Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Poulsbo, WA

  • Published 2022/11/23

Poulsbo is a city under Kitsap County in Washington, known to have great access to Liberty Bay.

Because of its small population, Poulsbo is known to be a quaint little city.

However, don’t let its size fool you—Poulsbo has a lot of activities beyond outdoor adventure in Liberty Bay.

The city has a rich Scandinavian heritage due to its immigration history, making it one of the best places to witness American culture merge with Nordic history.

You can see a lot of this in its historic downtown area, packed with loads of interesting tourist attractions and specialty shops.

You’ll also get to see lots of learning centers, community parks, and museums across the city.

There’s much more to unpack, so check this list of the best things to do in Poulsbo, Washington!

Enjoy the Bay at Liberty Bay Waterfront Park

Boardwalk trail at Liberty Bay Waterfront Park

Edmund Lowe Photography /

The prime benefit of Poulsbo is having access to Liberty Bay, iconic for its narrow inlet and jagged shores.

You can rent a kayak and go boating through the city’s tourist agencies, but if you want to enjoy the bay, you can do so at Liberty Bay Waterfront Park.

The view of Liberty Bay here is stellar, offering unobstructed views of the lake and its coastal areas that make it a perfect place for photography and relaxation.

There’s a large gazebo where you can just take in the serenity of the city and the bay.

A paved boardwalk is also around, which lets you stroll around while marveling at the pristine waters of Liberty Bay.

Liberty Bay Waterfront Park can be accessed at Anderson Parkway in Downtown Poulsbo.

Experience the Puget Sound at Kitsap Memorial State Park

Kitsap Memorial State Park is located farther north of the city proper, found along the shores of Puget Sound—one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the state of Washington.

Unlike Liberty Bay, Puget Sound connects to the Salish Sea, which leads to the Pacific Ocean.

This makes this place a haven for saltwater marine life, ideal for fishing and other boating activities.

If you’re looking to spend a more relaxing time, however, Kitsap Memorial State Park is home to beautiful beaches that give you access to its tide pools.

There are also campgrounds here and beautiful trails, giving you plenty of activities that makes the detour here well worth it.

Shop Fresh Produce and Meals at Central Market Poulsbo

Central Market Poulsbo is a city icon because of the wide range of products and produce you can get here—in a way, it’s like a supersized farmers’ market.

While diversity is their selling point, it’s without question that fresh produce is what they’re best known for.

It’s a fantastic place to get the freshest produce while also having access to fruits and vegetables that you won’t normally find in commercial grocery stores.

Furthermore, Central Market Poulsbo will be a great destination for a great meal during your stay.

They’re well-known for their pizzas and salad bars, so check out if you want a nice dinner to bring to your hotel.

Located along 10th Avenue Northeast near Liberty Bay, this is a place you shouldn’t miss out on.

Go on a Tour at SEA Discovery Center

SEA Discovery Center is an interactive place to learn about the local flora and fauna of not only Poulsbo but also Washington as a whole.

Because Poulsbo is connected to the Salish Sea, you can learn much about marine life at SEA Discovery Center—an ideal place to bring curious kids.

They have plenty of aquariums that display the rich biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean and the seas that interconnect with it.

The place also works via donation, so it’s a great way to spend time with the kids and help out Poulsbo’s conservation efforts.

SEA Discovery Center can be visited along Front Street Northeast, close to Liberty Bay.

Immerse in Local Art at Front Street Gallery

While you’re already at Front Street, it’s best to take a trip a few minutes from SEA Discovery Center and pay a visit to Front Street Gallery.

Just a few walks from the Liberty Waterfront Park, Front Street Gallery is a great way to enjoy a lot of varied art from the city and its locals.

You can find beautiful art pieces here that range from paintings and sculptures to pottery and other ornaments that can be special souvenirs.

If you’re not looking to buy anything, this doubles as a fantastic tourist spot to just immerse yourself in the city’s unique local art.

Front Street Gallery makes for a great addition to your itinerary because of its proximity to two major tourist destinations.

Learn Maritime History at Poulsbo Maritime Museum

Poulsbo Maritime Museum is another learning center found along Front Street Northeast, where Front Street Gallery and SEA Discovery Center are.

While the maritime museum is small in size, it makes up for it with intricate and well-kept displays, all managed by a passionate team of people.

The cool exhibits at Poulsbo Maritime Museum portray vintage ship machinery and equipment.

One of their best pieces is a vintage wooden motorboat, something you may have yet to see up close.

There is also a gift shop here with a Norwegian theme, so go check it out.

Buy Gifts and Souvenirs at Nordiska

Speaking of souvenirs, just a few blocks from Poulsbo Maritime Museum lies Nordiska, a gift shop with a wide array of items.

While the general theme of the items you see at Nordiska are Scandinavian in nature, you can spot a lot of variation in their goods.

Christmas Santa Claus figures and other Scandinavian home decor are available, but there are also useful items that range from cooking supplies to books.

It’s almost as if Nordiska is a much more specialized and intimate version of IKEA.

Nordiska has a lot of knick-knacks to explore, and the interior design of the place also makes it a worthy visit just for its sheer aesthetic.

Take a Trip to Poulsbo Fish Park

Poulsbo Fish Park is one of the biggest parks in the city, home to a lot of scenic trails, public art displays, and birdwatching areas.

It’s a must-visit in Poulsbo, as it’s one of the bayfront parks well-loved by tourists because of its emphasis on the environment.

The public art you can see here is inspired by the ecology of Poulsbo and Kitsap County, and you can further appreciate it because of the beautiful nature trails sprawling across the park.

Surrounded by lush shrubs and trees, it’s a perfect place to do some bird photography or simply immerse yourself in the tranquility of the city.

You can also see other wildlife here, with rabbits particularly being abundant.

Poulsbo Fish Park is a must-visit during your stay in this quaint city, accessible along Northwest Lindvig Bay at the northern tip of Liberty Bay.

Have a Blast During the Viking Fest

Parade during the Viking Fest

Steven Pavlov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to experience Poulsbo at its best, timing your trip during their much-awaited annual Viking Fest is highly recommended.

Poulsbo’s rich heritage tied to its immigrants from Scandinavia are best witnessed during the Viking Fest, which typically happens around late May every year.

They have a large parade where many students participate in viking outfits, accompanied by booming music that just makes it a wonderful experience.

People wearing costumes during the Viking Fest

Steven Pavlov, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, Viking Fest boasts a lot of activities for the crowd, such as live performances and dozens of food and art pop-ups for you to try.

The annual Viking Fest is typically held at the cultural hub of the city, at Front Street.

See the Alpacas at Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm

A couple of miles north of the casino resort lies Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm, a quaint little farm that lets you meet their cute alpacas.

Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm is well known for their engaging and family-oriented farm tours, where children and adults can interact with friendly alpacas.

It’s a great place to not only learn about these awesome animals but also to know the passionate owners and staff, which makes the tour all the more worthwhile.

Besides alpacas, there are also llamas on their farm, all of which are well-taken care of and treated as family by Sawdust Hill.

This place is a perfect way to spend intimate time with family or a loved one, so give it a shot!

Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm is located along Port Gamble Road Northeast.

Play Sports at Frank Raab Park

Frank Raab Park is a fuss-free way to get some exercise out of the way in the heart of the city.

Known for its amenities, which include a playground, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts, this is your go-to city park for recreational activities.

There’s more in store at Frank Raab Park for all kinds of travelers—particularly having a dog park and a skate park here.

If you have a high-powered camera with you, don’t forget to bring it, as the park has a beautiful garden with all sorts of flowers during the summer and spring.

Frank Raab Park can be accessed along Caldart Avenue Northeast, close to the Liberty Bay Waterfront Park.

Go Antique Hunting at Red Plantation

If you’re still not yet content with window-shopping at the stores mentioned earlier, Red Plantation is home to many antiques to discover.

They sell all sorts of products here, ranging from massive vases to small decors.

Red Plantation is also neatly designed, making it an Instagram-worthy shop thanks to its vintage aesthetic.

As with most shops, many of the antiques and decor here have Scandinavian influences.

Give Red Plantation a visit if you’re rearing for some antique knick-knacks, found a few walks from Front Street Gallery.

Have a Picnic at Nelson Park

One of the best places to have a picnic is Nelson Park, a smaller park adjacent to Poulsbo Fish Park.

Like the latter, Nelson Park has bayfront access to Liberty Bay.

It doesn’t have much to offer other than great amenities for picnics, like well-maintained bathrooms and barbecue grills.

There is also plenty of shade here, making it an ideal place for more minor children.

A photo opportunity with the city’s iconic giant Viking statue is also found in this park.

If you want to spend a slow day, Nelson Park is a scenic and tranquil place to have an intimate time with your family.

Visit the Poulsbo Martinson Cabin Museum

The Poulsbo Martinson Cabin Museum is a small vintage house that lets you see loads of interesting Nordic displays.

Poulsbo Martinson Cabin Museum was built in the late 1800s by its namesake family.

Now, it acts as an immersive historical landmark that preserves the lifestyle of Poulsbo pioneers.

You can find relics here from the 19th Century, ranging from farming tools to transportation equipment.

Found along Lindvig Way near Nelson Park’s picnic areas, this is a great addition for any history buff.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Try Your Luck at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort

If you’re feeling a little festive, you can spend a couple of hours trying your luck at Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish, about a few minutes’ drive away from Poulsbo.

More than a casino, this place is also one of the best hotels in Poulsbo.

A bayfront hotel, Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort is located on the Southeast end of Liberty Bay, which connects to the much larger Port Madison side of Puget Sound.

It’s known for its ferry rides and its premium rooms that give sweeping views of the bay.

Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort also hosts a lot of concerts in Suquamish, so try to time your visit in case there’s one coming soon.

Final Thoughts

Poulsbo is a city brimming with tons of cultural heritage originating from its rich Scandinavian culture.

Its historic downtown area along Front Street is a haven for urban exploration, making the city a destination on its own rather than a stopover city.

Of course, access to the scenic Liberty Bay and Puget Sound makes this city more memorable.

If you’re planning to visit this gorgeous city, use this list of the best things to do in Poulsbo, Washington, as your ultimate guide!

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