Road Trip: Astoria

December 22, 2014 (Updated July 18, 2017)

With quaint Victorian homes perched on a steep hillside above the wide mouth of the Columbia River, it’s easy to see why the bustling port town of Astoria has been called “Little San Francisco.” Astoria was founded in 1811 as a fur trading post and became the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast. These days, Astoria presents a delightful mix of old and new experiences.

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Lasting Legacy: The Astoria Downtown Historic District alone includes dozens of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit the Flavel House Museum, an 1885 Queen Anne-style house that was home to a Columbia River bar pilot and an early millionaire. Take in a show at the Liberty Theater, a beautifully restored Italianate theater first built in 1925 and the host of the annual Astoria International Film Festival. Climb the 125-foot Astoria Column, built in 1926 and offering breathtaking, 360-degree views of the river, ocean and town. Learn about the Corps of Discovery at nearby Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-06.

Maritime Time: You’ll get an eyeful of the mighty Columbia as you drive across the 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge, a steel cantilever through truss bridge soaring over the river (the longest continuous truss bridge in North America). Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum for an interactive history lesson about the treacherous Columbia Bar, the history of the salmon industry and more. The nearby Barbey Maritime Center is an homage to the art of wooden boat building. Stroll the waterfront along the Astoria Riverwalk trail for views of large freighters passing under the span of the bridge.

Beer Here: As part of the North Coast Beer Trail, Astoria offers plenty of pours for craft beer lovers. Rogue Ales Public House, Fort George Brewery + Public House, Astoria Brewing Company and Wet Dog Café, Buoy Beer Company and Hondo’s Brew Pub offer many options for great Oregon craft beer, friendly Astorian hospitality and hearty pub menus.

Great Plates: Blue Scorcher Bakery & Café serves a delightful selection of freshly baked breads and pastries as well as a delicious, all organic breakfast and lunch menu. Astoria Coffee House & Bistro, open all day, offers comfort food ranging from rich cioppino to wild mushroom gnocchi. Hit Bowpicker Fish & Chips for beer battered tuna served from a converted gillnet boat across from the maritime museum. For a romantic dinner, book a table at T Paul’s Supper Club or Bridgewater Bistro.

Extend your stay: You can’t beat the waterside views at the Cannery Pier Hotel, a gorgeous luxury hotel on the site of a former cannery. Or stay in the heart of downtown at the beautifully restored Hotel Elliott.

About The
Author

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

Featured in this story

Flavel House Museum
Liberty Theater
Astoria Column
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Rogue Ales Public House – Astoria Pier 39
Wet Dog Cafe
Fort George Brewery & Public House
Buoy Beer Co.
Blue Scorcher Bakery Café
Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro
Bowpicker Fish and Chips
Bridgewater Bistro
Cannery Pier Hotel
Hotel Elliott