As summer continues to fly by, many of us in the Tri-City area are looking for a getaway. With temperatures fluctuating between hot and outrageously hot, the appeal of a cooler climate is becoming difficult to deny. The solution? If you have a few free days to spare, why not take a trip to the Oregon coast? There are a multitude of quaint seaside towns located along the historic Oregon Coast Highway 101. This scenic highway sprawls all the way from Washington to Northern California. However, today we’ll be focusing on Oregon’s oldest city: Astoria.
Astoria is located in the northwest corner of Oregon and separated from Washington by the Columbia River; a place of great historical significance. Settled in 1811 by John Jacob Astor, it was the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Astor, a German immigrant and owner of the American Fur Company (AFC), founded Fort Astoria at a strategic position. It sat near the mouth of the Columbia River, which meant easy access to the Pacific Ocean. Finally, Astor solidified a regional monopoly on the fur trade for his company, and the growing community would bare his name.
Eats & Drinks
Astoria is in the midst of an extensive construction project; the waterfront is being renovated and remodeled. Many of the old shipping warehouses and dock yards are being replaced with local businesses like ice cream parlors and breweries. Additionally, the rail line that runs through the center of town is now a promenade for foot traffic. In this historic area, there are several wonderful eateries to relax and take in the unique atmosphere. Check out the Buoy Beer Company and Fort George Public House for legendary staples of Pacific Northwest beer. Don’t overlook Bowpicker, which serves some of the best fish & chips in the world! Afterwards, you can finish off the day with some homemade ice cream at Frite & Scoop. Here, you can enjoy the sunset over the waterfront with the taste of classic gelato.
Built in 1926, the Astoria Column is a famous tourist attraction and prominent feature of the city’s skyline. The 125-foot-tall tower stands at the crest of Coxcomb Hill, a few blocks southeast of the town center. It became part of the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970’s. During operating hours, visitors can climb an interior spiral staircase to an observation deck atop the spire. With stunning 360º views of the Columbia River’s mouth and the sprawling Astoria-Megler Bridge, the column is a must-see.
Whether you’re a practiced film buff or a casual movie consumer, you’ll be interested to know that Astoria has been a filming location for all manner of pictures throughout the years. Most famously, the city served as the backdrop for the legendary 1985 adventure flick, The Goonies. The lead characters’ house became a museum that served as a popular tourist destination for many years; however, it recently sold to a private owner.
Other movies filmed in Astoria that cannot go without mention are Kindergarten Cop (1990), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; Short Circuit (1986), which has since earned a respectable cult following; the timeless Free Willy (1993); and Jeremy Saulnier’s dark thriller, Green Room (2015).
Whether it be for a single night or a weekend getaway, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Astoria, Oregon. There is a reason that locals consider the city to be a hidden gem. Find some time to get away and see what you can discover in Oregon’s oldest city!