You know Hood River, that gem of an outdoor town tucked on the windy banks of the Columbia River just an hour east of Portland. There’s plenty of recreation, craft beer, gourmet food and one-of-a-kind boutique shopping, right? But recent changes in two parts of town make this little burg worth getting to know even better.
Many visitors never make it past downtown Hood River, which has plenty of food, drink and shopping to occupy a weekend. But head up 13th Street to the Heights neighborhood and you’ll discover even more. At the corner of State and 13th Street, 10 Speed Coffee offers small-batch roasted coffee and fresh donuts. At the adjacent Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair, you’ll be warmly greeted by the resident dogs. Belly up to the bar for a beer and trail update.
Dining options include the Hood River Taqueria Mexican Restaurant, Thai House and Pine Street Bakery. (Try the Baker’s Sammy.) For gourmet food shopping, stop in at Ovino Market and Delicatessen, and pack yourself a picnic with cheese, meats, specialty deli items and their house made cider. Volcanic Bottle Shoppe has endless beer, wine and cider choices to take home or enjoy on site. Apple Green has wonderful home and gardening items for gifts or for treating yourself.
Follow the voluminous airborne kites down to the Hood River Event Site on the Columbia River, and you’ll find another cluster of great food, drink and play options. During the summer, The Sandbar Café sells burgers, fries, beer and hotdogs. The deck-side picnic tables have great views of the kiteboarders, windsurfers and SUPers on the water. Head west toward the Hood River Waterfront Park for a kids’ climbing wall and great swim beach. Just across the lawn, find Pfriem Family Brewers. Belgian-style ales and a full menu make this a great lunch or dinner spot. (We like the Belgian Strong Blonde Ale with the mac ’n cheese.) Nearby is Solstice Woodfire Pizza, where you don’t want to miss the Country Girl Pizza (cherry, goat cheese and chorizo) or giant woodfired ’smores. Spirit lovers will want to check out Camp 1805 Distillery, Hood River’s first micro-distillery now serving great cocktails and small plates.