Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Eureka, CA

  • Published 2022/07/20

Eureka is a vibrant seaport city in California filled with towering redwood trees, an underground arts scene, old Victorian architecture, and stunning landscapes.

It is the largest coastal city between Portland and San Fransico.

Eureka houses an array of different historically and culturally significant places.

The city has museums, art galleries, artisanal stores, and more attractions where you can learn about its heritage and lifestyle.

Eureka is a popular destination for travelers all around the globe that want to experience the quintessential Californian coastal city.

The city’s unique Victorian architecture will win over your art.

Some of Eureka’s most popular attractions include the world’s most photographed mansion, the world’s oldest zoo, the nationally recognized Old Town Historic District, and much more.

This coastal city has something for everyone.

Here are some of the best things to do in Eureka, California:

Spend a Day at Old Town Eureka

Buildings along Old Town Eureka

pikappa51 /

Rightfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Old Town Eureka is the city’s historic district.

The renowned region contains 154 buildings that are mainly from the Victorian era.

Old Town Eureka is a well-maintained commercial district dating back to the late 19th century.

Shops along Old Town Eureka

calimedia /

The district consists of museums, historic buildings, shops, restaurants, cafes, antique stores, bookstores, boutiques, and so much more.

Historic Old Town Eureka is a perfect place to spend a day out if you are a history buff, an architecture lover, a shopaholic, or a foodie; this place has something for everyone.

The road of Old Town Eureka

Manuela Durson /

Go for a Drive along the Redwood Highway

Daytime view of Redwood Highway

Son Hoang Nguyen /

The Redwood Highway is world-famous for offering long scenic drives along California’s magnificent coast.

The scenic highway is named after the stunning redwood trees found abundantly on the coast of California.

Redwood Highway extends to the border of Oregon with the Californian coastline, and it has numerous reserves and state parks along the way.

Fortunately, Eureka falls on the path of this gorgeous and lovely highway.

You can go on long drives on this splendid path to clear your mind and experience the beauty of California’s coast and the lush greenery surrounding it.

Have a Picnic at Sequoia Park Forest & Garden

A hiker at Sequoia Park Forest & Garden

welcomia /

A treasure trove of lush green space, Sequoia Park Forest & Garden is located alongside the Sequoia Park Zoo.

The 67-acre park consists of hiking and biking trails, which are situated through gorgeous creeks, lovely ponds, stunning meadows, and a splendid redwood forest.

It also has picnic tables, playgrounds, a gazebo bandstand, open turf grass, a wishing well, and more.

Just by entering a little deep into the green space, you will feel like you are in a spectacular ancient forest.

You can spend a delightful day at Sequoia Park Forest & Garden.

Enjoy the lovely trails and have a picnic amid the stunning greenery of this open green space while feeling calm and relaxed.

Visit the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center

The state-of-the-art Humboldt Bay Tourism Center offers information about Eureka and its surrounding regions.

It provides a wealth of information about all the local places worth visiting.

The tourism center has iPads that the visitors can use to see the list of sites, accommodations, and things to do in the city.

The center also has a tasting room that offers locally made kombucha, ciders, beers, and wines, along with locally crafted cheeses, meats, bread, and much more.

Also, every Sunday, local chefs, artists, brewers, and farmers convene at the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center and showcase their work.

The tourism center is perfect for collecting information about the city and finding out if there are any exciting events to check out.

Stop at the Magnificent Carson Mansion

Exterior of the Magnificent Carson Mansion

Victoria Ditkovsky /

Built in 1884, the Carson Mansion is a huge Victorian mansion, and it is considered one of the most beautiful works in American Queen Anne-style architecture.

This stunning mansion is regarded as America’s grandest Victorian house, and Samuel and Joseph Newsom designed it.

Once the home of William Carson, a lumber baron, it is now the most photographed and documented Victorian house in California and probably the United States of America.

Roof details of the Carson Mansion

Hermann Luyken, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The mansion is now a private club, and visitors must be members of the Ingomar Club, a non-profit private club.

Members can experience fine dining and overnight stays in the historic mansion.

A visit to the Carson Mansion is a must when you visit Eureka; it is a gem, and every inch of its exterior has so much detail and craftsmanship for you to see.

Explore the Lovely Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

A tree at Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

Robert Mutch /

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park was established in 1853.

The park is situated on a cliff and overlooks Humboldt Bay, serving sweeping views.

However, it was abandoned in 1870, and now, a hospital building is the only remaining structure in the historic park.

The hospital building has a museum inside of it.

Surgeon's quarters in Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

Chris Haden /

The museum consists of collections and artifacts about the military installation that happened in the mid-1800s to resolve the conflict between local Native Americans and white settlers.

The exhibitions are an eye-opener.

Make sure to read the information about this place in the exhibits to know how the Native Americans suffered to protect their land from the settlers.

Besides the fantastic museum, Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is an excellent place for a picnic or flying a kite in the middle of the park’s greenery.

Appreciate Local Art at Morris Graves Museum of Art

Side view of Morris Graves Museum of Art's exterior

Underawesternsky /

Located in the heart of Eureka in the Eureka Carnegie Library Building, the Morris Graves Museum of Art showcases the works of ceramists, painters, actors, musicians, historians, and many more people.

The art museum is an integral part of the local community.

It is named after Morris Graves, the founder of the Northwest School of Art in the Pacific Northwest.

It has seven galleries that display the art of local artists as well as Morris Graves’ works.

Front view of Morris Graves Museum of Art's exterior

Underawesternsky /

There is a beautiful courtyard sculpture garden outside the museum where you can relax and sit in the shade to appreciate the garden’s beauty.

The museum also has a gift shop with lovely old books worth checking out.

Visit this art museum to see and appreciate the work of Eureka’s local artists.

Step Back in Time at Blue Ox Millworks & Historic Park

A living history park in Eureka, Blue Ox Millworks & Historic Park is one of the city’s hidden gems.

This historic park contains a Victorian job shop, a fully functioning sawmill used to make stunning architectural millwork, and a variety of other complex designs.

The machines used are more than 100 years old and can replicate historical work.

A visit to this incredible place will take you back in time.

This rustic and authentic attraction is a must if you love handcrafted artisanal work in wood, ceramics, stained glass, and more.

Sample the Local Cuisine at the Best Restaurants in Eureka

Eureka has a fantastic food scene with delectable seafood for you to satisfy your hunger.

The city is on the coast of California and has an abundance of fresh seafood.

The restaurants all over the city provide mouth-watering food and an exceptional dining experience.

Some of the best restaurants in Eureka are the Sea Grill, Restaurant 301, Chalet House of Omelettes, Gill’s By The Bay, and Brick & Fire Bistro.

All these restaurants serve some of the best food in the city and offer various vegan and vegetarian options.

Grab a Cup of Joe at the Best Cafes in Town

Eureka cafe

Manuela Durson /

Eureka has plenty of lovely cafes where you can sit down and drink a cup of coffee or tea while enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean.

Los Bagels, Cafe Nooner, Ramone’s Bakery & Cafe, and Golden Harvest Cafe are some of the best cafes in the city.

These cafes serve delicious and wholesome food made from local produce with a relaxed atmosphere.

Visit these cafes to grab a bite and relax in a laid-back environment with good tea or coffee coupled with a quick bite.

Book an Overnight Stay at One of the City’s Finest Hotels

Building sign of Town House Motel

jejim /

Eureka has plenty of fantastic hotels that will ensure your stay is as comfortable and worthwhile as possible.

You can choose from budget hotels to luxury hotels; Eureka has it all.

Some of the best hotels in the city are Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay Inn, the Inn at 2nd & C, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and the Town House Motel.

When you are in the city, stay at one of these hotels for a comfortable stay with plenty of amenities and beautiful views of the coast.

Taste Eureka’s Locally Crafted Beers

Exterior of Lost Coast Brewery

EWY Media /

Kick back and relax with an ice-cold beer after a long day of sightseeing.

Eureka has a wide variety of bars, clubs, breweries, wineries, and more.

Interior of Lost Coast Brewery

Missvain, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The best places to get a drink in Eureka are The Speakeasy Bar, The Shanty, Ernie’s, Lost Coast Brewery, and Phatsy Kline’s Parlor Lounge.

Visit these places for the best drinks in town with a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere.

Arcade games in Lost Coast Brewery

Missvain, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Admire the Stunning Plant Life at the Humboldt Botanical Garden

Daytime view of Humboldt Botanical Garden

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Humboldt Botanical Garden comprises 10 magnificent gardens.

They are situated on a 44.5-acre location in Humboldt Bay, south of Eureka, next to the College of the Redwoods.

The Humboldt Botanical Garden manages the construction of a top-notch botanical garden for the Northern California region.

Colorful plants in Humboldt Botanical Garden

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The garden has exhibits of iris species, conifers, and Western lilies as special collections.

Besides offering summer camps and seminars, the Humboldt Botanical Garden also provides a variety of academic activities and programs for kids and students.

A beautiful rose in Humboldt Botanical Garden

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore California’s Famous Lost Coast Trail

Offering stunning sceneries where land and water mix, the Lost Coast Trail is a National Recreation Trail and one of California’s top coastal backpacking paths.

The northern and southern parts, which comprise the Lost Coast Trail, each provide extremely distinct experiences.

The southern half of the path travels through Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.

The northern portion of the trail is relatively flat with sand, pebbles, and rocks to cope with.

A four-mile stretch of road that travels through Shelter Cove separates the two portions of the route.

Browse through the Displays at the Clarke Historical Museum

Exterior of Clarke Historical Museum

Chris Haden /

The Clarke Historical Museum presents Humboldt County‘s rich history, which includes thriving Native American civilizations, gold rush towns, the lumber industry, ranching, farming, and sea-based economies.

Cecile Clarke, a teacher at Eureka High School, established the museum, which has been located in the iconic Bank of Eureka structure since 1960.

Visitors may get a taste of Victorian grandeur, fantastic artistry, housing, life, and play from the past of Humboldt County by strolling through period rooms and rotating displays.

The Eureka Visitor Center is located in the Clarke Historical Museum.

Whether a visitor or a native, you must stop by the Clarke Historical Museum on your visit to Old Town Eureka.

Try the Beers and Root Beer Floats at Lost Coast Brewery

Lost Coast Brewery is an award-winning brewery in Eureka.

They provide other similarly fantastic seasonal beers that change depending on the season, in addition to a wide range of excellent beers throughout the year.

Stop by the brewery to explore its cutting-edge facilities, hear a little about the Lost Coast legend, and then stay to enjoy their delectable brews.

Lost Coast Brewery features root beer floats, ice cream in a unique taste, and Lost Coast Root Beer on tap for youngsters.

There isn’t a more refined location for hosting a memorable event than their event space.

Take Your Kids to Redwood Discovery Museum

Redwood Discovery Museum is a must-see Eureka attraction for families since it gives parents a great place to take their kids for entertaining and instructive activities.

The engaging, hands-on exhibits and events offered here will keep your kids occupied for hours while teaching them about the fantastic world they live in.

The activities inspire young visitors to continuously expand their horizons and satiate their curiosity.

By encouraging a love of exploration and study, they want to assist young people in broadening their horizons and preparing for the future.

Redwood Discovery Museum’s displays and events encourage interactive, unrestricted learning in science, art, culture, technology, and healthy living.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Birdwatching at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Scenic sunset at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

EWY Media /

Situated only 20 minutes from Eureka in Loleta, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge conserves wetlands for different types of birds and other wildlife.

It covers an area of more than 4,000 acres and provides an abundance of lush nature.

The city is an essential stop for migratory birds and houses several other species of birds.

Boardwalk trail at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Chris Haden /

This place is a paradise for birdwatchers.

It is popular among photographers and people who enjoy hiking.

A peaceful walk along the inlet will refresh your mind, body, and soul.

Hike the Trails at Headwaters Forest Reserve

Trail at Headwaters Forest Reserve

Robert Mutch /

Established in 1999, Headwaters Forest Reserve is a natural reserve that preserves and protects the redwood groves of the northern Californian coast near Humboldt.

An hour and 15 minutes outside Eureka, this reserve is operated by the Bureau of Land Management and covers an area of about 7,472 acres.

The redwood groves of Humboldt are the only untouched old-growth redwood forest in the world.

The reserve is a haven for plants and wildlife.

It provides shelter to various species, including the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, the coho salmon, and much more.

There are two trails in the reserve for people to enjoy hiking while being surrounded by luscious nature.

Visit Headwaters Forest Reserve to appreciate and experience the beauty of the stunning redwood forests of California.

Bring Your Bikes to the Arcata Community Forest

Lush trees at Arcata Community Forest

R. Alan Meyer /

Located only nine miles away from Eureka in the city of Arcata, the Arcata Community Forest is a lush forest of small redwoods and ferns covering an area of 622 acres.

The Arcata Community Forest trail system is prevalent for hiking and cycling.

Visit this place to experience a connection with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

A person walking along Arcata Community Forest

Adurable Creations /

Final Thoughts

Eureka, California, is a city with a captivating combination of cultural attractions and a variety of outdoor pursuits that sit close to a stunning enclosed bay.

The surroundings are lush with vegetation, flowers, and general nature, making it a fascinating place to explore.

This excellent tourist destination offers many historical sights and trips, along with several enjoyable activities for visitors of all ages.

Best Hotels in Eureka

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