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Fun Things to do in Portland


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city guide

Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant and scenic city in the USA's Pacific Northwest. The largest city in the state, it's famed for its huge expanses of green space, from parks and forests to breathtaking mountaintops. Portland is best known for its hipster and crunchy (ie. extremely liberal and environmentally-friendly) behavior, but historically, the city is a shipping port with a strong affinity for strip clubs in fact, it has the highest number of strip clubs per capita in the country.


Best time to go

The best time to visit Portland is from June to August, when consistently warm weather allows the city's outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city's roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom.


Fun city facts and activities

    Yes, theyre still putting a bird on it in Portland. PDX is keeping it weird, and the best things to do in Portland are quirky, cool and definitely unique. Twee boutiques and trend-setting food trucks are definitely at the top of the list (and if youve already taken home one of those iconic pink boxes from Voodoo Doughnuts, theres a whole list of Portland donuts to try), but theres so much more to see and do in the City of Roses.

    Portland has many lovely parks and gardens to explore, as well as trendy neighborhoods and districts like the Pearl district and North Mississippi Avenue. Youll want to explore handmade goods from Portlands makers at independent shops, bakeries and cafes, and of course sample the beers produced by some of the citys many breweries. Do like the locals do and bike your way around Portland (and across the many iconic bridges across the Willametteincluding the Burnside Bridge for a view of the iconic White Stag sign), then settle in for a meal at the best restaurants in Portland.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Pearl District
    Mt. Tabor

Food Specialties

    Portland, Oregons penchant for artisanal extends from restaurants and bakeries to crafts, clothing and beer. The citys location means it has a wealth of local ingredients at its disposal, plus plenty of chefs with the talent and vision to create memorable meals. The best restaurants in Portland are showcases for both local ingredients and the multitude of cultures represented within the city.

    The best things to do in Portland are a little quirky, and so are the restaurants. Portland is a food truck town, where chefs can hone their skills, introduce new flavors or just get a little weird with their wares. While many food trucks remain consistent favorites, many food truck chefs have graduated to open their own restaurants. Whether youre looking for farm-to-table, Filipino, Vietnamese or French (and anything else you can think of), Portlands restaurants have it. From buzzy new spots to longtime favorites, fine dining to budget-friendly, here are Portland, Oregons top restaurants.

Portland Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Watch a Puppet Show at the Oregon Puppet Museum
2. Take a Food Cart Tour
3. Kayak the Willamette River
4. Explore the Shanghai Tunnels
5. Take a Portland Noir Tour
6. Go Stargazing at the Oregon Observatory
7. Take a Historic Pub Crawl
8. Take a Ghost Tour
9. Get Lost in the Portland Saturday Market
10. Visit the Witchs Castle in Forest Park

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Oregon Zoo Southwest Hills
Established in 1888, this 64-acre zoo is one of the most popular places to take kids in Portland.

2. Portland Childrens Museum Southwest Hills
Located in action-packed Washington Park, this childrens museum makes learning extremely exciting for kiddos.

3. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Buckman
Founded in 1944, OMSI is home to a wide array of interactive displays that both fascinate and educate.

4. Oaks Amusement Park Sellwood
Since 1905, this jovial amusement park has been captivating families with its carnival fun and thrills.

5. Portland Police Museum Downtown
Housed inside the Department of Justice building, this admission-free museum features artifacts related to Portlands law enforcement history.

6. World Forestry Center Southwest Hills
Opened in 1964, this nonprofit educational institution near the Oregon Zoo beckons families with its interactive exhibits.

7. Keller Fountain Park Downtown
Originally named Auditorium Forecourt, this 0.92-acre park beckons families with its eye-catching and dazzling water fountain.

8. Lloyd Center Mall Laurelhurst Portland
Lloyd Center Mall has been luring families with its fascinating ice rink since 1960.
And, thanks to the recent upgrades, it has become a cant-miss spot for parents who want to combine family fun with shopping.

9. Punch Bowl Social Downtown
Located by the Waterfront in downtown Portland, Punch Bowl Social is an amusement emporium with a plethora of games.

10. Voodoo Doughnut Old Town
Since 2003, Voodoo Doughnut has been serving eclectic and sugary snacks to Portland visitors and locals.

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Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

What is Portland most known for?

Being the City of Roses is what it is best known for, but there are other interesting little curiosities, Mill Ends Park is quite well known for being the smallest designated city park in the world. Portland is a considerably modern city with more interesting styles of fusion architecture than you find in Americas older cities, so there is certainly that.
Kyle Breaux - Lives in Corvallis, OR

Beer and distilled spirits. Great Willamette Valley wines, too. The Rose Festival in early June. Great mountain and beach access.
Micahel Ray Lives in Portland, OR (1969 Present)

Are two days enough to visit Portland?

Not really, unless all you are planning on doing is spending one night. But given all the things to do, you need four nights minimum. But if you are stuck with 2 days, I would stick with the Gorge on one day and the Seaside / Newport loop the other. Assuming you have access to a decent vehicle.
Tom Horstmann Lives in Portland, OR (1980 Present)

Depends what you want to do. There is so much to do within an hour or two of Portland that it would be be possible to fly in and immediately hit the road to the vineyards, coast or mountains.
Esse Warner - Lived in California
It depends. Ive lived here since I was 5, and would recommend using Portland as an anchor base, to travel out to see Multnomah Falls, and the old highway, Salem is about an hour south, state capital, Fort Vancouver is just across the river, and it is being restored, plus there is Officers Row, all of the age, and beautiful, there are things to see.
Jann Jones Lives in Portland, OR (1961 Present)

My recommendation would be planning a day for the Columbia River Gorge to the East of Portland. Another day for the North Coast by possibly driving to Seaside then heading South as possible, as the coastal scenery and towns are magnificent. Or better yet, starting out from in Tillamook then heading South to Newport, before turning East towards Corvallis and points North.
Tom Horstmann Lives in Portland, OR (1980 Present)

Do you need a car to visit Portland?

No, as we have a great transit system which includes an extensive network of light rail and bus lines. But a car comes in handy for exploring scenic areas outside of Portland, such as Mount Hood, the Oregon Coast, the Columbia Gorge, and other fun stuff.
Tom Horstmann Lives in Portland, OR (1980 Present)

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