Located with the Puget Sound Basin, Bainbridge Island is one of Puget Sound’s larger islands. It is west of Seattle and easily accessible by the Washington State Ferries making it a good location for a day trip or a week away.
Since it was known for the large cedar trees that grew there, it became a place for logging and shipbuilding industries. (Which might be the reason that it served as inspiration for David Guterson’s novel, “Snow Falling on Cedars.”)
Today, Bainbridge Island is known for its art culture, local agriculture and its connection to the Suquamish people. While it is no stranger to rain, it has a fairly mild climate with lows in the 40’s during the winter months and the high’s in the mid-70’s during the summer.
While there are many things you can do on the island, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best things to see, do and eat:
Address: 7571 NE Dolphin Dr., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Open Tuesday through Sunday all year long, rain or shine, the Bloedel Reserve is 140 acres of wonder according to them. Prentice and Virginia Bloedel transformed an unruly forest into a tranquil place full of curated gardens, structural features and 23 unique landscapes. It isn’t really a place to “hang out” (food, beverages and pets are not allowed) but a place to experience. Here you’ll find a Japanese garden and guest house, a “Jurassic Garden” featuring massive “dinosaur plants”, a sand and stone garden, a refection pool, a trestle bridge and more.
Battle Point Park
Address: NE Frey Ave., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Formerly home to a naval radio station, Battle Point Park’s 90.2 acres has a lot of things in sets of two. There are two ponds, tennis courts and basketball courts. It features a jogging trail, a roller hockey court and disc golf. But the real reason to visit is experience the amazing children’s play structure. It’s huge! This area is for serious playing. Kids can climb, explore, and pretend that they are a king or pirate for hours.
Forest to Sky Trail
Grand Forest West Nature Preserve on Miller Rd. N.E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Battle Point Park at 11299 Arrow Point Dr. N.E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
The Forest to Sky Trail is actually part of a longer one called the Cross Island Trail, but this one is pretty short (about a mile) that leads from the Grand Forest West Nature Preserve to Battle Point Park (or vice versa!) It is slightly hilly, features a long stretch of boardwalk which sits on top of a wetland and is good for both hikers and bikers.
Address: 4192 Eagle Harbor Dr. NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Covering 50 acres on Eagle Harbor, Pritchard Park is known for its almost – but not quite – mile of sandy beach and a forest-covered backdrop. Located next door to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, the views are great here including a view of downtown Seattle. Like to walk the docks and look at the boats? You’re in luck!
Halls Hill Lookout and Labyrinth
Address: 10975 NE Halls Hill Rd., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Of course the main draw to the Halls Hill Lookout and Labyrinth is the 36-foot mosaic made of stone. It was created by Portland artist Jeffrey Bale. The number of circles used in the labyrinth is 12, one for each month of the year. He also incorporated the Native American medicine wheel into the pattern which includes stones found from the local beaches.
Other pieces of artwork from other artists are also on display here including a bronze prayer wheel, wood sculptures, a stone bench and wooden footbridge made from old-growth cedar.
Address: 969 Weaver Rd. NW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Located at Rotary Park, Owen’s Playground is a modern inclusive play area designed to be enjoyed by every kid regardless of any physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Named after Owen Marshall, a young boy who had battled with cerebral palsy, the playground was created by local artists. The nature-themed adaptive play area is covered with play structures, swings, water features, a garden and more with plenty of space to run around in.
Exotic Aquatics Scuba & Kayaking
Address: Bainbridge Island City Dock, 301 Shannon Dr. SE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
If you’re into kayaking, you’ll enjoy a tour created by Exotic Aquatics Scuba & Kayaking. They offer different tours that involve picnic, moonlight adventures and exploratory trips to Eagle Harbor, Blakely Harbor and Blake Island. Or go on your own with a rental. They offer a complete line of different kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for all skill levels and body types.
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
Address: 4192 Eagle Harbor Dr. NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is wall listing the names of all 276 Japanese and Japanese American citizens who were banished to this place during World War II. The memorial serves as a reminder to “let it not happen again.” It is quite beautiful made with a mix of red cedar, granite and basalt.
Although the area is quite small, people tend to spend a lot of time here reflecting. The wall stretches along the pathway that led these people to the ferry that took them to the camp. History is brought to life with photos, sculptures and even colorful paper origami cranes.
Heart & Soul
Address: 108 Winslow W., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Self-described as an “Art as Therapy Studio,” Heart & Soul is a do-it-yourself art space which is suitable for couples, singles and families to get their creative groove on. No reservations are needed either, so it you’re visiting and weather outside is iffy, it’s the place to be.
Heart & Soul offers ceramic painting, a glass fusing bar, mosaic building and canvas painting. A $5 studio fee covers your visit which includes all firing, grouting and finishing. All you pay for are the materials. If you have a few hours to spare, you will be surprised by what you can complete by the end of the day.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Address: 550 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Located super close to the ferry terminal, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is one of the first sights you’ll see on your trip. It features artworks and collections from Puget Sound artists and likes to think of itself as a “cultural living room for the local community.” It features multiple galleries, a bistro and gift shop and admission is shockingly free! The art here is contemporary made with a variety of materials including watercolors, oil painting, sculptures (made from wood, stone and metal), paper crafts and more.
Kids Discovery Museum
Address: 301 Ravine Lane, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
After being told “don’t touch” so many times from their parents, little ones love to visit the Kids Discovery Museum where nothing is off limits and they can touch everything! (Don’t tell them, but they just might learn something too.)
Inside, kids can explore an indoor treehouse, be artistic I the Creation Station, a Rigamajig to build imaginative inventions, an “Our Town Exhibit Hall” (featuring a bank, veterinary clinic and grocery store), a transportation area (with a full-size car and ferry wheelhouse), an art studio and a lot more.
Taproom address: 9415 Coppertop Loop NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Alehouse address: 500 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA98110
The Bainbridge Brewery & Taproom and the Brewing Alehouse do more than just serve their signature beers. They also feature a menu of small plates made with locally-sourced items, pizzas, northwest hard ciders, wines from the island, locally made kombucha and even non-alcoholic and gluten-free beers. 18 drafts are on tap at the alehouse which include other great beers from other local vendors. It’s a great place to stop in between visits to the adjacent museums.
The Harbour Public House
Address: 231 Parfitt Way S.W., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Built for Ambrose and Amanda Grow in 1881, The Harbour Public House opened its doors in 1991 as the first non-smoking tavern in the greater Seattle area. Today, it is THE place on the island for the best hamburgers, fish & chips and beer selection according to the Bainbridge Island Review.
Come try the Pub Famous Chowder or unique selections like Kimchi Poutine, Belgian-Style Mussels in Beer or the Alaskan Sockeye Salmon & Chips. Save room for the Key Lime Pie, Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Apple Cranberry Crisp or the humble brownie with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
Pegasus Coffee House
Address: 131 Parfitt Way, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
The Pegasus Coffee House has been an island institution since 1980 and has done pretty well for itself thank you very much. In 2022, Financial Times names it on of “The Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World” which is saying something.
Like The Harbour Public House, Pegasus is housed in a historic building, although not as old. This ivy-covered building was built in 1937 and used to house a hardware store. Today, Pegasus roasts their own coffee in small batches. Come in and enjoy the same espresso recipe that they have used for over 40 years and take home a bag of beans to enjoy at home.
Address: 236 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
You would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated pizza joint dedicated to the craft of the Italian pie than Bruciato. They are “disciples of the Napolitano school of pizza cookery.” They require a three-day fermentation for their dough, salumi cured for months in their shop and fresh buffalo milk mozzarella.
Their menu features a list of hard-to-pronounce pizzas names, appetizers, salads, sides and desserts like the hazelnut-chocolate calzone and house-made Tiramisu.