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The 20 Best Things to do in Astoria, Oregon

. Astoria, Oregon Riverwalk

Many people consider Astoria, Oregon to be one of the most picturesque towns in the entire country. It's easy to see why. There's a lot of history going on here and surprisingly, there are also loads of things to do. If you've ever had a desire to visit the area but you've been curious about whether or not there would be a lot to do because the town isn't as big as some others, you don't need to worry.

About Astoria, Oregon

There are plenty of things about Astoria that make it special. For starters, it's been around for quite some time, having been founded in 1811. It is indeed a relatively small town, with less than 10,000 people who reside there year-round. That being said, there is definitely no shortage of things to do and see there. Its picturesque beauty easily lends itself to outdoor activities. The town is located right along the Columbia River and as such, there are lots of things to do for people who love the great outdoors as well as those who love being by the water. In fact, here are 20 of the best things you can do while in Astoria, Oregon. There's no doubt that a few of these will actually surprise you.

Godfather’s Books

20. Astoria Column

This is a massive 125-foot column that overlooks the town. It takes about an hour for you to visit it, but it's also well worth it. If you think that it's just some concrete column that's been erected for no purpose, think again. It actually serves a very important purpose, marking the place where the Lewis and Clark expedition came to an end. It was also erected to celebrate the discovery of the Columbia River. Since this is a town that is alive and well because of the river, this is also a monument that is very important to people who consider Astoria home.

Astoria-Megler Bridge

19. Astoria-Megler Bridge

Did you know that this particular bridge is the longest continuous truss bridge in the entirety of North America? If you're a person who loves bridges, it's one that you absolutely have to see firsthand at some point in your lifetime. It's a functioning bridge that sees tens of thousands of cars cross it on a daily basis. Even though it's been there for 53 years, it's still considered something of a feat of engineering. Whether you plan on crossing it or you simply want to sit back and take in its beauty, it's something that shouldn't be missed.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

18. Columbia River Maritime Museum

There are a lot of maritime museum's throughout the United States, but there are none quite like this one. That's because it tells the story from a first-hand point of view of generations of people who have lived and worked both because of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Since Astoria sits on the river and is also an ocean town, this is a very unique situation and it's one that should be celebrated. The Maritime Museum here does exactly that. It's a sprawling location, so if you plan to visit, you really should dedicate at least two to three hours to your visit in order to have enough time to take everything in.

Fort Stevens State Park

17. Fort Stevens State Park

There are so many things about this park that make it unique. You can do all the things there that you would expect to do in most parks. Go on a nature walk or go for a brisk hike. There are also biking trails and you can go camping there. The thing that makes it truly special is the history involved. This used to be an old army base that was built during World War II and you can still find all kinds of relics there. Truth be told, it's a great place to go exploring because you never know what you'll find.

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

16. Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Who doesn't love the opportunity to go on a trolley? It's definitely not something that you have the chance to experience in a lot of towns in the United States so when the opportunity does present itself, it's important to take it. In this particular case, you don't just ride the trolley, either. You have the chance to listen to officials talk to you about the town and its rich history. They’ll be quick to tell you that Astoria was actually the very first town that was ever incorporated west of the Rocky Mountains. It's clear that they're proud of their town and they want you to be proud of it, too.

Flavel House Museum

15. Flavel House Museum

The family that gave this house its namesake helped found the town of Astoria. They were also instrumental in its success, as evidenced by the fact that this is easily one of the most beautiful Victorian mansions in the entire town, of which there are many. It's also one of the largest in town. These days, it's open for tours. If you love architecture or are a fan of Victorian homes, this one will simply take your breath away. It even has most of the original furniture that was actually used by the family when they were living in the home.

Fort Clatsop National Memorial

14. Fort Clatsop National Memorial

This is a must-see for history buffs. It was constructed by president Thomas Jefferson and designed to be an exact replica of the fort that was used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition. That 1805 expedition was a very important turning point for this particular area and since their expedition came to an end in the same general vicinity as Astoria, it only made sense to have this particular memorial erected.

The Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

13. The Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

There are actually several state parks in the area that are dedicated to the expedition of Lewis and Clark. Again, it only makes sense because of the rich history involving their expedition which is directly tied to this particular area. Currently, the state parks have also been adopted into the federal park system. You can visit one or all of the parks and get a history lesson at the same time. Of course, like any other state park, you have the opportunity to get out and walk around, soak up some sun and enjoy everything that any other park would have to offer, such as nature trails. There really is something for everyone here.

. Astoria, Oregon Riverwalk

12. Astoria, Oregon Riverwalk

This is where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It's been carefully curated by the town of Astoria so that there are all kinds of trails available for people to enjoy. As such, you can ride a bicycle, go hiking through one of their many nature trails or even go jogging on one of the paved areas. The beauty of the area is absolutely second to none and it's rather extensive in length, giving you more than enough space to get out and enjoy all that nature has to offer, whether you're preparing for a marathon or you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Young River Falls

11. Young River Falls

The waterfall here is always something to behold, but it's most beautiful during the Autumn when the leaves are starting to change. It's also easy to access, as you can park your car within sight of the waterfall itself. As a matter of fact, parking is so easy in the region that you can, if you're so inclined, simply sit in your car and stare at the beauty of the waterfall. Of course, you can also get out and do some exploring. If you choose to, be careful because there are plenty of slippery rocks that you could easily fall on.

Cathedral Tree Trail

10. Cathedral Tree Trail

This is actually a hiking trail that will take you into a well-marked forest area with some of the largest trees that you'll probably ever see. They're absolutely massive and the entire area is breathtaking. You can choose a relatively easy hike or one that's more demanding. Regardless of what you decide on, the good news is that all of the trails are so well kept that it's not likely for you to get lost. At the same time, you literally feel like you're walking around out in nature without a single soul to bother you. It's almost like having the best of both worlds.

Garden of Surging Waves

9. Garden of Surging Waves

This is a beautiful outdoor location that has an amphitheater designed to celebrate the Chinese heritage that is so strongly connected within the region. Originally designed to celebrate the Chinese roots of many of the residents of Astoria, it now serves as a venue for outdoor parties, weddings and photography sessions along with musical performances and even outdoor theatrical productions that take place in the amphitheater.

Fort Astoria

8. Fort Astoria

This location is widely known as the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. It's been there since 1811 , originally existing as a fur trading outpost for employees of the Pacific Fur Company. Today, it is an important historical location that people can visit. Much of it has even been preserved so that it looks just as it did back during the early 1800s.

Oregon Film Museum

7. Oregon Film Museum

Chances are, you've watched films such as “The Goonies,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” or “Kindergarten Cop.” It just so happens that all of these films were filmed in and around this area. This particular museum celebrates these and other films that have been so central to shaping the area around Astoria. It's actually so popular as a filming location that it is often referred to as the northern equivalent of Hollywood.

Bumble Bee Cannery Museum

6. Bumble Bee Cannery Museum

When you walk through the grocery store, you’ve probably seen tuna from Bumble Bee. Did you know that it's actually canned right here in Astoria? The Bumble Bee Cannery Museum celebrates one of the oldest working canneries in the country. It's all located right on the mouth of the river where it connects to the Pacific Ocean, at Pier 39. You can actually walk through many of the locations and you have the opportunity to view boats that were used decades ago as well as photographs and other important artifacts.

Heritage Museum

5. Heritage Museum

This is a museum located in a building that was originally used as City Hall. They actually have all kinds of historical artifacts that are important to the area, not the least of which includes a farming implement that is more than 1,000 years old. Even the building itself was designed by a prominent architect native to the area, Emil Schnacht. If you're interested in the history of the area, this is a stop that you definitely need to put at the top of your list.

Astor Street Opry Company

4. Astor Street Opry Company

This is one of those unique locations that works to celebrate all kinds of Performing Arts. One evening, they might have someone there singing and the next night, they're putting on a full-scale theater performance. They're one of the best, most well-known operations of their type in the entire country. They also provide performance opportunities for artists of all ages. Both actors and singers alike have fond memories of this location. If you've ever seen the show there, there's no doubt that you do as well.

Bowpicker Fish & Chips

3. Bowpicker Fish & Chips

Who doesn't love fish and chips? The thing is, getting fish and chips in a location that actually has fresh seafood is worlds away from ordering the same thing in some landlocked location where everything is shipped in, frozen solid. This is a location that has been celebrating some of the best fish and chips that you can find in the entire region. There's no doubt about it, you'll come back wanting more. It doesn't matter if this is a regular staple in your diet or if you have scarcely ever eaten in your life, you won't be able to stop thinking about it once you eat here.

Cape Disappointment State Park

2. Cape Disappointment State Park

There are all kinds of things to see and do here. Hike to Cape Disappointment lighthouse or, as an alternative, you can visit the North Head Lighthouse by taking a much easier path. You can also visit the Interpretive Center located there on the grounds and even enjoy sightseeing or a picnic lunch on the beach. There is enough to do to keep you busy all day long, especially if you like being by the water or hiking through some of the most pristine, beautiful locations you’ll probably ever see.

Books

1. Godfather’s Books

The downtown part of Astoria is well-known for its many eclectic shops, including a handful of book stores. This particular location is one of the best-known and most well-regarded in the entire region. It's a small, independently owned bookstore that has everything in it you would ever expect. The truth is, they have a lot for an independently owned store, even things that are hard to find elsewhere. Go in and browse and you can get a complimentary cup of coffee. They even have a small section where you can sit down and enjoy your coffee while you peruse through a book you’ve just purchased, or even one that you are thinking about buying.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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