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Spend the Weekend in Astoria


Astoria Oregon Gay Guide - Spending the Weekend in Astoria, Oregon

By Andrew Collins / Published at

Situated at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, just across from Washington State's infamous and treacherous Cape Disappointment, the historic fishing-cannery town of Astoria (503-325-6311 for tourism information) has emerged as a favorite weekend getaway in recent years, especially with the residents of Portland (just two hours away) and Seattle (a little over three hours). The northernmost community on Oregon's gorgeous, rocky, and hill coastline, Astoria is both a river and a seaside town, containing the best elements of each. It's also just a 45-minute drive up the coast from another favorite gay getaway in Oregon, charming Cannon Beach, and about two hours' drive north of Lincoln City, which hosts Oregon Coast Gay Pride in early September.

Compact Astoria, with a population of around 10,000, has a number of notable museums, including one of the most comprehensive and engaging in the Northwest, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which chronicles the region's - and the river's - long history, dating back to the days when explorers Lewis and Clark concluded their journey in the area. Astoria is, in fact, the earliest U.S. settlement on the Pacific Coast, having been established by and named for John Jacob Astor as a fur-trading post in the early 19th century. Astoria prospered as a major port settlement, and later as a fish-canning and timber hub (it was HQ for Bumblebee Seafood at one point).

Astoria's industrial fortunes declined steadily in the latter half of the 20th century, but has in recent years found new life as an urbane, arty destination that captures the coast's beauty and easy pace, but has a creative edge and noteworthy food scene that makes it a favorite of Portlanders. You'll find a number of stellar restaurants and coffeehouses in Astoria's historic, compact downtown, plus some excellent hotels. And although the Oregon coast is most popular during the summer and fall months, Astoria stays busy and interesting year-round. A number of gay folks have moved to town, and several businesses in town have a strong LGBT following.

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