Established by one of the early-19th-century’s most famous merchants, John Jacob Astor, this bustling small city at the mouth of the Columbia is appropriately one of the top shopping destinations on the Oregon Coast, especially when it comes to art, antiques, and one-of-a-kind gifts. Here are eight cool shops well worth checking out, whether you’re in full-on holiday-shopping mode or simply out browsing for souvenirs and goodies for yourself.
An inspired, urbane lifestyle shop set in a ground-floor storefront at the iconic Astor Hotel building, Doe & Arrow stocks a deftly curated selection women’s and men’s apparel, grooming products, turquoise jewelry and quirky gifts, from potted cacti to colorful Sackcloth & Ashes wool-blend blankets to vintage LPs (haven’t you always wanted to own the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack on vinyl?).
A terrific find for gorgeous one-of-a-kind works of art, Fernhill Glass Studios carries beautiful contemporary glass vases and mugs with vibrantly hued swirls and striped patterns, and sturdy yet stunning paperweights. You can also take a class (or give one as a gift) to learn how to blow your very own colorful glass holiday ornament or float.
If there’s a fan of antiques or architectural elements in your life, drop by Astoria Vintage Hardware, a huge emporium that recently moved to a grand new space on Marine Drive. It’s filled with amazing treasures and conversation pieces, including garden statuary, funky old lamps, and vintage Fort George Brewery barrels.
Stop inside Godfather’s Books & Espresso to admire the vast selection of both new and used tomes. As the name suggests, this well-stocked shop also makes a perfect break for a caffeinated pick-me-up.
Purple Cow Toys is Astoria’s go-to when shopping for kids (and free-spirited adults). Colorful Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles and LEGO toys are top sellers, but also note the vast selection of adorable stuffed animals, silly gag gifts, Japanese board games and fanciful hula hoops, which co-owner Katie Murray makes herself.
Going strong for nearly three decades, Finn Ware of Oregon celebrates the region’s Scandinavian heritage by offering an impressive selection of both functional and artful housewares and doodads. Highlights range from Ekelund woven tea towels and table linens to distinctive Aino Aalto glass tumblers.
At Maiden Astoria, the focus is art and goods produced primarily by Northwest makers. The inventory changes regularly, but recent finds have included fiber-art wall hangings, intricate necklaces and earrings, fanciful handmade gift and greeting cards, fragrant Salt Astoria hydrating oils and unique screen-print T-shirts.
With shopping bags in hand, wrap up your retail ramble a with a well-deserved glass of Oregon Pinot Noir or Washington Chardonnay — and perhaps a plate of fine cheeses and charcuterie — at WineKraft, while relaxing in a comfy armchair overlooking the Columbia River. The dapper wine bar and shop on the Astoria Riverwalk stocks about three-dozen types of Northwest wines, plus several beers. It’s an excellent place to pick up wine for that upcoming holiday party.
Photo by Doe & Arrow