Coastal Culture in Cannon Beach
Published: 01/17/2014  Updated: 08/13/2019
Shopping, galleries and cafes invite explorers down village paths, into colorful courtyards and public squares in the quaint downtown center of Cannon Beach.
Shopping, galleries and cafes invite explorers down village paths, into colorful courtyards and public squares in the quaint downtown center of Cannon Beach.  Photo by Gary Hayes

Look for the many outdoor art installations and fun architectural details all around Cannon Beach as you visit the numerous shops, art galleries and cafes.

Cannon Beach magically combines the inspiring beauty of the Oregon Coast with unmatched oceanview lodging and a picture-perfect village by the sea. With a reputation as one of the Northwest's top art towns, Cannon Beach is a delight to explore. You'll discover sensational shopping, art galleries and fine dining. Watch live glassblowing, attend a live theater performance or browse the galleries. Most of the town is easily walkable. The architecture, public art, meandering pathways and courtyards spilling over with flowers all add to the artistic beach town experience. You can also rub elbows with history and take in the views enjoyed by Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery 200 years ago, when Captain William Clark wrote about the inspiring beauty of the coastline on the explorers' historic voyage. Visitors continue to be captivated by those same views today.

Shoppers and art lovers will be thrilled exploring Cannon Beach. There are delightful discoveries to be made in the art galleries, specialty stores and boutiques all around town. You'll find original art, fine apparel, artisan-made jewelry, unique home décor, delicious confections and endless other surprises. Tax-free shopping makes your visit the perfect time to splurge. Galleries offer original works by some of the most successful local, regional ­and nationally-known artists. You're sure to find the perfect new focal point for your home, office or garden that you will treasure forever. Many of the shops and galleries are located within a few short blocks in downtown Cannon Beach, but just a few blocks to the south, the Midtown area of Cannon Beach is home to more great shopping.

Watch glassblowers transform glowing molten glass into beautiful works of art at Icefire Glassworks, a working glassblowing studio in Midtown Cannon Beach.

Follow in the footsteps of America's most famous explorers, gaze out at the views they described and imagine the culture they discovered. Members of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery visited Cannon Beach in January of 1806 on their historic expedition. Captain William Clark led a party of the explorers, including their Indian guide Sacagawea, to investigate reports that a whale had washed ashore. They found the whale south of the creek Clark named "Ecola," the native term for whale. In his journal, Clark described a small village of several wood houses of native Tillamook people who lived on both sides of the creek. A whale sculpture at Whale Park in the north end of downtown commemorates the explorer's visit. On the north side of Ecola Creek, interpretive signs tell the story of the historic expedition. The Tillamook Head Trail in Ecola State Park follows the route the explorers used to reach Cannon Beach.

Watch a live theater performance at Coaster Theatre who presents a year-round schedule of live community theater performances in an ­intimate setting. Coaster Theatre is located downtown in an historic building that once housed the community's roller skating rink.

Meet the artists and see their latest works in the galleries during Cannon Beach art festivals throughout the year. Festivals include Spring Unveiling in early May, June's Plein Air & More and November's Stormy Weather Arts Festival. For art of another sort, Cannon Beach will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its annual Sandcastle Contest this June, featuring dozens of large sculptures by master builders, groups and works by families and kids looking for creative fun.

Get Lit at the Beach: A Gathering for Readers is a three-day event in April featuring best-selling authors, receptions, talks, signings, a question and answer session and a keynote speaker dinner.

The Cannon Beach History Center features unique artifacts, artwork, photographs, audio presentations and hands-on displays related to local history. Admission is free.

Step back in time to an earlier era and visit several historic cottages in Cannon Beach each September when the Cannon Beach History Center presents its annual Cottage Tour.

View the collection of ephemera and displays related to the history of nursing, open Saturdays during the summer or by appointment.

The Cannon Beach Arts Association is a non-profit organization devoted to enhancing arts in the region. It operates Cannon Beach Gallery in Midtown focusing on original artwork by local and regional artists with exhibits that change monthly. The CBAA also hosts an annual Summer Art Camp the last week in July and other special events. Tolovana Arts Colony is a non-profit arts association dedicated to providing year-round arts education. Faculty includes working artists experienced in their field as well as emerging artists who seek to share their art.
Coastal Culture in Cannon Beach