Things to Do in Newport
Newport is one of the most scenic cities in Oregon, and is known primarily for its iconic lighthouse and beautiful beaches. There are more things to do in Newport than visit these obvious destinations, though, as many travelers delve deeper in exploration to discover the area’s rich marine life, historic landmarks, and eclectic culinary scene.
Indulge any and all tourist aspirations in Historic Bayfront, which locals and visitors alike deem the heart of the city. It invokes a relaxed vibe and has an air of an old seaport. There are fish processing plants throughout, and it’s the area’s economic heart and soul thanks to a plethora of charming tourist shops that tout everything from generic souvenirs to saltwater taffy. The foodie scene is especially popular in this area, and many rave about the interesting combination of bustling seafood restaurants and old-school dive bars.
First stop is a lighthouse built in the late 19th century. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest in the state at 93 feet, and it’s often described as the “gem” of the city. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is set on a bluff overlooking Yaquina Bay. Beautiful views notwithstanding, it’s reportedly haunted—but is still one of the city’s most popular landmarks, and thousands of visitors arrive each year to climb the 114 steps to the top. Bear in mind that it gets especially busy on weekends, and wait times may exceed an hour.
About 15 minutes south of the lighthouse is the Yaquina Bay Bridge, recognized as the most prominent structure in Newport. From its Art Deco construction to its delicately curved arch, it offers pristine views of both Yaquina Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Nye Beach is a Newport institution for those who appreciate a bit of solitude. It’s not a huge beach, and the neighborhood itself extends approximately two blocks. The area is peppered with edgy art galleries, quirky boutiques, and cafes. Most notably, it’s home to the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a quaint property dating from 1912 that draws acclaim for its literary-themed rooms (the “Jane Austen” is a favorite) and the family-style meals.
Sea lions are also prominent in Newport—many of them lounge casually along the bay, providing passersby with some easy entertainment. Visitors report excellent observation points near Undersea Gardens aquarium and by the fishing boats, where the sea lions tend to congregate for fresh treats.
Another aquatic highlight—and some say one of the best on the entire coast—is the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Kids in particular tend to enjoy the educational exhibits and the famous underground tunnel, which was once home to Keiko, the whale in the feature film, Free Willy.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Newport.