Welcome to the hidden gem of the Pacific Northwest, Hood River, Oregon.
Nestled between towering mountains, lush forests, and the sparkling Columbia River, my hometown is a scenic utopia that beckons with an array of captivating adventures and tranquil escapes.
There's a certain magic in the air that makes every day feel enchanted, whether it's winter, spring, summer, or fall.
Here are the 20 best things to do in Hood River, Oregon:
While this list showcases some remarkable attractions, it's important to note there are many other exceptional places in Hood River that are not featured here. Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.
See the Valley at Panorama Point
There's something about standing at the top of Panorama Point that makes you feel like you're on top of the world.
Waking up and driving up here with a cup of coffee in hand is a blissful morning routine.
As the sun rises, the valley below shakes off the last traces of night, and you're left with the most awe-inspiring view of Mt. Hood.
While most people are stuck in their morning office commute, I'm here breathing in the fresh air and taking in the breathtaking view.
Panorama Point may not have the most extensive signage, but that's part of its charm.
Turning off Highway 35 and making the drive is an adventure in itself.
The lack of crowds contributes to the tranquility - it's never too busy, and there's even a restroom available for convenience.
The view from the top stretches almost 360 degrees around the valley, giving you a perspective that's hard to beat.
As the day progresses, the view changes - from the cool morning hues to the fiery colors at sunset.
During the fall and early winter, the sunsets here are especially mesmerizing, so make sure you time your visit before it closes at 6 pm.
The park department may not give this place the attention it deserves, but for those of us in the know, Panorama Point is our little secret gem.
This overlooked spot offers a beautiful way to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of our city.
Explore Hood River with Sol Rides
Imagine exploring the captivating Hood River region on an e-bike, the wind rushing past you, and the aroma of lavender fields teasing your senses.
That's precisely what I did last weekend with Sol Rides.
An unforgettable experience that encapsulates the essence of this picturesque locale.
Our e-bikes felt sturdy under us, humming along serenely as we traversed the scenic trails.
Sol Rides' guide was a fountain of local knowledge and wisdom.
The highlight of the tour was the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail, or as we locals like to call it, the Twin Tunnels Trail.
It's often hailed as the best under-10-mile bike ride in America, and after my experience, I couldn't agree more.
The view was simply breathtaking, with each bend revealing another piece of Hood River's natural beauty.
Wine Tasting at Phelps Creek Tasting Room
If you’ve ever tasted a wine that made you stop in your tracks and say, “Wow! Where can I get this?” chances are it was from Phelps Creek Tasting Room.
This quaint gem nestled in Oregon is my go-to place for a relaxing afternoon immersed in wine culture.
Whether you're a budding connoisseur or a seasoned sommelier, their vast array of wines has a delightful way of making you feel at home.
Taking a tour of the Phelps Creek Tasting Room is like exploring a beautiful, well-kept secret garden.
The breathtaking views of the vineyard and the rustic charm of the building are a feast for the senses, making every visit feel like a mini-vacation.
As someone who particularly enjoys the whites, let me tell you, it's impossible not to fall in love with the crisp, complex flavors Phelps Creek Tasting Rooms offers.
I've been to many tasting rooms, but few come close to the warmth and hospitality offered here.
Bike Through The Scenic Columbia River Highway State Trail
Whether you're an avid cyclist like me or just someone who enjoys a scenic walk, you simply can't beat the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.
This ride is my weekly ritual, a 10-mile stretch that will take your breath away with the most stunning views of The Gorge you'll ever get.
I tend to stick to the dirt trails, but this path is a fantastic change of pace.
You'll start your journey at the Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead.
There's ample parking for both regular vehicles and oversized ones such as RVs or camper vans.
The trailhead even has a couple of bathroom stalls for last-minute nature calls before embarking on your adventure.
Right off the bat, you'll be hit with a 5% grade uphill climb toward the twin tunnels.
It's a challenge, sure, but the reward is an unbeatable view.
From the parking lot, there's also an overlook trail that's worth a look.
What makes this trail particularly special is the variation in terrain.
Even on a sunny day, there are generous stretches of shade to provide relief from the heat.
The inclines and declines are beautifully balanced, giving you both a workout and a chance to coast and enjoy the view.
Whether you're on a bike or on foot, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is well worth the visit.
It's more than just a path—it's a journey through some of Oregon's most breathtaking country.
As a lover of Antiques, it has become something of a tradition to spend my lazy Sundays at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum.
Nestled right in the heart of Hood River, WAAAM makes for a wonderful escape.
I am always amazed by the extensive collection of antique cars and planes from the '20s and '30s that the museum houses.
The moment you step into the spacious hangars, nostalgia hits you.
The museum is not simply a place to display these pieces of history but a place where they come to life.
This is because all the vehicles are operable and used for special events and parades.
I recommend checking out the museum's "Second Saturday" play day.
Seeing these antique vehicles not just on display, but in action is an absolute treat.
You can even get a chance to ride in them!
Imagine my joy when I first rode in one of the vintage cars.
Just make sure to give yourself ample time, as there's a lot to see here.
One thing that stands out about WAAAM is not just the vast collection but the people who run it.
The dedicated volunteers who restore and maintain these vehicles are true enthusiasts and are always ready to share interesting facts and stories about the exhibits.
I've spent countless hours engaged in enlightening conversations with them.
Despite the often rainy weather, my visits to WAAAM are always a delight.
The museum's facilities are comfortable, and they even have a snack bar for when you need a quick bite.
Spend a Day at Wy'East Vineyards
I still remember that crisp autumn day when I first discovered the gem that is Wy'East Vineyards.
The sun was shining bright, and the air was filled with the perfect blend of earthy and fruity aromas.
There I was, in the heart of Hood River, Oregon, ready to indulge in some wine tasting.
The first thing that struck me was the breathtaking scenery.
The vineyard is nestled amongst the rolling hills, with the majestic Mount Hood in the backdrop.
It's not just about the topography, though, there's this calming energy that seems to flow throughout the place.
The outdoor patio offers an unspoiled view of the vineyards and the mountain peaks.
Now imagine sipping their top-notch Rose Pinot Noir from this spot.
It's a wine lover's paradise.
The vibe here is what one could describe as rustic yet elegant.
You can choose to lounge around the airy tasting room or step outside onto the patio to bask under the sun.
Often, you'll find fluffy alpacas gracing the far end of Wy'East Vineyards, a sight that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
And yes, you can pet them too!
They would often throw in some fun wine trivia during the tasting sessions.
For those who love a good bite with their wine, there's usually a food truck stationed nearby.
The veggie sandwich - it's truly something to write home about.
Paired with their acclaimed wines, it turns into a gastronomic experience like no other.
The wines, though, are undoubtedly the star of the show.
Each one of them has a distinct character and taste that resonates with the passion and hard work put into their creation.
And the best part is your tasting fee gets waived when you purchase a bottle.
Unleash Your Creativity at the Fruit Loops Art Center
There's a certain magic that comes alive as soon as you step into the vibrant world of the Fruit Loops Art Center.
I've seen my three-year-old daughter's eyes light up with excitement every time we come here.
She dives right into exploring the variety of art mediums available - it's her own little wonderland.
The center's well-thought-out setup has her covered for the messier projects, with smocks readily available.
She especially adores the arts and crafts section and the painted wall, where she lets her imagination run wild on the wide, blank canvas.
It's an inspiring sight, watching her express herself freely and fearlessly.
The open play and clubs that the center offers have also been a fantastic experience for my kids.
They're kept busy, happy, and their creativity is encouraged in the most wonderful ways.
I've noticed a significant improvement in their creative skills since they started visiting the Fruit Loops Art Center.
The vibe of the place is also very upbeat and welcoming.
Unwind at The Gorge White House
When the hustle and bustle of daily life gets too much, there's nothing quite like escaping to The Gorge White House, an oasis of tranquility nestled in my very own city.
The historic farm and winery, with its astounding mountain views, is my go-to spot to unwind.
The establishment is a picturesque vista of nature's artistry, with vibrant flowers blooming in every corner and succulent fruits hanging from the trees.
Their beer and cider tasting room is a hidden gem, providing a haven for all the cider enthusiasts out there, including me.
I've spent many afternoons sampling their cider flights - a wondrous mix of flavors like blueberry and watermelon, beautifully displayed in stunning glassware.
But the real cherry on top? Their gourmet food truck.
There's nothing quite like placing your order and then watching your meal being prepared with unwavering calmness and friendliness, despite the bustling crowd.
I recall one sunny afternoon, I ordered the Turkey bacon sandwich.
The sizzling, crispy bacon, paired with fresh veggies and juicy turkey, was an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Not to mention the strawberry picking.
I've lost count of the number of times I've handpicked my own strawberries, each one sweeter and juicier than the last.
And the best part, The Gorge White House is dog-friendly, so my furry companion gets to join me on my strawberry-picking adventures.
Have a Relaxing Afternoon at Hood River Waterfront Park
Let me tell you: there's nothing like spending a sunny afternoon at the Hood River Waterfront Park.
Nestled against the beautiful Hood River, with its crescent-shaped beach and an array of picnic tables, this park is a hidden gem in our city.
You can always find me launching my kayak from the watercraft launch, paddling against the gentle current.
What I absolutely adore about this park is the sheer diversity of activities to dive into.
Often, I find myself plunging into the refreshing river waters for a little swim or basking under the sun while my little ones play around in the children's playground.
And, of course, the food trucks around the park are an absolute delight, offering a smorgasbord of delectable treats to choose from.
My favorite part, however, is simply sitting on the Hood River Waterfront Park benches, relishing the cool breeze as I soak in the stunning river views.
Sometimes, I end up spending hours there, simply lost in the serenity of the surroundings.
And if you prefer a more lively experience, you can stroll along the waterfront, coffee in hand, from one of the many cafes around and appreciate the bustle of the park.
Have a Sweet Spoonful at Mike's Ice Cream
There's nothing quite like a summer evening in Hood River, Oregon, and nothing caps it off better than a trip to Mike's Ice Cream.
This charming little ice cream shop is a hidden gem in our city, and it has been a sweet-tooth savior for me and my family on many occasions.
They've always got smiles on their faces, and they're more than happy to let you sample any of the flavors before making your final decision.
I typically find myself drawn to their brownie sundae - where else can you find a dessert treat packed with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chunks of brownie, and a trio of your choice ice cream scoops?
But here's a small insider tip, they only accept cash.
If you're like me and often find yourself without any physical currency, don't fret.
They’re incredibly accommodating and have an unusual system where you can mail in a check. How quaint is that?
Now, if you are dairy-free, Mike's Ice Cream's options are a bit limited, but they do have a wonderfully refreshing sorbet on offer.
And for those who can enjoy the full array of dairy delights, the selection is broad and frequently changing.
Pay a Visit to Hood River Lavender Farms
There's something magical about spending the day at Hood River Lavender Farms, I can tell you that.
Nestled among the picturesque mountains in Oregon, the views from the farm are nothing short of breathtaking.
A leisurely drive over the mountain leads you straight to this quaint lavender farm, a perfect pit stop that offers a welcome break from the journey.
And the lavender fields? They are something to behold!
Spread out in a wide expanse, two contrasting shades of purple lavenders sway gently under the sun.
If you time it right, around 10 am, the field isn't as crowded, and you can have the place almost to yourself.
Trust me, wear a white outfit, and you'll stand out against the sea of purple, perfect for a photo op in this lavender paradise.
But the Hood River Lavender Farm is more than just pretty views and photo ops.
The Lavender Festival is a local favorite where artisan vendors showcase their work, offering a range of unique pottery, photos, and jewelry for purchase.
Their on-site lavender shop is full of delightful lavender-infused items.
From lotions and sprays to slushies, chocolates, and even ice cream - the smells are intoxicating.
You can enjoy an afternoon picnic with a cheese platter from the winery next door or bring in some delicious Mexican food from the city.
With plenty of comfy chairs and small tables scattered around, you can relax and soak in the serene environment.
Journey Through Time at The History Museum of Hood River County
You know that feeling you get when you can almost touch the past?
That's exactly how it feels at The History Museum of Hood River County.
Situated in the heart of Hood River, it's a place where the whispers of yesteryears echo through the halls.
Unassuming from the outside, the museum is a treasure trove of local history.
The museum has recently undergone a facelift with remodeled and updated exhibits.
It was a joy to walk through the polished halls, absorbing the antiquity of the place.
The exhibits cover a broad spectrum - from farming and country life to Japanese internment.
I particularly enjoyed the history of windsurfing in the Gorge.
As someone who's always enjoyed the water, that exhibit speaks volumes about the vibrant watersport history of our Gorge.
In spite of its size, the museum carries a certain charm.
I've spent countless afternoons there, losing myself in the annals of Hood River history.
The current exhibition showcases a terrific collection of Gorge watersports, which is worth every minute of your time.
A visit to the museum is a must if you ever find yourself in Hood River.
If you're an active-duty military member, it gets even better - you can avail of an admission discount.
Here's a little insider tip: it's not openly advertised, so make sure you ask about it at the counter!
See Various Artworks at The Columbia Center for the Arts
Strolling around the city one afternoon, I was drawn to the alluring charm of a building that housed a creative hub known as the Columbia Center for the Arts.
The place was brimming with the energy of new talent as I walked in to explore.
I was there just in time for the opening of the exhibition, Rhythm, and I was struck by the talent of my friend Elena Weisenburger.
This place isn't just a gallery; it is a testament to the diverse spectrum of art.
The space was anything but limiting, providing artists the freedom to display their work in their unique styles.
The variety of mediums and styles, ranging from abstract to realism, had the power to captivate every art enthusiast.
I found myself engrossed in each piece, appreciating the artistry and dedication poured into every creation.
The Columbia Center for the Arts is more than just a visual treat, it is a place where art is accessible and affordable.
If you're looking to add a unique piece to your collection, this place offers reasonably priced art pieces.
For those looking for a little token to remember their visit, there's a selection of greeting cards featuring the in-house artists that can serve as a perfect keepsake.
What makes this place truly welcoming is its warm and inviting ambiance.
The gallery isn't overwhelmingly large but houses enough art pieces to keep you engaged for an hour or more.
They also host a small store filled with charming items that are hard to resist.
While entrance to this creative paradise is free of charge, they encourage donations to support the artists and the art community.
Spend a Relaxing Day at Jackson Park
You wouldn't believe the fun and tranquility you can experience in one place until you visit Jackson Park.
This isn't just another park, it's a place where memories are made and cherished.
I remember those sunny afternoons watching my kids run around, their laughter echoing through the park.
There's a playground that offers a wide variety of equipment to keep little adventurers entertained.
The park is always well-maintained, and the lush green grass is like a soft carpet under your feet.
One of my favorite pastimes is eating lunch there.
It's a kind of peacefulness you can't find anywhere else.
The rustling leaves and chirping birds provide a soothing soundtrack that takes me back to my own childhood.
But it's not all about tranquility!
Jackson Park is also home to some electrifying local events.
I still remember that epic night we had a concert there.
The energy of the crowd, the sound of the band playing under the starry sky - it was an unforgettable experience.
And let's not forget the fantastic BBQs!
The tantalizing aroma of sizzling meats fills the air, and the spirit of love and peace is contagious.
At Jackson Park, the saying "Make love, not war" takes on a whole new meaning.
Explore Port Marina Park
Believe me when I say this, there's something magical about Port Marina Park.
Nestled in our charming city, it's a place of tranquility that's perfect for leisurely walks or exciting water activities.
I remember vividly the first time I sat on a bench, feeling the gentle breeze on my face as the sun set over the marina.
It was an experience I'll never forget.
If you ever find yourself passing through our city, perhaps on your way to Stonehenge, make a stop at the marina.
You'll be glad you did.
Here is where you can find all the information you might need: Port Marina Park.
The park also features some modern exhibits that are well-organized and not overcrowded, making the experience even more enjoyable.
But what I enjoy most about the marina is its position as a prime spot to watch the exciting kiteboarding and kitesurfing on the Columbia River.
On a regular day, I'd get there early in the morning, when the world is still quiet, just to watch the first few surfers take to the waves.
As the day progresses, the number of surfers usually increases, transforming the river into a picture-perfect scene of vibrant kites against the backdrop of the flowing river.
There's a sandbar in the middle of the river where you can stand and take magnificent photos.
It's a sight to behold, trust me on that!
Visit Marchesi Vineyards & Winery
Oh, the divine luxury of having a wine-tasting venue of such caliber practically at my doorstep!
Marchesi Vineyards & Winery has become my go-to place for any weekend relaxation.
When the stress of the workweek gets too overwhelming, I take my trusty canine companion and head to this little slice of Tuscany right here in the city.
The moment you step in, you're swept away by the charming, homely atmosphere that's so reminiscent of Italian vineyards.
I've spent countless afternoons there, lounging with a bottle of their exquisite wine paired with their delicious charcuterie.
Of course, the experience wouldn't be complete without the winery cat prowling around, much to my dog's amusement.
One can't help but relax, taking in the stunning view of Marchesi Vineyards & Winery with a plate of delicacies at hand and a glass of exceptional wine.
I've been a dedicated member of their wine club for a few years now, and I've never been disappointed.
Each bottle I've taken home has surpassed my expectations.
I particularly recommend the Barbera 2020 to all red wine lovers out there.
Even without the wines, just visiting this lovely facility is an experience in itself.
An Unforgettable Experience at pFriem Family Brewers
There's nothing quite like the vibrant atmosphere at pFriem Family Brewers.
It's a modern taproom where craft beer lovers and food enthusiasts converge in a delightful fusion of taste and passion.
From the first moment I stepped into this enchanting place, I knew it would quickly become my go-to spot.
Now, whenever I want to unwind after a long week or gather with friends, pFriem is always top of my list.
Their seating system is as smooth as their IPA - they take my details and text me when my table is ready, allowing me to soak in the stunning views of the Hood River until it's time to dine.
The food here is something else - a delicious blend of traditional German dishes and innovative flavor combinations.
Between the fennel and arugula salad and the mouth-watering schnitzel, there’s no chance of leaving you unsatisfied.
My personal favorite, however, is the mushroom sandwich.
Paired with a fresh salad, it's an all-star meal that never fails to surpass my expectations.
What truly sets pFriem apart, though, is their beer.
Each brew they offer is a testament to their commitment to craft and quality.
From their flagship IPAs to their specialty beers, like the Belgian Dark or the Ukrainian Relief IPA, each sip is an adventure for the palate.
A visit to pFriem isn't just a meal - it's a journey into a world of taste and quality that lingers long after the last bite.
Experience a Picturesque Journey on the Mount Hood Railroad
If you're ever in the mood for an unforgettable adventure, there's nothing quite like the scenic ride on the Mount Hood Railroad.
Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, this heritage railway line is a treasured hidden gem right in our backyard.
Breathtaking would be an understatement to describe the experience.
From the comfort of the train, you witness the raw beauty of Mother Nature - a cascading waterfall, the iconic Mt.
Hood and Mt. Adams, and the tranquility of a serene river.
We crossed an old wooden bridge, and it felt like we were momentarily transported back in time.
This experience is perfect for all ages.
We've had children, seniors, and adults join us on this joyful ride, and it's been an absolute joy to see everyone's faces light up with excitement and wonder.
The Tandem Railbike ride is yet another unique experience that Mount Hood Railroad has to offer.
Imagine pedaling through the majestic outdoors with the assistance of the power assist feature, making the ride as effortless or as intense as you prefer.
It's an incredible way to soak in the beautiful landscapes while getting a bit of an outdoor workout!
If you're visiting during Easter, the Easter train is a must-do family activity.
With a lively egg hunt, adorable live bunnies, and talented actors creating a fun-filled atmosphere, it's a whole lot of fun for the little ones.
Sip a Cup of Coffee at Doppio Coffee
Whenever my day feels a bit sluggish, the only thing that can instantly perk me up is a visit to my favorite coffeehouse, Doppio Coffee.
Here, I have discovered the perfect blend of comfort and indulgence.
I can't help but fall in love with the stylish interiors each time I walk in.
The warm ambiance wraps you like a cozy blanket, instantly making you feel at home.
The outdoor patio, on the other hand, is my sanctuary during sunny afternoons.
Sipping my coffee under the Oregon sun is a luxury I wouldn't trade for anything.
It's not just the ambiance that keeps me coming back, though.
The delectable offerings at Doppio Coffee are simply irresistible.
The pastries are delicate and flavorful, and my top pick has to be the apple turnover – it's the best I’ve ever had.
The gourmet sandwiches, particularly the breakfast sandwiches on fresh Ciabatta, are a delight to every taste bud.
Then there's the coffee.
The specialty drinks are a celebration of authentic Italian roasts, and the Chai Latte with oat milk is my must-have.
Although the nutmeg dusting can be a bit messy, the flavor it imparts is worth every speck.
Unwind at Tucker Park Campground
If you're looking for an idyllic retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life, look no further than Tucker Park here in Hood River.
The moment I visited this place, I knew I had found a hidden gem.
Nestled on the banks of the Hood River, the park offers a delightful getaway for nature lovers and campers alike.
The park's generous selection of campsites caters to everyone, ranging from modest tents to smaller RVs.
Each site is scrupulously maintained, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a blade of grass out of place.
The green spaces are lush and vibrant, perfect for leisurely picnics or an impromptu game of frisbee.
Trust me, Tucker Park has the most sparkling clean bathrooms I have ever seen in a campsite.
The coin-operated hot showers are worth every penny, and you'll never find yourself waiting for hot water.
It's these little touches that make your camping experience genuinely comfortable and hassle-free.
One of my absolute favorite things about Tucker Park is its proximity to the Hood River.
Several campsites offer fantastic river views, and the gentle murmuring of the river is the perfect lullaby after a day filled with adventure.
If you're lucky, you might even stumble upon a little sandy beach where you can dip your toes in the water.
Lastly, I cannot end without mentioning the fantastic camp hosts, Steve and Tiffany.
Their friendly demeanor and dedication to maintaining the park truly enhance the camping experience.
They're always ready to share interesting tidbits about the park or lend a helping hand.
Whether you're a seasoned camper or new to the game, Tucker Park has something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for?
Grab your tent, pack your picnic basket, and come on down for an unforgettable camping experience.
Living in Hood River is never a dull moment.
From the breathtaking views at Panorama Point to the interactive educational experience at The History Museum of Hood River County, adventure is always just around the corner.
Sipping on a glass of the finest wine at Phelps Creek Tasting Room or Wy'East Vineyards is a regular indulgence, and the aromatic fields of Hood River Lavender Farms are simply a delight to visit.
This is what a day looks like in Hood River, a place that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a vibrant community.