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Kitsap County is one of the more unique counties in all of Washington. Every city here has something remarkable to offer.
Still, if you’re even remotely familiar with the area, Poulsbo needs no introduction.
“Little Norway” has always been Kitsap County’s cultural hub and extremely popular with tourists who have heard of the small town’s charm and communal atmosphere.
While it would be impossible to list every reason residents love living in this special place, one of the most common you’ll hear is that Poulsbo is very affordable.
There’s a lot to love about living in Poulsbo.
It’s known throughout the entire state for its truly one-of-a-kind personality and remarkable charm. Even with all of the fantastic places to live within Kitsap County, Poulsbo remains one of the most popular cities.
While people move here for countless reasons, one is simply that Poulsbo is an incredible value. Despite all it has to offer, it’s remarkably affordable to enjoy all of these benefits as a resident.
BestPlaces is an online aggregator of city-specific information, including cost-of-living. It gave Poulsbo’s cost-of-living a score of 126 where 100 is the nation’s average.
However, for perspective, keep in mind that the website gave all of Kitsap County an overall score of 118.5.
The city also compares favorably to other Kitsap County cities like Kingston (127.7), Hansville (128), Seabeck (128.7), Burley (129.8), Indianola (132.8), Meadowdale (138.1), and Chico (139.5). Nearby Bainbridge Island came in at 183.3, and, on the other side of the Sound, Seattle scored 172.3.
So, there are plenty of places throughout this part of Washington that are more expensive, even though they don’t offer locals as many benefits as Poulsbo does. This is also why a lot of people decide to live in Poulsbo even if they work on Bainbridge Island or in Seattle.
The city is full of people in every stage of life, including those who are retired and looking to enjoy their Golden Years. Again, one of the main reasons it attracts all these different people is because Poulsbo is so affordable.
Being single doesn’t have to be dull or expensive. Living in Poulsbo will give you countless opportunities to meet other people without spending a lot of money to do it.
Gyms have always been fantastic places for meeting people. Not only is it an informal environment where you can expect to see the same people over and over again, but you know you also have something in common with these people, too: a love for fitness.
That’s why gyms are often where romantic relationships begin, as well as casual friendships. Your workout buddy could easily become someone you hang out with on the weekends, too.
Poulsbo has some great options for singles looking to work out:
• Snap Fitness
• Kitsap CrossFit
• Agate Pass CrossFit
• Olympic Pilates
• Kitsap Hot Yoga
• White Lotus Yoga
CrossFit gyms can be especially useful for meeting people because of their unisex classes and a strong sense of community. The same goes for options like Kitsap Martial Arts and Warrior Buddha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Yoga.
Poulsbo is home to some truly incredible restaurants and, even though the city is known for its Scandinavian roots, the cuisine here is very diverse.
Fortunately, many of these fantastic restaurants are quite affordable, too. They’re popular among local singles looking to meet new people or go on dates without having to spend a lot of money.
For example, Poulsbo Woodfired Pizza offers a menu with some amazing options (beyond their beloved pizza) and a cozy atmosphere, but it’s also very reasonably priced. Another fun spot for a date is Kachai Thai Kitchen, which is excellent for delicious lunch or dinner dates for anyone on a budget.
As we covered at the beginning, Poulsbo is just a short drive from Bainbridge Island and only about a 30-minute ferry ride to Seattle after that.
While Bainbridge Island is the most expensive city in Kitsap County, it’s not without affordable options for having a good time. For example, Fay Bainbridge Park is just one of many public parks that are great for hiking, picnics, or simply taking in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
The island also hosts numerous cultural attractions like the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, both of which make for unique date spots that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Seattle can be a lot of fun, too.
However, what many people don’t know is that Seattle can be very affordable, too. Just strolling through Pike Place Market could be fun for a date or any of Seattle’s many parks and gardens that are open to the public.
Depending on how they’re doing, you may also be able to take a date to a Mariner’s or Seahawks’ game without breaking the bank.
Nearby Bremerton can also be a good city for socializing. Aside from fun bars and restaurants like Horse and Cow Pub and Grill, the city isn’t lacking for entertainment, either. The Kitsap Forest Theater and Bremerton Community Theatre both make for unique date nights that don’t come with substantial price tags.
Silverdale is also an important neighboring community for Poulsbo residents. With an abundance of shopping options, Silverdale is the retail hub for Kitsap County, and only about a 10-15 minute drive from Poulsbo. The Kitsap Mall, Costco, Target, Best Buy, Home Goods, Barnes & Noble, and REI can all be found in Silverdale.
The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot to own a home in Poulsbo when you consider all that it has to offer single people. Unlike a lot of other fun cities, you won’t have to settle for an apartment because of how expensive everything is. Again, this is why so many people live in Poulsbo, even though they work in Seattle.
The condos here in Poulsbo are a prevalent option among single people who may not want a traditional house just yet but do want to enjoy the many benefits of homeownership.
There’s an excellent variety to choose from here, as well. You can find one-bedroom condos with one bathroom up to three-bedroom, two-bathroom condos. Many of these even offer impressive views of Liberty Bay, something you can rely on for impressing your dates.
Of course, there are also plenty of affordable houses throughout the city, too. You can find three-bedroom homes in Poulsbo’s suburbs or closer to town, which is perfect when you’re single and looking to socialize.
You could not ask for a better city to raise a family in than Poulsbo. The small-town sense of community here is priceless, especially when you consider al the different events that are held in town throughout the year.
Fortunately, these small-town charms are very affordable.
For one thing, Poulsbo belongs to the North Kitsap School District, which enjoys an excellent reputation. So, there’s no need to pay the high tuition of private schools to ensure your children receive a quality education.
Furthermore, as Poulsbo is only about five square miles, most kids walk to school every day. While this is a pastime many of us can still remember, it’s rare for the vast majority of children in this country nowadays. Nonetheless, in Poulsbo, it’s common to see older kids leave the high school or middle school to walk a couple of blocks where they pick up their siblings from elementary school before strolling home.
This is great for your budget, too. You won’t have to spend as much on gas to drive your children to school every day during the school year.
As kids get older, it can be a lot of fun to take them out to restaurants, which is another reason to raise your children in Poulsbo. The city’s restaurants include many that are kid-friendly and affordable. Best of all, there are plenty of options that include exceptional menu items for adults, as well.
That’s-a-Some Italian Ristorante is a perfect example. Your children will never tire of spaghetti and meatballs or cheese pizza. At the same time, you’ll never mind choosing from a menu that includes antipasto, honey ginger salmon, and eggplant parmesan.
Elmer’s Restaurant is another fun spot your kids will love. Their bigfoot breakfast, cub cakes, and strawberry crepe are all favorite breakfasts among children. For lunch and dinner, they’ll enjoy cheeseburger sliders or chicken strips.
You’ll never run out of ways to entertain your children in Poulsbo, either. Even better, many of the most popular spots for kids are outdoors or educational.
For example, there are a dozen different parks here, so no matter where you live, you’ll be within walking distance of at least one. So, whenever your kids need to let loose some of their energy, walk out the front door and head to a nearby park.
The following locations even include playgrounds:
• American Legion Park
• Forest Rock Hills Park
• Fran Raab Park
• Island Lake County Park
• Kitsap Memorial State Park
• Lions Park
• Nelson Park
Then there are also educational options like the SEA Discovery Center. This fun aquarium is open throughout the week and even offers some great programs for children. There are after-school and weekend programs, summer camps, and science clubs and classes throughout the year. All of these kid-friendly opportunities are incredibly affordable, too.
If your children are grown, Poulsbo will give them plenty of reasons to return. The many restaurants and bars here are great, of course, but you can also take your children out on the water or simply walking along Liberty Bay.
There are also all of the annual festivals, too. Everyone has a good time during Viking Fest no matter what age they are. Poulsbo is home to a lot of fun breweries, as well, many of which are right on the water, which makes them fun places to enjoy dinner and drinks during the sunset.
Whether you’re thinking about moving to Poulsbo to start a family, you already have one, or your children have moved out but will visit, the housing market here is fantastic.
There are always lots of four-bedroom houses with two or three bathrooms located all over the city. So, whether you want to live right next to the schools or you’d rather be out in the country, you won’t struggle to find some fantastic properties here.
You could even buy one of the few empty lots here and build the perfect house for your family.
With more than one generation living in the home, people often prefer a home with a bedroom and full bathroom on the main floor. That can be difficult to find, but here in Poulsbo, many of the local builders have recognized that need. There are many options for homes with a Master Bedroom on the main floor throughout the community. These homes are an excellent starting point to help families with older members who choose to age in place.
Are you thinking about retirement?
Then, you’ve probably already spent a lot of time planning how you’ll pay for it. While your Golden Years are meant to be enjoyed, they can also become expensive as you won’t be working anymore.
That’s one of the reasons so many retirees move to Poulsbo. While it offers them endless ways to spend their time and a great community for meeting new people, Poulsbo is also very affordable for those who have entered retirement.
As we’ve already covered, the city is full of great parks which are, of course, absolutely free to visit. You can join a local walking group to get your exercise every day among amazing stretches of the Pacific Northwest. This is a great way to meet your fellow residents, too, many of whom will also be retirees.
The rest of Poulsbo is very walkable, too. Whether you want to go out to eat or do some shopping, you won’t necessarily need a car. So, if you’ve given up driving or expect to soon, you’ll still have no problem getting around in Poulsbo.
At the same time, boating is extremely popular here. The city’s location on Liberty Bay makes it the perfect place to keep a boat, whether it’s a kayak, a pontoon, a sailboat, or something else. You can enjoy relaxing trips around the bay or even explore the rest of Puget Sound.
If you’ve never done much boating before, don’t worry. The Poulsbo Yacht Club is one of many places you can go to for classes in Poulsbo. You may discover a brand-new hobby for enjoying your Golden Years. Even better, once you pay for your boat, all you need room for in your budget is for gas and mooring.
Much like how many people who work in Seattle choose to live in Poulsbo, the city is also popular among retirees who regularly want to travel to the Emerald City, as well as Bainbridge Island. You can save a lot of money by living here, but you’re also just a short drive away from the many charms of Bainbridge Island, like its breweries, fine-dining restaurants, and its many natural wonders.
From Bainbridge Island, Seattle is just a short ferry ride away. Many retirees plan day trips to Seattle to take in a play, a game, or a cultural event before returning home after a nice meal from a world-famous restaurant like Canlis, Flintcreek Cattle Co., or Wataru.
Everyone has unique tastes when it comes to their ideal house for retirement.
Many people want to stick with something similar to what they already have. They want it to be in a city like Poulsbo that will give them plenty to do.
Other people want something drastically different. They want a house that will play an active role in making their Golden Years amazing.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll most likely find what you’re looking for in Poulsbo.
Of course, as we mentioned earlier, you could also buy an empty lot and design the perfect house for what you have in mind.
However, many retirees love the ramblers here. Most have three bedrooms with two or three bathrooms. They’re also located out in the country, which will give you lots of space and privacy. At the same time, you’re still within walking distance of affordable restaurants and entertainment options.
Otherwise, if you’d like to be closer to town or in an actual neighborhood, you won’t have any problem finding houses with their master bedrooms on the main floors. These are very popular among retirees as they’re so easy to get around.
Whether you’re single, ready to start a family, already have one, or are thinking about retirement, Poulsbo has so much to offer.
Best of all, it’s also extremely affordable to live in this incredible, one-of-a-kind city.
For more than 15 years, I’ve helped people from every stage of life find their perfect homes here. If you’re looking for a real estate broker who knows Poulsbo well and can answer all of your questions, I would be more than happy to help.
Feel free to call me at (425) 495-0394 or drop me an email. I can’t wait to show you around this beautiful town.
Retirement is a milestone that represents the beginning of a new phase of life, a time when you can finally spend your days doing more of what you want.
This takes a bit of planning, though. Of the many considerations you’ll have to make, one of the most important is where you’ll live.
Just like with the value of real estate, how much you enjoy retirement will have a lot to do with “location, location, location.”
That’s why so many locals will tell you that Poulsbo, WA is an excellent place to retire.
Poulsbo, WA is located on Liberty Bay, nestled right between the breathtaking Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. “Little Norway,” as it’s often called, still maintains a Scandinavian heritage that goes back to its founding in the early 1880s.
While residents could give you an endless list of reasons to call this charming townhome, here are ten that make Poulsbo a fantastic place for retirees.
The population of Poulsbo is a little over 10,000 people. While the city attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year, residents love that it feels like a small town.
Retirees appreciate that it feels this way, too, as small town living means it’s easy to get around, meet new people, and develop a real sense of belonging to the community.
At the same time, Poulsbo isn’t so small that you’ll continuously need to make long trips to grab groceries or enjoy a restaurant. There are more than ten grocery stores in town, ranging from the Walmart Supercenter to Marina Market, your one-stop-shop for a large selection of gourmet items.
Similarly, you’ll have plenty of fine-dining options in Poulsbo, too. Not surprisingly, Scandinavian food is prevalent here, but so is Italian (Poulsbo Woodfired Pizza), Indian (Punjab Indian Cuisine), and Mexican (Casa Luna), among many other options. Given its location on the Puget Sound, Poulsbo restaurants are great for seafood, as well.
This city is also full of stores, hotels, and every other modern amenity you’d expect from a much larger city, even though it’s only about five square miles.
As you get older, it’s natural to start paying more considerable attention to your health. So, most retirees place a premium on choosing a home that is close to health care services. It makes driving to regular doctor appointments convenient and provides peace of mind in case of an emergency.
Once again, Poulsbo doesn’t disappoint.
No matter where you choose to live in the city, you’ll be near the Kaiser Permanente building, which offers:
• A Lab
• A Pharmacy
• An Injection Room
• Primary Care
Kaiser Permanente, Poulsbo Urgent Care, and North Kitsap Family Practice all provide urgent care, as well. There’s also the local Peninsula Cancer Center and Harrison Medical Centers in nearby Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. These facilities offer cancer care, neurological services, emergency care, a heart center, and hospice and palliative care.
You should love the weather where you retire. After all, retirees have more free time than ever before, and many of them want to spend a lot of it outdoors.
In Poulsbo, summers tend to be dry and comfortable, with temperatures usually staying in the mid-70s and rarely getting above the mid-80s.
The winters are cold, but the temperature rarely gets below freezing. It usually only snows a few inches a year, and that light dusting generally melts quickly. It’s far more common to have cloudy days with rain.
For retirees who don’t like the idea of putting up with uncomfortably hot temperatures to eventually enjoy the outdoors, the weather in Poulsbo is perfect.
Although Poulsbo is easily one of the most popular tourist cities in all of Washington, if you’re like most retirees, you plan on doing a bit of traveling during your Golden Years. This might mean quick daycations, visiting another state, or even traveling internationally.
Whatever the case, Poulsbo is a fantastic choice. Its small size makes it easy to get around when you’re running errands, but it’s effortless to head out of town in either direction.
You can jump on Highway 3 N to go up to Port Gamble, which is another very popular town in Kitsap County.
You can also take Highway 307 N to Kingston, which has a lot to offer or even jump on the ferry to visit Seattle. There, you can enjoy even more fine-dining options, cultural attractions like the Seattle Art Museum, or Seahawks and Mariners games.
To get to beautiful Bainbridge Island, take Highway 305 S. You can take a ferry from there into Seattle, as well.
Highway 3 can also take you south to Silverdale or Port Orchard, or you can keep taking it to Highway 16, which will bring you over to Tacoma, at which point it’s a straight shot up to Seattle on Interstate 5.
If your travel plans involve a plane, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only about 90 minutes from Poulsbo.
Even though you may have countless ideas for how you’ll spend your Golden Years, many of them probably involve lots of time with your family and friends.
As we just touched on, Poulsbo is centrally located within Kitsap County, so if you already have family and friends living in the area – or even in Tacoma or Seattle – you’re never far away.
Bigger cities like Port Gamble to the north and Bremerton to the south are well within 40 minutes of you. The numerous hotels in town also ensure that you don’t necessarily need a large house to have your loved ones stay with you in Poulsbo.
Best of all, Poulsbo and the surrounding area offer so much to do that you’ll never run out of ways of showing your loved ones a good time.
One of the hardest parts about moving to a new city is settling in and making new friends. Many of us experienced this as children, but back then, you at least had school and sports to make the transition a little easier.
Similarly, single retirees often report that they regularly suffer from intense feelings of loneliness. Some eventually reconsider their decision, preferring to spend their days with coworkers and clients rather than all by themselves.
This is why it’s so easy to recommend Poulsbo to retirees. Whether you’re married or single, it is so easy to make friends here. Locals are excited to share their beloved city with you, and there is no lack of groups you can join to quickly start enjoying it with plenty of other people.
The Sons of Norway are a particularly popular group here. They hold events throughout the year, including the famous Viking Days, which draws tens-of-thousands of tourists to the city over three days.
Fishline is another popular group in Poulsbo. The nonprofit is dedicated to serving all of North Kitsap County by providing food, healthcare, employment opportunities, and other services that can transform people’s lives.
One especially fun opportunity to meet people and have a great time is joining the Jewel Box Theatre. The entire organization is run by volunteers, so even if you’re not ready for the spotlight quite yet, you can still help out by serving on the stage crew, working the front of the house, or fulfilling any of several different roles while having a blast with other locals.
The Poulsbo Community Orchestra (PCO) is another excellent option for people who like to put on a show. If you play a string, brass, woodwind, or percussion instrument, you’ll love practicing three times a week and putting on concerts three times a year.
These are just a few examples of the many groups you’ll find throughout Poulsbo. With so many residents who take so much pride in their city, you’ll have no trouble finding opportunities for getting to know them.
Even if you choose a home that’s inland and away from the shore, you’ll most likely find yourself returning to Poulsbo’s waterfront again and again.
Liberty Bay is gorgeous throughout the year. Many residents make it a point to walk the shore regularly to enjoy this beauty, as well as watch people sail their boats and even catch sight of wildlife like otters, seals, and blue herons.
Of course, if you are a boater – or you’ve always wanted to be – you’ll love retiring n Poulsbo. Owning a boat is just one more way you can meet other people, too, as the local boating community has a strong sense of comradery.
There are three different marinas here, as well, which makes it easy to quickly access your boat regardless of where you live:
• Liberty Bay Marina
• Poulsbo Yacht Club
• Port of Poulsbo Marina
Fishing is also a prevalent pastime, as well as crabbing and harvesting oysters along Poulsbo’s shoreline. This, too, is an excellent opportunity for retirees to enjoy the outdoors here and make friends.
People who retire here know how important it is that they’re able to get up, get out of the house, and move around whenever they like, as it can be easy to lapse into a sedentary lifestyle when you have so much free time on your hands. Unfortunately, that sort of lifestyle also breeds health issues.
So, aside from the waterfront, many retirees in Poulsbo stay active by visiting the local parks. There are well over a dozen to choose from, including Fish Park with its numerous paths and fun statues, and Oyster Plant Park, which features a viewing pier right on the shoreline and a comfortable picnic area. If you have grandchildren, American Legion Park, Austurbruin Park, Betty Iverson Kiwanis Park, and a few others all feature playgrounds, as well.
For those who prefer to stretch their legs while swinging a club, there’s the White Horse Golf Club up in Kingston, or you could head to The Rolling Hills Golf Course or Gold Mountain Golf Club down in Bremerton, or the McCormick Woods Golf Club just a bit farther south in Port Orchard.
Kitsap Golf & Country Club is also located in Bremerton. The nearly-100-year-old club is another excellent way retirees can enjoy some exercise while also meeting new people from the area.
Clearwater Casino has become an entertainment staple for residents all along Liberty Bay and much of Northern Kitsap County.
As you’d expect, the casino offers plenty of games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, keno, pai gow, slots, and bingo.
However, even people who don’t gamble frequently visit the casino for a good time.
It’s only about 15 minutes from Poulsbo and regularly puts on concerts from a variety of different genres. The casino also offers five different restaurants and a café. This includes Beach Rock Music and Sports, which is a fun place to catch the game, and The Clearwater Restaurant, an award-winning high-end eatery known for sourcing local ingredients.
When deciding where you’ll live during your Golden Years, one of the most critical factors you have to consider is how much it will cost you to live there. You need to budget for this meticulously, or you could find yourself running low on funds, a predicament no retiree wants to face.
While many retirees do enjoy working part-time or taking on seasonal jobs in Poulsbo, the good news is that the city is quite affordable, especially when you consider all that it has to offer.
The cost of living in Poulsbo is only about 16% higher than the average for Washington. However, the same can be said for much of Kitsap County. Residents consider it a reasonable price for enjoying this Pacific-Northwest paradise.
Finally, one last reason retirees love moving to Poulsbo, Washington, is the real estate.
The most popular option is a single-story home (i.e., a ranch or rambler-style house) as they come with plenty of space but are much easier to maintain than similar square footage spread out over two or more floors.
While many retirees enjoy living in a traditional subdivision, Poulsbo also has one-story homes on much larger lots a bit farther from downtown. These lots come with more privacy and plenty of room for a garden, shed, workspace, or even space to park your boat. There are countless ways you could use these larger lots to enjoy your retirement in Poulsbo even more.
Best of all, no matter where you choose to live in Poulsbo, you’re going to take in amazing views every day. Imagine having your coffee in the morning while you watch the fog lift on the surrounding evergreen trees or enjoying a glass of wine in the evening as the sun sets below the Olympic Mountains.
It’s these kinds of daily delights that make Poulsbo such a fantastic place to retire.
As a real estate broker with more than 15 years of experience in Kitsap County, I love introducing people to the many charms of Poulsbo, Washington. I especially enjoy helping retirees discover all it has to offer them during their Golden Years.
Whether you’re ready to tour the town and begin looking at houses in Poulsbo or you have some questions, please feel free to call me at (425) 495-0394 or reach out via email.
It wasn’t so long ago that cars were almost entirely for getting from home to work and long-distance trips. Towns used to be designed so that residents were within walking distance of everything they needed, and kids could walk to school.
As suburbs have grown in size, this has become relatively rare. Nowadays, most people can’t even walk to the local park, much less the grocery store or theater. Aside from their commute to work, most people spend hours in their car every week, limiting the amount of exercise they get while adding to the amount they have to spend on gas.
That’s why you’ll often hear residents of Poulsbo talk about how much they love the fact that their city caters to walking. While most residents still own cares, the walkability of Poulsbo means they’re not the only option for getting around.
One of the reasons residents love living in Poulsbo so much is its small-town feel. Though larger cities like Bremerton, Port Orchard, and Silverdale are short drives away, Poulsbo maintains a distinctly charming community where everyone feels like they belong.
It helps that the entire city is only about five square miles. While there is still plenty of space – like the parks we’ll cover in a moment – Poulsbo’s size caters to this strong sense of community.
It’s also why so many people get around Poulsbo on foot.
If you wanted to, it wouldn’t be extremely challenging to walk from one side of this beautiful city to the other.
However, most locals are satisfied with merely being able to walk around their neighborhoods or even downtown. You don’t see a lot of vehicular traffic in Poulsbo. Thanks to the mild Pacific Northwest climate, many residents elect to walk whenever possible all year long.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Poulsbo is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, which often includes sightings of Liberty Bay and even the Olympic mountain ranges to the west. Don’t be surprised if you become a fan of morning walks to watch the fog slowly roll off the Puget Sound.
And don’t be surprised if you start walking more often, too. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, of the 88 percent of Americans who are “very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of life in their communities…51 percent of those people believe that the walkability of their neighborhood contributes to that quality of life.”
It’s not just because walking is excellent exercise. It’s also a form of exercise you can easily do with your loved ones and makes it easy to interact with your neighbors regularly.
So, while there are countless reasons to love living in Poulsbo, the ease with which you can walk from one spot to another is one of the biggest for many residents.
Unlike many small towns, residents don’t need to leave Poulsbo for necessary amenities regularly. The city has more than ten grocery stores, even more restaurants, and plenty of medical facilities, including urgent and emergency care.
Here are four examples of locations in Poulsbo that you can quickly get to on foot.
The Kitsap Regional Library in Poulsbo is much more than just a place locals visit to restock their reading lists.
It also doubles as a community center where residents regularly congregate for everything from reading hours for young children of all ages (from babies to toddlers) to film groups and art classes.
This library’s interior is gorgeous, as well. Visitors to the town often stop in simply because they’ve heard so much about it. The distinctly Pacific-Northwest feel is complemented by the library’s amazing “Scandinavian Collection,” which reflects the city’s immigrant roots. Along with more than 100 novels by Scandinavian authors, artwork, and history books on the region, the library often hosts experts on the topic of Scandinavian culture, as well.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find this incredible place. It’s located right on the corner of NE Lincoln Road and NE Iverson Street. So, while there is ample parking, the lot is rarely full, as residents can easily take the sidewalks that lead to it from every direction.
Poulsbo may be one of the most charming cities in all of Washington. It has a unique personality all its own, much of which is a direct result of a history that stretches back to the 1880s.
This charm is on full display all over historic downtown Poulsbo. The area is another example of a significant tourist attraction that residents regularly visit, as well. You’ll never get tired of being surrounded by traditional architecture from the city’s past while Poulsbo First Lutheran Church towers over you from its perch on 4th Ave NE.
If you want to get acquainted with this charming area quickly, you can even sign up for a walking tour of historic downtown Poulsbo. During the hour-long excursion, a guide from the Poulsbo Historical Society will introduce you to many of the local sites and explain a bit about the city’s fascinating past.
Of course, you’ll also regularly visit downtown Poulsbo for shopping. Imagine living in a house that’s just a short walk away from more than 100 different stores.
Need to update your wardrobe? Head on over to Indigo Plum or try Beachside Boutique.
Want to update your haircut, too? There’s Alan Salon, Apollo Salon, Bayside Barbershop, and more.
You’ll find bookstores, banks, the post office, garden shops, law firms, and just about any other business you could ever need in the downtown area of Poulsbo. Even if you live on the northside of the city, it’s only three miles away.
You can also choose from more than a dozen restaurants in downtown Poulsbo. No matter what your palate prefers, you’re just a short walk away from restaurants like:
• Burrata Bistro
• Casa Luna Mexican Food
• JJ's Fish House
• Poulsbo Woodfired Pizza
• Sogno di Vino
• That's a Some Italian
• Tizley's EuroPub
• Westside Pizza
Many of these are located on Front St. NE, so you can walk to your restaurant of choice while also enjoying views of Liberty Bay. There are also plenty of homes available on Front Street NE, as well, which makes for an even shorter walk.
There are several other restaurants in the city, too. No matter where you live, you’ll have options within walking distance like:
• Taste Wei Chinese and Japanese Restaurant toward the north of the city
• 2 Brothers Deli across the bay from downtown
• Punjab Indian Cuisine in the southeast
• Envy Bar and Grill in the southwest
Fast-food staples like Wendy’s and McDonald’s are also sprinkled throughout the city.
Finally, you can’t talk about Poulsbo without mentioning Liberty Bay.
Even if you have no interest in ever owning a boat, you’ll love walking along its waterfront all year long. Liberty Bay looks like something out of a painting. You may even catch sight of the occasional seal, otter, or blue heron.
The local SEA Discovery Center even hosts two low-tide beach walks every summer for those who are especially curious about the animals and plants that call the bay and waterfront home.
Many shops and restaurants are easily accessible right from the waterfront, as well. For example, you could quickly grab a hot cup of coffee at Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse on Front Street NE before walking down to the beach and heading south or north along Liberty Bay.
Parents love Poulsbo because it offers excellent schools.
However, they also love that so many subdivisions are right next door to them, so their children can walk to school.
This gives parents who have to commute to work a little extra time in the morning because they don’t have to drive their kids to school or wait to make sure they caught the bus.
It’s also another example of Poulsbo’s old-fashioned charm. Back when cities used to be a lot smaller, school buses were rare. The vast majority of children would join their friends in walking to school.
In Poulsbo, you can easily walk from one school to the next. North Kitsap High School is located near the center of town, not far from downtown. Across the street is the middle school, which is also right next to the public indoor pool. The elementary school is only a couple of blocks from there.
It’s quite heartwarming to see how many big brothers and sisters will leave the high school and walk by the two others to pick up their younger siblings for the walk home. While Poulsbo is full of modern amenities, these kinds of sights are a reminder of how much the city still embraces simpler times.
So, as you can see, if you love traveling on foot, you’ll love living in Poulsbo.
We haven’t even touched on the city’s generous park system, either. If you enjoy walking as a form of exercise and a great way to be out in nature, you’ll appreciate how many parks here offer plenty of acreage to do both.
Given Poulsbo’s size, it’s hard to believe that the city has nearly 140 acres of land designated for these parks:
• American Legion Park
• Centennial Park
• Lions Park
• Forest Rock Hills Park
• Frank Raab Park
• Island Lake Park
• Kitsap Memorial State Park
• Ned Shed Park
• Oyster Plant Park
• Poulsbo Wilderness Trail
• Wilderness Park
There’s something for everyone. Whether you want to walk around a loop while your children play in the nearby playground or you’d rather wander through a wooded area, you’ll never be far from the perfect park when you live in Poulsbo.
Here are three of the most popular options for people who enjoy a pleasant walk:
• Fish Park – This is one of the most popular parks among nature lovers who enjoy feeling as though they are far from the more modern features of Poulsbo. The 40-acre park offers 1.5 miles of walking trails, including a boardwalk that provides numerous viewing platforms. Not long after you begin your walk, you’ll be engulfed by ancient trees and lush vegetation. You’ll also walk along Dogfish Creek, as the park is located right on the Liberty Bay Estuary. Salmon return to this waterway every year, so you may even see one from time-to-time during your walks. Fish Park is also a favorite among locals who like to birdwatch while they take their strolls.
• Liberty Bay Waterfront Park – As the name suggests, this park is located right on Liberty Bay, which makes it a great place to meet with your walking group before beginning a stroll along the waterfront. From the park, you can walk onto the wooden bridge that hugs the coastline while providing sturdy footing throughout the year.
• Frank Raab Park – At 21 acres in size, Frank Raab Park offers walkers lots of room to roam. Parents love it because it also features a playground and skatepark. It even includes Poulsbo’s only off-leash dog park for your four-legged friends. The fenced-in area is a great place to meet other dog owners while your buddy makes friends, too.
And, again, no matter where you live in Poulsbo, you’ll have multiple parks within walking distance of your home. This is especially advantageous if you’re looking for a home to raise small children.
On days when the weather in Poulsbo isn't cooperative, but you still have the itch to get in some walking, you can head to Snap Fitness or Poulsbo Athletic Club. If your exercise routine involves more than just walking, Poulsbo also has HOBO Yoga, Olympic Pilates, Kitsap Cross Fit, and plenty of other options.
You could also buy a home that offers enough space for a treadmill. Many such homes even come with views of Liberty Bay or the mountains off in the distance, so you don’t necessarily have to be outside to get in a workout while you enjoy the natural beauty of Kitsap County.
Poulsbo’s housing market is incredibly diverse, giving potential owners a wide selection from which to choose.
If walkability is a priority, you’ll probably want to live in one of the city’s many suburbs. Unlike most throughout the country, these are nearby schools, parks, restaurants, and other businesses. So, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of living in a close-knit neighborhood without having to get in your car every time you want to run an errand or pick up dinner to-go.
Most of the houses in these suburbs have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but they get much bigger, too.
If you’d rather live on a bit more land, Poulsbo is still a great choice. Even in the more rural parts of town, you’re still just a short walk from many amenities. It’s the perfect setup for people who want to be surrounded by nature without giving up the highlights of modern living.
You can find some very large houses in these parts of Poulsbo with equally impressive acreage. Many of these have at least four rooms and as many bathrooms. There are also a few empty lots left, too, for anyone who wants to build their dream home just walking distance from downtown.
There aren’t many towns like Poulsbo left in Washington or even the rest of the country, for that matter.
“Little Norway” is full of authentic character, endless options for recreation and dining, excellent schools, and it’s effortless to get around on foot.
I would love to show you all of these aspects firsthand. As a real estate broker, I’ve enjoyed introducing people to this one-of-a-kind city and helping them discover the perfect house for more than 15 years.
Call me today at 425-495-0394 or drop me an email with any questions you have or to schedule a tour of the town’s real estate market.
If you love the Pacific Northwest for its gorgeous natural surroundings and the small-town feel of so many of its cities, you’ll probably really love living in Poulsbo.
Residents of this true one-of-a-kind city enjoy an incredible sense of community thanks to a packed events calendar and countless reasons to get out-of-the-house and spend time with one another.
Even if you ask people who live elsewhere in Kitsap County, they’ll tell you that Poulsbo is a beautiful place to live for many fantastic reasons.
Over the years, Poulsbo has become especially popular with new families and retirees. Though these two groups may not seem to have a lot in common, it makes sense that parents of young children and retirees who may live alone both enjoy getting out of the house.
So, it makes sense that these nine local attractions have made Poulsbo such a popular town with the two groups.
Geographically, Poulsbo’s most distinguishing trait is its location on the Kitsap Peninsula right on beautiful Liberty Bay. Its long coastline often makes it feel like you’re living on an island, even if your home is toward the north and farther from shore.
The city is a paradise for anyone who enjoys the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty but still wants to enjoy the comforts of living near plenty of amenities. If you're a boater, you'll especially love it here since Poulsbo is home to three marinas right on Liberty Bay. Mooring your sailboat or powerboat within 5-10 minutes of your home is a luxury you can attain in this city. Water recreation and water sports are popular, along with fishing and crabbing as popular pastimes for residents.
If you’re new to boating, don’t worry. Several businesses sell boats in town – everything from kayaks to yachts – and even offer classes in operating your craft. The Port of Poulsbo also hosts an annual “Boating Safety Day,” where you can learn all the ins and outs of safe boating for free.
Even if you have no intention of ever taking a boat on the water, many residents love walking along the waterfront, enjoying sunsets with the light sparkling across the water, watching birds fishing for their dinner, and sea lions napping on the docks.
Speaking of Liberty Bay, people also travel to the city from all over Kitsap County to take in Historic Downtown Poulsbo. The area’s fantastic waterfront shopping includes everything from old bookstores to elegant art galleries to fun antique shops, and so much more. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to look out at Liberty Bay.
The local art galleries are such a staple of Historic Downtown Poulsbo that there are regular “Art Walks” held every second Saturday of the month. Participants travel from one gallery to the next, enjoy great food, and mingle with local artists and other admirers.
Of course, all of the historic downtown looks like something out of a painting with many buildings resembling architecture that would have been right at home when the city was founded almost 130 years ago. Lots of Scandinavian touches give this quaint part of town its unique charm.
While you’ll find yourself regularly visiting Poulsbo’s historic downtown on your own, the local historical society also offers walking tours to help you better understand the area’s past. This includes an introduction to the Poulsbo fire, “Mouse House,” mosquito fleet docks, and more.
Another great way to acquaint yourself with the history of this city is by visiting the Poulsbo Heritage Museum.
However, this isn’t the type of museum you’ll only ever visit once. Longtime residents return again and again to view new exhibits. The Poulsbo Historical Society does an incredible job of displaying such shows throughout the year.
Some past favorites have included:
• “Take me out to the Ball Game – Baseball in NK”
• “Women in the Workforce”
• “Boat Builders of Liberty Bay”
So, while it’s worth visiting the museum to enjoy permanent exhibits about the founding of Poulsbo, its evolution over the years, or even the histories of specific fleets, the continually changing exhibits are just one more reason people love living here.
The same goes for Poulsbo’s Maritime Museum, which has remained popular with residents since its opening in 2015. Inside, visitors can learn about the maritime history of Poulsbo and the rest of North Kitsap County through incredible exhibits and even interactive displays. Young children especially enjoy learning through the latter.
Just like with the Poulsbo Heritage Museum, residents continue to visit the Maritime Museum because of new and exciting displays that highlight how so much of the city’s history is tied to Liberty Bay and the rest of the Puget Sound.
The beautiful natural settings of Poulsbo aren’t limited to the water, though. Residents here tend to be reasonably active, in large part, because they have so many options for getting outdoors. This is particularly attractive to retirees who look forward to the social aspects of exercising outside and parents with young children who are full of energy.
Frank Raab Park is excellent for both groups. It features:
• Sand volleyball court
• Full-sized basketball court
• Skate park
• Walking trail (1/3 mile)
There’s even a dog park if you have a furry friend who could also use some exercise.
Some residents enjoy a quieter setting where they can enjoy a nice long walk among the peaceful settings of the Pacific Northwest.
In that case, you’ll love the Wilderness Park Trail.
Though it’s located right across the street from the high school and not far from Highway 305 in the heart of town, it’s nearly 12 acres. This amount of space – and the wooded hiking path – will give you a lovely respite where you can enjoy nature at your own pace.
Residents also love Fish Park, which, at 40 acres, offers a looped walking trail that’s 1.5 miles long and a boardwalk that’s nearly a quarter of a mile. During your walk, you’ll come across five different wooden bridges that will let you access other parts of Fish Park, many of which include viewing platforms, so you can take your time enjoying the beautiful Liberty Bay estuary or Dogfish Creek.
From the path, you’ll continuously catch glimpses of local wildlife, even the fish that call the park’s waterways home. It’s not unusual to see people taking advantage of the many picnic tables and benches to take in the pleasant natural surroundings or relax with a good book.
Just like residents of Poulsbo love living near the water and among gorgeous forests, they also appreciate how close they live to where so much of their food originates.
That’s why the Poulsbo Farmers Market is incredibly popular. From April through December, the market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm. From opening day through October, the Poulsbo Farmers Market also includes live music, though there are often other live events held at the market during different weekends.
Aside from locally grown produce, the farmers market is also a great place to find grass-fed beef, jewelry, art from Kitsap County artists, organic soaps, incredible ice cream, and so much more from the 60+ vendors that frequently attend.
Given how popular the farmers market is, it should come as no surprise that residents of Poulsbo love to sit down to a delicious meal. While the market and local grocers will make it easy to cook one at home, you’ll also like all of the different restaurants that are conveniently located in town.
Some of the many popular eateries in Poulsbo include:
• Wok Teriyaki
• Taste Wei Chinese and Japanese Restaurant
• Aroydy Thai Cuisine
• Kachai Thai Kitchen
• Taqueria Los Cazadores
• Punjab Indian Cuisine
• Tizley’s EuroPub
• Poulsbo Woodfired Pizza
There are also some enjoyable stores for picking up your ingredients or local specialties. For example, Sluys’ Poulsbo Bakery makes all of their delicious breads, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and donuts by hand. Many of their recipes have remained the same since Marion and Loretta Sluy bought Bauer’s Bake Shop back in 1966.
Throughout the year, there are many fun events held in Poulsbo, as well. So, there’s absolutely no reason ever to become bored when you live here.
Poulsbo is known for two things: its proximity to the water and its Scandinavian heritage.
While Scandinavian migrants founded many cities throughout the country, few could claim to celebrate this history as much as Poulsbo, which is often referred to as “Little Norway.”
Residents’ love of all things Scandinavian is so well-known that the actual King of Norway visited the city back in 1975 to celebrate the history of Norwegian immigrants in the United States.
While there are reminders of this heritage throughout the city (e.g., the architecture in the historic downtown area), nothing compares to the city’s annual Viking Fest. The celebration of all things Scandinavian attracts tens of thousands of visitors over three days thanks to strongman competitions, parades, donut-eating contests, and more.
Whether you’re remotely Scandinavian or not, Viking Fest is a celebration that every Poulsbo resident looks forward to celebrating.
Over the last decade or so, Washington has become known for its many artisan beers, many of which originate in Kitsap County. Poulsbo has its fair share of breweries, too.
One way that many residents are enjoying visiting these local establishments is during the Poulsbrew Beer Festival. Much like the semiannual Poulsbo Beer Runs, this event allows residents to sample craft beers from the many local breweries and even some from other parts of Kitsap County.
During the Poulsbrew Beer Festival, there is also incredible food and live music to go along with the delicious craft beers.
Aside from the many excellent schools in the area and the parks, another reason parents love living in Poulsbo is because of the numerous local events geared towards children.
Ghoulsbo is a perfect example. Parents take their young children through Historic Downtown Poulsbo to enjoy some spooky decorations and local shop owners who are all dressed up and ready to hand out treats. For one night, downtown becomes a Halloween wonderland, the likes of which you won’t find in most cities.
There’s also the fantastic Poulsbo Tree Lighting Ceremony that takes place at the intersection of Lindvig and Viking Way at the end of November. Parents can help their children with cookie decorating and even take them to meet Santa and his reindeer. There’s also hot cocoa, hot cider, and coffee to keep everyone warm until it’s time to light the tree.
Even the city’s 12-foot tall Viking statue gets in on the act by donning a giant Santa hat.
The weather in Poulsbo is reasonably typical for the Pacific Northwest.
Summers here are relatively short, but they’re dry and very comfortable, lacking the kind of temperatures that can otherwise make these months unbearable. Mid-July to late August is generally the warmest weeks and the perfect time to get in the water.
Winters here are cold and cloudy, but the temperatures tend to stay above freezing and, if it does snow, it usually melts quickly.
While you certainly won’t be lacking for ways to enjoy Poulsbo, the rest of Kitsap County is certainly worth exploring, too. You might also be one of the many Poulsbo residents who commute elsewhere for work every day.
Whatever the case, the great thing about Poulsbo is its convenient location on the peninsula. You’ll have no problem getting around the county – or even to Seattle – with ease.
Let’s look at the commute to three popular destinations from Poulsbo:
• Silverdale: The drive to Silverdale is only about 20 minutes, though it might take a little longer on the weekends, as the city is a popular daycation destination thanks to its waterfront attractions and All Stat Lanes & Casino. Still, the drive couldn’t be more accessible. Just jump on WA-3 headed south, and it’s a straight shot. You can also take Viking Ave NW along Liberty Bay, and then continue to Silverdale Way NW for a particularly scenic route.
• Bremerton: With a population of more than 40,000, there’s always a lot to do in Bremerton and plenty of places to work. Fortunately, your commute should only be about 30 minutes, most of which will be spent on WA-3 S. You can also take WA-3 S and WA-303 S, which is about a mile shorter but may take longer depending on the weekend traffic.
• Seattle: Whether you want to watch a game or enjoy all that a major metropolitan city has to offer, it’s great living so close to Seattle. There are three main ways to reach the Emerald City:
o WA-305 S and WA-305: This is your shortest option, though it includes tolls and a ferry. It’s about 20 minutes to the Bainbridge Ferry, which will take you to Seattle. Fortunately, the ferry makes its first trip to Seattle at 4:45 am, and its last trip from Seattle at 12:55 am (technically, the following day). So, you have lots of options for making your trip when traffic is lighter. The ferry crossing only takes about 35 minutes.
o WA-104 E/NE and I-5 S: You could also go north instead by taking WA-104 E to the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry in Kingston. Then, you’ll jump on I-5 S and take it down to Seattle. The entire trip should take about 90 minutes.
o WA-16 and I-5 N: If you want to skip the ferry altogether, this is your route. WA-16 will take you south through Silverdale and Port Orchard, and eventually over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. From there, you’ll travel north about 30 miles to reach Seattle.
The most significant factors to consider will be how busy the ferries are (check the site ahead of time) and when you decide to leave. Midday is always best for traffic, no matter which side of the Puget Sound you’re on. Otherwise, you’ll want to beat the morning rush by leaving a bit earlier.
Commuting around Kitsap County or even into Seattle is reasonably straightforward, especially as you get used to anticipating when traffic gets busy and making the most of alternative routes.
Though Poulsbo has almost endless options for entertainment, it also has all of the amenities you’d want in a modern city.
Poulsbo is home to a large number of medical facilities. So, whether it’s for your child’s checkups, your regular physicals, actual emergencies, or anything else, you’ll never have to worry about traveling far.
The local Kaiser Permanente building alone has:
• Primary Care for Family and Internal Medicine
• Injection Room
For all of your dental needs, there’s the local branch of Peninsula Community Health Services, which offers other medical services and a pharmacy, as well.
There’s also North Kitsap Family Practice, which includes urgent care.
Your four-legged friends will be in good hands, too. Poulsbo has four different veterinary clinics, all offering emergency and trauma services.
The Kitsap Regional Library is located in Poulsbo and has a lot to offer beyond just a great selection of books.
For one thing, it’s worth a visit to enjoy the unique design of this library. It has a beautiful, rustic feel that’s indicative of the Pacific Northwest while still being very modern.
Inside, you can also visit their incredible “Scandinavian Collection,” another reminder of how much this community treasures its city’s roots. The collection is full of everything from Norwegian woodcarvings to Finish knitting patterns to examples of Swedish interior design. You can also scour their many Scandinavian volumes that cover immigrant memories, travel guides, history books, dictionaries, and more. They even have more than 100 novels written by Scandinavian authors.
So, whether you’re fond of your Scandinavian heritage or you want a better appreciation of your new home, you’ll want to spend some time perusing this incredible exhibit.
Kitsap Regional Library also hosts numerous events on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
Parents of young children love knowing they can bring their little ones here every week for storytime. There’s a separate version for babies, preschoolers, and toddlers. There are also art classes, film groups, and even one-on-one tech help for anyone who’s having trouble accessing audiobooks, downloads, or other media.
In a moment, we’ll cover common examples of the types of homes you’ll find in Poulsbo. Most will have lots of space for you, your family, and any loved ones you may come to visit.
And people will want to visit when they see all Poulsbo has to offer, especially during fun events like Viking Fest.
Still, if you do find your new house in Poulsbo overflowing from time to time, don’t worry. There are some great hotels in town, as well:
• Poulsbo Inn & Suites
• GuestHouse Inn & Suites Hotel
• Liberty Place Guest House
• Brauer Cove Guest House
• Kiana Lodge
These hotels have a lot of character with all the comforts of home. Best of all, no matter where you live, your loved ones will be able to stay nearby.
There are many different homes in Poulsbo to choose from if you’re thinking about moving here. This even includes some open lots for those who want to build their dream house.
However, two options are particularly popular.
First, new construction properties are continually going up. It was only about a decade ago that dozens of good-sized homes (mainly three-bedroom, two-bathroom) were completed just off of Liberty Bay. So, you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice beautiful natural views just because you want a newer house.
Furthermore, plenty of them are in traditional suburban neighborhoods, which make them ideal for new families who want to be close to schools, restaurants, and other families with young children.
Most of these are selling for between $400,000 and $550,000, though it depends on the home’s location. Many house hunters are willing to pay significantly more for a home in Poulsbo if it’s close to the water or a clear view of the mountains.
Second, there are houses a bit farther from town that offer much more land (at least 1 acre). These are great for retirees who might enjoy a bit more peace. Instead of nearby neighbors, these homeowners are surrounded by open space, fields, and evergreen forests.
There aren’t as many of these homes on the market, though. For one thing, there’s not much space left to develop them. For another, most people who own them are retired and don’t plan on putting their beautiful Poulsbo house on the market any time soon.
As such, these houses out in the country tend to start at $600,000 and can quickly go for twice as much. It all depends on the size of the house, as they can range from two-bedroom/one-bathroom to four-bedroom/four-bathroom. The same goes for the acreage, which can also vary greatly.
There is no shortage of reasons people love living in Poulsbo. From the city’s fascinating history to the community’s unique culture, I know you’ll find lots to enjoy about Poulsbo, too.
As a real estate broker with more than 15 years of experience working in Kitsap County, I never get tired of introducing homebuyers to the many enjoyable aspects of living in Poulsbo.
Whether you’re already familiar with the area or you’d like to learn more about what it’s like calling Poulsbo home, I’d love to help.
Give me a call at 425-495-0394 or send me an email with any questions you have or to begin looking around Poulsbo for your perfect house.
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