Astoria, Oregon, is one of the Northwest's great visitor destinations in terms of the quality and variety of activities and attractions. Thick with fun things to see and do, you'll find something that will appeal to most anyone's tastes or interests. History buffs and nature fans will certainly find the Astoria area delightful.
Here are my top picks for fun things to do in Astoria, including nearby Warrenton:
A visit to the Astoria Column includes both great views and interesting history. Not only will you be treated to a magnificent view of the town, the river, and the Astoria-Megler bridge, you'll be able to see Cape Disappointment, Youngs Bay, Saddle Mountain, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood (weather permitting). You can enjoy these views from the hill, or after climbing an internal spiral staircase up to the top of the Astoria Column. The Astoria Column is quite interesting in its own right. A story of the region's history is told in murals that winds up the structure. Events depicted include the arrival of Lewis and Clark and the initial establishment of Astoria as a fur trading center in 1811.
Columbia River Maritime Museum
The major river of the the Northwest, the Columbia River has long been an important route for transportation and commerce. The Columbia River bar, where the Columbia River opens to a wide mouth and empties into the Pacific Ocean, is known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific." The Columbia River Maritime Museum is an outstanding facility that provides exhibits covering the region's many shipwrecks and much more. Early European exploration, commercial fishing, the Coast Guard, and lighthouses are among the topics covered at the museum. You'll also see a long list of different kinds of vessels, both life-size and models, indoors and out on the river.
Fort Stevens State Park
Among the great state parks found in Oregon and throughout the Northwest, Fort Stevens State Park stands out for the number of things to see and do within its 3700 acres. Located at the northwest tip of the state, the park looks out over both the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean; a magnificent view of the Columbia River bar is available from the South Jetty. History buffs will enjoy learning about Fort Stevens' past, from Civil War times through the World Wars. A self-guided tour takes you around what remains of the fort's buildings and batteries. Other items of historic interest include a Native American longhouse and the Peter Iredale shipwreck. Fort Stevens State Park visitors will also find plentiful camping and outdoor recreation.
After finally reaching the Pacific, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery spent several months at Fort Clatsop, a small compound they constructed to survive a difficult winter. Part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Clatsop focuses on the Corps' activities during those wet and miserable months, including their interactions with the local Clatsop people. The visitor center houses excellent interpretive exhibits, a gift and book shop, and a small theater. The film addressing the Corps' challenging time from the Clatsop's point of view is particularly interesting. While there you can check out a reproduction of the original fort, take part in living history demonstrations, and hike trails to the canoe landing site.
Special Events & Festivals in AstoriaAstoria and the nearby town of Warrenton put on a variety of festivals throughout the year, drawing visitors from around the region.
- Fishers Poet Gathering (February)
- Astoria-Warrenton Crab Seafood and Wine Festival (April)
- Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival (June)
- Astoria Regatta Festival (August)
- Pacific Northwest Brew Cup (September)
- Great Columbia Crossing (October)
Flavel House Museum
Flavel House, an historic home and carriage house, provides an interesting glimpse of life in late-19th-century Astoria. The lovely Queen Anne mansion was built as Captain George Flavel's retirement home in 1886, a Columbia River bar pilot and prominent Astoria citizen. Flavel House has been restored and furnished to reflect life in the Victorian era, when Captain Flavel and his family lived in the stately structure.
Oregon Film Museum
Many movies and television shows have and continue to be filmed in the state of Oregon. Prominent among these are The Goonies (1985), Kindergarten Cop (1990), and Free Willy (1993). The Oregon Film Museum offers exhibits include movie props as well as information about what is involved in preparing for and filming a movie. The building itself is an artifact; the old historic jail was in fact the jailhouse featuring in the opening scenes of The Goonies.
Heritage Museum of the Clatsop County Historical Society
Astoria's old City Hall building is now the home of the Heritage Museum of the Clatsop County Historical Society. Exhibits feature the native Clatsop people as well as Astoria's maritime and fishing heritage. Upstairs you'll find the "Vice and Virtue in Clatsop County: 1890 to Prohibition", a set of exhibits focusing on a particularly wild and colorful era in local history.
Other Fun Things to Do in Astoria
- walk or bike the 4-mile Warrenton Waterfront Trail
- ride the refurbished 1913 streetcar along Astoria's waterfront
- take in a show at Astoria's grand Liberty Theater
- watch ships travel the Columbia River
- visit the Uppertown Firefighter's Museum
- browse and buy at Astoria's shops and galleries
- swim indoors at the Astoria Aquatic Center