Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Baker City, OR

  • Published 2021/12/09

Baker City, Oregon, is another American city with various nicknames.

Its origins as a gold rush town gave it the moniker “Queen City of the Mines,” while its history as the first stop of the Oregon Trail made it the “Base Camp for Eastern Oregon.”

No matter the name, though, Baker City will always be the crown jewel of eastern Oregon.

On your visit to this city, you’ll find more than a hundred historic buildings, including the Geiser Grande Hotel.

If you want to venture outdoors, you’ll also find several hiking trails and rivers to delight your senses and stuff your camera roll.

Of course, the city has various arts and cultural attractions to indulge your tastes.

Do you want to know more about Baker City, OR? Check out this list below.

Pay a Visit to the Sumpter Valley Railroad

Scenic View of Sumpter Valley Railroad

Wasim Muklashy /

If you like both history and trains, you’ll enjoy visiting the Sumpter Valley Railroad.

It’s perfect for a summer weekend trip, which takes you on a journey back in time as you ride vintage trains through the gorgeous Sumpter Valley.

Scenic View of Sumpter Valley Railroad

Wasim Muklashy /

Go deep in the heart of Gold Rush country through restored trains that shipped all the mined gold everywhere in the country.

If you want to know what the Gold Rush era was like, take this train to find out.

Visit the Sumpter Valley Railroad office at PO Box 389, Baker City, OR 97814.

Scenic View of Sumpter Valley Railroad

Wasim Muklashy /

Learn Local History at the Leo Adler House Museum

One historic building you can visit in Baker City is the house of philanthropist and magazine magnate Leo Adler.

He is one of Baker City’s finest sons, and the city has preserved his 1889 house to honor his legacy.

He also left his massive $21 million fortune to Baker County after his death.

Leo Adler lived in the same Italianate house for 94 years until his death in 1993.

Today, the house has undergone complete renovation for the public.

You can join a guided tour that takes you through all the house’s rooms, including the downstairs parlor, which contains period wallpaper.

You’ll also notice that all lights, furniture, and artwork come from Adler’s time inside the house.

Visit the Leo Adler House at 2305 Main Street, Baker City, OR 97814.

Try Fine Spirits at the Glacier 45 Distillery

Baker City is also the home of the Glacier 45 Distillery, which makes the finest premium spirits in the state.

Glacier 45 crafts vodka and other drinks to cool your bones and soothe your spirit by taking inspiration from its mountain location.

Likewise, Glacier 45 uses only the cleanest spring water for their handcrafted creations.

Since the distillery sits at the foot of the Elkhorn Mountain range, they source water directly from the mountain rivers and streams.

Their vodka and gin do not contain any additives, and they are also naturally gluten-free.

Visit the Glacier 45 Distillery at 1901 Main Street, Baker City, OR 97814.

Learn More History at the Chinese Cemetery

The United States owes much of its progress to immigrants who came to the country searching for a better life.

In Oregon’s case, the state is proud of its rich Chinese heritage.

When you go to Baker City, you’ll find one site commemorating this history.

It’s the Chinese Cemetery, one of the few sites that honor this Chinese connection in Northeast Oregon.

Inside the cemetery, you’ll find two boards explaining the cemetery history and the historical links of the Chinese to Baker County.

Today, you can also find one marked grave left from the 46 people originally buried there.

Visit the Chinese Cemetery at Windmill Rd, Baker City, OR 97814.

Book a Night at the Geiser Grand Hotel

View of Geiser Grand Hotel

Cacophony, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You might not think of hotels as historical landmarks, but Baker City will prove you wrong.

The Geiser Grand Hotel is one of Oregon’s premier historical attractions, opening in 1889.

It closed for restoration in 1968 and reopened in 1993.

View of Geiser Grand Hotel

Victoria Ditkovsky /

Today, you can book a night’s stay in this hotel and feel the history behind its walls.

In its early days, the Geiser Grand earned the reputation of being “the finest hotel between Portland and Salt Lake City.”

Likewise, it became known as the “Queen of the Mines.”

View of Geiser Grand Hotel

Ambercarben, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like other historic buildings, the hotel followed the Italianate style.

Its history may have also attracted some otherworldly residents, as people have claimed that the hotel is haunted.

Visit the Geiser Grand Hotel at 1996 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Sip Fine Wine at the Copper Belt Wines

The family-owned Copper Belt Wines collects grapes from vineyards planted on family land 100 years ago.

With each sip of Copper Belt wine, you’ll feel a rich shot of history coursing through your body.

How historical is the place?

Their winemaker, Travis Cook, is the great-grandson of Walter Cook, who planted the vineyards a century ago.

Travis established Copper Belt Wines in 2010.

Today, you can try a varied selection of wines from the Copper Belt.

They offer sparkling wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Barrel-aged Dry Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dry Rose wines.

You can visit the Copper Belt tasting room in downtown Baker City if you just want a taste.

Try Copper Belt Wines at 1937 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Bike Around the Baker City Mini-Loop

Who says you can’t work out on vacation?

Thanks to its Mini-Loop, Baker City offers a unique biking experience for tourists.

If you take this loop, you won’t just go around buildings that look the same, but you’ll see special sites and nature sights you won’t see elsewhere.

The Baker City Mini-Loop takes you all around the surrounding mountains and farms.

During your trip to the wilderness, you might even spot wildlife like deer.

You could also see farm animals like sheep and cows.

Of course, you will also see several vintage buildings with classical designs on your way back.

See the Latest Blockbuster at the Historic Eltrym Theater

Front View of Historic Eltrym Theater

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you feel the need to catch the latest blockbuster?

If you find yourself in Baker City with this urge, why not buy a ticket at the historic Eltrym Theater?

This theater is part of the city’s long history of movie theaters that began with the Rust Opera House in the 1800s.

The Eltrym Theater got its name from the late accomplished musician Myrtle Buckmiller.

(Myrtle spelled backward is “Eltrym.”)

She used to play her compositions along to silent films, though she didn’t stop despite the dawn of sound movies.

Her husband, Frank, sang along with her.

Myrtle and Frank ran Baker Theatres, which owned all the Main Street theaters in Baker City.

However, one of them, the Clarick, burned down in 1937.

Myrtle herself died in 1940, still planning to build the Times Theatre.

When she died, many major figures in cinema attended her funeral.

In June 1940, A. Ritchie & Co. completed the Times Theater, now called the Eltrym Theater.

Today, the theater still screens the latest movies.

So, if you want to treat yourself to a movie night in Baker City, why not try it with a dash of film history?

Visit the Eltrym Theater at 1809 1st St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Sweet Wife Baking

If your sweet tooth starts aching in Baker City, that means you need to drop by Sweet Wife Baking for some delicious treats.

In 2015, Jenny Mowe opened Sweet Wife Baking after gaining baking experience from her family and friends.

She learned how to bake things from scratch, including milking cows and making cheese.

Today, you can buy all sorts of baked treats from the store.

From breakfast offerings to specialty orders, Sweet Wife Baking has you covered.

You can buy grilled cheese sandwiches to pies, and cakes.

Visit Sweet Wife Baking at 2028 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Try Chocolate Goodness at Peterson’s Gallery and Chocolatier

In 2011, Alyssa Peterson returned from Germany to open the eponymous gallery and chocolatier.

Her stay in Germany has made her fall in love with European drinking chocolate and handmade confectionery.

When she came back to her hometown of Baker City, she already had plans to create a chocolate shop and art gallery.

Today, Peterson’s Gallery and Chocolatier features one local artist every month.

You can grab a cup of specialty drinking chocolate if you go there, which you can pair with the chocolate treat you want, such as chocolate squares, bars, truffles, and brittles, among others.

So, enjoy heavenly chocolate sweetness while admiring the artwork on display.

What better way to appreciate art?

Visit Peterson’s Gallery and Chocolatier at 1925 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Experience History in Downtown Baker City

1024px Baker City OR Downtown1

Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you can’t think of anything to do in Baker City, you might as well roam around its historic downtown district.

Like many American hotspots, the city is at the forefront of modernity, but it retains an authentic historical flavor.

How historic is this district?

Downtown Baker City is proud of being one of the biggest 20th century downtown districts in the entire Pacific Northwest.

1024px Baker City OR Downtown2

Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Likewise, it’s one of the few historic districts in the region that has stayed mostly intact.

The Main Street program has lovingly restored Baker City downtown through the years.

Today, it has found renewed energy, brimming with local shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

1024px Bakermainstreet

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Various festivals and events like the Baker Artist Studio Tour and the Baker City Cycling Classic occur downtown.

You can start your downtown Baker City trip at 1655 First St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Grab Organic Food at the BELLA Main Street Market

Why don’t you make your Baker City trip a chance to start eating healthier?

Just go to the BELLA Main Street Market and start shopping for organic food sourced locally.

For instance, you can buy organic garlic and fruits harvested from nearby Cove and Eagle Creek Orchard.

Likewise, you can buy fresh vegetables, nuts, preserves, Hells Canyon Blackberry Jam.

You can even buy locally produced grass-fed Wagyu and Angus beef to satisfy your carnivorous urges.

The market also sells premium Oregon cheeses, smoked salmon, freshly caught Albacore, and Dungeness Crab.

You can even attend a wine tasting at the market, offering many of Oregon’s best wines and microbrews.

Visit the BELLA Main Street Market at 2023 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Enjoy Good Food and Beer at Barley Brown’s Beer

The family-owned Barley Brown’s Beer has won several national and international beer-making awards for a good reason.

Their creativity and boldness in coming up with new delicious flavors have made it a Baker City institution.

For example, their cerveza negra caliente will surely warm your bones during winter.

Likewise, their Shredder’s Wheat beer has won two gold medals in beer competitions held in the US and abroad.

The restaurant sells filling sandwiches, pasta, beer-friendly grub, and steaks.

Visit Barley Brown’s Beer at 2190 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Find the Best Cheese for Your Wine at The Cheese Fairy

While you’re enjoying wine inside the Copper Belt Wines tasting room, you might notice another store nearby.

This place is The Cheese Fairy, the other half of the Copper Belt operation, selling deluxe cheeses you can pair with your wine.

While Travis Cook crafts wine for Copper Belt, his sister, Cody, runs The Cheese Fairy.

Her stall fills one corner of the wine tasting room, where you can try out cheeses that go perfectly with your chosen wine.

You can even take some chunks of cheese together with your wine bottle.

You’ll also have zero reasons to doubt Cody’s abilities, for she is a certified cheese professional.

If you’re ever craving cheese, you need to set an appointment with The Cheese Fairy.

Visit The Cheese Fairy at 1937 Main St., #3349, Baker City, OR 97814.

Check Out Art at the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center

The Crossroads Carnegie Art Center began in 1963 as the Oregon Trail Arts Center.

Back then, they recognized the need to cultivate the creativity of Baker City residents by providing art programs.

Today, the art center provides space for artists to display their work.

They also conduct art classes for all ages, covering various mediums like stained glass, pottery, flower arrangement, and barn quilt painting.

Likewise, they accept exhibit submissions from artists working in the Pacific Northwest and the Eastern Oregon region.

Visit the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center at 2020 Auburn Avenue, Baker City, OR 97814.

Final Thoughts

When you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, you owe it to yourself to visit Baker City, Oregon.

The city’s historic districts, paired with exciting natural attractions and activities, should leave you with a stacked camera roll and several unforgettable memories.

Book your Baker City today!

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