16 Fun Things to Do in La Conner, Washington (2024)

things to do in la conner
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Nestled in the cozy nook of Skagit Valley lies the quaint town of La Conner, Washington. Right by the shimmering Swinomish Channel, it isn’t just your regular waterfront hangout. Think vibrant tulip fields painting the horizon, artsy corners, a lot of small-town charm, and plenty of things to do in La Conner.

Flashback to 2008: my now-husband and I, just a pair of college kids from Western Washington University, took a spontaneous trip to La Conner for the afternoon. We absolutely loved it – I still remember walking along the riverfront and getting beers at La Conner Brewing. Those memories stuck with me, and even after all these years, I couldn’t help but crave another La Conner adventure.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when I finally went back to visit La Conner, giving this lovely town the whole day it deserved for exploration. I even brought a friend along to experience all the La Conner activities for the first time.

La Conner is more than just postcard-worthy views; it’s about those unexpected finds, the little art shops, and the calm of the channel waters. I spent a long day exploring all the best things to do in La Conner, so take notes that will help you plan your next trip there, whether for the first time or from a new perspective, in one of my favorite cute towns near Seattle.

1. Start Your Day With Local Coffee

There are so many places to get coffee in La Conner that it’s hard to pick, but I went to Beaver Tales Coffee for some fuel to start my day. I loved talking to the owner (she even educated us about the proper way to make my new favorite, a flat white) and the cute, cozy vibe inside. They also have an outdoor section for when the weather is warm (although we were here on a typical rainy day in Washington).

A few more coffee shops in town include the following:

  • Stompin Grounds Coffee Co.: I originally went here, but after about 10 minutes, the line barely moved, so we went across the street. However, they’re in an adorable old house, and all the seating is in different rooms of the house downstairs.
  • Raven’s Cup Coffee & Art Gallery: This is on the main street and is both a coffee house and an art gallery, so you can find local art to take home after you get your latte.

2. Visit the Museum of Northwest Art

museum of northwest art

We all know it’s not always sunny in Washington, which is why this art museum is perfect if you’re looking for what to do in La Conner on a rainy day. Step inside and check out all the art from around the Pacific Northwest.

Artists from Alaska, British Columbia, and the U.S. states of California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington are all represented at MoNA (the Museum of Northwest Art). This art museum is committed to promoting these areas and bolstering the artists in those areas, and incorporating a love of art into people’s daily lives.

3. Find a Treasure at Antique Stores

la conner antique shopping

I’m not the biggest antique shopper, but for some reason, I do like to visit antique shops whenever I travel. I think it’s partly because I never know what I’ll find in the new area I’m visiting, and there are always plenty of oddities.

Since opening in 1972, Nasty Jack’s Antiques has grown to become one of Western Washington’s largest and most profitable antique malls. There were many unique items for sale here, but I chose to hold off on making any purchases because I didn’t have any pressing needs.

Want more? Grab your passport and head north to explore Vancouver during the fall.

4. Photograph the Rainbow Bridge

rainbow bridge la conner

The Rainbow Bridge is pretty iconic in the town, so it’s one of the more popular things to do in La Conner, Washington. You can get various shots of it, so I recommend going south through town to visit it.

While I don’t recommend walking on top of it because it’s an active roadway for cars (and I’m not sure if you actually can), you should go just south of the bridge to get a photograph looking at the town behind it.

If you could time it right, coming here at sunrise or sunset would be perfect, as the sun casts a glow on the town. I was here midday, but I plan to return to the Rainbow Bridge another time and bring my camera to photograph the sunset.

5. Get Energy Out at the Playground

la conner playground

Whenever I see a playground when I’m taking a day trip from Seattle, I always make a note of it. Now that I have kids and go on many Pacific Northwest family trips, I know how important it is to get their energy out on a trip. My trick is always to have them go play right before a meal so they’ll be a bit calmer when you finally sit down and hopefully hungry.

The La Conner Kiwanis Playground is just south of the town and fairly small, but it is still worth visiting. It’s the perfect thing to do in La Conner with kids when they’re getting a bit restless, especially if you drove a while to get here (and then you can head to some of the family-friendly breweries in town).

6. Try Local Beer at La Conner Brewing

la conner brewing company

La Conner Brewing was the first place I ever went to when I visited the city almost 15 years ago, so I was excited to go back on my most recent trip. They’ve increased their number of beers quite a bit, so you now have over a dozen to choose from.

While my friend got a single pint, I knew I had to try the sampler to see what some of the new ones tasted like at my favorite La Conner pub. Unless there are beers that really stand out to me, a trick I use when I visit breweries in Washington is to ask the bartender what their favorites are or what the seasonal ones are so I can try something I might not normally have.

They also have some delicious La Conner seafood as well as a good selection of pizza at the brewery. We split the cheddar and artichoke dip because we weren’t too hungry at the time.

7. Find Your Next Read at Seaport Books

seaport books

I love visiting local bookstores when I travel, and Seaport Books did not disappoint. While it’s a small store, they have a good assortment of books, and I had to steer myself away from the travel and hiking sections as usual.

They also have a kids section as well as a small arts and crafts section if you want to get into drawing or painting. My friend loves all things art, so she was browsing this area for quite a while.

Another adorable town with cute bookstores is just north, where you’ll find tons of things to do in Anacortes.

8. Get a Scoop at La Conner Ice Cream Tower

I can imagine this is packed in the summer, but you’ll love getting a scoop of one of the dozen or so flavors they have at La Conner Ice Cream Tower. It’s a cute building that the shop is in (very Instagrammable), and they have a handful of tables to sit at to enjoy your scoop. You could also take it and walk around the waterfront to enjoy your ice cream with a view.

They are open seasonally, so you can order a scoop from them from April through September. While this might be a bit of a bummer to those who crave ice cream in the winter, there isn’t any outdoor seating, so you won’t want to eat it outdoors in the rain.

9. Buy Local Goods at Handmade La Conner

handmade la conner

When I saw the sign for Handmade La Conner, I couldn’t figure out why it sounded so familiar until I went inside and saw the hand lotion bottles and realized I’ve seen these over and over again at Little Bipsy in Edmonds (one of my favorite stores in Edmonds).

I was absolutely thrilled to suddenly be at the main headquarters in downtown La Conner and have access to dozens of different lotions, soaps, and more. You can even peek in the back and see how some of their products are made right there on location.

I walked away with gifts for my mom, some lotions for myself, and the cutest mountain necklace from a local artist, because why not? This is one of the main reasons I’ll be returning to visit La Conner, and I’ll definitely be stocking up on many more lotions next time.

10. Explore the PNW at Pac Nor Westy

pac nor westy

While locally-made lotions excite me, all things Pacific Northwest makes me even happier, so I was thrilled to cross the street from Handmade La Conner and see Pac Nor Westy. They have sweatshirts, coffee mugs, hats, and more – perfect for either gifting or just showing off your PNW pride.

Sadly, we came here at the end of our day, and I’d already spent a bit more than expected when visiting La Conner, so I decided to save my purchases for another time. Trust me; it was hard with how much amazing gear they had.

11. Hike Through Pioneer Park

pioneer park la conner

Related to loving all the things to do around the Pacific Northwest, you all know how much I adore hiking around Washington. That’s why I was thrilled to find Pioneer Park on my way to Waterfront Park, and we decided to take a detour to explore some of the trails. While I didn’t go on all of them, they generally seemed short and connected to others, so I wouldn’t worry about getting lost.

There’s a slight hill to go up, but that’s the most difficult part of it. Everything else is well-marked, and it’ll take you down to the river if that’s your goal. I loved finding one of the more active things to do in La Conner during our visit.

Feel like going on more hikes? Check out these hikes around the North Cascades.

12. Find Unique Jewelry at Caravan Gallery

caravan gallery

I’m not a huge jewelry shopper, as much as I love to wear it daily. However, the unique art in the garden area outside the store drew me in, and I ended up wandering inside to see what they had.

There was so much beautiful jewelry to choose from – necklaces, earrings, and more, and again, I ended up buying a few for myself as well as gifts for others. Stopping here is one of the best things to do in La Conner if you love jewelry.

13. Eat Local Seafood at La Conner Waterfront Cafe

Sometimes I like to post on my Instagram stories when I go somewhere new and ask where people recommend eating, and my followers gave me plenty of options to choose from when I asked about this town. We ended up having lunch at La Conner Waterfront Café due to them winning the vote and their giant sign proclaiming “Best Fish and Chips.”

They really did have amazing fish and chips (all La Conner seafood seems to be a winner), which we both chose to get and enjoy at a table right by the window with a waterfront view. While it was raining when we were here, they have a large outdoor deck to sit on that I’d happily go to next time I’m in town. That said, I think this is also such a cozy place to be during the winter in Washington.

There’s also some fun La Conner history here: The Big Elvis File movie was filmed here and around the town, and you’ll see still photos from the film on the walls in the hallway. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I’m now curious to watch it.

Looking for more restaurants in La Conner? These also came highly recommended to me:

  • Nell Thorn Waterfront Bistro for waterfront dining and seafood
  • The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub for gastropub food
  • La Conner Thai Garden for amazing Thai dishes
  • Coa Mexican Eatery & Tequila for tacos and margaritas

14. Visit the La Conner Volunteer Firefighters Museum

la conner volunteer firefighters museum

While this is one of the quicker things to do in La Conner, it is worth a visit. The small building hosts several old firefighter trucks from the 1950s and two horse-drawn fire carriages from back in the day. I always find it fascinating to learn about what life used to be like in towns I visit, and the history of La Conner was intriguing.

15. Relax at Conner Waterfront Park

la conner fish slide

Conner Waterfront Park is one of the town’s most scenic places to visit and is home to the Rainbow Bridge. It’s a good place to walk around or bring a picnic (you can get food from one of the many La Conner restaurants).

This is probably the most random item on this list, but there was a giant slide in the shape of a fish that you could go down at Conner Waterfront Park. While it was closed for construction when I was there, I want to go back because I know my kids would get a kick out of it.

Visiting in the fall? You’ll want to head up to take a scenic drive on Chuckanut Drive, one of the best stops on a Seattle to Vancouver drive.

16. Visit the Tulip Fields

tulip festival mount vernon swing

While this isn’t in the city itself, it’s by far the most popular thing to do near La Conner, so I thought I’d include it. Thousands of people descend on nearby Mount Vernon and the surrounding areas during the month of April to view the vibrant tulip fields. I’ve been a handful of times, and it never gets old, as they’re just as stunning every year and by far the best thing to do in Washington in the spring.

La Conner is the perfect base if you plan to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, but you will want to book your hotel months in advance. This area gets absolutely crazy during April, so everything will take a little longer, such as driving due to traffic and longer waits at restaurants.

Map of Things to Do in La Conner

Here’s a visual representation of what to do in La Conner, so you can see where everything is in relation to each other.

Where to Stay in La Conner

While you can take a day trip to La Conner, why not relax and enjoy the evening here as well? Here are a few options to choose from for La Conner lodging:

  • Luxury: La Conner Channel Lodge is hard to beat; it’s right on the river, so you have stunning views from your private balcony. (rates start at $179 per night)
  • Budget: If you don’t mind being a short drive north, you can save money by having Fidalgo Country Inn be your base. (rates start at $105 per night)
  • B&B: This two-bedroom home is perfect if you’re traveling with your family or a larger group. (rates start at $212 per night)

Which of these things to do in La Conner are you most excited about when you go?

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