Nature and culture merge in an art-fueled Victorian seaport
Things to do
Places to Eat & Drink
The lively seaport town of Eureka, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has split-personality charm: a sense of history in the handsomely restored, Victorian-era Old Town district, a still-working seaport where crusty fishing boats chug in and out of a protected harbor, logging trucks rumbling through town, and an eco-conscious college vibe thanks to Humboldt State, in the nearby town of Arcata. Hundreds of ornate 19th-century homes, like the Carson Mansion, a paragon of elaborate Queen Anne architecture now housing a private club at the end of Second Street, reflect the prosperity of Eureka’s formative years, when lumber was king. The entire city is a state historic landmark, a captivating mix of nature and culture with a small-town feel.
Start your visit along the waterfront, where a pretty esplanade provides nice views of the harbor and adjacent Humboldt Bay. Visit the small maritime museum, then board the MV Madaket, a snug ferryboat plying the bay since 1910, for 75-minute guided cruise. In adjacent Old Town, beeline to the outstanding Eureka Visitors Center, where you can sample local wines, beers, and local oysters; ask for tips on nearby galleries, gift shops, and eateries; and book guided tours and adventures. Kids love the Discovery Museum, where hands-on exhibits explore art, technology, and science, and the free Kinetic Museum & HQ is a fun look back on the more than half-century history of the local Kinetic Grand Championship sculpture race.