Life imitates art—or is it the other way around?
In Hood River, it’s both. Fueled by Klickitat tribal legends of sacrifice and torrid love affairs, passion runs deeper than the adjacent Columbia River waterway in Hood River, bringing awe-inspiring meaning and depth to the vast beauty of nearby snow-tipped volcanoes, iconic bridges, and waterfalls. Hood River’s picturesque backdrop provides creative musings for artists, novice and award-winning alike. Here, even a quick drive to the supermarket can spark inspiration and wonderment. Whether through the myths of the Klickitat nation or a last-minute run to the market, inspiration is the foundation on which Hood River is built. We’ll get you started with some creative suggestions, but once here, we’re certain you’ll find your own inspiration.
Bette’s Place is coined “the friendliest restaurant in town” and is famous for its gigantic, homemade cinnamon rolls. Handmade and homemade, you’ll find scratch recipes from the diner’s namesake Bette, passed through the generations and made with love. Bette’s Place has been a cornerstone of downtown Hood River since 1975. If you’re set on grabbing and going, you can even pre-order your pastries online!
Local tip: Check out the fresh Dungeness Crab Benedict…yup, you read that right!
ART – Art of Community’s BIG ART Outdoor Gallery
Soak in the picturesque surroundings and local sculptural art by embarking on the BIG ART self-guided tour, a 4.5-mile walking tour around Hood River’s heights, downtown, and waterfront areas. Begin at 301 Gallery and then explore 29 public art locations downtown, near the waterfront, and on the Heights.
Lunch on the Light Side
While downtown, swing into Boda’s Kitchen for a pacific northwest deli-style lunch. A gourmet delicatessen, market, and catering company, they are passionate about using high-quality, seasonal ingredients sourced locally, when possible. Serving grab-and-go cold options as well as made-to-order paninis and a hot dish of the day, you’ll see why “Boda,” the nickname of the owner and chef Sirota Johnson, is truly an artist in the kitchen.
An Artist About Town
After lunch or brunch, catch a few more downtown galleries, including the Frame Gallery and Made in the Gorge. For even more local art displays, peruse the hallways of the historic Hood River Hotel, an architectural delight, for the rotating exhibit from The Remains Gallery. Be sure to swing by Art on Oak, a local artists’ cooperative, for even more unique art made in the Gorge.
Browse more galleries and exhibits here.
Hood River Murals
After exploring the Hood River galleries and exhibits, hop in the car to soak in the scenery as you view the murals along Industrial Way in downtown Hood River from artists Nik Vik and the late Nate Chavez. Head toward Hwy 35 and travel through the famed Hood River Fruit Loop for a driving tour of living art in the picturesque backdrops of the valley. Visit one of the many stops along the loop for wine and cider tasting, u-pick fruit, and much more. Along the way, visit the impressive mural at Diamond Fruit, designed and painted by local artists Allison Bell and Michelle Yamamoto, which honors the history and heritage of migrant Japanese and Latino farm workers of the valley. And just across the road, artist Mark Nilsson has captured the original Duckwall Fruit label in a mural that decorates the side of the packing house. Travel a few minutes further south toward Mt. Hood to Parkdale, where the area’s forest flora is celebrated with the fungi-inspired mural from local artist Audrey Bernhardt.
Dinnertime at Celilo
Now that you’ve appeased your cultural appetite, it’s time to delight in culinary creations. Head to Celilo for farm-to-table cuisine and a huge selection of local brews and wine. You’ll also add to your tour of Hood River art, as this special eatery showcases murals by the late Gorge painter, Ellen Dittebrandt.
“Being here taught me that I’m a pretty different painter than everybody else here. There’s not a single sighting of Mt. Hood in my work. But even abstract landscapes come from somewhere. Even as an abstract painter, I’ve found my place here in the community, there’s still a strong shared experience with painters who are more literal. It’s a special collaboration I’ve really enjoyed.”
Columbia River Gorge Scenery at Columbia Cliff Villas
Cap the night off with a stay at Columbia Cliff Villas, situated cliffside 200’ above the mighty Columbia River. With awe-inspiring views of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the luxurious condo-style accommodations inspire and impress while offering a home away from home experience.