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Trip Idea: A Walking Tour of Historic Coos Bay & North Bend

Trip Idea: A Walking Tour of Historic Coos Bay & North Bend

Tue, Feb 9, 2021

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By now, you’ve probably heard about Pandemic Fatigue. It’s an actual thing and it’s affecting all of us. While many of us are feeling stir-crazy and longing to return to a “normal” world where we can gather with friends and family and do our favorite activities without thinking about quarantining, and social distancing, we have to accept the fact that we’re not there yet and focus on activities we CAN do safely, like walking tours

Walking tours have surged in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our world almost one year ago. They are an opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture of a destination while experiencing a change of scenery, fresh air and exercise. Even though the Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston area is known for its remarkable hiking trails and natural destinations, our region is steeped in history and much can be learned simply by walking around our downtown areas. Not to mention, the walking tours we spotlight in this post are completely FREE and can be done at any time of the day.

So, whether you are a history buff eager to research the past, or simply a curious walker searching for something relatively safe to do, we recommend embarking on one (or both) of these self-guided walking tours of downtown Coos Bay and North Bend. Maps and brochures featuring historical points of interest on the older homes and business buildings are available at the Visitors Information Center, 50 Central Avenue, Coos Bay.

Historic Walking Tour of Coos Bay

Travel back in time and take a walk through a section of historic Coos Bay formerly known as Marshfield (until it was changed to Coos Bay in 1944). While taking this walking tour, you’ll find plenty of notable properties built near the turn of the century. Along the way, you’ll learn about the booms and busts and disasters and recoveries our community has endured through the years.

A treasure hunt for brass plaques will enable you to discover the once bustling Historic Front Street, lined with thriving businesses from the mid-1850s until the 1920s. A short stroll north from the downtown boardwalk rewards visitors with views of genuine working tugs. The Coos History Museum invites you to take another look at the waterfront, and join in the excitement about its potential.

Other points of interest include The Oregon Coast Historic Railway Museum and the Marshfield Sun Printing Museum. Please note both of these facilities may be affected due to current COVID-19 restrictions. Please check in advance for hours and availability.

Download a printable Brochure and Map Here: Historic Walking Tour of Coos Bay or pick on up at the Visitors Center.

Historic Walking Tour of North Bend

Downtown North Bend is filled with unique historic buildings and landmarks that will not disappoint. From the beloved Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge, placed on the National Register of Historic Place to the Oregon Merci Boxcar, gifted to our state by the French in appreciation for U.S. aid during WWII - you’ll see North Bend in a whole new light after taking this tour.

The City of North Bend was founded in 1903 by shipping tycoon Louis J Simpson and was named to reflect its location on the north bend of the Coos bay. Though the city is 117 years old, multiple Native American communities had occupied it for thousands of years before European settlers arrived 400 years ago. Today, North Bend is home to the Coquille Indian Tribe’s government and home to the famous McCullough Memorial Bridge,

Other Historical Tours to Consider

Coos History Museum

This bay front museum is operated by Oregon’s oldest historical society. It boasts more than 250,000 historic photographs and features ever-changing exhibits on various topics from pre-history to the present. Visitors will gain a historic overview of the Coos and Coquille Indian tribes, as well as coal miners, loggers, shipbuilders and local shipwrecks that helped shape the area. As of this writing, the Coos History Museum is open by appointment only due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please click here to make an appointment.

Tour de Pre

Fans of Steve Prefontaine will enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience led by his sister Linda Prefontaine. This personal tour takes you through the Coos Bay area and explores where Pre grew up as you hear personal stories and anecdotes that only Linda can offer. Please note: COVID-19 restrictions may have altered the hours or availability of this tour.

You can also explore additional Coos Bay & North Bend Downtown Walking Maps by clicking here where you will find a mapped list of restaurants, public spaces, retail and entertainment, in our walkable downtowns. Click here for more trip ideas and information.

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(541) 269-0215
50 Central Ave, Coos Bay, OR 97420

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