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12 Free + Inexpensive Things to Do in Hood River

  |  Hood River, Neighborhood Insight

From its extensive hiking trails to its incredible breweries, there is so much to do in the outdoorsy, scenic city that is Hood River. And the best news? You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun here.

If you’re on a strict budget or just looking for free and inexpensive things to do, you’re in luck! We tracked down a number of budget-friendly things to do in Hood River, from free outdoor adventures to discounted movie tickets. These fun activities are sure to satisfy you and your wallet!


See the Views at the Vista House | Free

Get a healthy dose of history and exceptional views at the Vista House, a house built in 1917 as a place for travelers to rest and refresh themselves on their journey along the Gorge. Today, visitors can learn about the architecture and history of the Vista House, the Historic Columbia River Gorge, the local area, the flora and fauna of the region, and much more. Admission to the Vista House is always free, but donations are greatly appreciated.


Take a Hike | Free

Hood River is perfectly positioned to enjoy an endless number of hiking trails, dotted with waterfalls, beautiful fall foliage and wildflowers during the spring. A few popular nearby hikes include Mirror Lake Trail, Dog Mountain Trail, Indian Creek Trail, Sandy River Delta Loop Hike, Latourell Falls Loop Hike, Bridal Veil Falls Hike, Tom McCall Point Hike, and more. And some of the best hikes for wildflower viewing in the spring include Mosier Plateau Trail in Mosier and the Lyle Cherry Orchard in Lyle. Looking for more things to do outdoors? Check out these top things to do in Hood River for the outdoor enthusiast.


Go to the Hood River Farmers’ Market | Free

Hood River Farmers' Market

Each May, Hood River residents look forward to the start of farmers’ market season, which can be enjoyed all summer and fall long. The Hood River Farmers’ Market hosts 40–50 vendors each week through November, bringing the finest and freshest foods to the community. Plus, enjoy live musical performances, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations and much more. Don’t fret when the season is over! The farmers’ market actually continues through the winter, moving the party inside Wildwood Academy on the first and third Saturday of the month. For more information about annual events in Hood River, click here.


Try a New Brewery | $5–10

It’s likely you haven’t been to every brewery in the Hood River area. Branch out of your routine by trying out a new brewery, and if you don’t know where to start, we have a guide for that. And if you’re not sure what to try when you get there, simply ask someone behind the bar what they recommend! Or go big by trying a flight of several different beers.


See a Movie at Andrew’s Pizza & Skylight Theater on a Tuesday | $6

Andrew’s Pizza & Skylight Theater Hood River, OR

Photo Courtesy of Andrew’s Pizza & Skylight Theater

You might not expect to see a theater — especially an upscale one like Andrew’s — on a list of budget-friendly activities. But on Tuesdays, tickets to all movies at Andrew’s Pizza & Skylight Theater are just $6. That means you can save a few bucks or leave room in the budget for some snacks from their full food menu and a drink! Check out what movies are currently playing and mark your calendar for next Tuesday. Be sure to show up at least 20 minutes before the show starts!


Get Coffee at Ground Espresso Bar & Cafe | Varying

A coffee shop visit is the perfect option for a casual date, a relaxing reading session or to get some work done. For over 10 years, Ground Espresso Bar & Cafe has established itself as one of the best coffee shops in Hood River. They make incredible fresh pastries every morning, roast their coffee in-house, and make all of their soups, dressings and spreads from scratch. Order a cup of black coffee or a specialty latte and pair it with a scone, coffee cake, muffin, croissant, cookie or other delicious baked good!


Chase Waterfalls | Free

Multnomah Falls Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is dotted with dozens, if not hundreds, of impressive waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. Catch a glimpse of one (or a few!) of the many sparkling waterfalls in the area, including the iconic Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahclella Falls and Dry Creek Falls, all of which are nestled along the scenic Columbia River Highway. See the full list of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge here.


Drive Along the Hood River Fruit Loop | Free

The Hood River Valley is home to an overwhelming number of wineries, fruit orchards, flower fields and more. There are 29 member stands that create the Hood River County Fruit Loop, offering wine, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders and food. Some are open all year, while others open for harvest time, which changes each year. Take a look at our guide to the Hood River Fruit Loop, complete with a map and descriptions about each member stand. While you might spend a few dollars along the way, driving on this scenic route doesn’t cost a dime.


Go Wine Tasting | Varying

Wine Tasting in Hood River, OR

There is certainly no shortage of wonderful wineries in the Columbia River Gorge. A few favorites include Marchesi Vineyards, Cathedral Ridge Winery, Stave & Stone Winery at the Vineyard, and Mt. Hood Winery. Get a taste of the local wine scene with Gorge Wine, which beautifully showcases the astounding beauty of this wine-rich region and provides helpful resources for visiting wineries in the Gorge.


Visit Mount Hood | Free

Reaching an elevation of 11,249 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point in all of Oregon and the fourth highest in the Cascade Range. Visible from many vantage points in Hood River and surrounding communities, this towering mountain is both a stunning backdrop and a popular destination for outdoor recreation all year long. Use our comprehensive guide to Mount Hood to enhance your visit, including places to stay, where to eat, and things to do on and around Mount Hood. You could spend a few dollars on coffee and take in views for free or splurge big time on a staycation — you choose your own adventure here!


Drive to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint | Free

Rowena Crest Viewpoint

Take a short drive east along the Gorge to encounter the Rowena Crest Viewpoint, one of the most photographed spots in the entire state. You’ll get off I-84 in Mosier and take the slower, winding Historic Columbia River Highway to the elevated viewpoint with plenty of parking. Simply walk to the edge to take in one of the most impressive views in the area — with the iconic U-shaped road to your right and the Columbia River to your left. And of course, don’t forget to take a picture!


Enjoy Happy Hour at Cebu Lounge | Varying

One of the best ways to experience any city’s best restaurants is strategically planning your visit during happy hour. Enjoy discounted drinks, affordable apps and other specials at one of the many happy hours in Hood River. One of our favorite happy hours in town is at Riverside’s Cebu Lounge, the only waterfront bar in Hood River. Take in beautiful views while you snack on $4–10 plates, $5 pints of beer, discounted wines by the glass, and more. The happy hour menu is offered Monday through Friday from 4–6 p.m., and the full menu at Riverside is also available.


Happy Saving!

What free or inexpensive things are we missing out on? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Melissa Peterson, Director of Agent Services and Technology

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