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Gig Harbor

Downtown Gig Harbor is where it all began in 1867. The heart of downtown surrounds the beautiful and deep boating harbor known as Gig Harbor.

You probably are wondering, why is it called “Gig” Harbor? When explorers first reached the South Puget Sound, the opening to this harbor was so small that they could not take the ship in, so they had to lower the little “Gig” boat, a small rowboat, to explore it. They found a large harbor that now contains multiple marinas and fishing “net sheds”.

The net sheds reflect the town’s beginning as a sleepy fishing village where Croatian fishermen, like the Skansie Family, settled and docked their boats to be taken to Alaska for the summer fishing season.

In general Gig Harbor is well known for its close-knit community and quality schools with engaged parents.

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Need a Real Estate Agent for the Gig Harbor Area?

Creator of this site, Darren Rivers, has spent 25 years raising a family in Gig Harbor while enjoying everything this incredible community has to offer. At the same time, Darren has become one of the top realtors in the country by providing top-tier, personable service to his clients. So, if you're looking for an ideal real estate agent who serves you as well as he knows his community, contact Darren and say hi! Message Darren

Cleanliness, Crime, and Safety

While generally considered a very safe clean area, since changes in 2020 to police behavior, the downtown has seen a growth in crime. It still would be considered safe by most communities’ standards, but being an area of high-end homes makes it a target for non-violent crimes such as theft or burglary. There has been some recent increase in homelessness but for the Puget Sound area, it is still very low.

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Sunset from the Fox Island Bridge in Gig Harbor, WA

Outdoor activities

I’ve always found the outdoor lifestyle Gig Harbor offers to be one of my favorite things about living here.

It’s obvious that Gig Harbor offers all types of water sports options from fishing to wake boarding and all kinds of boating, but it’s the general culture of fitness and being outdoors that sets it apart.

Gig Harbor is full of parks and hiking trails. You will find outdoor tennis courts and a strong golfing community. The Cushman trail allows one to bike through Gig Harbor while avoiding traffic and enjoying tranquility.

You can find a group, class or club around many outdoor activities that also include things like archery, sailing and horseback riding. These all have strong communities and cultures you can engage in.

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Attractions

Some of the attractions that keep the locals busy include:

  • Performance Golf Center, where you can work on your golf swing while hanging out with friends and skipping having to walk the golf course.
  • The beautiful Harbor History Museum, which inspires curiosity about local history and cultural traditions as they connect to the world around us. Admission is free and they have popular annual events such as “History rocks” with outdoor concerts.
  • Oceans 5 a family-friendly, year-round, indoor hangout that features a gaming arcade, 10 pin and duckpin bowling on 22 lanes, laser tag and a restaurant.
  • Tides Tavern for adults only fun, the Tides has been a classic Gig Harbor experience for generations. The Tavern, located in a historic building full of charm, sits right on the Gig Harbor waterfront and features a vibrant social scene, gorgeous deck dining and great burgers.
  • Skansie brother’s Park is large, centrally located in downtown and sits right on the water. This park has a very long walking dock, public restrooms and is a great place to view the Gig Harbor lighted boat parade in the winter and concerts and farmer’s markets in the summer.
  • Gig Harbor Gondola, Gig Harbor may be the only place in Washington you can take an Italian-style authentic gondola ride, making it a very unique attraction. The Harbor also offers lots of other boat cruise options and water rentals like kayaks and paddle boards.
  • Kopachuck State Park. There are too many park options to list here, but this deep woods park with beautiful beaches is a highlight to get away from it all.
  • Cushman Trail, mentioned in the outdoor activities section this is a great walking and destination biking trail that runs through green belts tracking along Highway 16.
  • Galaxy Theatre Uptown, as it’s name, implies is a step above a typical movie theatre with plush seating and a beer and wine bar.
  • BMX Park, a very popular addition is a hub for kids activities and just watching the bikers and skateboarders doing tricks.
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Shopping

Small business has always been essential to Gig Harbor’s unique vibe.

Chalet in the Woods, a gig Harbor staple for the last 30+ years, and reflection of the areas strong Scandinavian community, is described on their website as: “a European gift and clothing store in a garden setting. The Chalet is situated on 12 lovely acres of gardens, woodlands, and pasture for a flock of Oxford sheep and lambs.” It doesn’t get any more “Gig Harbor” than that.

The Downtown shopping District also features a charming historic vibe with many small businesses including gift shops, boating stores and boutiques.

The addition of The Uptown Shopping Center is a pleasant and stylish outdoor mall with corporate entities like J. Jill, Anne Taylor, Chicos and Panera Bread mixed in with small businesses like Blue Agave Mexican Cafe and Cutters Point Coffee, along with gift shops and clothing boutiques.

The construction of Gig Harbor North brought in big box stores like Home Depot, Target and Costco for convenience. This means you don’t have to go across the bridge for these amenities.

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Traffic

Thanks to the addition of the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traffic in Gig Harbor is busy but not problematic. Not long ago it was a sleepy bedroom community that has grown into a bustling district with a growing population and rapid development.  The infrastructure of roadways was never made with this type of growth in mind so while traffic flows, it can get very hectic in certain commercial areas.

The only backups on Highway 16 occur at the Purdy exit, where the Purdy bridge is the main access to The Key Peninsula and is not able to handle the volume of development in recent years.  Lower prices have drawn a large population to this area that not long ago was very rural and remote.

Off of Highway 16, the main congestion is in the commercial areas of Gig Harbor North, Uptown, and Downtown where residents shop and run errands.

The infrastructure of these districts is becoming overwhelmed by the increase in population. A short time ago, during the most recent development in both Uptown and Gig Harbor North, no one could have foreseen the area would ever see such explosive growth in such a short time.

There are very few neighborhoods that are immediately accessible to the freeway. Access to the majority of communities in the area requires having the patience to drive slowly on winding roads with stop signs, lights, and people jogging or walking their dogs. In many areas, it is forested enough that hitting a deer or coyote or some such animal is a possible risk.

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Location

If you choose to work in Seattle, about 44 miles away, the typical car commute from Gig Harbor in rush hour is about 1 hour and 45 minutes each way. If there’s an accident that can add considerably to that time.  Without traffic, this drive takes 50-60 minutes.

For commuting to Seattle, like the rest of the area, the biggest traffic congestion is through Tacoma and Fife. Heading south to Olympia can face backups in the area of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of the nation’s largest military bases. Bremerton is about 25 min. away and offers ferry service to Seattle.

Tacoma is under 20 minutes away and offers job opportunities and larger city amenities like specialized medical care.

Gig Harbor now has its first full-size Hospital, St. Anthony’s, but often people who need specific types of surgeries and treatments will need to go to Tacoma.

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Age/type of homes/lots

Gig Harbor has just about as many options for homes and properties as you can think of. The areas early development means you can still find vintage and historical houses and even farm properties, but you also will find modern style condominiums and stunning modern waterfront luxury homes.

There’s really something for everyone here, in many sizes and price points from manufactured homes in retirement parks to waterfront equestrian estates and upscale golf community homes.

Whatever you are looking for, you will probably find it from a beach cabin to a classic home in a suburban family neighborhood.

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More on Gig Harbor

Location

If you choose to work in Seattle, about 44 miles away, the typical car commute from Gig Harbor in rush hour is about 1 hour and 45 minutes each way. If there’s an accident that can add considerably to that time.  Without traffic, this drive takes 50-60 minutes.

For commuting to Seattle, like the rest of the area, the biggest traffic congestion is through Tacoma and Fife. Heading south to Olympia can face backups in the area of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of the nation’s largest military bases. Bremerton is about 25 min. away and offers ferry service to Seattle.

Tacoma is under 20 minutes away and offers job opportunities and larger city amenities like specialized medical care.

Gig Harbor now has its first full-size Hospital, St. Anthony’s, but often people who need specific types of surgeries and treatments will need to go to Tacoma.

+ Expand

Age/type of homes/lots

Gig Harbor has just about as many options for homes and properties as you can think of. The areas early development means you can still find vintage and historical houses and even farm properties, but you also will find modern style condominiums and stunning modern waterfront luxury homes.

There’s really something for everyone here, in many sizes and price points from manufactured homes in retirement parks to waterfront equestrian estates and upscale golf community homes.

Whatever you are looking for, you will probably find it from a beach cabin to a classic home in a suburban family neighborhood.

+ Expand

Talk to Darren

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