On a recent trip we were trying to figure the most interesting way to get from Seattle to Victoria. The easy way would be to just jump on the Victoria Clipper, which takes you from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria. However, our good friend Pam Scott at Red Lion Hotels suggested we take the bus to Port Angeles and experience the historic Black Ball Ferry from downtown Port Angeles to Victoria. We decided to check it out and we are glad we did.
The trip is a bit more convoluted as you have to get to the Greyhound Bus Station in Seattle, catch a mini-bus for a scenic drive to Port Angeles and then catch the Black Bull ferry to Victoria.
As we did more research we realized that Port Angeles would make for a great over night stay so we contacted Pam to see if there was any room at the Inn. Sure enough she got us a room, but it wasn’t easy as the hotel was hosting a Transgender Conference, which made for an even more interesting experience. The fun never stops.
If you are in Seattle or Victoria and are looking for a fun day trip or perhaps an overnight quickie, Port Angeles should be on you list.
Here is quick photo essay of the fun things to see and do in PA without a car and without leaving town.
Port Angeles' Main Street has lots of little shops for those who want to shop and window lick, especially if you like antiquing or people watching from places like the Next Door gastropub patio.
Great towns have fun surprises. We loved this huge rubber ducky that was in the Safeway Parking lot.
We couldn't pass up Port Angeles' Goodwill store where we found this "Twist Board" made by Donco Products Corporation in Lakeview Oregon and Innisfail, Alberta. I had to have it! Thought it would be a good exercise while watching the Flames on TV this winter! Brenda also found a few gems at this well stocked thrift store.
After a quick walkabout to find a place to eat we settled on the Jasmine Bistro and we were glad we did. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The food was as good as it looks. We loved the names of the dishes e.g. Crowd Pleaser and Seducer. The menu is extensive, something for everyone.
Swain's General store was a walk back in time with lots of fun things from upscale outdoor fashions to hardware, housewares and hunting goods - something for everyone. The wall of fishing lures was mesmerizing for a non-fisherman like me.
Lunch was at Next Door gastropub. We could have stayed there all afternoon. We immediately struck up a conversation with a young couple at the bar who had just moved to the area and were loving it. The beer menu is extensive so a tasting board is the best way to go. The ale battered Albacore fish & chips were probably the best I have ever had. Brenda ordered a second helping of the citrus slaw and I had a second order of the homemade potato chips. A ten out of 10.
Port Angeles has perhaps the most amazing art park that we have ever experienced. It is a delightful 1 to 2 hour discovery experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. It is about a 20-minute walk from downtown. More information at: World's Best Art Park
There are many lovely gardens in the spring if you wander into the residential areas, which makes for a lovely stroll on the way to and from the art park.
A short walk from downtown is the blackbird coffee house, definitely worth the walk. Good coffee and treats - I had the pecan tart. We found the blackbird on our way to the art park. A perfect spot to stop after exploring the art park or the residential gardens in the neighbourhood. Also a great place to mingle with locals.
Downtown Port Angeles has several murals and lots of sculptures that make for a fun artwalk. This mural is of the 1946 Black Ball Line's Art Deco ferry, the Kalakala, which was the first to employ commercial marine shipboard radar on its Bainbridge to Seattle route.
The Ferry Terminal in Port Angeles is a mini-museum with lots of photos and information about the interesting history of the Black Ball Ferry Line.
You should definitely get off the beaten path to find some of the fun local retailers not on Main Street. Red Goose Shoes is like a shoe museum, with lots of artifacts and a fun children's area. It is also a walk back in time.
Where to stay?
If you want to stay overnight the Red Lion Hotel is our pick. It is right on the water, close to the ferry terminal and two blocks from downtown. It is a perfect spot for your 24hr quickie in Port Angeles. They even have bikes for you to explore the waterfront or cycle around town.