Astoria, Oregon: Urban sensibility meets coastal charm

Written by LoAnn Halden / Published by Out City

If Portland were reborn as a small coastal town, it would bear a striking resemblance to Astoria, the oldest US settlement west of the Rockies. Despite a population of just 9,500, this formerly rough-around-the-edges enclave perched at the gaping mouth of the Columbia River delivers the urban sass and artsy edge you might expect of a town many times larger. No wonder up-and-coming Astoria has become a favorite Oregon coast retreat among gay Portlanders.

Explore: The Columbia River Maritime Museum (503-325-2323, deftly showcases how Astoria’s fortunes have intertwined with the majestic river coursing past its shores. Set in the old Clatsop County Jail, the Oregon Film Museum (503-325-2203, primarily pays homage to locally shot coming-of-age adventure The Goonies; relive your Josh Brolin crush while filming yourself in a scene from the movie on one of three green-screen sets. The Cellar on 10th (503-325-6600, holds wine tastings on Saturday afternoons; order a local pinot while you browse gourmet nibbles. Second Saturday Art Walks ( celebrate the quirky craft and retail community compacted into the 36 blocks of Astoria’s restored 1920s downtown; don’t miss the architectural salvage spot Vintage Hardware (503-325-1313,