Port Washington

  • A sailboat drifts past the beautiful Port Washington shoreline.

    A sailboat drifts past the beautiful Port Washington shoreline.
  • Fishermen and their dog walk along the lakefront with a view of the lighthouse in the background.

    Fishermen and their dog walk along the lakefront with a view of the lighthouse in the background.
  • Historic Franklin Street is lined with local shops and eateries.

    Historic Franklin Street is lined with local shops and eateries.
  • A boater pulls into the North Slip.

    A boater pulls into the North Slip.

With its art deco lighthouse and picturesque harbor, Port Washington is as charming as any coastal village. Coming down the hill toward Lake Michigan, the initial view of the city is captivating. The downtown is adjacent to the harbor and marina. It looks historic and has the largest collection of pre-Civil War buildings in the state. Walking tours take visitors through the historic district, past lighthouses and memorials. Enjoy specialty shops including an old-fashioned meat market and fish smokehouse located in these historic storefronts. Enjoy one of the city’s lakefront festivals, spend a day sport fishing on the lake, or bike the 30-mile, paved Interurban Trail.

Small town charm

People tell us all the time that Port Washington offers a touch of New England charm - even people from New England! The unique shops housed in pre-Civil War storefronts and the welcoming people who work in them, the downtown - right on the lakefront and nestled in among seven hills surrounding the city, the sailboats in the marina with sails snapping, fishermen cleaning their catch, people just sitting on benches watching the water - all conjure up an image of a charming, historic, oceanside town, except we are a charming, historic, Lake Michigan harbor town.

You'll know you're here when...

You can't drive any further because your tires will get wet! Downtown Port is right on the shore of Lake Michigan and is a very walkable town. Park your car or moor your boat, and find yourself within walking distance of two beaches, three lakeside parks, the marina, two lighthouses, cute shops, family-owned restaurants, coffee shops, watering holes, a micro-winery, a 30 mile bike trail, and more. And if you want a side of history with that, pick up a walking tour map at the visitors center.

Fishing? You’ll catch the big one if you...

Drop a line yourself from the shore of Lake Michigan along the half-mile long pier or head out with one of our successful charter captains. These experts know how to find the fish and how to show their customers a good time.

Top photo opportunity is...

Half mile long pier. You can photograph the 1935 unique art deco design lighthouse or turn around and get a great view of Port Washington from the water, including St. Mary's Church high on a hill.

Explore your adventurous side...

  • At our annual smelt fry, where you're encouraged to eat the whole fish - head to tail.
  • Reeling in that fish that is so big, your arms get tired.
  • Launch a kayak off of our south beach and jump the waves - or even try to surf.
  • Cut a hole in the ice and jump in Lake Michigan New Year's Day.