Life on Bainbridge Island: Families, Food, and a Ferry-Tale Commute
With endless outdoor activities, a family-friendly atmosphere, award-winning whiskey, and a menu of good eats, Bainbridge Island has a little something for everyone.
When it comes to choosing a place to live, there’s little to argue with about Bainbridge Island. A small-town setting and quiet beaches present an idyllic backdrop, yet the heart of Seattle—and its job opportunities—are just a 35-minute ferry ride away.
And while its roots, and much of its topography, are still rural, lifestyles on Bainbridge Island are an amalgam of country and city life, from locally harvested vegetables and pumpkin picking to a downtown featuring stylish wares and one of the region’s hottest chefs.
Here are just a few of the highlights of owning a home on Bainbridge Island:
With a low crime rate and one of the top-rated school districts in the region, Bainbridge is simply a great place to raise kids. Among the many amenities for families:
- Kid-friendly events and festivals, including the Grand Old 4th of July, summer concerts in Battlepoint Park, outdoor movies in Waterfront Park, a giant Easter egg hunt, fall Harvest Fair, Halloween Walk trick-or-treating, and the annual Christmas tree lighting.
- The Kids Discovery Museum, KiDiMu, offers experiential learning and play designed to spark kids’ curiosity. Workshops and camps during school breaks take kids on fun missions and adventures.
- Sports camps from the Parks department range from lacrosse to volleyball to martial arts. Island Wood, an environmental learning center on the island, offers half- and full-day camps rooted in nature. For young artists, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art hosts courses in drawing, architecture, and more.
- Dance classes from Bainbridge Parks and Rec, Bainbridge Ballet, or the Bainbridge Dance Center.
- The Bainbridge Aquatic Center offers lessons, open swim—and “movie and float” events in the winter.
Bainbridge is home to an enclave of artists—and art lovers.
- Bainbridge Island Studio Tour is a twice-yearly self-guided art show celebrating the island’s local artists—and is a great way to stock up on unique gifts.
- Whether you’re an aspiring painter or an experienced woodworker, BARN, the Bainbridge Artists Resource Network, offers classes, workshop space, and other resources to practice and hone your craft.
- The first Friday of each month is Art Walk, where local artists showcase their latest exhibitions in downtown shops.
- During Paint Out Winslow, held in September, artists from near and far create paintings of the island before your eyes. Afterward, paintings are offered for sale and celebrated alongside local wines.
Island living doesn’t mean sacrificing a sophisticated palette.
- Bainbridge Island is home to seven wineries, with tasting rooms and events to keep your glass full throughout the year.
- Among several breweries and distilleries on the island is Bainbridge Organic Distillers, whose Bainbridge Battle Point Two Islands Hokkaido Mizunara Cask Wheat Whiskey was recently named the best in the world.
- A robust restaurant scene provides a little something for everyone. Families will enjoy the fun atmosphere at Westside Pizza, paper-wrapped burgers at Hammy’s, and frozen yogurt at Island Cool. Enjoy authentic Italian at Via Rosa 11, Bene, and Bruciato; delectable sushi at SuBi; Mediterranean bites at Saffron or the Kurdish Kitchen food truck; and French fare at Marche.
- Bainbridge is home one of Seattle’s up-and-coming chefs, Brendan McGill, whose family of downtown restaurants includes Hitchcock, Hitchcock Deli, Bruciato, and the newly opened Bar Hitchcock, dubbed “an all-day café with a laid-back vibe” by Evening Magazine.
- Seattle’s favorite fish and chips can be found Proper Fish on Winslow Way.
- Farm-to-table cuisine doesn’t get much closer to the farm than the Tuesday night community dinners at Heyday Farm. Go early—they don’t take reservations and the line forms fast.
An Outdoor Lover’s Dream
If you’re torn between a love of the forest and a love of the water, you’ll be pleased to find both just minutes (or steps) from your door on Bainbridge.
- A handful of public beaches offers easy access for shellfish finding, driftwood sitting, kayaking, paddleboarding, and so much more. Fay Bainbridge park on the North end includes camp and picnic sites.
- Multiple marinas provide space for your boat or liveaboards.
- Miles of forest trails offer quintessential Pacific Northwest old-growth trees and greenery. Try the Grand Forest or Gazzam Lake for both flat and hilly circuits.
- The 137-acre Ft. Ward park combines forested trails, a long waterfront path, and ferry views, with a sprinkling of old military structures.
- Battlepoint Park has a little something for every family member—a 2.5-mile flat walking path, robust playground, disc golf, roller hockey rink and soccer fields, climbing walls for little kids, and an outdoor amphitheater.
- The refined gardens, natural landscapes, and preserved forests of the Bloedel Reserve are a jewel of the island and the region.
Ready to experience Bainbridge living for yourself? Connect with us for a free consultation.
Bainbridge Panorama: Copyright Daniel Ramirez
Photo: Copyright Doug Kerr
Photo: Copyright Daniel Ramirez