A mere two hours away from the concrete jungle of Portland is the spectacular Oregon Coast. Yes, a quick walk at water’s edge will leave your toes bright red and the bellowing wind will do the same to your cheeks, but the beauty will lull you into embracing the conditions. The allure of the wind in your hair and sand between your toes might bring you there, but the art and culture that surround the rocky shores will keep you entertained during your stay. Over the past few years, the central coast of Oregon has blossomed as a destination for tranquility seekers. From Lincoln City to Newport, the coastal towns offer a bit of everything for a three-day culture fix away from the bright-lights-big-city of Portland.
So much more than a casino.
Arts are thriving in Lincoln City. Begin at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, the town’s focal point for arts and education, to attend exhibits and festivals. Next, head to the Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio or the Alder House (Oregon’s oldest glassblowing studio) to see demonstrations or create your own piece. Plan a lunch break at Side Door Cafe for an abundance of delicious meal options and charming atmosphere.
The Lincoln City Kite Festival, held in the summer and fall, is a beloved celebration of a favorite coastal pastime. Stop by the D-River Wayside for experts’ kite-flying demonstrations, free kite making for children, and much more high-flying fun. Grab dinner with a spectacular view of the sunset at The Bay House, which offers an assortment of wines and cocktails. Other exemplary eateries include The Blackfish Café and Kyllo’s Seafood & Grill for fresh, locally sourced dishes.
Theatre West, Lincoln City’s intimate and inclusive theater company, curates a handful of plays every year. Catch one of their productions this season from October 2017 to September 2018. Also, don’t miss the Siletz Bay Music Festival every June.
Big relaxation at world’s tiniest harbor.
Looking moment of reflection or a secluded, romantic getaway? You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon the setting for a Nicholas Sparks novel (sans tragedy) when you drive into Depoe Bay. The Oregon Coast’s official whale-watching capital, this quaint fishing town is the perfect place to throw on that cable knit sweater, stroll along the rugged shoreline, and let the salty sea air rejuvenate your city-dwelling soul.
Check into the Whale Cove Inn, an adults-only establishment with panoramic views of the ocean and a king-sized bed, private balcony, and outdoor Jacuzzi tub in each suite. Head out into the mist on a charter boat early the next morning to whale watch before returning to shore for an ocean-to-table seafood lunch at Tidal Raves.
Make your way back to the Whale Cove Inn just before sunset for a five- or seven-course tasting menu at the Oregon Coast’s most ambitious restaurant, Restaurant Beck, with James Beard Foundation Semifinalist chef, Justin Wills. Here you can savor locally foraged ingredients and inventive flavor pairings while gazing out at sea.
Seafood and sea lions.
A Newport landmark is the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a literary-themed bed and breakfast with an eclectic charm. Guests can choose between rooms that reflect the lives and writings of 21 different authors, from J.K. Rowling to Jane Austen.
Grab breakfast, lunch, or just a coffee at Cafe Stephanie or head to Chowder Bowl on Nye Beach for authentic thick and creamy clam chowder. Later, watch the famous sea lions from Clearwater Restaurant, become immersed in sparkling conversation at Tables of Content, or dine in at Georgie’s Beachside Grill for Northwest favorites such as wild salmon, Yaquina Bay oysters and Dungeness crab.
Newport is a hub for cultural events on the Oregon Coast. Be sure to pay a visit to the Visual Arts Center to support Northwest artists from surrounding communities. Or, check out the Newport Performing Arts Center for live plays, concerts by the Newport Symphony Orchestra, film festivals, and dance performances presented by the Oregon Coast Ballet Company. Keep an eye out for local events such as the Oregon Seafood & Wine Festival, held every February to showcase over 150 premier Northwest wines and fresh foods sourced directly from local farmers and restaurants.