1800s waterfront community turned arts enclave

La Conner

A vibrant town on the Swinomish Channel, La Conner woos visitors from far and wide with tangerine sunsets and a remarkable heritage of art, architecture and history.

This little enclave on the mouth of the Skagit River has been inhabited for thousands of years. Historically the territory of the Swinomish Tribe, the area attracted settlers in the late 1800s with the promise of farming, logging and fishing. By the turn of the 20th century, La Conner had a population of about 1,000 and was the seat of Skagit County. As the years went by, La Conner remained the same size while other neighboring communities boomed, making it an alluring small town with a big history.

The natural beauty of the area drew artists to La Conner in the 1940s and 50s, who settled in abandoned cabins on the banks of the Skagit River and created an art colony they dubbed “Fishtown.” That artistic spirit lives on — its influence celebrated with colorful historic buildings and the town’s prospering museums.

Since the 1970s, La Conner has become a choice destination for locals and travelers alike and has been named one of Washington state’s most romantic towns. Stroll through downtown today and discover a delightful historic main street with restored buildings housing modern retail shops and restaurants offering a wide choice of delicious fare.

Visitors will no doubt be drawn to La Conner’s boardwalk, perched on the banks of the Swinomish Channel and offering waterfront access with stunning views.

Heading west toward Fidalgo Island, visitors will pass over the red-orange Rainbow Bridge, a national landmark that spans the shimmering channel and offers a stunning view of Mt. Baker on clear days.

For the full La Conner experience, step off land with a kayak tour or rental. The channel provides ideal paddling for beginners and there’s much to explore. Afterward, enjoy a plethora of fresh seafood options at any of the well-regarded restaurants overlooking the water. Pair oysters, clams or salmon with the romantic sunset views over Fidalgo Island.

Get a glimpse into the unique artistic culture of La Conner with a visit to The Museum of Northwest Art. The MoNa features exhibitions dedicated to local contemporary, modern and abstract art and, if that’s not enough, La Conner also has an array of small galleries and gallery tours with varying hours. After enjoying a stroll through town with the Walking Tour of Historic Landmarks map, history lovers will enjoy a visit to the Skagit County Historical Museum to learn more about the town’s origins and Native American heritage.

La Conner blooms in the spring and visitors buzz like bees to its daffodil fields. In March, cyclists clothe themselves in garb reminiscent of the English countryside for the Tweed Ride, a celebration of spring’s arrival. In August, La Conner shows off the best on land and water at the Classic Boat & Car Show in August.

La Conner is an artistic community, sure to inspire visitors with delightful views, historical tidbits, as well as art and food to suit every taste.

For more info, visit lovelaconner.com.

La Conner Kids Corner

Fun and Free: Early enrichment mornings at the Museum of Northwest Art

Water access: La Conner Boardwalk

Playground: Kiwanis Playground

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