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Historic Astoria, located at the mouth of the Columbia River, is a city of firsts. Tracing its roots back to John Jacob Astor's fur trappers, who set up a trading post in what are today's city limits, Astoria was the first permanent U.S. settlement on the west coast. And the first U.S. Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains was established in Astoria in 1847. Yet despite its place in history, today's Astoria isn't a big place, with only around 10,000 residents.

The mainstays of Astoria's economy are tourism and services. Tourists visit Astoria while en route to other touristic places, like Seaside or tourist towns in southern Washington. Astoria in recent years has become a second home for Hollywood producers, who have made a relatively large number of movies in the town. The townsfolk love to see their city on the big screen.

Astoria lies within the Marine west coast climate zone, notable for very mild temperatures year-round--some of the most consistent in the continental United States. Winters are mild for Astoria's latitude, and are generally above freezing, even at night. Summers are cool, although short heat waves can occur. Astoria is no place for sun worshipers, as there are 194 days with measurable precipitation, on average. Rainfall is most abundant in late fall and winter, and lightest in mid-late summer.

Astoria is a fun place to get out and explore. If you like towns with Victorian buildings featuring Queen Anne details, artsy towns that have a definite personality, towns with good brew pubs, towns that are situated in beautiful settings, and towns with a history that stretch back over 200 years, Astoria will fit your bill.

Your ship will dock at Astoria's Pier 1, which is located just west of the downtown area. If there's more than one ship making port, the second ship to arrive will anchor offshore, and passengers will have to tender into the town. All tours and excursions begin at the Pier 1 parking lot.

Arrivals and departures of cruise ships are marked by local celebrations, as local bands play on the cruise pier as each ship docks, and throughout the day in port. The locals also erect tents at the pier, and host the festive "Never on a Sunday Market" open-air market with up to 40 arts, crafts and jewelry booths manned by the artisans and craftsmen themselves.

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