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If you’re a part of Generation X, your childhood probably included viewing the movie The Goonies. And if you were lucky like I was, you got to see the movie as a first-run film in a movie theater. I was ten years old when the movie hit theaters. My dad had the opportunity to see the movie before the rest of my family, and he liked it so much, he eagerly took my mom and me as soon as he could. (My one-year-old sister sat this one out.)
I’ll never forget that night; I left the theater with a the sense of adventure and a feeling that anything was possible. That is the magic of going to the movies. A great story has a lasting impression, and The Goonies certainly is a perfect example of one of those great stories.
Later as an adult, I realized that Astoria, Oregon, is a real place. The coastal town featured in one of my favorite childhood movies is a place you can actual visit and seek out some of the filming locations. When we realized that last summer’s road trip could make the dream of visiting Astoria a reality, we were super excited. I was ready to experience the nostalgia of the 1980s for a day. I was ready to become a Goonie.
Goonies Sites in Astoria
Many of the filming locations happen in the opening credits of the film. To refresh your memory, here is a clip.
The Goonies House: The Home of Mikey and Brand
368 38th Street
Cars aren’t permitted up the driveway to the Goonies House and Data’s House, but you are allowed, even encouraged, to park in the street below and walk on up. So we did. Notice that the homeowners accept donations and have placed a donation box outside the Goonies House. We also saw someone working outside in the yard. They were friendly and greeted us.
Apparently, visitors were discouraged in the past. Just remember to be respectful and quiet as you visit. After all, these are private homes. Interestingly, we saw a family group all wearing the same shirt after we made the hike up to the houses. I can only imagine how many people make the trek every day.
On a side note, we saw some of the same people that made a stop as we did at Kurt Cobain’s boyhood home and memorial in Aberdeen, Washington. I love it when people are out and about exploring, making memories with loved ones!
344 38th Street
If you’ve seen the movie, you know that Data lives next door to Mikey and Brand. During the film’s opening, Data ziplines through the Walsh’s screen door. If you watch the video below, you can see that clip of the film. It’s a top five countdown, and Data’s Wings of Flight is #2.
Notice that the house in the film is blue instead of brown. Also, a large front porch has been added since the movie was filmed, and Data’s launching pad from the upstairs window is no longer there. In this clip, there’s also a nice shot of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge from the Goonies House.
32 Skyline Avenue
It’s darker in color than it appeared in the film, but here is Mouth’s house. In the opening car chase, Mouth is seen inside his house watching TV as his dad is working on the kitchen sink. When his dad asks him to turn off the TV, we see a shot of the car chase going up the street. The street is pictured below.
County Jail (Oregon Film Museum)
732 Duane Street
The County Jail which serves as the Oregon Film Museum is a must-stop for Goonies fans. The movie begins with the Fratellis breaking out Jake Fratelli from the Clatsop County Jail. Francis and Mama are waiting outside, and the car chase begins.
Since this a film museum, this is probably a good time to mention that The Goonies isn’t the only movie to have scenes shot in Astoria. Kindergarten Cop, Short Circuit, and Free Willy, are among the most well-known, but other films have been made in Astoria, too.
Since our visit to Astoria was brief, we didn’t go inside. But if you’d like to see the movie memorabilia, it may be worth the time and admission to check out.
The details around the museum are definitely fun.
You can see the Flavel House from here; it’s just across the street.
The painted footprints are epic. “Follow those size fives!”
Flavel House Museum
714 Exchange Street
The Flavel House is where Mr. Walsh works as a curator. You can see him in the bike ride scene of the movie. This clip also shows another shot of Data’s house.
Here is a close-up of the porch of the Flavel House. If you go to the County Jail, the Flavel House will be easy to spot. It’s right across the street.
Lower Columbia Bowl
826 Marine Drive
During the opening police chase, the cars fly by the place where Chunk is looking at a video game while enjoying his pizza and milk shake. The building where Chunk was is none other than Lower Columbia Bowl. The picture above shows the glass where Chunk pressed his pizza and cup to the window.
The bowling alley is open for business, and fans can come inside to sign the guestbook and bowl a few games.
The murals on the side are pretty awesome, too. They depict landmarks around Astoria.
In the corner of the window, you’ll find the artwork of Chunk in the window.
The next window over shows that Chunk, aka Lawrence, is a Goonie for life.
Astoria Coffee Company
304 37th Street
In the opening car chase scene, Rosalita is trying to cross the street at the corner of 37th and Lief Erikson Drive. When the cars speed past, you can see what is now Astoria Coffee Company in the background, though in the film, the building was painted a bluish-purple color. In the picture above, if you look to the left of the coffee shop, you can just see the crosswalk Rosalita was in.
Cannon Beach: Haystack Rock
Cannon Beach is not exactly in Astoria. In fact, we didn’t see it until the next morning as we began our drive down Oregon’s coastline. Though the movie makes it look like the Fratellis drove to the beach from Astoria in mere seconds, the drive actually takes closer to 40 minutes.
The Cannon Beach area looks like a lovely place to explore. The beach community seemed relaxing, though we only stopped for about a half hour. It was chilly, so I certainly was grateful to whoever left this little beach bonfire going. We did use it to warm up. Too bad we didn’t have a Goonies doubloon to match up to the rocks.
Movie Places We Didn’t Visit
Ecola State Park
If we’d had more time, I would’ve planned a stop at Ecola State Park. This state park is just north of Cannon Beach, so it’s a bit of a journey from Astoria, as well. Our trip plans had us driving the entire coastline of Oregon on this day until we reached Crescent City, California, so our time was limited.
Though it’s no longer there, Ecola State Park is the the filming location for the Lighthouse Lounge where the Fratellis were hiding out. Apparently, if you time your visit correctly, a ranger may be available to point out movie locations from various vantage points.
Pier 36 and Specific Docks
In the opening chase scene, there are some shots of the piers and docks located near the Columbia River. We didn’t search out the specific dock where Stef pulls out a crab, but later in this post, you’ll see examples of the piers in Astoria. Also, Data is down by the docks somewhere during the chase, as well.
John Warren Field
The area where Andy and the other cheerleaders are practicing is no longer a field. Apparently, it’s now a parking lot for a hospital. We didn’t search this location out.
Other Attractions in Astoria
Even if Astoria wasn’t a mecca for Goonies fans, the area would still be an amazing place to visit. The city is named for John Jacob Astor, the patriarch of the extremely wealthy Astor family, best known for their real estate and other investments in New York City. Apparently, Astor immigrated to the United States and began his fortune with fur trading in Oregon. Who knew?
Also, if we’d had more time, I would’ve liked to visit Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. This park preserves Fort Clatsop, the fort constructed by Lewis and Clark for the winter just south of Astoria. The fort was named to honor the American Indians in the area, and later Clatsop became the name of the county for which Astoria is the county seat. Also, it seems Lewis and Clark, along with their expedition crew, canoed down the Columbia River with guides from the Nez Perce tribe. They stayed near where the Astoria-Megler Bridge is located through some torrential rain before picking a place to build their fort.
Though we didn’t get to visit Lewis and Clark National Historic Site, the Astoria Column is a great place to get a vantage point of some of the places Lewis and Clark spent some time, as well as seeing the city of Astoria and modern landmarks.
When we visited, it was $5 per car to drive up the hill to the column and park. The view is well-worth the fee, and we didn’t even go up the column. At the time, there were a lot of people going up and down the column who had disembarked from a tour bus. We could’ve squeezed in, but in the days of Covid, we didn’t make our way up.
You get this amazing view of the lower Columbia River as it flows towards the Pacific.
The area surrounding the parking lot is beautiful and peaceful.
It’s easy to imagine what the area looked like before modern structures were built.
The Columbian Theatre in Astoria is downtown near the riverfront. At the time we were there, The Goonies was playing during the weekend.
This bridge was our first experience with Astoria, and it is long! Since we were driving south from Forks, Washington, that day, we entered Astoria from the north. The Astoria-Megler Bridge crosses the Columbia River and bridges Washington and Oregon. Our drive across this bridge was somewhat of an adventure. It was windy, and it was difficult to avoid various sea birds flying all around the bridge. Sadly, many birds are struck, but we managed not to kill any.
Also, if you’re curious about our Twilight adventure in Forks, Washington, click here.
100 39th Street
This is an example of a pier along the Columbia River. Pier 39 has shopping and dining, and it just so happened that we could see it from our hotel balcony.
Driving Around and Walking in Astoria
Where We Ate: Astoria Brewing Company
One piece of advice I have for travelers is to seek out the city’s visitor center or Chamber of Commerce if time permits and you’re there while they’re open. We stopped at the visitor center in Astoria, and we discovered that they had Goonies merchandise and a lot of great information.
One thing we asked about was where to eat for dinner. We only had one night, and we wanted to try something unique to Astoria. They gave us several suggestions, and in the end, we chose Astoria Brewing Company for its riverside location, Goonies merchandise, and local brews.
We arrived for an early dinner, and after a brief wait, we had a table near the open-air windows that overlook the Columbia River.
At Astoria Brewing Company, you’re seated with menus, and then you walk up to the bar to place your orders. When the food and drinks are ready, a server delivers them to your table.
While we waited, we checked out the decor.
And we enjoyed people-watching and gazing at the river.
We also checked out the Goonies stuff. The display is designed to look like the Goonies House front porch.
Soon, things started arriving at the table. Jeff tried Copper Bones.
I tried clam chowder for the first time. It was a New England-style chowder with bacon. Yummy!
Jeff and Kristin had the chicken strips with fries.
I had a pulled pork sandwich with the coleslaw on the side.
Don’t judge this dessert too much by how it looks. I asked for it to-go because I was stuffed, but I wanted to give it try later. I took off the lid to snap a picture. This is marionberry cobbler with whipped cream. Apparently, marionberry is Oregon’s famous berry, a variation of the blackberry. This made a delicious breakfast for me the next morning!
Where We Slept: Hampton Inn and Suites Astoria
When we made reservations for Astoria, we looked for something with a river view. The Hampton Inn and Suites Astoria seemed like a great choice because it had balconies. We’d also read that we’d be able to see seals on the shore of the river; however, the seals were away in July during our visit Apparently, they were off doing mating things.
We enjoyed watching the barges come and go from the Pacific as they made their way out to sea or inland. In the evening, we saw a patrol link up with a barge. We read about how barges are patrolled, and that it was a routine way to monitor goods coming into the country. It was fascinating watching it play out from our balcony.
Astoria is just one of those great places that you could spend a lot of time exploring. I hope we can return someday to check out more of the Lewis and Clark history of the area. We stayed fewer than 24 hours, but Astoria left its mark on us. We stopped for the Goonies, but we fell in love with the city and beauty of the area. Hopefully, Astoria will be a destination for your family, too!
Other adventures on this road trip: