A short half-hour ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island has become an affluent and growing community. The island itself is large, stretching 10 miles in the beautiful Puget Sound. Since 2000, Bainbridge Island has grown exponentially. With more people living on the island, there have also been increases in businesses, services, and recreational activities. This growth has made the community a great place to own a home, and a fantastic place to live, with an ever-growing list of things to do on Bainbridge Island.
Enjoy Winslow — aka Downtown Bainbridge Island
The entire island is technically a single city called Bainbridge Island. Downtown Bainbridge is also known as Winslow, which was the city’s original name. Winslow features a vibrant main street area and is near the ferry terminal. Each year a multitude of Seattleites ferry across the Sound for day trips to the dining, shopping, and activities of Winslow. Intentional redevelopment efforts have maintained the charm and aesthetics of a historic main street district, and this has earned designation as an Accredited Main Street America™
program. You’ll enjoy bakeries and restaurants, a wide range of specialty shops, wine tasting, art galleries, and special downtown events and festivals.
Explore the history of Bainbridge Island
The island is rich in history, as you can discover at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum in Winslow. Learn about the original inhabitants, the Suquamish Tribe, the development of the island in the 1800s, the massive logging industry and its impact in the early 1900s, and the community's growth from the original settlers to an upscale, dynamic residential city. Not all parts of history are pleasant to think about, but they are important to remember. Visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial to learn about the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. For a sense of the US military’s use of the island, visit Fort Ward Park, where you can encounter some of the historic ruins of Fort Ward.
Discover the arts on Bainbridge Island
Art lovers will find many things to do on Bainbridge Island. The centerpiece of the arts on the island is the Bainbridge Island Art Museum. Admission to exhibitions is free. The museum offers a range of additional programming, including artist talks, lectures, films, and drawing and painting classes. Another exciting art center is the nonprofit Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, featuring exhibits of Northwest artists utilizing a variety of media. To get a sense of artisans at work, visit the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, a space where you can join a studio to work on your art and take classes.
There are also plenty of opportunities for youth to participate throughout the year and during the summer. Several galleries in Bainbridge Island, such as the Island Gallery and Jeffrey Moose Gallery, offer original and diverse pieces certain to delight art enthusiasts. Join the First Fridays Art Walk for a tour of galleries and exhibits. For live artistic entertainment, Bainbridge Performing Arts features a wide range of productions from comedy improv to Shakespeare to the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra. The performances are currently located in the Bainbridge Cinemas but will soon have a home in the multi-million-dollar renovations to the Buxton Center for Bainbridge Performing Arts.
Parks and trails on Bainbridge Island
The island is filled with parks and trails overseen by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. Their focus is providing programs and recreation for all ages, and they maintain over 1,500 acres of park space. Grand Forest Trails is one of the best places for hiking on the island, with winding wooded trails. Fay Bainbridge Park is a park on the Sound with picnic tables, volleyball nets, a boat launch, and a nautical-themed play area for the kids. Battle Point Park has soccer and softball fields, tennis and pickleball courts, a horse corral and trail, and a roller hockey court.
Other park options in the area include the Bloedel Reserve, with beautiful botanic gardens surrounded by forested walking trails and tours of the Bloedel residence. Another unique park is the Labyrinth at Hall Hill Lookout, maintained by the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation. The labyrinth is based on the famous Chartres Cathedral design and combines colors and patterns for a winding meditative walk. The Japanese American community maintains Haiku No Niwa, a delicate and reflective Japanese garden beside the Bainbridge Public Library.
Aquatic activities on Bainbridge Island
Since it’s surrounded by water, there is no shortage of aquatic things to do on Bainbridge Island. Many residents have their own boats, but sailboat charters are great opportunities to see the island by water for those who don’t. Lytle Beach affords views of majestic Mt. Rainier and hosts the annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day.
Fay Bainbridge Park has camping sites in the summer with views of the Cascade Mountains. Rockaway Beach has scuba diving access to Blakely Harbor. You can take scuba lessons at Exotic Aquatics Scuba. The island also offers excellent water access for kayakers and canoeists. Fort Ward Park is on the Cascadia Marine Trail and offers campsites for paddle craft users.
Other recreation on Bainbridge Island
The island has many other opportunities for recreation. Golfers can avail themselves of two clubs on the island: Meadowmeer Golf & Country Club and Wing Point Golf & Country Club. Horseback riding is popular on Bainbridge Island, and there are several stables for boarding and riding, such as the Bainbridge Island Saddle Club and Countryman Stables.
Bicycles are a great way to get around, and you’ll find many cyclists taking a loop around the island. Every February, the Cascade Bicycle Club sponsors the Chilly Hilly ride, a 33-mile ride with over 2,000 feet of climbing. Residents who prefer to take their recreation indoors will find a variety of spas, yoga centers, and fitness clubs. The Bainbridge Island Recreation Center is part of the Park & Recreation District. Their 53,000-square-foot facility has weightlifting, Pilates, racquet sports, and an outdoor pool for the summer.
Dining in Bainbridge Island
It’s best to recognize what a location has and what it doesn’t. Bainbridge Island offers very good dining options, but the local gourmands know that true fine dining is a ferry ride away in downtown Seattle. That said, when it comes to eating and drinking, there are a lot of things to do on Bainbridge Island.
The downtown area is a great place for bakeries, breakfast places, and cafes. Try the Blackbird Bakery, known for its pastries, or the Coquette Bake Shop, with amazing coffee and French-style sandwiches. Interesting dining options include the Harbour Public House or Doc’s Marina Grill with their waterfront views, the Agate Restaurant for its elegant fine dining and a menu that features fresh, locally sourced and inventive dishes, Bainbridge Thai located right on the Bainbridge Marina, and Restaurant Marché with a French-inspired menu. For Italian food lovers, Bruciato the Neapolitan pizzeria and bar, and Via Rosa 11 is sure to delight with their all-handmade from scratch Italian creations.
You can’t have eating without drinking, and Bainbridge Island is home to several wineries worthy of a tasting. Bainbridge Organic Distillers turns organic Washington grain into flavorful, aromatic whiskey, vodka, and gin. And Bainbridge Brewing is a craft brewery with two locations, one of which is the Alehouse in Winslow, with 18 drafts on tap.
Ready to invest in Bainbridge Island homes for sale?
These are some of the highlights of life on Bainbridge Island, but you’ll discover many more things to do as you spend time on the island. If you’re thinking about making Bainbridge Island your home, talk to the real estate professionals at Team Luxe Real Estate
. They have a thorough knowledge of the Bainbridge Island community and its individual neighborhoods. For instance, families will be delighted to know that Bainbridge Island School District consistently ranks high within Washington State. Bainbridge High School is ranked within the top 5% of all 2,052 schools in Washington (based off of combined math and reading proficiency testing data. Team Luxe
can help you find the right home for you to take advantage of all that Bainbridge Island has to offer.