Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Port Orchard, WA

  • Published 2022/09/28

Situated in the Puget Sound region of Washington, the city of Port Orchard serves as the county seat of Kitsap County.

The city gets its name from the strait that separates Bainbridge Island and Kitsap Peninsula, flanked by the city of Bremerton.

In 1854, William Renton and Daniel Howard opened a sawmill in present-day Port Orchard and became one of the first Europeans to settle in the area.

In 1886, Frederick Stevens platted the town named Sidney, which became the first incorporated town in Kitsap County.

Sidney became the county seat in 1892, and in the same year, was renamed Port Orchard after a petition by the residents.

Today, it’s home to around 16,000 people and is a thriving city just an hour outside Seattle.

Here are the best things to do in Port Orchard, Washington:

Watch a Production at the Western Washington Center for the Arts

Exterior of the Western Washington Center for the Arts

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Western Washington Center for the Arts was established in 2002 wto promotethe arts in Kitsap County and the surrounding communities.

Housed in a historic 1918 building, the WWCA—then known as First Onstage Productions—renovated it and created a 74-seater venue for live theater.

Today, the Center regularly holds productions starring local performers, so keep an eye out for their season schedule to secure your tickets.

WWWCA also offers workshops for adults and kids as young as five years old.

Watch one of Western Washington Center for the Arts’s productions and help the local theater community thrive.

Learn Local History at the Sidney Museum and Arts Association

Founded in 1970, the Sidney Museum and Arts Association is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve local history and promote local artists.

The association maintains the Sidney Museum, Sidney Art Gallery, and the Log Cabin Museum.

Located on Sidney Avenue, the museum is housed in a Masonic Temple built in 1908 and includes a general store, a doctor’s office, and a hardware store.

Built in 1914, the Log Cabin Museum shows the early life in Port Orchard, featuring the “Orchard Family.”

See the works by renowned and up-and-coming artists in the gallery.

Likewise, monthly exhibitions shine the spotlight on Northwest artists.

Visit the Sidney Museum and Arts Association for a dose of local arts, culture, and history.

Grab a Cup of Coffee at the Coffee Oasis – Bay St Café

The Coffee Oasis is a non-profit organization that helps the youth through mentorship, outreach, shelter, and job training.

The org currently has four cafes around Washington, one on Bay Street.

All of the cafes’ proceeds go to their youth programs that provide crisis support, housing, engagement, and development services to youths ages 13 to 25.

They also offer on-the-job training and internships to youths who want to learn skills, gain confidence, and eventually land permanent employment and housing.

They ethically source their coffee from their partner farmers, expertly roasted in small batches in their Burwell café.

What better way to enjoy a cup of coffee than by helping the youth pave a better future?

Don’t forget to swing by the Coffee Oasis – Bay St Café on your visit to Port Orchard.

Ride the Kitsap Live Steamers’ Miniature Trains

If you’re looking for a unique sightseeing experience, try riding the Kitsap Live Steamers’ Miniature Trains through the forests of South Kitsap Regional Park.

Train rides follow a 7.5-inch gauge scale railroad on SE Marbeth Lane and last around 12 minutes.

Established in 1990, real steam engines propel their miniature trains, but some are powered by diesel and electricity.

The trains will take you on a fun and relaxing ride through the woods, where you’ll see different wildlife in their natural habitat.

Rides are available from April through October, every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, but they also operate during select Sundays and holidays.

Take your kids on a different adventure with the Kitsap Live Steamers.

Grab Lunch at Farmer Rosie’s Café

Tucked inside Josephine’s Mercantile shop on Bay Street is Farmer Rosie’s Café, known for its fresh lunches, coffee, and homemade sweets that use locally sourced ingredients.

They make their syrups and sauces for their drinks in-house; you won’t get a similar taste anywhere else.

Pair your cup with one of their cookies, such as peanut butter and salted chocolate chip being the most popular flavors.

For lunch, try the Farmer Tony sandwich served with juicy slices of roast beef, peppers, Manchego cheese, arugula, and pesto mayo on a demi-baguette.

For a lighter option, go for the Free Range sandwich with organic egg salad, roasted sunflower seeds, lettuce, and mayo on sourdough.

With its location, Farmer Rosie’s Café can easily get overlooked, but you souldn’t want do the same.

Relax by the Port Orchard Waterfront Park

Spend your afternoon admiring Sinclair Inlet at the Port Orchard Waterfront Park.

The park has a children’s playground, picnic tables, and a covered gazebo and pavilion that can host public events.

The well-maintained paved trail is perfect for biking, roller skating, and walking while listening to the waves.

You can also find patches of flowers in the park, while you can spot birds perched on the breakwaters.

The area has shops and local restaurants so you don’t have to worry when the kids get hungry after all the playing.

Take a breather and have a relaxing stroll at the Port Orchard Waterfront Park.

Try the Famous Biscuits and Gravy at Uncle Dave’s Café

Located on the corner of Jackson and Lund avenues is this local favorite that has satisfied the cravings of Kitsap County since 1993.

Uncle Dave’s Café is a home-style diner test known for its biscuits and gravy, but their burgers and sandwiches are also worth trying.

Their Double Bacon Cheeseburger, made with two 1/3-pound burger patties, and the Reuben, which has house-made corned beef, are two must-tries on their menu.

Choose from the cafe’s wide selection of desserts as the perfect finisher for your meal.

You shouldn’t miss the Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls!

Visit Uncle Dave’s Café for the classic American diner experience.

Have Drinks at the Whiskey Gulch CoffeePub

Founded in 2011, this waterfront offers signature roast coffee and espresso, a rotating beer and wine menu, and some delicious burgers.

Have food and drinks with a view overlooking the waters of Sinclair Inlet at Whiskey Gulch CoffeePub.

Their house-ground burgers combine chuck and flank steaks for that juicy, smokey goodness.

Grab the Gulcher burger topped with caramelized onions, sauteed wild mushrooms, pepper jack, and horseradish cream cheese.

A vegetarian option is also available with the Good Earth, served with their house-made vegan burger topped with grilled zucchini, red onions, tomatoes, and greens tossed in vegan ranch.

Their street tacos are also fan favorites, so sample the cherry smoked carnitas and seared ahi.

However, coffee cocktails are Whiskey Gulch’s specialty.

Some of their bestsellers are the W.G. Espresso Old Fashioned, Espresso Martini, and Gulch Spiked Cold Brew.

Get Frappes from the Adorable Chug-A-Tug Espresso Stand

The Chug-A-Tug Espresso stand is hard to miss, with its quirky exterior that resembles a boat.

The drive-through coffee shop on Bay Street offers frappes, mochas, and lattes at reasonable prices.

Try their caramel granita and root beer float if you’re not into coffee.

The Chug-A-Tug Espresso stand also serves muffins, cookies, and bagels “onboard” to accompany your drink.

Don’t miss swinging by this Port Orchard novelty when you need your caffeine fix.

Hang Out in a Former Torpedo Building at Manchester State Park

The Manchester State Park is a 111-acre former harbor defense installation on the east side of the Kitsap Peninsula.

The state park also has a fuel supply depot and a fire-fighting station for the U.S. Navy.

Today, you can still see remnants of its past, with a former torpedo house now serving as a picnic shelter.

The park features lush greenery, with a forest filled with fir and maple trees.

There’s also a beach, dunes, and flat grasslands at the park, perfect for outdoor recreational activities.

You can use the 1.9-mile hiking trail for wildlife viewing or birdwatching.

The Manchester State Park’s unique mix of history and greenery makes it a must-see destination.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Learn about the Pacific Northwest’s Naval Heritage at the Puget Sound Navy Museum

Exterior of the Puget Sound Navy Museum

Ceri Breeze /

Established on December 3, 1954 as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Museum, this museum receives funding from the U.S. Navy.

The Navy also manages the museum, which aims to preserve and promote the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

Located in Bremerton, ,just 16 minutes from Port Orchard, the museum’s original site was a 6000-square-foot building near the Ferry Terminal.

Then, they moved to a rented space in the Amy Burnett Gallery.

Exhibit in the Puget Sound Navy Museum

Clemens Vasters from Viersen, Germany, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2007, the museum found its permanent home in the newly renovated Building 50 and was renamed the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

Today, the museum houses more than 18,000 objects depicting the nation’s naval history and sailors’ livesback in the day.

The USS John C. Stennis exhibit is a permanent display that portrays life on board, while the Heritage of Excellence section shows how a naval station in Puget Sound was established.

Take a detour and learn some naval history at the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

Displays in the Puget Sound Navy Museum

Clemens Vasters from Viersen, Germany, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Teach Your Kids about Reptiles at the Bremerton Bug and Reptile Museum

The Bremerton Bug and Reptile Museum feature live and preserved bugs and reptiles that will surely pique your kids’ interest.

The free self-tour museum is on Charleston Beach Road W in Bremerton, Washington, around a 10-minute drive from Port Orchard.

There are scavenger hunts for kids.

Likewise, you can print out maps and life cycle coloring pages from the museum’s website to prepare them for their visit.

They don’t offer guided tours, and it’ll only take 45 minutes to an hour to explore the museum.

This is an excellent time to bond with your kids and teach them about bugs and reptiles.

There’s a gift shop inside where your kids can buy ant farm kits, terrariums, and hermit crab pets.

Bring your little ones to the Bremerton Bug and Reptile Museum for an educational trip.

Admire the Bonsai Collection at Elandan Gardens

This waterfront botanical garden in Bremerton is just seven minutes from Port Orchard.

Elandan Gardens is known for its world-class bonsai collection and landscape artistry by Dan Robinson, with some trees being more than 1000 years old.

The shores of Puget Sound serve as a backdrop for the bonsai museum, the sculptures, and the lush gardens.

Inside the gardens is the Elandan Interiors and the studio of sculptor Will Robinson.

You can also find a gift shop where you can check out antiques and trinkets from all over Asia, Europe, and North America.

Feel zen while admiring centuries-old bonsai at the Elandan Gardens.

Discover the Wonderful World of Puppetry at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum

The Valentinetti Puppet Museum, located 17 minutes away from Port Orchard, curates puppets from all over the world.

Aurora Valentinetti founded the museum, which has over 2,000 pieces in its collection, a third coming from Asia.

They conduct guided tours and workshops for all ages, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a puppet show.

There’s a children’s play area with puppets, books, and musical instruments, and a gift shop where you can buy puppets from a wide selection of brands.

Visit the Valentinetti Puppet Museum and admire the craftsmanship behind every puppet on display.

Final Thoughts

Port Orchard is your quintessential city with a suburban flair.

The mix of history, arts, and wildlife makes it a unique destination for travelers seeking a different kind of adventure.

From gastronomic finds to fill up your tummy to museums that satisfy your craving for knowledge, this city should fulfill your quest for new exploits.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Port Orchard!

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