Pokémon is a cultural phenomenon around the world. With adorable creatures, battle mechanics, an opportunity for healthy exploration, and a sweet kick of nostalgia, what’s not to love? When Pokémon fans received Pokémon Go – a game with augmented reality and online interaction – in 2016, players of all ages rushed for the opportunity to find their favorite Pokémon, fight in gyms, and make brand new friends. While the mobile game isn’t quite new anymore, there’s still an active community, wonderful new features, and countless ways to engage and find unique treasures on your next visit to Seaside.
Although Pokémon Go can help you explore parts of Seaside you may have never seen before — check out the Chamber of Commerce Sundial when you stop at the Visitors Bureau for info, posters, stickers, and maps — there are plenty of pokéstops along our most common paths. While heading down Broadway, you will find pokéstops, gyms, and a variety of water Pokémon at the bridge. When you reach the turnaround, you may fight or place your Pokémon in the gym at the Lewis and Clark Statue. From there, either direction along The Promenade will allow you to spin pokéstops to your heart’s content. Remember, pokéstops can be spun again after 5 minutes, so you can spin them all on the way back as well!
Before we get into the story-telling world of Pokémon Go, I want to explain a bit about how the game works. Pokémon Go is a mobile game, meaning that it’s played on and made for smartphones. It works on most tablets, but you can’t play without either mobile data or wifi. GPS capabilities are also required, though these are built into most smartphones. You can buy items in-game (including items that help gameplay and items that change your appearance), but every part of the game can be accessed and enjoyed without spending any money in the app.
In the real-world “wild” (any location where there are frequently people), Pokémon will spawn. They tend to spawn more often at pokéstops, which are cultural, historical, or notable locations in the real world that will show up in-game. For example, the Seaside Civic & Convention Center is a pokéstop because of the events held there. When you get to a pokéstop, you spin the icon to receive useful items for your journey. This includes revives for when your Pokémon faints, pokéballs to capture them, and a variety of items with different functionality. You can use the Pokémon that you’ve caught to fight the Pokémon of other players. You can do this either in direct battle with a friend, through the Battle League, or at a Gym (if it’s currently controlled by an opposing team). There are lots of objectives for Pokémon Go, depending mostly on what you, as a player, might want to do. Many players attempt to collect one of each Pokémon, but other players may only collect their favorites. For some, the best part is taking over local Gyms and keeping those under control of the team they represent. Still other players love the Pokémon Battle League, an online tournament that allows competition against random players for in-game prizes.
Unique Finds in Seaside’s Beach Biome
One of the best parts of Pokémon Go is the amount of variety there is in its content. In the original TV series, the main characters traveled from town to town, discovering new species of Pokémon as they went. In the game, there are “biomes” of Pokémon that can be found in different regions in the real world. A rare biome you can find in Seaside is the Beach biome. Many Pokémon are difficult to find unless you go to a biome that matches their type, so visiting Seaside could really help add to your collection. Within the Beach and Water Biomes, we have Pokémon based on seagulls (Wingull), crabs (Paras/Krabby/Dwebble), frogs (Lotad), and even shells (Shellder)!
The game also has different Pokémon spawn depending on the type of weather in town. Because of this, Pokémon is a wonderful family activity for rainy days. Since rain boosts the spawn rate of Bug, Water, and Electric-type Pokémon, you’ll almost always be able to collect some Pikachu. Simply gear up and catch some rare Pokémon! A rainy hunt that ends at The Carousel Mall (which is also a Gym) is a perfect opportunity to keep the kids entertained when the beach isn’t an option. Some Pokémon, such as Cherrim and Castform even have forms that you can only find in rainy weather.
Pokémon Go is super interesting during COVID because there are in-game changes to allow for social distancing! In the past, events called raids had to be played in-person. Raids are when a gym lets multiple players fight a single Pokémon which has been made much more difficult to defeat alone. Raids happen rather frequently at The Wayside Amphitheater and the Seaside Brewing Barrel. Right now, there’s an option to fight in raids remotely, meaning that you can social distance while playing together. This feature also allows more active engagement from visitors who might not be able to access all gyms or travel between them quickly. Along with the remote raid feature, the game has been offering free incense (an item that allows more Pokémon to spawn at your location) in some of their daily deals.
For players who are familiar with the game, there’s still lots to do! New Pokémon are constantly being introduced for raids, including legendary Pokémon, mega-evolutions, and more. Every so often, specific types of Pokémon will spawn more frequently, as in the Bug Bash. These events usually last for at least a week. There are also Pokémon spotlight hours that happen once a week and feature one Pokémon plus a special bonus (ex. Twice the stardust, twice the candy, or twice the experience points).
How to Catch A Ghost in Seaside
All of these are lovely features to explore when visiting Seaside, but I’ve saved my favorite piece for last.
There are many different “types” of Pokémon which each have different strengths, weaknesses, and aesthetic themes. One of the rarest types of Pokémon (and my personal favorite), is the ghost type, but many players who love ghost-type Pokémon know it can be incredibly hard to collect them. This is because Pokémon Go has a game mechanic that causes more ghost Pokémon to spawn at night. Not everyone can hunt for Pokémon between 8 pm and 8 am, so ghost Pokémon remain rather elusive. Late October is a yearly exception to this rule, as ghost Pokémon may spawn in large numbers during the day for their two week Halloween event. In past years, they’ve also added new ghost Pokémon to the game in celebration. You can join in the celebration with Seaside’s Halloween Happenin’s — a weekend event that includes lots of activities from different local businesses. In the past, we’ve had a pumpkin drop, parades, costume contests, and more. If you’re unable to visit around that time but still want to catch some ghost types, I’d recommend watching for foggy weather which will also cause ghosts to spawn. Here in Seaside, October is perfect sweater weather and the summer crowds have often slowed to a quiet halt. It’s a perfect time to explore the charm of our beach town, with a chance to catch rare Pokémon while you’re at it. Visit a bit earlier and you could catch the Saltmakers’ Return at Avenue U near The Lewis and Clark Salt Cairn in mid-September.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to get out there! The Pokémon Go community is very active on the Oregon Coast and in Seaside, and they’re always welcome to new faces. Pokémon spawn every day, with tidbits of lore waiting to be discovered. Put yourself up to the challenge, and see if you can catch ‘em all!