Located on the Oregon Coast, Astoria is a bustling port town with a rich history that dates back to its founding as a settlement of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. As one of Oregon’s first towns, it gained great importance as an international trade port during the Gold Rush, and today shelters many attractions for tourists and families looking to learn more about this fascinating city’s past. We’ve decided to put together a list of the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon.
Youngs River Falls
The Youngs River Falls are located on the Youngs River, which is a tributary of the Columbia River. The waterfalls form a series of cascades, and the view from the falls is just as spectacular as you would expect it to be. The falls are located in Fort Stevens State Park, which is one of Oregon’s largest state parks. You can hike or bike around the park, and there are also boat ramps that give you access to some great swimming holes.
Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park was built in the late 1800s to defend the mouth of the Columbia River. It is home to many historic buildings and even a shipwreck. Visitors can walk along deserted beaches and see many birds, plants, animals and marine life. Fort Stevens offers a variety of recreational activities including hiking, biking, swimming and fishing. The park is open from 6am-10pm daily between October 1st and March 31st (summertime hours may vary slightly).
Fort Clatsop National Memorial
The memorial commemorates the Lewis and Clark expedition, which spent the winter of 1805-1806 at Fort Clatsop. Today, the memorial includes a replica of the fort as well as a museum with exhibits on the expedition and the local history and culture. Visitors can also explore the nearby timberland and beach, which offer stunning views of the Columbia River. For those interested in learning more about the Lewis and Clark expedition, Fort Clatsop National Memorial is a must-see.
Old Clatsop County Jail
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the oldest building in Astoria and served as a jail from 1882 until 1976. It is now a museum that’s open mid-May to mid-September. A visit will cost you $4 for adults (free for kids) and allow you to explore all three floors, including cells on the upper levels. If you want to see what it was like to be an inmate here, take a picture inside one of these cells. During my visit, this proved quite popular!
Hanthorn Cannery Museum
The Hanthorn Cannery Museum is a must for anyone who wants to learn about Astoria’s history. Located on the Astoria Riverwalk, next to the Clatsop County Jail Museum, this museum is housed in one of the oldest salmon canneries in Oregon. The tour will take you through three buildings full of artifacts and information on fishing history. You can see how a cannery worked and how fish were processed and canned, along with plenty of information on fishing boats, nets and other tools used by fishermen throughout the years. You’ll come away with a new appreciation for both fishermen and their livelihoods.
Captain George Flavel House Museum
If you’re a fan of history, the Astoria area has a lot to offer. One of its most popular things to do in Astoria Oregon is visiting the Captain George Flavel House Museum, built in 1885 by one of the region’s most famous early settlers. The building is of Victorian architecture, and it features eight rooms available for viewing during tours. Whether you live in Astoria, or are just visiting for the weekend, this beautiful old home with its rich history will make for an interesting visit.
There are amazing views from the top, including all of downtown Astoria along with Katanat Bay, Youngs Bay, the Columbia River and upriver beyond Astoria to Chinook Point near Hammond. On a clear day you can also see Tongue Point Naval Base and even Cape Disappointment on the Washington side of the Columbia River southwest of Astoria. The best way to get there is by car or motorcycle, but it’s also possible to walk or bike here as well if you don’t mind getting a little exercise while viewing everything that Astoria has to offer. There isn’t any public transportation available here, but there are taxis if you want them (although they aren’t too prevalent).
Flavel House Museum
The historic Flavel House was built in 1885 by Captain George Flavel, a Columbia River bar pilot and early settler of the Oregon Territory. The Queen Anne style house is now a museum, named after its builder. The house is one of the few remaining examples of Victorian architecture in the Pacific Northwest. The museum is open to the public for tours and features exhibits on the history of Astoria and the life of Captain Flavel. All that makes the Flavel House Museum a unique and interesting thing to do in Astoria, Oregon. Admission: $5 Adults, $2 ages 6-17.
Since Astoria is a city with a strong maritime history and plenty of industry, there’s lots to see along its well-maintained and scenic shoreline. The walkway itself stretches from the docks out to Pier 39. This means that you can take your time wandering along it, getting an up-close look at boats and ships. If you’re into vessels, we recommend visiting during fishing season for a real treat. Fisherman come in from all over for these bountiful waters, bringing their nets full of fresh catch back each night. It’s fascinating to watch! Locals regularly stroll or bike alongside the river on warm days. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also an extensive trail system perfect for hiking.
The Liberty Theater is a historic theater in Astoria, Oregon that hosts movies and live music events. The theater first opened its doors in 1925 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Its diverse programming includes film festivals, concerts and Broadway productions! The Liberty Theater was built in the Renaissance Revival style and originally contained 1,500 seats. In recent years, the Liberty Theater has undergone a significant renovation and now contains a café, bar, and event space in addition to the main auditorium.
Astoria Riverfront Trolley
No matter what things to do in Astoria, Oregon you choose to go with, Astoria Riverfront Trolley will help you with that. The trolley runs between downtown and Pier 39, and is a great mode of transportation to get around the town and to sights like the Maritime Museum, Fort Clatsop National Park, Flavel House and more. The Astoria Riverfront Trolley runs daily from May 1 till October 15 from 11am-4pm for $1.50 for adults and $0.50 for kids (3-11).
Things to Do in Astoria
Astoria is a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re traveling with your family or just trying to take in some of the culture that the city has to offer. We hope you liked our list of picks for the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon, as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Have a great journey!
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