As cities go, Port Angeles really isn’t all that big, but considering its surroundings (the mostly unpopulated, undeveloped Olympic Peninsula), it feels like a big deal. As a road-tripper, though, it’s exactly what you need: a place to gas up, stock up on supplies, eat a meal, and spend the night. Even better, Port Angeles is the ideal base for a visit to Olympic National Park — the entrance to the popular Hurricane Ridge area of the park is on the south side of town.
Hotels in Port Angeles aren’t cheap, but I found a reasonable place to stay. The Downtown Hotel offers rooms with a shared bath. The idea may be a turn-off to most people, but the room was clean, it had a nice view (from those windows on the top floor), and the down-the-hall bathrooms were always clean and available.
It is a little strange to go into a hotel, and immediately climb a flight of stairs to get to the lobby (and then climb another flight of stairs to get to the room). But, for about $70 dollars for the night, it was worth it (most other hotels in the area were well over $100).
This was the view from my room, the next morning.
The best part about staying downtown, is, well, you’re downtown. I took a walk around the block, just before dark, and saw the Lincoln Theater, an old triplex that’s managed to stay open.
There’s also a small park at 1st Street and Laurel Street, in front of a staircase that takes you up the hill.
Even though downtown was quiet at night, there were several restaurants open. I chose to have dinner at the Cornerhouse, a diner on the first floor of my hotel. The food was good, the prices reasonable, and the place had a 1950’s feel to it — but not the phony kind of 50’s restaurant. It simply felt like it hadn’t changed in a few decades.