Welcome to Portland, Oregon, a vibrant city known for its lush greenery, quirky culture, and world-class food and drink scene. Nestled between the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, this Pacific Northwest gem offers a multitude of activities for all ages and interests.
Let's dive into the must-see sights and experiences that make Portland an unforgettable destination.
What To Do in Portland
Top Landmarks and Attractions
Portland Japanese Garden
Begin your Portland adventure at the Portland Japanese Garden, a tranquil oasis that showcases the beauty of traditional Japanese landscape design. Stroll through eight distinct garden spaces and admire the meticulously maintained plants, calming water features, and stunning architecture.
International Rose Test Garden
Just a short walk from the Japanese Garden, you'll find the International Rose Test Garden, boasting over 10,000 rose bushes and more than 650 varieties. Visit between May and October for the most spectacular blooms, and don't miss the Shakespeare Garden, which features plants mentioned in the Bard's works.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a family-friendly destination that features hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and a massive screen theater. Explore the science of natural disasters, engage with interactive displays, or tour a real submarine docked along the Willamette River.
History buffs and architecture enthusiasts will love touring the Pittock Mansion, a French Renaissance-style chateau built in 1914. Wander through the opulent rooms, learn about Portland's early history, and take in the panoramic city views from the mansion's hilltop location.
Nature lovers will feel right at home in Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States. With over 80 miles of trails, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Don't miss the picturesque Witch's Castle, a popular spot for photography.
For a more leisurely outdoor experience, head over to Mount Tabor, a dormant volcanic cinder cone located in southeast Portland. This urban park offers several miles of trails, picnic areas, and basketball courts. Make sure to climb to the summit for incredible views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood in the distance.
Columbia River Gorge
Just a short drive from Portland, the Columbia River Gorge offers breathtaking scenery and countless outdoor activities. Hike to the iconic Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, or try one of the many other trails that wind through the lush landscape. For the more adventurous, try your hand at windsurfing or kiteboarding on the river.
Food and Drink Scene
Portland Farmers Market
One of the best ways to experience Portland's thriving food scene is by visiting one of the city's many farmers markets. The Portland Farmers Market, held at Portland State University, is the largest, featuring over 140 vendors selling fresh produce, artisan cheeses, and freshly baked goods. Don't miss the food trucks for a delicious breakfast or lunch!
Portland is famous for its food carts, which offer an incredible array of cuisines from around the world. Head to one of the city's many food cart “pods” and sample dishes like Korean bibimbap, Mexican tacos, or Czech chimney cakes.
Portland has earned the nickname “Beervana” for a good reason – the city is home to more than 70 craft breweries! Take a self-guided brewery tour or join an organized beer tasting to sample a variety of local brews. Popular spots include Deschutes Brewery, Cascade Brewing, and Breakside Brewery.
Wine enthusiasts will also find plenty to love in Portland, thanks to a growing number of urban wineries. Visit tasting rooms like ENSO Winery, Hip Chicks do Wine, or Urban Crush to sample wines made with grapes from the nearby Willamette Valley.
Shopping and Neighborhoods
Once an industrial area, the Pearl District is now a trendy neighborhood filled with upscale boutiques, art galleries, and converted warehouse lofts. Stroll the tree-lined streets, pop into a few shops, and enjoy a meal at one of the area's many acclaimed restaurants.
For a more bohemian shopping experience, head to Hawthorne Boulevard in southeast Portland. This eclectic street is lined with vintage clothing stores, quirky gift shops, and a variety of eateries to suit every taste.
Alberta Arts District
Another great neighborhood to explore is the Alberta Arts District in northeast Portland. Known for its vibrant street art, this area is home to numerous galleries, local shops, and an array of food carts.
Arts and Culture
Portland Art Museum
Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Portland Art Museum, which boasts a diverse collection of over 42,000 works. Highlights include the Native American art exhibit, the European collection, and rotating contemporary art displays.
Powell's City of Books
Bookworms, prepare to be amazed! Powell's City of Books is the largest independent bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block. Wander through the maze-like store, attend a reading or author event, and don't forget to pick up a souvenir at the gift shop.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Finally, immerse yourself in Chinese culture at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a peaceful retreat in the heart of Portland's Chinatown. This authentic Suzhou-style garden features intricate architecture, beautiful plants, and a lovely tea house where you can enjoy traditional tea service.
Life in Portland Oregon
There's no shortage of epic things to do in Portland, Oregon. From breathtaking natural beauty to world-class food and drink, this vibrant city offers something for everyone. Start planning your Portland adventure now and discover the unique experiences that await you in the City of Roses.
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