Is Poulsbo a Nice Place to Live?
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.
9 Local Attractions That Make Poulsbo Such a Nice Place to Live
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.
1. Liberty Bay
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.
2. Historic Downtown
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.
3. Poulsbo Heritage Museum
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.
4. Maritime Museum
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.
5. Frank Raab Park
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.
6. The Wilderness Trail
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.
7. Fish Park
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.
8. The Farmers Market
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.
9. Amazing Restaurants
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.
Cultural Events in Poulsbo
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.
Poulsbrew Beer Festival
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.
The Poulsbo Tree Lighting Ceremony
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
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.
What your Commute will be Like in Poulsbo
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.
Poulsbo is Full of Amenities
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.
Plenty of Places for Friends to Stay in Town
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.
Houses Available in Poulsbo
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.
Explore Homes in Poulsbo
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.