Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Astoria, OR

  • Published 2022/05/10

The city of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, Astoria has quite an illustrious history.

It also happens to be the oldest city in Oregon.

Though it might be one of the state’s smaller cities, Astoria leaves a significant impact on tourists.

Filled with old forts, gorgeous architecture, and the graceful Columbia River, Astoria is an excellent place to go on a getaway.

Here sare the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon:

Enjoy the Views from the Astoria Riverwalk

The trail of Astoria Riverwalk

Jonathan Lingel /

If you want to experience Astoria’s authentic vibe, pay a visit to the hip part of the city: the Astoria Riverwalk.

This walking trail is one of the city’s top must-see tourist spots.

The Port of Astoria is the main thing to check out here.

Watch as the ships set sail for the distant lands.

View of a port at Astoria Riverwalk

Gavin Sabol /

This place is Astoria’s trade and commerce hub.

You can see the Astoria-Megler Bridge as it stands tall and proud.

The Astoria Riverwalk boasts some of the best views of the Columbia River.

There are also a lot of shops and museums here that you can check out.

The Megler bridge from Astoria Riverwalk

Gavin Sabol /

Visit the Garden of Surging Waves

Astoria is a gathering place for all kinds of people from all over the world.

People of different religions and cultures have made Astoria their home, making Astoria more beautiful than it already is.

The Garden of Surging Waves is the epitome of such togetherness and celebrates the gathering of all the cultures.

Though it might look like a simple park from the outside, the presence of spirits here is high and amicable.

It also shows the city’s friendly relationship with China.

The Chinese played a significant role in shaping Astoria’s history.

Climb the Astoria Column

The tall Astoria Column

Emily Marie Wilson /

The great Astoria Column is one of Astoria’s iconic landmarks.

The structure is so tall that it can be seen even from a great distance.

Situated on the valiant Coxcomb Hill, the Astoria Column is something every tourist visits and makes sure to photograph.

Close view of Astoria Column's painting

Petr Podrouzek /

If you want, you can still climb the old column.

Be warned, however, that there are almost 160 steps, and they are pretty steep.

Once you get to the top, though, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most gorgeous views of Astoria, as you can overlook the entire city.

The top half of Astoria Column seen from afar

Jess Kraft /

Step Back in Time at the Columbia River Maritime Museum

Diving suit in Columbia River Maritime Museum

steve estvanik /

If you want to deepen your knowledge of the maritime history of Astoria, you must pay a visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Built in 1962, the museum itself is a witness to the old Astoria.

Exterior of Columbia River Maritime Museum

Paul R. Jones /

The Columbia River Maritime Museum’s main objective is to keep Astoria’s heritage safe and inform more people of its rich maritime history.

The museum houses artifacts, photographs, and even an entire libary.

Darble boat displayed in Columbia River Maritime Museum

Paul R. Jones /

Immerse Yourself in Nature and History at the Fort Stevens State Park

Calm waters of Fort Stevens State Park

Dee Browning /

Fort Stevens is one of the best pieces of architecture constructed during the Civil War period.

It also happened to be among the top defense forts for the soldiers.

Fort Stevens played a huge role during WWII, too.

Shipwreck of Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park

MattLphotography /

Fort Stevens State Park was eventually built around the fort, and it presently brings in a lot of tourists.

Though the state park is a historic site, people also visit this place to take in the greenery that surrounds the fort.

Old concrete battery at Fort Stevens State Park

Michelle Mike Jaqua /

Explore the Flavel House Museum

Exterior of Flavel House Museum

Sveta Imnadze /

The Flavel House Museum is one of the best-designed houses you’ll see on the West Coast.

If you are familiar with the well-renowned Queen Anne-style architecture, this house might be of significant interest to you.

Welcome sign in front of Flavel House Museum

Steven Pavlov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carl W. Leick designed this house brilliantly back in 1886.

Astoria river pilot Captain George Flavel was the owner of this gorgeous house and spent his whole retirement period here.

The house gives off grand Victorian vibes and is extremely elegant.

Learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition at Fort Clatsop

Entryway of Fort Clatsop

Nagel Photography /

Located in the beautiful Clatsop Plains, Fort Clatsop sits on the banks of the lovely Lewis and Clark River.

The fort has got quite a historical significance that you’ll get to know about once you check out the place.

The famous fort also served as the winter home to Lewis and Clark and their explorers.

Exterior of a log cabin at Fort Clatsop

Paul R. Jones /

The original Fort Clatsop is no longer here.

What you now see is a beautiful replica of what it used to be.

Find out everything there is to know about the iconic Lewis and Clark expedition from the help center.

Interior of Fort Clatsop's log cabin

Thye-Wee Gn /

Check Out Fort Astoria

Exterior of Fort Astoria

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Astoria is one of the most important old forts in the city.

The forts used to be important centers of trade and commerce.

Astoria was quite well known for its fur trading, and this is the spot where it all happened.

History marker plaque of Fort Astoria

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fort was built back in 1811.

Unfortunately, the one you’ll see on your trip is not the original one.

Now located downtown, it has been rebuilt beautifully and resembles the original.

The location is quite good as it falls near the other attractions of Astoria, too.

Exterior of Fort Astoria

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Board the Historic Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Daytime view of the Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Debbie Ann Powell /

The Astoria Riverfront Trolley is something that has been here for a long time.

It has got quite a bit of historic influence.

The old trolley runs for almost 3 miles.

It used to serve as a mode of transportation in Astoria, but now it solely functions for tourism purposes.

Tourists riding the Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Enrico Powell /

Tourists ride the historic trolley to take a look at the notable spots that fall on this line.

Though many renovations have been done, the streetcar was manufactured in 1913.

The tram is one of Astoria’s landmarks.

Cross the Astoria–Megler Bridge

Daytime view of the Astoria - Megler Bridge

Jess Kraft /

The Astoria–Megler Bridge might be one of the top sights to see in Astoria, but when it comes to actually crossing the bridge, many people take a step back.

The initial reason is that it’s scary for most of them.

Connecting Oregon to Washington, the bridge goes on for almost 4 miles.

The road of Astoria–Megler Bridge

When you look up at the bridge from the river below, you will find it even more beautiful.

The road of Astoria–Megler Bridge

Bob Pool /

The Great Columbia Crossing 10K is an event held on the bridge that allows people to walk or run across it.

People are usually not allowed during other times of the year.

Astoria–Megler Bridge over the columbia river

Michael J Magee /

Tour the Uppertown Firefighter’s Museum

Exterior of Uppertown Firefighter's Museum

Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the top-rated tourist sites in Astoria, the Uppertown Firefighter’s Museum mainly focuses on the different firefighters and firefighting tools.

Based on its architecture and design, the building is quite an old one and likely dates back to the 19th century.

You can see a lot of trucks that firefighters have used throughout the year, and you can also see how much they have changed.

The best thing is that there are facts written all over the place about big fires or remarkable incidents.

You can also see a lot of tools that they used.

Learn about Astoria’s History at the Heritage Museum

Exterior of Heritage Museum

Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located beside the iconic Historical Society’s Archive, the museum plays a vital role in shaping the city’s history.

The building itself happens to be quite historically significant.

It is Astoria’s Old City Hall building.

There are a lot of exhibits inside the museum.

Its permanent collection is quite good too.

The temporary displays set up during different times of the year also get a lot of attention.

Catch the Performances of Astor Street Opry Company

After more than a quarter of a century, the Astor Street Opry Company (also known as ASOC) continues to put on top-notch performances and strengthen the bond between performers and audiences via live theater.

Artists of many ages and origins participate in the performances, united by their love of the stage and their respect for local customs and Astoria’s rich artistic past.

Visitors to the ASOC Playhouse may see a variety of live theatrical productions.

You may also learn more about the community via live-action, dance, singing, storytelling, and comedy.

Plays like ‘Shanghaied in Astoria,’ which depict the city’s diverse views, are among the company’s most popular offerings.

Shop for Local Goods at Astoria Sunday Market

People shopping at Astoria Sunday Market

Patricia G. Adderley /

Located in the city’s downtown area, the Astoria Sunday Market has a whole different.

You get to see the local farmers and artists come here and make their living.

Homemade bread for sale at Astoria Sunday Market

Jonathan Lingel /

This also happens to be the second-largest market in Oregon.

The baked goods sold here are all homemade and quite delicious.

You can also find different jewels here.

Basket of blossoms at Astoria Sunday Market

Jonathan Lingel /

Tour the J.O. Hanthorn Bumble Bee Cannery Museum

Bumble Bee Cannery Museum in Astoria has exhibits that make you feel like a fisherman from the ancient days when fish were brought in for canning by gillnet boats.

Located at Pier 39, the museum is the lower Columbia River’s oldest processing factory.

An industrial freezer that you can really go inside, vintage canning equipment, fishing boats, and countless relics are all on display.

The company supplied many Astoria citizens with work, food, and hope for a brighter future in its heyday.

It is one of the world’s biggest and strongest fish marketing firms.

Go on a Columbia River Tour

Cruise in Columbia River

Neil Lockhart /

The Columbia River is one of the best locations in Astoria

Some companies organize cruises and eco-tours that take you around the river and show you the spots along the shoreline.

While cruising, you’ll be able to spot the gorgeous Astoria-Megler Bridge.

Daytime cruise on Columbia River

BZ Travel /

To walk on the bridge is one thing, but to see it from below in the waters is an entirely different experience.

The tour guides will even take you to Twilight Creek Eagle Sanctuary, where you can see many exotic birds.

There are a lot of salmon nurseries that are located in the river.

Have a Refreshing Swim at Young River Falls

Scenic view of Young River Falls

Ian Sane from Oregon, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for something to do on a summer day?

Head over to Young River Falls to have some fun.

It is quite a nice family spot located a bit away from the heart of Astoria.

The waterfall stands at the height of 54 feet.

This waterfall might seem a bit familiar to you—it was featured in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 movie!

The falls attract huge crowds, and the scenes are magnificent.

You’re welcome to jump from the cliffs as there is a pool formed at the bottom.

Explore the History of Film at the Oregon Film Museum

Exterior of Oregon Film Museum

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in a 1913 jailhouse, the Oregon Film Museum was founded in 2010.

It includes interactive displays highlighting some of Oregon’s most famous and popular films.

Visiting this museum with your friends is a great way to have fun and learn something new.

A corridor in Oregon Film Museum

Jeff Hitchcock from Seattle, WA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Several interactive exhibits on well-known Oregon films, including Free Willy, The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, and many more, help preserve the state’s rich history in film and television production.

You and your traveling buddies will blast visiting the Oregon Film Museum and other well-known tourist destinations.

Here you’ll find many interesting items, such as costumes, props, and other memorabilia.

Other exciting activities include mug pictures, making your own short film, and touring the old prison cells, among many more.

Exhibit of the Goonies in Oregon Film Museum

Constablequackers, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Local Brews at Fort George Brewery

Exterior of Fort George Brewery

JasonRenfrow /

Fort George Brewery is housed in the former Lovell Auto Building, meticulously renovated to house a 30-barrel brewhouse.

The facility also houses canning and a taproom with massive wood beams, books, puzzles, board games, a large screen featuring sporting games, shuffleboard, foosball table, great food, and even better beer.

Fort George Brewery's sign

JasonRenfrow /

Fort George Brewery is a favorite hangout for locals and tourists alike from Wednesday through Sunday because of its extensive beer selection, home-cooked food, and live music.

Brewery tours and tastings are available on Saturday and Sunday for beer enthusiasts.

Only in Astoria can you get Fort George’s unique artisan beers.

Final Thoughts

Astoria, Oregon, is a beautiful riverside community that offers a wide range of leisure activities for you and your friends.

Take some time out of your hectic schedule and visit its many tourist attractions to recharge your batteries.

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