Home to an abundance of places to eat, sleep, appreciate culture and have fun — in the water, forests and downtown streets — Seaside is a fantastic home base for film lovers looking to explore the North Coast.
A good place to start is one of Seaside’s newest — and brightest — additions. With its marquee lights wrapping around the bustling corner of downtown’s Broadway and Columbia streets, The Times Theatre and Public House debuted in 2018 after being closed for almost 30 years. And when it made its comeback, it did so in true Pacific Northwest style: as an old-school theater and brewery with tasty pub food.
Hefty steel vats of Seaside’s own Sisu Beer sit on the theater’s original stage, and a large screen magically drops down from the ceiling when it’s movie time — or game time. Order a burger with housemade barbecue sauce and a pint of Sisu pale ale, and let the show begin. Many of the theater’s original details remain — the balcony is still a nod to the golden age of cinema, and the concession stand still serves candy and fresh popcorn — but the renovation has upgraded Seaside’s film-going experience to a two-thumbs-up.
In addition to catching a movie in this historic space, film buffs can also hop in their car and take a self-guided tour of the area’s real-life movie sites along the Oregon Film Trail. From “The Goonies” to “Free Willy,” several famous films and television shows were shot around Seaside on the North Coast, and these new, specially designed signs at each location make them easy to spot.
A good place to start is at Ecola State Park, 10 miles south of Seaside. Here you’ll find an Oregon Film Trail map to the movie sites at the park, including Indian Beach, a favorite surf spot and the less secluded of the park’s two beaches. You may recognize the spot from a couple of movies. It’s where Bella and Jacob found their special driftwood tree in “Twilight,” and it was also a stand-in for Australia in the iconic last scene of “Point Break,” starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.
“The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop” were both filmed at Ecola Point, a 5-minute drive from Indian Beach, and the famous opening scene of “The Goonies” was filmed just a few miles south in front of Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock. Next, drive about 15 miles north of Seaside to see where the famous orca jumped to freedom in “Free Willy,” in Warrenton’s Hammond Marina. Oregon Film Trail signs mark all of these sites and offer fun behind-the-scenes facts about the movies, too. Just north in Astoria, spend some time at the Oregon Film Museum with its interactive exhibits, before heading out to the three nearby Oregon Film Trail sites to see more real-life locations from “Free Willy,” “The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop.” To cap off your movie tour, make sure to rent a copy of one of these made-in-Oregon films and watch it at your beach rental, bowl of popcorn and favorite beverage in hand.
Film lovers will find plenty to love in and around Seaside any time of year. Even if you’ve already seen it all on the big screen, Seaside is a perfect home base to explore the film trail and experience your favorite scenes in person.