According to Historylink.org, Gig Harbor got its name when three explorers discovered the then-hidden harbor while in a narrow longboat called a gig. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, this small Washington town, located along its namesake Gig Harbor Bay, is home to more than 9,000 residents. A tourist-friendly destination, the city boasts a working waterfront and an array of businesses and nonprofits that pay homage to its seafaring background.
“[The] community is full of rich maritime history that is embraced and nurtured, providing residents a quality of life unlike any other place,” says Tourism and Communications Director Karen Scott. Having grown up in Gig Harbor with her family, Scott’s roots are deep within the community. One of her favorite activities is walking along the Gig Harbor waterfront.
Ideal for destination meetings and retreats, the town in its entirety has approximately 157 hotel rooms. Its newest event and activity space, Ocean5, opened this past fall. The 57,000-square-foot all-occasion community hub has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and has multiple spaces available to rent, including private bowling lanes, a laser challenge and meeting spaces. Ocean5’s largest meeting space can accommodate as many as 400 guests.
Post-meeting activities unique to the locale abound as well. Guests can check out Destiny Harbor Tours for an exploration of Gig Harbor’s shores and waters or enjoy a ride on the Gig Harbor Gondola, where they will “be serenaded in an authentic Venetian gondola,” according to Scott.
Three more reasons meeting and event planners should consider Gig Harbor:
» Gig Harbor’s locally owned hotels offer personalized services for their guests, including customized tours, laundry services and, on occasion, private drivers.
» The town sits in close proximity to other metropolitan areas, such as Tacoma, which is four miles across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and Seattle, only 45 minutes north of Gig Harbor.
» There are a variety of unique off-site venues, including the Harbor History Museum and Gig Harbor Yacht Club.