St. Helens Old Town area is situated conveniently close to St. Helens Marina. Chock full of historic buildings, antique stores, fine restaurants and a historic movie theater, the Old Town area is a destination in itself. It is registered on the U.S. Register of National Historic Places. Old Town is a popular filming site: several locations around town were used in the original Twilight film, and the Governor’s Office of Film and Television markets the town as a good shooting location.
- Dockside Steak and Pasta 343 S. 1st St.
- Klondike Restaurant and Bar 1st and Cowlitz
- RoyThai Restaurant, 295 Strand
The Columbia Theater is a restored 1928 theater with balcony showing first run movies. The seats are comfortable, the concessions are more varied than your usual multiplex, and historic photographs and other antique touches appear throughout.
- The old portion of the Columbia County Courthouse has one active courtroom, but also houses the Columbia County Museum. The courthouse was built of locally quarried basaslt in 1904, and its bell tower, dating from 1910, is an iconic landmark above the St. Helens waterfront.
- St. Helens City Hall was built in 1908 as a home for Columbia County Bank. It was converted to City Hall in 1937
- Plaza Square, in front of the historic courthouse is home to the city’s municipal Christmas Tree each year, and — more unusually — hosts a pumpkin lighting in early October to mark a month of Halloween festivities. Apparently the city started this tradition after Halloweentown, a 1998 Disney film, was filmed here.
- Grey Cliffs Park, just north of St. Helens Marina, is built on the site of an old basalt quarry. It’s a great spot for watching the boat and large ship traffic coming and going, or watching the ospreys tending their nest or feeding their young. A stairway leads upward from the park to the scenic promontory on Wyeth Street, which will give you a view of the entire St. Helens waterfront.