Baker City, Oregon, which hosts Senior Lifestyle’s Settlers Park community, has a rich history. Sitting along the Oregon Trail, the town was planned in 1865 and incorporated in 1874. By 1900, it was the largest city between Salt Lake City and Portland, serving as a vital trading center.
Modern-day Baker City has more than 100 historic buildings and is considered the “base camp for Eastern Oregon,” the launching point for excursions to surrounding trails, historic sites and beautiful views.
Here’s a list that will help you plan your visit so you know what to do in Baker City, Oregon.
12 Fun Things To Do in Baker City, Oregon
Lincolnwood and the surrounding Illinois towns and cities are home to many parks, beaches, museums and other attractions. Here are some of the most popular.
Leo Adler was an influential and well-regarded resident of Baker City. His house has been preserved and restored into a museum that shows how he, and the monied residents of the Old West, lived.
During a guided tour, you’ll see the elegant rooms and hear Adler’s story. Elegant period wallpaper, furniture, artwork and light fixtures are all either original or restored to give the feel of a turn-of-the-century residence.
The Baker Heritage Museum, formerly the Oregon Trail Regional Museum, is housed in the 100-year old Baker Municipal Natatorium, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The two-story museum offers an interpretive collection of Baker County’s history from the 1860s through 1960s. Permanent and changing exhibits cover agriculture, mining, ranching and timber industries of the town, along with looks at the wildlife and Chinese culture of the area.
There is a rich Chinese history in the region, as these immigrants built railroads and worked in gold mines. This cemetery marks their presence in the area. The cemetery has been used for a long time but was dedicated in 2002.
Around 46 people were originally buried here but many have been exhumed and sent to China. Several headstones and a small pagoda remain, along with a traditional Chinese stone prayer house and interpretive signs.
4. Christmas in Baker City
Baker City becomes a winter wonderland during Christmas. With its charming downtown – see more below – all decked out in lights and several events to celebrate the holiday, Baker City is a lovely place to visit.
The town features a Twilight Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in early December. A Festival of Trees features beautiful decorations displayed on Christmas trees. Also during December, you can take an authentic horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Baker City’s old Carnegie Library has been repurposed as a venue for the performing and visual arts. The center exhibits the work of local and regional artists and schedules performances of plays and literary events.
The center offers classes, workshops, mentorships and partnerships. Painting, drawing, collaging, ballet and other classes for adults and children are available.
Baker City’s thriving downtown has been revived and filled with locally owned shops, restaurants and galleries. Festivals and events fill the city, including a cycling classic, motorcycle rally, an artist studio tour, a restaurant tour and holiday events.
Rand McNally and USA Today has named downtown Baker City as one of the six most beautiful small towns in the nation.
A scenic drive beginning and ending in Baker City will take you to the Elkhorn Mountains, where gold-mining boomtowns were established in the 1800s.
You’ll see the Powder River, Blue Canyon and drive through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, among other scenic places in this 106-mile tour.
This hotel, recently named one of the great hotels in the state by The Oregonian newspaper, was opened in 1889. It’s an Italianate building constructed with mined volcanic tuff, marked by a four-story clock tower and a 200-foot corner cupola.
The historic hotel welcomes sightseers, who will catch a glimpse of crystal chandeliers, mahogany woodwork and a stained-glass skylight – and, just maybe, a legendary ghost called the Lady in Blue.
This scenic 218-mile loop through Hells Canyon along the Snake River encircles the Wallowa Mountains and offers scenic and dramatic views of mountains, rivers, valleys and more.
The drive goes through 11 communities that can provide food, gas, shopping and more. Be aware that some of the drive is along more primitive forest service roads.
10. Miners’ Jubilee
The three-day Miners’ Jubilee, an annual event in July, celebrates Baker City’s gold mining heritage of the 1800s.
A parade, mining demonstrations with real panning for gold and children’s activities abound, along with food, vendors and a sidewalk fair.
East of Baker City is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which presents a look at what pioneers of the 1800s would have experienced along the Oregon Trail.
The 500-acre center features living history exhibits, demonstrations, multimedia presentations, programs, special events and more than four miles of trails. The stories of explorers, miners and settlers of the frontier are included.
The railroads brought trade and people to the Northeast Oregon region, and part of the local railroad system remains with the Sumpter Valley Railroad.
This narrow-gauge railroad provides scenic steam train rides throughout the area. The train runs between a depot south of Baker City and the former mining town of Sumpter, for a two-hour round trip. You can also stop off and visit McEwen or Sumpter.
Experience Oregon’s Best at Settlers Park
Settlers Park in Baker City offers Assisted Living and Memory Care options to meet seniors’ needs. If you need some help with the everyday tasks of living along with personal assistance, we’re there to help. If your loved one is dealing with the challenges of memory loss, Alzheimer’s or dementia, we can make sure they’re living a comfortable life.