This picturesque riverside community of about 7,200 residents affords visitors spectacular views both of the Columbia River and snowcapped Mt. Hood. More than 40 civic and commercial buildings date from 1893 to the 1930s, some of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Hood River is the dining and lodging hub of the Gorge, with an increasingly respected bounty of urbane farm-to-table restaurants, up-and-coming craft breweries and wine-tasting rooms, and nicely curated shops and art galleries. Little wonder this is one of the most popular weekend getaways among Portlanders, all the more so since the surrounding countryside abounds with orchards and vineyards, making it a favorite destination for fans of U-pick farmsteads and tasting rooms. Hood River wineries grow a broader range of grapes than Oregon’s more famous Willamette Valley, and wine touring has become a favorite activity in the area.
And then there are Hood River’s recreational pursuits. For years, the incessant easterly winds blowing through town were nothing more than a slight nuisance. Then somebody bolted a sail to a surfboard, waded into the fat part of the Gorge, and a new recreational craze was born. A fortuitous combination of factors—mainly the reliable gale-force winds blowing against the current—has made Hood River the self-proclaimed windsurfing capital of the world. Especially in summer, the town swarms with colorful "boardheads" from as far away as Europe and Australia. Hood River's rich pioneer past is reflected in its downtown historic district.