Astoria is packed with maritime history and impressive landmarks. Our guide will ensure you won’t miss any of the city’s famous monuments or secret spots.
Learn everything you need to know from our inspiring list of the best things to do in Astoria.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Astoria (OR)
1. Astoria Column
Astoria Column stands on Coxcomb Hill overlooking the city and the Columbia River. At 600 feet above sea level, you can see as far as the Cascade Mountains.
Built in 1926 in honor of the first settlers, it was decorated with reliefs of 14 major local events. The design is by Italian artist Attilio Pusterla, who was inspired by the roman column dedicated to Emperor Trajan.
Visitors can join the long-standing tradition of launching a wooden plane from the top. You can buy one at the foot of the column, before climbing the 164 steps to the viewing platform.
2. Comcomly’s Memorial
The monument was built in 1961 by descendants of Chief Comcomly for Astoria’s 150th anniversary. It’s located in Combcox Hill park overlooking the River.
Comcomly was the leader of the Chinook people in the early 1800s. He famously befriended and worked with American and British traders. He was even awarded a peace medal by Lewis and Clark for his help during their expedition.
He died in 1830 and was put in a canoe and buried. The memorial consists of a burial canoe held up by four concrete pillars and decorated with Chinook symbolism.
3. Astoria-Mengler Bridge
At a massive 4.1 miles, it’s the longest truss bridge in North America. It connects the Port of Astoria with Point Ellice in Washington. The structure is incredibly hardy and can withstand winds of 150 mph.
The construction of the bridge transformed the connection between Oregon and Washington. It was also the missing link to complete U.S Route 101, which runs down the Pacific Coast. In 2019, up to 300,000 vehicles crossed it daily.
For the best views of the bridge, head to the Riverwalk. The tracks will take you right underneath the steel frame.
4. Astoria Riverwalk
At just over 1 mile long, a combination of wooden boardwalks and paved trails form the Astoria Riverwalk. It follows the historical Astoria trolley along the waterfront.
See 100s of ships from all over the world in the Port of Astoria. Witness Astoria’s glorious fishing past through the old canneries, some abandoned and some burnt down in the 1922 fire. Pay tribute to its maritime history at the Maritime Memorial.
In August the Riverwalk fills with visitors coming for the Astoria Regatta. It’s one of the biggest festivals of the West Coast, with 4 days of parades, boat shows and entertainment.
5. Maritime Museum
With over 30,000 objects, the Maritime Museum boasts the largest collection of maritime artifacts in the Pacific Northwest and is still used today as an important source of information.
The interactive exhibits include a map showing the dozens of shipwrecks of the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’ and a hurricane simulator. While videos captured by the U.S. Coast Guard show the destructive force of 40 feet waves.
The visit includes a tour of the Columbia lightship docked outside. It acted as a lighthouse by guiding ships to safety until it was replaced by a navigational buoy in 1979.
6. Explore the docks
The docks are an important part of Astoria and its history. Be sure to visit Pier 39, at the end of a long wooden walkway. Here lies the city’s largest and oldest waterfront building covering nearly 85,000 square feet.
The complex includes the Bumble Bee Cannery Museum, the luxury retreat Fisherman’s Suites and the alehouse Rogue.
Pier 36, also called Goon Dock, is the best known for its noisy sea lion population. Sometimes as many as 2000 gather on the fragile wooden dock.
7. Hanthorn Cannery Museum
Hanthorn Cannery Museum is the oldest and largest processing plant in the lower Columbia River. It was founded in 1875 and by the turn of the century it was producing 30,000 cases of canned salmon annually.
The founder J.O. Hanthorn gained worldwide fame with his canned produce. In 1899 the company was named Bumble Bee Seafoods, which today is the largest shelf-stable seafood company in North America.
The museum illustrates the 130 years of the prominent canning industry through documents, photos, and old canning equipment. There are 3 wooden fishing boats and a giant industrial freezer you can walk inside.
8. Riverfront Trolley
Astoria Riverfront trolley is the historical tram line runs for 3 miles along the old railroad tracks which were designed in the 1880s to bring Astoria’s residents to the beach.
Today’s tram route opened in 1999 with the iconic red-and-green street cart. The ‘Old 300’ tram was built in 1913 and operated in Texas. Volunteers raised $40,000 to restore the tram.
It runs between Portway Street and 39th Street, with the Maritime Museum being the most popular stop half-way. Today it carries around 40,000 people a year along Astoria’s waterfront.
9. Firefighters Museum
Astoria Firefighters Museum dates back to 1896 and it was originally a beer storage facility of the North Pacific Brewing Company. It was closed down during the prohibition-era and was converted into a Fire Station in 1928.
The museum displays historical firefighting photos and tools dating as far back as 1873. A range of firetrucks illustrates how the equipment developed through time from a horse-drawn fire wagon to a 1946 Mack firetruck.
10. Flavel House
Flavel House was built in Queen Anne-style architecture in 1886. It was the retirement home of Captain George Flavel, the first river bar pilot of the Columbia River and the first millionaire in Astoria.
The 11,600 square-foot mansion is an example of a Victoria-era lifestyle. You can find the original furniture and ornaments including crystal chandeliers and elaborately carved fireplaces. The house has a four-story octagonal tower from which the Captain would keep an eye on ship traffic.
The kitchen, butler’s pantry, music room, bedrooms and bathrooms are all open to the public. As are the extensive gardens and carriage house.
11. Fort Stevens
Fort Stevens State Park covers an area of 4300 acres and includes forests, coast and wetlands. Its 9 miles of trails make it popular for outdoor activities and camping.
At the heart of the park is the Fort which has been converted into the Historic Military Museum. The 39 installations include barracks, batteries, old cannons and a Clatsop Indian longhouse.
Fort Stevens was one of three military outposts crucial in defending the coast. Constructed in 1863 during the Civil War, it served for 84 years until the end of World War 2.
12. Clatsip Spit
Also known as Clatsop Sands, it’s a giant sandy plane located within Fort Stevens State Park. 8500 years ago, sediment coming from the river arrived at the coast. Wind and waves over time shaped the sand and formed the spit we see today.
As a particularly dangerous area to navigate, it’s best known for its shipwrecks. The casualties include the paddle steamer, General Warren, from 1852, and the luxury boat Leonese found upsidedown on Clatsop Slipt in 1860. The crew was never found.
It is believed that over 2000 vessels and 1000 people have been lost here since 1800.
13. Fort Clatsop
Fort Clatsop is a reconstruction of the original encampment which protected the Corps of Discovery in the winter of 1805 before they returned to St Louis. The expedition was led by explorers Lewis and Clark who were sent to discover what resources could be found in the area.
Located at the far end of Clatsop Plains, it’s part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Parks. It was erected by volunteers in 2005 after a fire destroyed the previous replica.
Rangers in period costume lead walks along the trails telling stories from the expedition and hardship of life at the encampment.
14. Peter Iredale Wreck
Peter Iredale Wreck lies within Fort Stevens State Park and is one of the most photographed shipwrecks in the world. At low tide, visitors can walk onto the wreck.
The sailboat was built in England in 1890 and was named after its owner. It was 87 meters long with 4 imposing masts.
Strong tides and a change of wind ran the ship aground in 1906 on its way to the Columbia River. All 27 crewmen survived the violent impact, which snapped 3 of the masts. All that remains today are the rusted bow and a few ribs.
15. Fort Astoria
The original Fort was founded in 1811 by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company. It was the first permanent American settlement west of the Rockies and it became an important hub for the fur trade.
It was taken over by the British between 1813-1818 who renamed if Fort George after King George II. After the war, it was returned to America and it remained in operation until 1848.
Today it’s a commemorative park featuring the outlines of the fort and a replica of the blockhouse. A plaque reminds visitors of the roots of Astoria.
16. Fort George Brewery
Fort George Brewery was originally a car dealer shop. It’s was erected close to the Fort of Astoria. During the war, the English took over and renamed it Fort George hence the name of the brewery.
From a small pub and brewery, it has grown into a 30-barrel brewhouse encompassing 3 restaurants, a taproom with games and a cannery for the beer.
You can sample one of the 40 different types of beer while enjoying the views of the Columbia River and hills of Washington. At weekends you can learn about the brewing process on a tour of the complex.
17. Garden of Surging Waves
Garden of Surging Waves modern park was designed to celebrate Astoria’s Chinese immigrants. Many early settlers came from China and contributed to the development and economic growth of the City. The park’s inauguration also marked 200 years since the foundation of Astoria.
It boasts pavilions, sculpture and a large amphitheater used for open-air performances. The mosaic of 9 Salmons and 3 Sturgeons is dedicated to the cannery workers while 2 Pairs of Rails honors the railroad workers.
One of 8 Dragon Columns broke and they decided to leave it as it reflected the broken families of the Chinese pioneers who left to come to Astoria.
18. Oregon Film Museum
Because of Oregon’s diverse landscapes, it has been the setting of many movies including The Goonies, One Flew Over the CuCkoo’s Nest and Kindergarten Cop. It’s sometimes called Hollywood North.
Oregon Film Museum is housed in the old Clatsop County Jail, which featured in The Goonies. Exhibits include the Hot Set where you can use the green screen to make our own movie and a Post Production room for you to edit your masterpiece.
Learn about Oregon’s movie production industry, marvel at memorabilia in The Goonies Gallery and have your mugshot added to the Gallery of Prisoners.
19. Heritage Museum
Heritage Museum is located in the old City Hall. A historical neoclassical building designed by famous architect Emil Schacht in 1904.
Permanent and temporary exhibits bring to life the history of the city. Artefacts on display include 1000-year-old hunting tools, Clatsop Indian baskets and a beaver hat. Meanwhile, photos and equipment narrate the history of the logging and fishing industries.
Don’t miss the reconstructed Prohibition-era saloon, showing the cities seedier past, and the Emigrants Gallery with stories and photos of the various ethnic groups that settled in Astoria.
20. Museum of Whimsy
Museum of Whimsy was opened in 2016 by Trish Bright. The two-story neoclassical building used to be a bank in 1920.
It’s a continually growing private collection of folk art, wax statues and costumes from all over the world. The oldest artefact dates back to the 1850s and is a colorful Native American chair made from porcupine quills.
You can find almost anything, from beaded African headdresses to taxidermied donkeys and Japanese dolls. The newest exhibits are a vintage tin kitchen and the throne room of Henry the 8th surrounded by the busts of his 6 wives.
21. Astoria Sunday Market
Astoria Sunday Market is the second-largest market in Oregon, taking over four blocks in downtown Astoria. It started in 2000 and it now attracts 100s of tourists, locals and small business owners every weekend from May to October.
Browse the 200 stalls offering a variety of arts, crafts and food. It’s the best place to pick up some local produce or souvenirs. You can find almost anything from jewellery to preserves, toys and fine art.
Stop to savour the cuisine of the food court and enjoy an array of local musicians performing throughout the day.
22. Liberty Theatre
Liberty Theatre was awarded the name of ‘Best Historical Venue in Oregon’ and is the home of performing arts in the City. World-class artists have performed at the theatre and it also hosts the Astoria Music Festival and the North Coast Symphonic Band.
Opened in 1925 as a vaudeville motion picture palace, its vintage look has been maintained through multiple restorations. It was the first theatre to open after the destructive fires of 1922, becoming a symbol of the rebirth of the city.
Twelve murals in the auditorium depict scenes from Venetian life reflecting the Italian décor of the entire building.
23. Shallon Winery
Shallon Winery was built in 1925 by famous architect John E. Wick as a car showroom. In 1938 it was converted into a freezer-locker and later a bicycle shop before it was remodeled into a winery in 1977.
Paul van der Veldt is still the owner and host today. He will take you to the manufacturing room, which has 6 inches of solid corck in the floor and walls, and the laboratory, where the wines are tested.
In the tasting room, you can try some of their most unusual flavored wines like chocolate or cranberry.
24. Underground Tour
This network of underground tunnels dates to the early 20th century. They were originally used to conveniently transport goods from the ships to the businesses. They were also a haunt for criminal activities.
The guides are two local men who used the tunnels as their playground when they were children. They talk about the history of tunnels as well as all the mysteries associated with them. They also use visual effects to enhance the experience.
On the Underground Tour, you will visit a room where people used to sleep with various memorabilia that has been found underground.
25. Columbia River Eco Tour
Columbia River Eco Tour is one of the best ways to understand the grandeur of the Columbia River and the historical sites along with it.
Get great views of the Hills of Washington State, the docks, the canneries and pass under the Astoria-Mengler Bridge. The Captain of Eco River Tours is very knowledgeable, so can tell you all about old and new Astoria.
You will also pass large ships, floating homes and working wharfs. Look out for bald eagles and osprey as you pass the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Reserve.