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Urban Spelunker: Downtown Gig Harbor

The little district is teeming with creative personality

Jerisich Park, in the middle of downtown Gig Harbor, is where you should kick back before dinner. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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Downtown Gig Harbor boasts majestic waterfront views and an idyllic warm atmosphere. The streets are lined with charming eateries, retail spots and galleries, making it a destination to grab a nibble, sip on a cocktail and take in the view. Whether you're a family man, shopaholic, admirer of art or outdoorsy spirit - what makes this area especially appealing is that there is a little something for everyone. This little district is teeming with creative culture and personality and is bustling with activity during the warmer months of the year.

Here are just a few of the attractions:

Jerisich Park is located in the heart of downtown Gig Harbor. This patch of park plays home to the usual picnic tables and grassy areas as well as a dock that boats can ante up to, making it a prime spot for an outdoor lunch or afternoon stroll. It is also conveniently located next to the Gig Harbor Fly Shop, which not only carries your fishing supply needs, but also rents out kayaks in case you're feeling especially adventurous and want to explore the ocean view floating upon it. During the summer months, Jerisich Park often plays host to outdoor music events and small festival-type activities. 3211 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor

Inside an unassuming retail space is Mostly Books. This little nook is lined wall to wall with both new and used books. Many literature-based spaces will feature a small shelf dedicated to employee suggestions and favorites, but Mostly Books takes that to a whole new level. What makes Mostly Books special is that throughout the entire store, staff and owners have made suggestions on detailed cards secured to the shelving. As soon as you enter, you're greeted by a shelf of local book club picks, and the store features a divine selection, especially given the small space. 3126 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor. Open Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.

Heidi's Sweet Shop will be a hit with the kiddies (and grownups, too) thanks to its wide array of sugary concoctions. Jars of salt water taffy, chocolate bits and classics like root beer gummies and hard candies fill this store. Bonus, it's a great go-to for bulk candy and fun, kid-friendly goodies like bubbles, pinwheels and jump ropes. 3118 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

Animal Crackers Kid's Store is a treasure trove of consignment goods. It covers all the bases - including toys, books, a stellar selection of lightly worn clothes for boys and girls of various stages of childhood and even a nice inventory of maternity wear, children's shoes and more. Not only is it an awesome go-to for goods, but Animal Crackers also has a kid-friendly nook to keep the young ones occupied, and it offers up free scoops of ice cream on your way out the door to appease the kiddies who may not have scored that stuffed elephant they were eyeing. This shopping gem will be relocating next door to Fred Meyer in the Olympic Village this summer. 3026 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor

Wild Birds Unlimited is an outdoor wonderland. Most of the inventory is styled into Zen-like seating areas outside, perfect for displaying. Stone benches and bird baths of all shapes and sizes create lovely seating areas, where garden gnomes and stone Buddhas have tea with fairies when the lights go out - at least that's how it feels. Small birds flutter around, enjoying the displayed bird baths and watching you shop from their cozy homes along the wall. 3120 1/2 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other Finds

Foodie Finds: Tides Tavern, Spiros, Kelly's Cafe, El Pueblito

Cocktail Hour: 7 Seas Brewing Tap Room, Brix 25

Galleries Go-ers: Full Moon Art Gallery, Ebb and Tide Gallery, Water's Edge, Imagine Great Things

Innovative Accessories: Kit Kuhn, Reverence Jewelry

Creative Cafe: Java and Clay Cafe

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