Things to Do in The Dalles – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Welcome to The Dalles, a charming city nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and a plethora of activities to enjoy, The Dalles is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, foodie, or art lover, this vibrant city has something for everyone. Join us on a virtual tour as we uncover the top things to do in The Dalles and discover why this destination should be at the top of your travel list.

Can’t-Miss Attractions

1. Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Explore the rich history and natural wonders of The Dalles at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum. This attraction offers a fascinating insight into the region’s geological formation, Native American heritage, and pioneer history. Visitors can marvel at interactive exhibits, stunning artifacts, and beautiful artwork that showcase the cultural significance of the area. The museum’s location overlooking the Columbia River Gorge provides a breathtaking backdrop for an educational and immersive experience.

2. The Dalles Dam Visitor Center
A visit to The Dalles would not be complete without stopping by the impressive Dalles Dam Visitor Center. Learn about the engineering marvel that tamed the mighty Columbia River and its impact on the local environment and economy. The center offers panoramic views of the dam and informative displays that highlight the importance of hydroelectric power generation. Visitors can also witness the incredible sight of salmon navigating the fish ladders during the spawning season.

3. Sorosis Park
Nature lovers will delight in the beauty of Sorosis Park, a peaceful oasis in the heart of The Dalles. This scenic park offers lush greenery, winding trails, and stunning views of the Columbia River. Picnic areas, playgrounds, and open spaces make it the perfect spot for a relaxing day outdoors. Whether you’re looking to hike, birdwatch, or simply unwind in nature, Sorosis Park is a must-visit destination for visitors of all ages.

4. Fort Dalles Museum
Step back in time at the Fort Dalles Museum, where history comes to life through captivating exhibits and well-preserved artifacts. This former military outpost offers a glimpse into the area’s frontier past, including its role in the Oregon Trail and interactions with Native American tribes. Visitors can explore historic buildings, military memorabilia, and pioneer-era relics that paint a vivid picture of life in the 19th century. The museum’s knowledgeable staff provides valuable insights and stories that enhance the visitor experience.

5. The Dalles Riverfront Trail
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of The Dalles along the scenic Riverfront Trail. This picturesque pathway winds along the Columbia River, offering stunning views of the waterway and surrounding landscape. Whether you’re walking, jogging, or biking, the trail provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Keep an eye out for wildlife, enjoy the fresh air, and soak in the serenity of this waterfront gem. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of The Dalles from a unique perspective.

One-day trip

Looking for exciting day trips near The Dalles? Here are five fantastic destinations within a 2-hour drive that offer a blend of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences for all interests.

1. Hood River:
Known as the “Windsurfing Capital of the World,” Hood River is just an hour away from The Dalles. Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, this charming town offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, hiking, and biking. Explore local breweries, wineries, and art galleries in the downtown area.

2. Maryhill Museum of Art:
Located about 40 minutes from The Dalles, the Maryhill Museum of Art sits atop a stunning bluff overlooking the Columbia River. This cultural gem houses an impressive collection of European and American art, as well as artifacts from the region’s history. Visitors can also wander through beautiful sculpture gardens with breathtaking views.

3. Rowena Crest Viewpoint:
A short 30-minute drive from The Dalles, Rowena Crest Viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. Hike the Tom McCall Nature Preserve trails for a closer look at the diverse flora and fauna of the area. This spot is perfect for nature lovers and photographers looking to capture the beauty of the Gorge.

4. Timberline Lodge:
Less than a 2-hour drive from The Dalles, Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood is a must-visit destination. Known for its iconic architecture and stunning mountain views, the lodge offers year-round activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and dining. Take a ride on the Magic Mile Sky Ride for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscapes.

5. The Dalles Riverfront Trail:
For a more leisurely day trip, explore The Dalles Riverfront Trail right in town. This scenic pathway follows the Columbia River, offering opportunities for walking, jogging, or biking. Enjoy views of the river, bridges, and local wildlife along the way. Don’t forget to stop by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center to learn about the region’s rich history and geology.

These diverse day trip options near The Dalles provide something for everyone, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing day surrounded by nature. Pack your bags and set out to explore the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge region!

Restaurants and bars

When exploring The Dalles, Oregon, be sure to check out these five exceptional dining establishments that offer a culinary experience like no other:

1. Riverside Bistro: Indulge in their signature dish, the Columbia River Salmon, known for its freshness and delicate flavors. The restaurant’s stunning riverfront views and elegant ambiance make it a top choice for a special evening out.

2. Sagebrush BBQ & Grill: Feast on their mouthwatering Slow-Smoked Brisket, a local favorite that melts in your mouth. The rustic Western decor and friendly service add to the charm of this beloved BBQ joint.

3. The Gorge Room at Rivertap: Try their delectable Gorge Burger, a juicy masterpiece that captures the essence of the region. With its lively atmosphere and extensive beer selection, this spot is a hit among locals and visitors alike.

4. Baldwin Saloon: Sample their famous Pan-Seared Scallops, perfectly seared to golden perfection. Housed in a historic building, this restaurant exudes old-world charm and sophistication.

5. Petite Provence of The Dalles: Treat yourself to their heavenly Croque Monsieur, a classic French delight with a Pacific Northwest twist. The cozy French-inspired decor and freshly baked pastries make this cafe a gem in the heart of the city.

For a relaxing break or a vibrant night out, don’t miss these two standout cafes and bars in The Dalles:

1. Clock Tower Ales: Known for its diverse selection of craft beers and laid-back atmosphere, this local favorite is a great place to unwind with friends. The historic building and rooftop patio offer a unique setting for enjoying a cold brew.

2. Kainos Coffee: Step into this charming cafe for a cup of their expertly brewed coffee and a slice of their famous Lemon Blueberry Cake. The cozy ambiance and friendly staff make it a beloved spot for locals to start their day or catch up with friends.

Interesting Facts

Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are three surprising and interesting facts about this charming city:

1. Klindt’s Booksellers: Established in 1870, Klindt’s Booksellers is the oldest bookstore in Oregon and the second oldest in the entire West Coast. This iconic bookstore has a rich history and a vast collection of books, making it a must-visit for book lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Visitors can explore the shelves filled with rare finds and immerse themselves in the literary charm of this historic gem.

2. The Dalles Dam: The Dalles Dam, a hydroelectric dam spanning the Columbia River, is not only an impressive feat of engineering but also a vital part of the region’s power supply. Visitors can learn about the dam’s construction, its impact on the environment, and the role it plays in generating clean energy. The dam also offers stunning views of the river and surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for sightseeing and photography.

3. Cherry Festival: Every year, The Dalles hosts the Northwest Cherry Festival, a lively celebration of the region’s rich agricultural heritage. The festival features cherry-themed events, live music, delicious food, and fun activities for the whole family. Visitors can sample fresh cherries, browse local artisan products, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The Cherry Festival is a fantastic opportunity to experience the vibrant community spirit of The Dalles and savor the flavors of the Pacific Northwest.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or food enthusiast, The Dalles has something to offer everyone. From historic bookstores to scenic dams and lively festivals, this charming city is full of surprises waiting to be discovered.

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