The neighboring cities of Astoria and Warrenton do not skimp on adventure. But let’s be clear: These aren’t the kinds of places where you merely tick a bunch of stuff off a bucket list. No, Astoria and Warrenton are conducive to slowing your roll, to easing your foot off the gas, to pressing pause, and to making it delightfully easy for you to do nothing but enjoy the sights and sounds of this iconic Northwest corner.

Let Your Mind Wander

For reading, writing and some generative quiet time, artsy Astoria has several cozy coffee shops and bookstores. Sit back and sip a steamy espresso at cool-and-quirky Godfather’s Books and Espresso, stocked with eclectic volumes new and old as well as tarot cards, incense, unique gifts and assorted knickknacks. A block away, Lucy’s Books sells wares for all ages, plus journals, cards and even reading glasses.

Find a Quiet Cafe Table

Hungry? Find a quiet table and indulge in local, seasonal selections or sit at the counter and chat with the staff — some of the city’s finest fare is found at Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro, a block from the lovely 6.4-mile-long Riverwalk, from Youngs Bay to the Alderbrook neighborhood, often referred to as the “Yellow Brick Road of Astoria.” Also check Three Cups Coffee House, which purveys locally roasted beans.

Lick a Few Cold Scoops

When you pair a pastry chef with a self-taught ice cream whiz, you get Frite & Scoop, a bustling ice cream shop also on the Riverwalk. Pop in for a cold scoop — or three — on your way to the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Sixth Street viewing platform. Don’t feel like walking? Hop aboard Old 300, the historical Riverfront Trolley, which for $1 will take you through town and aside the mighty Columbia.

Admire the Scenic Views

For an close-up vantage of the Astoria Bridge and the Maritime Memorial Park as well as a serene waterfront stroll, the Riverwalk will introduce you to the city’s rich heritage and maritime mystique. For a different vista, on Coxcomb Hill, step to the top of 125-foot-tall Astoria Column for a lovely Columbia River Bar panorama. Stop and reflect amid the serenity of the Garden of Surging Waves, a tribute to Oregon’s early bond with China.

Nurse a Pint in a Brewpub

Thirsty for something stiff? Introduce your palate to Fort George Brewery & Public House, a warehouse home to several places to eat, a tasting room, a brewery and a venue for live music — all atop the original settlement site of Astoria. What pairs better with creative pursuits than a good pint of beer?

By Michael H. Kew

Photo by Nickie Bournias