Seaside Stories

Murals, Swing Jazz, and Marine Life: Experiencing Seaside’s Arts & Culture

March 1, 2019 | by Seaside Visitors Bureau

Seaside, Oregon, is known for its downtown murals and active arts scene. Photo: Rick Mickelson

As one of the best known beach destinations in the Pacific Northwest, Seaside has a reputation for stunning sunsets, inviting sand, and proximity to incredible hiking trails that wander along both the sandy shores and rugged bluffs. In addition to its scenic beauty, though, Seaside is also full of rich history and embraces artists from all walks of life. From art walks to museums to festivals, this Oregon Coast gem has an ocean’s worth of art and culture to explore during your next visit.

Art Walk

For a decade and a half, Seaside has organized an Art Walk to celebrating the work of residents and visiting artists. On the first Saturday of every month, the art galleries and boutiques located between Holladay and Broadway in the downtown historic district host the Art Walk from 5 to 7 pm. The Art Walk is free and open to the public and gives everyone a chance to see the incredible art of the region. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet artists, watch demonstrations, and even listen to live musical performances.

Visiting Seaside when there is not an Art Walk? Don’t fret. Seaside’s art community is well represented all year long. Must-stop art galleries include the Oregon Gallery, the Sunrose Gallery, the Fairweather House and Gallery, and the numerous murals spread all throughout town. The Seaside murals are an attraction in themselves and capture the spirit and culture of this idyllic coastal town. Colorful, iconic, and full of the coastal spirit you’d expect to see, the murals, which are perfect for selfies in the salty air, adorn buildings all around town. To view the latest and greatest murals, pay a visit to the Seaside Visitors Bureau, where you can get directions and personalized recommendations for other things to explore in the area.

Seaside’s Music History

Music may not be the first thing you think of when you visit Seaside, but for a period of time, it was the place to play in the Pacific Northwest. For more than four decades, starting in 1920, Seaside saw some of the biggest names in music come through town on Northwest tours. Jazz legend Duke Ellington and bands such as The Kingsmen (of Louie Louie fame) and The Archies (who sang Sugar, Sugar) rolled through town. Two of the biggest clubs that drew music fans from miles around were the Bungalow Dance Hall, which was located at the current site of the Carousel Mall, and the Pypo Club, which existed near the Turnaround at the current site of the Wyndham Resort.

4th of July Festival

Where better than the stunning Oregon Coast to celebrate the nation’s birthday? You may not know that Seaside hosts one of the largest fireworks displays on the West Coast, which starts shortly after the sun sets. Accompanied by music, the sky erupts in colorful bursts over the beach at Seaside for 25 minutes. Be sure to book hotel rooms early, as they fill fast. And keep in mind that traveling in or out of town on the fourth is difficult with so many visitors making their way to Seaside.

The 4th of July at Seaside is more than just about pyrotechnics. There is a parade to start the day as well as an Old Fashioned Town Social that has been going on for more than three decades. The social is a quirky and fun way to experience the small coastal town as it offers delicious food, live music, bingo, raffles, and a cakewalk. You’ll get to know the community while helping to raise funds for the Seaside Museum & Historical Society, which has a lot to offer visitors year round and is a great hub to get started exploring history in the area.

Museums and History

Seaside has a long history to explore: For millennia, the area was home to the Clatsop Tribe, who had a lived on a diet of seafood, game, berries, and roots. But encounters with Europeans brought exposure to smallpox, and by the time the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived, just 250 were still around.

In early 1806, what is now the city of Seaside was the site for the Lewis and Clark expedition’s salt works. Here, they boiled sea water to extract the salt needed to preserve their meats. A replica of the original salt works has been built and can be seen along Lewis and Clark Way. Looking like a wood-fired pizza oven, the saltworks is an excellent 10-minute stop in town before heading to the End of the Trail sign several blocks away at the Turnaround on Broadway. More information can be found at both the Seaside Museum and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park just north of Seaside.

No trip to Seaside is complete without a visit to the aquarium. The Seaside Aquarium has been educating and entertaining visitors of all ages since 1937—making it the oldest privately owned aquarium on the West Coast. The building was once a natatorium, and the pipe that once fed the saltwater pools is still used to bring in water for the exhibits. The aquarium now showcases the marine life found in the region, and you’ll be greeted by harbor seals at the aquarium’s entrance. Once you enter, you can discover what lurks under the ocean in the historic aquarium’s 35 tanks, including two touch tanks. The highlight for many is the opportunity to feed the seals. Ideal for kids or kids at heart, the Seaside Aquarium is a great way to learn about the surrounding ocean that makes Seaside so unique.

Written by Douglas Scott in partnership with City of Seaside Visitors Bureau.

and so much more!

Beach Reads for a Vicarious Escape

Chances are, you have more time to read right now than you have had in the past decade. And we all know, a good book can transport...

Learn More
RECAP: Chalk Art Contest on the Seaside Prom

In celebration of the Prom Centennial, the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District hosted the first annual Chalk Art Contest on...

Learn More
Boogie Nights

A look at Seaside's old dance hall and skating rink

Learn More
Paddle Neawanna Creek
How To Paddle Seaside

Kayaking and paddle boarding options abound in Seaside, Oregon. Find out what you need to know to float the coast....

Learn More
Beach Access for Everyone

Beach Wheelchair Access is Growing on the Coast Seaside is proud to be among a small number of coastal towns in Oregon to offer fr...

Learn More
The Art of the Stroll: Celebrate Seaside’s Prom Centennial

When’s the last time you strolled the Prom? It’s a tradition synonymous with Seaside, thanks to the 1.5- mile paved, accessibl...

Learn More
Surrey in Seaside
How to Bike Seaside

Our author takes a look at the various ways to bike in and around Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
Broadway Boon

A glimpse at the history and evolution of Broadway.

Learn More
After the Storm

A look at a storm from the early 1900s in Seaside

Learn More
Drilling in Seaside

World War I soldiers drilling on Seaside's beach.

Learn More
Find a Beach Path Less Traveled By

A Sunday stroll along the beach at 12th Avenue in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Breaking High

A look at a waves breaking over the turnaround at high tide in Seaside

Learn More
Summer’s Great, but There’s Nothing Else like Winter in Seaside

When you imagine a classic beach town, you probably picture something similar to Seaside, Oregon. Our town of 6,700 sits less than...

Learn More
Accessible Adventures For Everyone

Seaside is open — and easy — for folks of all abilities. From where to stay to what to do, we’ve got a rundown of tips to ma...

Learn More
Ben Holladay’s Seaside House

Ben Holladay's Seaside House was a beautiful Italian villa style resort that was the namesake for the city.

Learn More
A Seagull’s View

Aerial shot of Seaside Oregon from the 1920s

Learn More
Top Things to Do With Teens

Traveling with too-cool-for-school teens? I feel you. I have two teenagers myself. But be assured, you’ll find plenty of totally...

Learn More
Fun on the Way to Seaside

You wrap up work on Friday, load your kids into the car and make a beeline for Seaside. We certainly share your enthusiasm, but th...

Learn More