With two distinct historical districts, "Downtown" Port Townsend was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1976 and then expanded to include the designation of "Uptown" Port Townsend as a National Historic Landmark District in 1977. The speed at which the economy of Port Townsend fell in the 1890s along with the non-existence of any industry or economy to replace it, meant very few of the Victorian buildings were torn down or built over. They were, essentially, preserved as time capsules for the next 100 years until the value of keeping them intact was appreciated and fostered. This has transpired into two beautifully preserved main streets where Victorian homes and early 20th Century storefronts set the stage for bustling shopping and dining with an artsy, maritime flair.
Whether your passion is for architectural details, native flower gardens or the colorful stories behind the buildings, a historic walking tour is the perfect way to explore Port Townsend's rich heritage.
Scoundrels, Sailors and Settlers History Walk
Learn about the earliest residents of Port Townsend and hear fascinating stories of the triumphs, debates, and scandals linked to the landmarks around Water Street. Compare the buildings of today to the buildings of yesteryear using historic photographs and walk away with a lively appreciation of Port Townsend's unique heritage. Whether you've lived in Port Townsend forever or are just visiting for the day, you'll find much to enjoy.
Uptown PT Historic District History Walk
Explore the history and architecture of Port Townsend’s Uptown National Register Historic District. Compare old photographs of Victorian homes to the same homes today and learn about the city's early residents and the formation of our unique Uptown. For some visitors,
it will be a trip down memory lane!
Radicals and Reformers
Walk with us through historic Laurel Grove Cemetery. This guided tour promises stories of some of the many spirited men and women of Port Townsend who simply refused the status quo. Find out which resident was remembered as "The Duke of York." Visit the headstone of the man whose students wrote his epitaph. Reservations are required so please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve.
I Spy PT: History and Architecture Scavenger Hunt
Families will be guided through historic Port Townsend while keeping their eyes peeled for historic markers, decorative details, and other unique oddities. Fun and engaging for all! The "hunt" begins at the water fountain on Washington Street and traverses outside in fair weather; we will "spy" inside our historic buildings if it's raining. Reservations are required for this program, please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve a group program.
Historic Walking Tours
The Downtown and Uptown Districts of Port Townsend make perfect locations for a walking tour!