Seaside Stories

How to Explore the Historic Gilbert District

December 10, 2019 | by Michelle Kehm

While many visit Seaside to stroll the Prom, ride the carousel and load up on saltwater taffy, walk east on Broadway over the Necanicum River and you’re in a very different world — the oldest part of Seaside, to be exact. Seaside’s mayor from 1912 to 1916, Alexandre Gilbert, rebuilt the four-block Gilbert District at the intersection of Broadway and Holladay Drive after the city’s big fire of 1912. Today the Gilbert District is thriving with vibrant restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and antique stores. More than 30 local businesses call this historic district home. Here’s how to spend a few hours poking around. 

Stroll across the arched Broadway Bridge and you’ll see the Gilbert Block Building, est. 1914, and Kirwen Building, est. 1913. SunRose Gallery is full of colorful mosaic tables and whimsical local art. Next door, Pacific Heirloom is the place to pick up vintage glass floats, and the upscale Fairweather House & Gallery is a must-visit for anyone who’s serious about Northwest artists.

Continue toward Holladay and you’ll see Beach Books on the corner. Pick up that hardcover you’ve been dying to read and then walk through the adjacent French doors straight into Dough Dough Bakery for a chocolate tahini roll and a warm mug of Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters drip.

Still thirsty? Walk north on Holladay and pick up a gorgeous cowl-neck scarf or other beautiful handmade gift at Seaside Yarn and Fiber, before making another stop at The Whet Spot, which offers a rotating selection of local brews and ciders on tap. Warm up with standout pumpkin curry or a spicy bowl of tom kha at YellowCurry Cozy Thai, a locals’ favorite, with traditional and regional dishes from all over Thailand.  

Next cross Holladay and grab a stiff espresso at Seaside Coffee House in the Wheatley-Desler Building, est. 1914. You’ll need the boost, because right around the corner on Broadway is the Seaside Antique Mall, where you can spend hours perusing everything from vintage birdcages to old postcards. Nearby Rust and Dust offers even more repurposed and antique collectibles. Next door visit the Westport Winery tasting room to pick up a bottle of red and sample the gourmet oils and vinegars. Across the street from the antique mall, the new Angi D Wildt Gallery is a beautiful showcase of local media artists that hosts a March Art Walk. And the End of the Trail Public House is a fun newish sports bar in town with darts, pool, shuffleboard and a patio — not to mention a cozy space to watch the game. 

All this exploring calls for immediate sustenance, and the family-friendly Seaside Brewing Company, housed in the old Seaside city jail, est. 1914, is the perfect place to end your Gilbert District tour. Sit down to a plate of fresh fish tacos and a pint of craft brew poured steps from where the “drunk tank” was once located. Come back for breakfast or lunch at Firehouse Grill. Kids will love the fact that they’re eating grilled-cheese sandwiches in the old Seaside firehouse, est. 1914.

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