved from local maple wood.  Displays change every month for Saturday Art Walk.


4. 3026 Harborview Drive Animal Crackers (253.858.1795)  For everything a hip Northwest kid needs: Dr. Seuss onesies, ladybug rain boots, wooden toys and Robeez infant shoes. The quality consignment rack for treasure hunters and the ice cream counter are bonuses.


5. 7707 Pioneer Way Brix 25º (253.858.6626)  *Recently named “Restaurant of the Year” by the Washington Wine Commission, this upscale eatery serves only Northwest wines. Menu highlights include roasted pear and cambozola bruschetta and “Monte’s Inferno,” *a spicy Bolognese rigatoni.


Also Noteworthy:

On Pioneer Way: 7716 The Birdnest Gallery Northwest art | 7806 Kelly’s Café & Espresso Burgers | 7808 Water’s Edge Gallery Art and framing | 7809 Ebb Tide Co-op gallery | On Harborview Drive: 2925 Tides Tavern Local favorite | 3104 Kit Kuhn Custom jewelry | 3108 Spiro’s Pizza Full-service slices | 3110 Gig Harbor Gift Mall Antique shops | 3120 ½ Wild Birds Unlimited All about birds | 3126 Mostly Books Independent bookstore | 3204 B Sea Glass Interiors Ocean-inspired housewares