This winter I spent two days exploring La Conner, WA.
For a small town of around 800 residents, I was surprised at how many cool things to do in La Conner there are!
With three museums, a plethora of culinary spots, wine tastings, boutique shops, art galleries, and strolling along the waterfront there is plenty to keep you busy.
There are also inns and B&B’s, including a channel-side lodge which I highly recommend staying in while visiting La Conner.
Another thing I enjoyed about La Conner is that almost everything is within walking distance of downtown and each other, which makes exploring by foot a pleasure.
If you are driving from Seattle, it is a hour and 15-minute drive. From Vancouver, BC, it’s about an hour and 30-minute drive, plus some time for the border crossing.
Things to Do in La Conner, WA
Visit for the daffodil fields in March.
La Conner is one of the best places to visit in spring in Washington because it’s really where the season gets off to a kick-start with its brilliant fields of daffodils.
Photographing these brilliant yellow flowers after several months of gloomy PNW winter days is the epitome of getting into the feel of spring.
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some beautiful snow geese migrating through at this time of year as well!
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Come back for the brilliant tulips in April.
But of course, perhaps the most iconic thing to do in La Conner, Washington is attend the yearly Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!
We have a full guide to visiting the Tulip Festival here, but definitely try to time your trip to take advantage of either the tulips or daffodils during the spring months.
However, be sure to book your accommodation months in advance if you do so — this time of year, La Conner accommodations fill up quickly!
Visit for the Beer on the Slough Beer Festival.
La Conner’s annual October beer festival is Brew on the Slough. If you like charming and artistic small towns and want to steer away from the massive crowd beer festivals typically have, this is the beer festival for you!
I’ve been to larger beer festivals and felt overwhelmed by the crowds and the choices. I appreciated the smaller size as we rarely had to wait in line for our pours and those manning the beer booths had more time to chat.
On top of that, the band played lots of great music, and by the end of the night, there was a serious groove on the dance floor!
Peruse the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum.
Not being particularly into quilting or fiber arts, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum.
A big part of that had to do with its location inside the Gaches Mansion, which is a Tudor-style Victorian house built in 1891.
The house has many of its original touches like old-growth Douglas fir floors and the original Italian-made ceramic tiles around each fireplace. And, on the third-floor turret is an amazing mural.
The other part had to do with the exhibits, which were both beautiful and interesting. One was called The Nature of Place and the quilt work detailed the beauty of Denali, and the other was quilts with poetry.
Needless to say, the medium is more than something you put on your bed!
The museum is the most expensive in town, so if you have budget constraints review their current exhibits on their website.
After seeing it myself, I think you might be surprised at how powerful the art form can be. Give yourself 45 minutes to an hour.
This museum costs $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and children 12 and under are admitted free.
Check out the lovely Museum of Northwest Art.
The beautiful free museum offers a glimpse into the art of the Northwest with sculpture art as well as paintings, prints, and photography.
The Museum of Northwest Art (MONA) is the most budget-friendly as it is free, though they gladly accept donations!
The art focuses on the “Northwest School Art” movement and its influence on NW artists. It has both rotating and permanent collections, and the curators strive to showcase pieces of art that people can connect to.
Give yourself at least an hour. Don’t miss it when visiting La Conner!
Check out the Skagit County Historical Museum.
I’m a big-time history lover, so stopping at the Skagit County Historical Museum is a no brainer.
This museum is packed to the gills with historical artifacts, life-size dioramas, lots of information about the area’s history and culture, and has both permanent and rotating exhibits.
As in most history museums, one could spend a good chunk of the day reading and looking at all the items. To not go into information overload, I’d suggest spending at least 1.5 to 2 hours.
Some of the things I enjoyed most were the map of the lost cities of Skagit County and learning about the history of how the ditches were dug to create the farmlands we see today.
This museum costs $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children aged 6-12. Family tickets are also available for a fixed $10 fee.
Check out the beautiful sidewalk art of La Conner.
If you’d rather spend time strolling through town, there is plenty of sidewalk art and boutique shops.
There are also plenty of places to take in the views of the Swinomish Channel or garden courtyards with fountains and statues.
Walk across the Rainbow Bridge.
Enjoying your artsy walk around La Conner?
Continue that by heading to the Rainbow Bridge, a huge piece of functional art, that spans the Swinomish Channel connecting Fidalgo Island to La Conner.
On a clear day, it has views of Mt. Baker!
Check out the incredible La Conner food scene.
La Conner is one of my favorite foodie towns.
Why? They have a brewery, wine tasting rooms, and a great selection of restaurants that have a broad range of choices!
If you want BBQ or wood-fired pizza, they have it. If you want Polish, Mexican, or Thai food, they have it. If you want seafood and locally grown and grazed dishes, they have it. Honestly, it’s hard to make a wrong choice.
There are also a handful of restaurants that have views of the channel, and during the summer the outdoor patios are prime spots to take full advantage of the sunshine and view.
I’ve visited La Conner several times over the years, and amazingly I haven’t eaten at every restaurant. Here are some of my favorites!
Nell Thorn Waterfront Bistro & Bar
This one of my favorite restaurants and it’s rare to see it not busy!
If you are visiting in the summer (day or weekend) or a winter weekend, be sure to make reservations. In the summer, the patio is the place to be.
If you are more of a wing-it type of traveler, their bar area, which is very cozy, is first-come-first-serve, and you can often find a spot.
Oyster & Thistle Restaurant & Pub
This year I finally made it to this fabulous restaurant, and for me, it is up there with Nell Thorn.
If you are in the mood for casual dining, you’ll want to dine in their English-style pub on the main level. For more formal dining, dine upstairs.
Insider Tip: If you stay at La Conner Channel Lodge or La Conner Country Inn, room service is from Oyster & Thistle.
La Conner Brewing Co.
Beer and pizza are always a favorite combination when traveling, and this brewpub is the perfect spot for both. It can be busy, so be prepared.
If you are not a pizza person, but the rest of the group is, I suggest the fish tacos.
In the summer, they also have outdoor seating.
On my visit, La Conner’s newest BBQ restaurant hosted my lunch, and I can now say I have been converted to the St. Louis Style ribs!
If you are not sure what to try, order the sampler platter. It is huge, so you’ll most likely end up with leftovers.
There is also an outside patio area, and the owner said this summer it would be open for seating.
There are lots of other great restaurants in La Conner like Calico Cupboard, La Conner Seafood & Primerib (which also has a good fish taco), Seeds Bistro & Bar, Santo Coyote, La Conner Thai Garden, and Amelia’s Kitchen & Stage.
For wine tasting, there is Hellam’s Vineyard Wine Shop & Wine Bar, La Conner Sips Wine Bar & Bottle Shop and Silver Bell Winery.
Where to Stay in La Conner
For such a small town, there are surprisingly plenty of places to stay in La Conner!
During my visit, I stayed at the La Conner Channel Lodge, which is the only accommodation on the channel. I also toured the La Conner Country Inn and The Heron Inn & Day Spa.
La Conner Channel Lodge
I highly recommend the La Conner Channel Lodge, especially if you want to be next to the water. The rooms have balconies, which take in the channel view and come with complimentary wine tastings at Hellam’s Vineyard. I think this lodging is ideal for couples or singles needing some “quality downtime.”
From the street, the hotel exudes pure Pacific Northwest architecture with its Craftsman Style roofline and shake cedar shingles. What is not easy to discern from the front, is the view behind, and being right along the Swimonish Channel the water view is one of its biggest draws.
Throughout my stay hotel staff were very friendly and when I checked in the gave me all the need to knows like the complimentary breakfast is held on the second floor (which has seasonal outdoor seating), every afternoon fresh baked cookies are set out for guests along with refreshes of tea and coffee.
On weekends, piano music is played in the lobby, and guests may bring a beverage to the outside patio to enjoy (and they even sell wine at the front desk in case you need a bottle pronto).
The lodge has 40 guest rooms and almost all face the water. There is a range of king and queen size beds and all rooms come with a gas fireplace, flat screen TV, down bedding, refrigerator, coffee, tea, private balconies, and some also have Jacuzzi tubs and rooms that accommodate more than two people.
For two nights I stayed in a second-floor queen room, which had its own private balcony with two folding chairs, a desk and a fireside sitting area which I used quite a bit during my stay.
The room was very cozy and the bed very comfortable. I also liked that the sink area was across from the bathtub and toilet, which allowed for a little more room to spread out.
My favorite part of the room was the private balcony. Not only did I have water views, but scenes of boats cruising up and down the channel, wildlife foraging for their next meal along the shoreline, and sunsets that turned the sky purplish pink. One day, I even enjoyed my breakfast on the balcony.
La Conner Country Inn
After spending a couple of nights in the lodge, and after seeing their nearby sister hotel the La Conner Country Inn my take on the lodge is that it is ideal for couples and singles. Why?
Because it is very cozy and the rooms are compact. At the La Conner Country Inn the rooms are very spacious and having traveled with family myself, I know the ability to spread out is a huge benefit.
The La Conner Country Inn has bigger rooms and is pet-friendly, so if you are traveling with children or pets, this is a great option. It is also only a block away from the main street.
The Heron Inn
The Heron Inn is an 8-minute walk from downtown, and it is also pet-friendly. While a few of the rooms accommodate four people, this location has more of a getaway feel, and thus I think it would be great for a couple or singles.
The inn also has an onsite spa, and during my visit, I had a hosted massage. It was the best massage I’ve had in a long time, and I highly recommend booking an appointment during your stay!
The Hotel Planter is the closest hotel to Maple Hall.
Registered as a National Historic Inn, the hotel features 12 rooms in a variety of configurations, including a twin, full, queen, deluxe queen and a suite that overlooks the courtyard and its own private Jacuzzi tub.
Each room is uniquely decorated with custom-built furniture and added skylights.
Hotel amenities include free Wi-Fi, coffee, tea, cold bottled water, and a guest-only courtyard. The hotel does not have an elevator, and all the rooms are on the second floor, so if that is an issue, you’ll want to find other accommodations.
It rained during our visit, so we did not get to enjoy the courtyard, but I looked like a great place to chill.
La Conner Travel Tips
Closest Airport: Sea-Tac International Airport (1.45 hours) and Vancouver International Airport (1.45 minutes)
Carless Options: Once you are there, no car is needed as the town is very walkable. Some places are uphill, like the history museum, so be prepared to go up.
One of the best things about La Conner is that you can park your car and never have to use it, as everything is within walking distance!