Most visitors come by boat, dock down in the marina and if they do disembark, never climb up beyond the lower part of town – Old Town – with its vintage movie theatre, our more expensive eateries, antique stores, used books, Jilly’s retro clothing, ice cream parlor and the basalt block courthouse.
But this is a great little town to bike around. Bikes are not so common here as in Portland. A good percentage of the riders you’ll see use a bike as their only form of transportation (not always necessarily by choice). Another chunk are the lycra-clad along Hwy 30 training for longer bike rides. But you’ll always see a few other riders out in all kinds of (usually pretty mild) weather . . . and more and more every year.
St. Helens has nice infrastructure for biking – generally well-marked bike lanes all over town, dedicated bridges on either side of the road at a narrow bridge and regular street-sweepers to keep the shoulders clean. And the town itself is fun to bike around – the lovely old houses down by the river, the little shops and cafes with their faithful regulars.
In upper town you’ll find a bike shop, two lovely bakeries, cozy bookstores (one used, one new books), soft ice cream stand, two Mexican restaurants, sushi, pizza, thrift stores, clothing, furniture, hair salons, coffee shops, mom & pops, pharmacy, doctor’s and dentist’s offices and other small businesses and services that support this still rather independent county seat, including a post office, two grocery stores (Safeway and IGA) and (yes) a Walmart.