A small coastal town nestled on the mighty Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon is one of the Pacific Northwest’s hidden gems. With a population of less than 10,000 people, its small town charm and nostalgic waterfront draw in hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Visiting is one thing, but moving to Astoria, Oregon is another thing altogether.
As a former New York and California resident, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I got stationed in Astoria. Despite the tough housing market and weather, I find that it is a really cool place to live if you know what you’re getting into and come prepared. Here are some things I’ve discovered about Astoria that will be helpful for others planning on making the move!
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9 Things to Know Before Moving to Astoria, Oregon
Housing can be limited and tricky to find
Moving to Astoria, Oregon can be tricky, since apartment and home rentals can be few and far between. It was nearly impossible to find nice rental options within budget on Zillow or Apartments.com. My advice is to reach out via email or phone call to some of the property management companies in the area. Often times, they have properties available for rent that aren’t listed online, even on their own websites.
Let them know what you’re looking for, what your ideal monthly rent is, and whether or not you have pets. If they have anything that matches your description, you’ll be able to check it out and start the application process!
Expect rain and overcast weather
The Pacific Northwest is well known for its gloomy weather, and Astoria is no exception. If you’re thinking of moving to Astoria, Oregon, make sure you’re cool with experiencing close to 200 rainy days each year. The good news? Residents here don’t seem to mind the rain, and you get used to it fast. And summers are gorgeous – mostly sunny with nice, toasty temps.
It was a huge adjustment moving from dry, sunny SoCal to the wet and wild PNW. But I’ve learned that taking my trusty rain jacket with me everywhere I go (seriously, everywhere) is the key to enjoying Astoria, passing rainstorms be damned. Do as the locals do, and try not to let rainy weather prevent you from exploring.
➤ Need more in-depth info on what it’s like to live in Astoria? Check out my article about whether Astoria, Oregon is a good place to live, and why. Spoiler alert – it is!
Stores and restaurants close up shop early
If you’re moving from a big city, or even an average sized town, you might be in for some culture shock when you move to Astoria. Most restaurants, stores, and even breweries close around 8-10pm here. There are a few places that stay open a bit later, but options are limited.
If you’re looking for late night eats, some Chinese restaurants are open til 9 or 10pm. Portway Tavern serves up food later than most spots (highly recommend their burgers), and drinks until midnight! Merry Time Bar & Grill also has some late night options. And if all else fails, you can always head to Safeway to grab something quick for dinner.
➤Worried about running out of things to do in town? Here’s the scoop on the 33 best things to do in Astoria, Oregon.
Say goodbye to state sales tax
Guess what? There’s no state sales tax in Oregon – so anything you purchase here comes without the price bump that would be tacked on in other states. Coming from California, this is a huge perk of moving to Astoria, Oregon!
On the other hand, Oregon has relatively high state income tax rates, has property taxes, and still charges an excise tax on things like gas, alcohol, and tobacco. So weigh your potential sales tax savings against these taxes to see whether it would cost you less to live here overall.
Cabs are more reliable than Uber
While Uber is available in Astoria, there is a small number of Uber drivers. It can be difficult to get a ride through Uber (I’ve only managed to twice). That’s where local cab companies come in handy. If you need a late night ride or don’t feel like driving, call up Mom’s Cab of Astoria, Downtown Coffee Shop Taxi, or any of the other local services to get you where you’re going. I’ve listed each of their phone numbers in this article about transportation in Astoria.
Food delivery options are sparse
This news might hit my fellow Grubhub fiends pretty hard – food delivery via the usual apps isn’t really an option. Grubhub offers a whopping zero delivery results, and DoorDash has about 12 (most of which are fast food places). Dominos does offer delivery, but you’re in Astoria! The local food is too good to pass up.
The new Slurpalicious app (my new favorite) offers delivery from a wide variety of local restaurants. It’s easy to navigate and use, and lets you order in from local favorites like Custard King, A-Town Coffee, Curry&CoCo, Blue Scorcher Bakery, and more. Slurpalicious prioritizes paying local drivers fairly, and has an in-app “pay it forward” program so you can help fund someone in your community’s next meal!
Meet your new neighbors: deer
In Astoria, it’s common to see deer wandering around residential neighborhoods and even downtown. They’re especially active during the morning and just before sunset. Watch out for them when you’re driving – they can be jumpy, and no one needs a deer collision.
Pump the brakes on pumping your own gas
At lots of Oregon gas stations, it’s common for gas station attendants to do the pumping for you. Coming from states where you pump your own gas, it took me a few times to stop hopping out of my car and approaching the pump. Awkward! Don’t be like me – just roll down your window.
Local drive through coffee options
Move over, Starbucks – moving to Astoria, Oregon means you’ll have access to a number of local drive through coffee spots! Just to name a few, A-Town Coffee, Journey’s End Espresso, and Kick Ass Coffee serve up coffee, tea, light breakfast, as well as Red Bull concoctions that are popular in the PNW…
Red Bull, Red Bull everywhere
…as a PNW newbie, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like the huge, Red Bull-based drinks that are popular here. Called “Rebels,” these drinks come in seemingly endless flavor options, and consist of red bull mixed with seltzer water and Italian soda flavoring. I haven’t tried one – if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep til 2029 – but if you’re into fruity flavors and energy drinks, try one and let me know what you think!
That’s the scoop on what I’ve learned while moving to Astoria, Oregon. I hope you find some of this intel helpful (or at least entertaining!) and that it helps you figure out what to expect when you live here. If there’s anything else you think belongs on the list, let me know! I’m still learning the area and enjoying every minute of it.
➤ Wanna check out some things to do in Astoria that won’t break the bank? Browse my list of free things to do in Astoria, Oregon for ideas!