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City Guide

Meet Astoria

The first town in Oregon, this hotspot for heritage tourism is also home to a thriving arts scene and a wealth of natural beauty.

The seat of Oregon’s Clatsop County, the town of Astoria is built on the Oregon bank of the Columbia River that denotes the state’s northern border with neighboring Washington. This location made it a regional trading hub even before its official incorporation in 1876. The original settlement, Fort Astor, was built by fur mogul John Jacob Astor in 1811, making it the oldest city in the state of Oregon. While large nearby cities like Seattle and Portland have since eclipsed Astoria as the region’s economic hubs, it remains a major center of trade and industry for the Columbia Basin. Starting in the 1980s it became a port of call for cruise ships, expanding its appeal for tourists, who have long been drawn to the town’s excellent sport fishing and historical significance. It’s recently become known as a creative hotspot, with more of its population made up of artists, designers, and other creative professions than 90% of cities in the United States.

Where to live in Astoria

With a population of around 10,000 people, none of Astoria’s neighborhoods are especially dense or crowded. Having said that, houses further inland tend to have larger yards and more space between neighbors, with a vibe that varies between suburban and rural depending on how far from the city center you go. Neighborhoods along the river are generally more compact with a small-town feel. These coastal areas are better if you plan to get around on foot or using public transportation.

Best Neighborhoods in Astoria

For those who want to be in the heart of things, you’ll want to live in one of the riverfront neighborhoods. Areas like the city center, Uniontown, and Tongue Point Village have a good variety of restaurants, shops, and other amenities, without losing the laid-back, peaceful atmosphere Astoria is known for. You can also live close to nature if you choose to in Astoria. Inland neighborhoods like Navy Heights and Svensen Junction have tons of trees, hiking trails, and green space where residents can enjoy the outdoors any time.

Quick Facts About Astoria

Astoria isn’t just the oldest city in Oregon, it was also the first American settlement established west of the Rockies, giving it a longer history than many places in the western US. Here are some more interesting facts about this historic city:

Work in Astoria

The workforce in Astoria is a good blend of white-collar and blue-collar occupations. Before the 1980s, the town’s economy was primarily driven by industry and manufacturing, with fish canneries and lumber mills among the top employers. While manufacturing still plays a role in the local economy, the tourism and service industries are the primary employers in Astoria today. Astoria’s comparatively low unemployment rate makes it a good place to be if you’re looking for traditional employment. Along with service industry and manufacturing jobs, there are a growing number of administrative and professional positions available in the city, particularly in health care, transportation, and logistics.

How good is Astoria for Digital Nomads or Remote Work

Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Astoria. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Astoria for both of these growing movements?

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Food and Drink in Astoria

The culinary scene in Astoria is booming, and you’ll have more dining options than you probably expect given the small size of the town. Since it’s on the coast, it’s no surprise that seafood features prominently in the local cuisine. South Bay Wild Fish House is a top spot for fresh-caught scallops, prawns, and fish. For a fine dining experience, Baked Alaska has an elegant atmosphere well-suited to its seafood-heavy menu. Astoria is also known for its craft beer scene, with a plethora of popular breweries in the area. Buoy Beer Company on the Columbia River is renowned for its lagers and has a full brewpub menu with options like fried oysters and squeaky cheese curds. Fort George Brewery is one of Astoria’s largest, and has a tap room of experimental beers along with a full restaurant. You can find great international fare in Astoria, too. Drina Daisy is a great spot for authentic Bosnian cuisine and Turkish coffee. The tiny Busu Astoria serves the area’s best ramen, along with other Japanese comfort food. Astoria is also home to unique food trucks, like the Surf 2 Soul (southern soul food) and Sasquatch Sandwich Shop, which you’ll usually find parked outside one of the city’s many breweries.