One of the many things that drew us to Portland was the huge range of things to do just outside of the city. In the past 10 months, we’ve done our share of trips to Mt. Hood (skiing, snowshoeing, hiking) and to the Columbia River Gorge (hiking, Multnomah Falls, stand-up paddle boarding). But somehow we’ve only made it to the coast a couple of times.
We decided to remedy that this past weekend with a day trip to Astoria, Oregon, about 100 miles northwest of Portland. We’d each been there once before, but the gray skies and constant drizzle put a damper on our trips. This time, we had perfect weather—blue skies, mid-60s temperatures, and a nice breeze off the Pacific.
We spent most of the day wandering the downtown area and happened upon so many cool little spots that we felt compelled to pull together a list of our favorites. So without further ado, our official Astoria must-see list:
Commodore Hotel: You can tell right when you walk into the lobby, with its modern-vintage-y feel, that this is a cool place. The aesthetic continues in the rooms, thanks to period details like gorgeously refinished wood floors and ultra-cool apron sinks. And the rates are pretty amazing: euro-style (read: shared bathroom) rooms start at $84, and suites with private baths from $104.
14th Street Coffee House: Attached to the Commodore but separately owned, this is the place to go for serious coffee.
Vintage Hardware: Set aside some serious time for this shop. They sell a mix of vintage and new stuff, and it’s nearly impossible to turn around without finding some cool treasure you can’t live without.
Astoria Coffee House & Bistro: A great lunch spot, with simple sandwiches (we had the fried whitefish—YUM!) and salads (the Cobb Salad is simple and perfect). Also cool: There are tons of great pastries at the bakery counter, so you can get a fun treat on your way out.
Cold Water Surf: OK, we admit that we’re a little to wimpy (and, in Beth’s case, too pregnant) to brave the frigid ocean temps in the Pacific Northwest to catch some waves, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love to browse a good surf shop. This one is great, partly because of its nice selection of boards, and partly because of its super-friendly owner.
Fort George Brewery + Public House: The perfect spot for a late-afternoon microbrew.
Four Winds Canvas Works: The main business here is repairing sails—something we sadly have no need for—but the owners also sell cool tote bags and firewood carriers made from old sails. We thought we were there just to look, but we couldn’t resist buying one.
Of course, it would be a crime to be at the coast and not visit the water, so we made a stop at Fort Stevens State Park. The dogs were way braver than we were, and didn’t think twice about braving the chilly waters to play a good game of fetch.