Arts and Culture
Kitsap County is within the ancestral territory of the suq̀ʷabš “People of Clear Salt Water” (Suquamish People). Expert fisherman, canoe builders and basket weavers, the suq̀ʷabš live in harmony with the lands and waterways along Washington’s Central Salish Sea as they have for thousands of years. Here, the suq̀ʷabš live and protect the land and waters of their ancestors for future generations as promised by the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855.
Port Gamble Bay, in North Kitsap is the ancestral home of the Port Gamble S'Klallams, who were called the Nux Sklai Yem, Strong People. The strong cultural influences of both the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes remains integral to the Kitsap Peninsula. Suquamish is the ancestral home of the great Chief Seattle and hosts the annual Chief Seattle Days festival in his honor. Another cultural highlight is the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, a gathering of 90 Northwest Native tribes with scheduled landings in Suquamish and Port Gamble. The Suquamish Clearwater Casino and Resort and The Point Casino offer a wide variety of entertainment options and are major economic drivers in the County.
Some of the best artists in the region call Kitsap County home and a number of programs throughout the county support established and emerging artists, and provide the public with ample opportunities to view the work of old favorites and talented newcomers. Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Silverdale all host regular art walks, where area businesses stay open late and serve as temporary art galleries for local painters, sculptors, photographers, and other artisans. Kitsap is known for it’s superior art galleries such as the Amy Burnett Fine Art Gallery in Bremerton, the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery on Bainbridge Island, and The Front Street Gallery in Poulsbo and The Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Gallery in Silverdale.
The beautifully restored Admiral Theater in Bremerton brings a variety of performances to the area and the Bremerton Symphony delivers classical music offerings throughout the year. In addition, a number of local and regional theater groups exist in the county and perform everything from Shakespeare to show tunes. Local musical events Kitsap is home to two beautiful new museums, The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and the Suquamish Museum and Cultural Center. Other popular museums offering unique experiences include The Naval Undersea Museum, and the Kids Discovery Museum an touring the historic Navy Destroyer the U.S.S. Turner Joy.
Community events offer endless opportunities for fun and new experiences. Go to VisitKitsap to learn more about events like these; Port Gamble’s Old Mill Days and Medieval Faire, Silverdales’s Whaling Days, Port Orchard’s Fathoms of Fun, Bainbridge Island’s Grand Old Fourth, and Poulsbo’s Viking Fest.
A relaxing 30- to 55- minute ferry ride away, Seattle is one of America’s top tourist destinations. Watch for whales and bald eagles as you enjoy the scenic trip across Puget Sound. Walk-on passengers avoid the hassles of Seattle parking and are within walking distance to Pike Place Market, downtown shopping and Seattle’s exciting sports venues. Kitsap residents have a special advantage when they entertain themselves in Seattle; at the end of the day, they can sail home to a tranquil Kitsap County.