A town that takes pride in its history on the Oregon Trail and its central historic district, Baker City, Oregon has 100 downtown buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, the magnitude and number of heirloom buildings within its 42-acre district, centered on Main Street, make Baker City one of the largest intact historic commercial centers in the Western United States.
With active support from organizations like Historic Baker City, a downtown revitalization nonprofit, and Destination Downtown — which promotes the central area’s shops, restaurants, jobs and livability — this small city of nearly 10,000 Oregonians, east of the Cascade Mountains, can relish the attractions of a bustling downtown that has aged remarkably well. And Baker City is as charming as it is historic: it has been named among the “Most Beautiful Small Towns in the USA” two years in a row by Rand McNally and USA Today.
Main Street offers a vibrant array of art, culture, entertainment, shopping and dining. Quintessential shops like Cody’s General Store, #1911 and Betty’s Books are as engaging on the inside as they are appealing on the outside. Main Street offers a number of other independently owned speciality shops, art galleries and restaurants. Especially worth a visit are Peterson’s Art Gallery, the Eastern Oregon Regional Theater, and the iconic and elegant Geiser Grand Hotel, which has been operating since 1899 and is known for its trademark clock tower. It even houses an old-time saloon.
Community and cultural events are plentiful here. Among the annual attractions are the Baker City Cycling Classic, Downtown Trick Or Treat, First Friday Art Walk, the Taste of Baker City and several holiday parades. The two-day Baker City Bronc and Bullriding in July is one of several rodeos in Baker County. The Powder River Music Review brings a variety of performers to the city on summer Sunday afternoons, and the National Day of the Cowboy concert is staged each June in Baker City’s Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
All photos courtesy of Baker County Tourism – basecampbaker.com