This small town, in Skagit County, was named after Louisa Ann Conner, the wife of the owner of the trading post, back in 1870. La Conner is half a square mile in extent, and at last count had fewer than 1000 inhabitants. It is on the edge of the largest tulip growing region in the world. The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is celebrated each April. The Rainbow Bridge spans the Swinomish Channel which separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland. Across the bridge is the Swinomish Native American village and reserve. The center of La Conner and the Swinomish Channel have been listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Pacific Nothwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum
© Pacific Nothwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum
The museum is housed in the triple story Gaches Mansion. The Victorian home was built in 1891 and provides 4500 square meters of display area for exhibits. The 11 foot high ceilings are ideal for the presentation of quilts and textiles. The museum collection focuses on traditional and contemporary specimens from the Pacific rim region. Thematic exhibitions are open for several weeks or months. There is additional space set aside for lectures, workshops and interest groups to meet. The museum organizes the annual International Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival in October.
703 South Second Street, La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-4288
2.Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA
© Museum of Northwest Art
Art Hupy, a freelance commercial photographer, founded this museum in 1981. For the first 14 years it occupied the second floor of the Gaches Mansion. In 1995, the current premises were renovated and provided 1200 square meters of exhibition space. There are quarterly exhibitions and eight permanent collections, focusing on artists from the northwest Pacific region. A variety of art forms are on display, including pottery, photographs, paintings, quilts and illustrations. There are annual auctions and artists' award dinners. The guides are knowledgeable and the gift shop is well-stocked. Entrance is free and the museum is open 7 days a week.
121 First Street, PO Box 969, La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-4446
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3.La Conner Rainbow Bridge, La Conner, Washington
© Euskera Photography/stock.adobe.com
The bright red Rainbow Bridge spans the Swinomish Channel, connecting Fidalgo Island and the mainland, at La Conner. The riveted steel bridge, built in 1957, has a solid rib design. It has a single span of 167 m, with a total length of 240 m and a clearance of 23 m. It is the longest bridge of its kind in Washington and received an honorable mention from the American Institute of Steel Construction in 1958 for its pioneering design. It was placed in the National Register of Historical Places before it was 50 years old. The views of the bridge from town and vice versa are equally picturesque.
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4.Nasty Jack's Antiques
© Nasty Jack's Antiques
'Nasty' Jack Wilkins and 'Diamond' Jim Reynolds, two colorful characters, started this enterprise in 1972. Jim left the business and, sadly, Jack passed away in 1994, leaving his daughter and son-in-law to run the store. American and English reproduction furniture, collectible tin signs and other novelty items are sold in the 12000 square foot of space. Magazines from one of the largest collections of LIFE and Saturday Evening Post, from 1937 to 1972, are on sale. Deliveries are made as far as Tacoma in the south and the Canadian border in the north. The store is open 7 days a week.
103 East Morris St., La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-3209
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5.Hellam's Vineyard, La Conner, Washington
© Hellam's Vineyard
In 2004, Jeff Hellam and his father, Chuck, spent two weeks touring the northwest, sourcing wines for their new venture. They established Hellam's Vineyard in the historic Limedock Building overlooking the Swinomish Channel. It is now the largest family-owned wine shop and bar in the state. They sell wines from Washington and other states, the northwest and abroad. Jeff organizes tours to wine-producing regions, as far afield as Croatia and Spain. At home, Hellam's offers wine tasting, dinner cruises and music evenings. They also sell beer from the 25 foot bar, 7 days a week.
109 North 1st St. #101, La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-1758
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6.Skagit County Historical Museum, La Conner, WA
© Skagit County Historical Museum
This museum was founded in 1968 in order to preserve and interpret artifacts that relate to the unique culture and history of Skagit County. Two hundred thousand items are displayed on a rotational basis. These include clothing, quilts, dolls, tools and farm equipment. The museum operates a reference library and offers consultation on caring for and storing heirlooms. Workshops, educational programs and guided tours are conducted on the premises. Videos and props for history lessons are for hire. The store sells books on local and regional history, old-time toys and Native American crafts. The museum is closed on Mondays.
501 4th Street / P.O. Box 818, La Conner, WA 98257-0818, Phone: 360-466-3365
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7.Skagit Cellars, La Conner, Washington
© Skagit Cellars
This enterprise started as a hobby in a garage and a cellar and now ships wine across the United States. Mark and Gloria Hulst source organically grown grapes from sustainable vineyards to create their award-winning wines. The maturation process is wholly natural with no artificial additives. The winery is in Burlington, 20 minutes drive from La Conner. The tasting room is situated alongside the Swinomish Channel and is open on weekends only. There is a second tasting room in Manson. Dinners and concerts are held throughout the year, at the winery. Wine Club subscribers receive a selection of four wines, twice a year.
106 S 1st St La Conner, Washington, Phone: 360-708-2801
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8.Bearfoot Art Glass Studio, La Conner, WA
© Bearfoot Art Glass Studio
Scott Bouwens studied Landscape Design and Communication and has put his skills to good use as a designer of fiber glass water features. He wears many hats. In 1998 he taught himself to make glass beads. Since 2000, he has been manufacturing and selling lampwork beads, full-time, from his studio cum gallery in the Seaport Landing building on the Swinomish Channel. He has also invented several tools for the craft which are for sale. His work has appeared in several magazines and beading books. In his spare time he indulges in photography and videography.
106 S 1st St La Conner, Washington, Phone: 360-466-8269
9.Kukutali Preserve, La Conner, WA
© Mark Pouley/stock.adobe.com
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, in partnership with Washington State Parks, has established the Kukutali Preserve. The primary objectives are to conserve the area, conduct research and provide public education programs. There are two miles of hiking tracks through the 93 acre preserve, most of which is on Kiket Island. Several fish species, shellfish and eelgrass beds can be found along the two miles of shoreline. Waterfowl and several threatened and endangered species make their home in the preserve. Away from the water, there is a delicate meadow ecosystem. The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk.
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10.Pioneer Park, La Conner, Washington
© Euskera Photography/stock.adobe.com
A short distance from the Railway Bridge is the small urban Pioneer Park. Visitors are free to wander anywhere in the park but a few hiking trails have been laid out. There are stairs that rise 75 feet from the lower levels to the bridge. A rustic bandstand and bench seats are used on occasion for outdoor performances. The large picnic area is under cover and has drinking water on tap. The trail across the Rainbow Bridge leads across the Swinomish Channel to the tribal park and village on the other side. The trail below the bridge leads to artistic murals.
11.Skagit Crest Vineyard and Winery
© Skagit Crest Vineyard and Winery
Chuck and Donna started this small family-owned venture in 2008. Ten years later they had planted vineyards, built a house and winery, and started producing wines. These unfortunately are not open to the public. The tasting room is off the Gilky Square, overlooking the Swinomish Channel. Their wines are sold there and at selected restaurants, stores and shops, in and around La Conner. The Wine Club offers subscribers a selection of four bottles of wine, three times a year. Events such as Valentine's red wine and chocolate, barrel tasting and food pairing are held throughout the year.
105 North First St., Suite 1 La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-333-9819
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12.La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib, La Conner, WA
© La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib
This restaurant was founded in 1986 in a building with a checkered past, of smuggling, gambling and 60s and 70s hippy culture. Kari vanden Bosch worked as General Manager until the business was sold in 2002. In 2008, she and her husband bought the restaurant. They have a strong commitment to the community, local vendors and a 'Going Green' campaign that entails recycling and composting whenever feasible. The historic waterfront building has three venues with seating for a total of 165 people. The restaurant can cater for up to 500 at external functions.
614 South First Street, La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-4014
13.The Oyster and Thistle Restaurant and Pub
Situated on a hill, overlooking downtown La Conner, this establishment is styled like an old English inn. Thomas and Danielle Palmer began the business more than 20 years ago. Oysters have remained the star ingredients on their lunch, dinner and pub menus. Other menu items include duck, paella, bouillabaisse and artisan bread. Snacks, sandwiches and cheese platters are available in the pub. There is an extensive wine list. Groups are welcome and an off-site catering service is offered. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.
205 E. Washington St., La Conner, Washington 98257, Phone: 360-766-6179
14.La Conner Pub and Eatery, La Conner, WA
© La Conner Pub and Eatery
Known as the Tavern, this eatery serves a classic American menu in a family-friendly environment. From the patio, there are views of the Rainbow Bridge, pleasure crafts cruising along the channel and local fishermen hauling in their catch. Resident seals, otters, deer and bald eagles have been spotted at the water's edge. Inside, there are pool tables, a juke box and other games for entertainment. The owner 'Gentleman' Gene Lennartz and other regular customers that have passed on are memorialized in the pub, with plaques bearing their names. His daughters and granddaughter have taken over the reins.
702 S 1st St., 98257 La Conner, Washington, Phone: 360-466-9932
14 Best Things to Do in La Conner, Washington
- Pacific Nothwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum, Photo: Pacific Nothwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum
- Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA, Photo: Museum of Northwest Art
- La Conner Rainbow Bridge, La Conner, Washington, Photo: Euskera Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Nasty Jack's Antiques, Photo: Nasty Jack's Antiques
- Hellam's Vineyard, La Conner, Washington, Photo: Hellam's Vineyard
- Skagit County Historical Museum, La Conner, WA, Photo: Skagit County Historical Museum
- Skagit Cellars, La Conner, Washington, Photo: Skagit Cellars
- Bearfoot Art Glass Studio, La Conner, WA, Photo: Bearfoot Art Glass Studio
- Kukutali Preserve, La Conner, WA, Photo: Mark Pouley/stock.adobe.com
- Pioneer Park, La Conner, Washington, Photo: Euskera Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Skagit Crest Vineyard and Winery, Photo: Skagit Crest Vineyard and Winery
- La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib, La Conner, WA, Photo: La Conner Seafood and Prime Rib
- The Oyster and Thistle Restaurant and Pub, Photo: Maksud/stock.adobe.com
- La Conner Pub and Eatery, La Conner, WA, Photo: La Conner Pub and Eatery
- Cover Photo: paulfell/stock.adobe.com
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