Are you on your way to Oregon anytime soon?
If you are, you need to start planning on where to go.
Portland is one of the best places to visit in Oregon. It is the state’s largest city and is famous as one of the quickest cities in the United States.
It has a motto: “Keep Portland Weird,” which should already give you an idea about its eccentricity.
Once you explore the top tourist destinations in Portland, you will find your experience filled with world-class museums, green and spacious parks, and boutiques.
The culinary scene in Portland is also one of the most innovative in the region.
While walking the streets of Portland, it is common to sniff some luscious food from food trucks, coffee houses, restaurants, and more.
The city is also diverse when it comes to food options. And so, no matter your food and drink preferences, you will satisfy all of your cravings in this adorable corner of the Pacific Northwest.
There may be pubs around. But as you are younger than 21, we cannot afford that.
Here, I came up with a list of top things you can do while in Portland.
List of Contents
1. Portland International Rose Test Garden
Portland is famous for its roses.
And so, if you are wondering where the nickname “City of Roses” came from, wonder no more.
Your visit to Portland will be incomplete if you do not visit the garden to set the record straight.
Situated at the sprawling Washington Park, Portland International Rose Test Garden spans 4.5 acres. It is also one of the great city destinations to visit when in Portland.
And even if you are visiting the city for a day or two, the garden is an attraction you must see.
Taking a stroll through the rose garden, you will find yourself in awe upon seeing 550 varieties of roses. There are about 10,000 plants or so in total.
You will also dazzle yourself with scenery that overlooks Mount Hood and the downtown area of Portland.
The International Rose Test Garden is open throughout the year.
But for you to see the roses in full bloom and at their finest, the months between May to September should be perfect.
The blooming of the roses usually peaks around June.
What sets this place apart from other joints is its set menu.
Imagine a menu that spans a wide variety of flavors. There is bubble gum, maple, and even bacon.
It should look like a Willy Wonka chocolate factory list. But seriously, the doughnuts here are divine!
And the flavors may sound weird, but all you have to do is remember the city’s motto of keeping it weird. The eccentricity of this doughnut joint is beyond me.
At first, one could think that these flavors may not work.
But somehow, the doughnut place can make it work. And what is more important is that these flavors all mix and blend, resulting in weird, delicious doughnuts.
It is like, how come nobody thought of these flavors before?
Voodoo Doughnut has locations all over the United States. But the one in Portland is more memorable. It is here where it started.
The original store is in Portland’s SW Third Avenue.
Are you visiting VooDoo Doughnut for the first time?
Go with the classic VooDoo Doll, a chocolate-covered confection-shaped doughnut. Packed inside the doughnut is a jelly-like filling that contrasts the chocolate flavors beautifully.
3. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Initially hosted in businessman Ralph Lloyd’s place, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is another attraction.
A planetarium conducted a show at Mr. Lloyd’s house, lasting about twenty minutes.
Over the next few years, the museum became more and more popular. The house where the museum was, was also up for demolition.
The Oregon City Council stepped in and decided to continue with the museum. The decision paved the way to lease a piece of land in Washington Park to save the museum.
The project also saw the involvement of about 400 volunteers.
The museum opened in its new location in 1958.
These days, the museum is a popular destination in Portland and receives more than 1 million visitors every year.
4. Portland Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum is the oldest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.
Founded in 1892, the art museum is impressive and is also one of the oldest there is in the country.
It houses a wide array of artworks. It displays contemporary, modern, and ancient paintings. Its pieces on display would be enough to keep you entertained the whole day.
The most impressive displays here are the Native American artworks. The museum is also home to one of the world’s most exceptional collections of English silver.
It has two buildings and takes up space in the cultural district of Portland. An underground gallery connects the two buildings.
Outside is a garden of sculptures that you can also explore.
When outside, look for the Roy Lichtenstein work named Brushstrokes. That piece is one of the most impressive in the area.
5. Washington Park
Covering an area of more than 410 acres, Washington Park is the home of Portland’s many attractions.
These attractions are the city’s premier destinations, making Washington Park a place worth visiting. A day of visiting the park allows you to swing by several other attractions because these attractions are all nearby.
Within the premises is a zoo. A children’s museum and some Japanese gardens are also nearby. A nursery is also a few minutes away from the park.
If you have different schedules for the nearby attractions, you can spend the afternoon lazing away at the park.
There are picnic areas for visitors. There are also playgrounds, tennis courts, and substantial green spaces to catch up on your reading.
A wild forest is also nearby for you to explore.
For visitors with active lifestyles, a path of about 15 miles is available for jogging or walking. These trails connect joggers to the Pittock Mansion, Council Crest, and Forest Park.
6. Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s is the biggest independent bookstore on the planet. It is the home of more than 1 million new, used and rare items.
If you adore books as much as I do, Powell’s City of Books is a perfect destination in Portland you should not miss.
Book lovers will find several things to do in this labyrinthine store.
The Purple Room has the Espresso Book Machine. Here, you can use the machine to publish your book for a fee. And what is best about the device is that it takes a short while to publish your book.
Have a cup of coffee first. Once done with coffee, you already have a book published.
If you are into rare signed volumes of books, you can visit the Rate Book Room. Your hunt for that one-of-a-kind book might end here.
7. Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo could perhaps be one of the most famous attractions in Oregon.
It first opened in 1888. It was a private collector of animals who decided to donate the collection to the city of Portland.
To date, there are about 1,955 animals in the zoo. The variety covers almost 232 species of animals. About 21 of these species belong to endangered or threatened animals.
But what makes the zoo different is that it has a breeding program to ensure the survival of such species.
One of the most recent successful breedings was of the new African Elephants.
8. Portland Center Stage
Performing contemporary and classic plays, the Portland Center Stage is another destination in the city you should not miss.
It is a local company and shows that the city has several performing arts options.
There is the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. People know it as Schnitz. There is also the Oregon Ballet Theater to check out.
But the most renowned of them all is the Gerding Theater. It is at the city’s old armory and is one of the most dramatic attractions you could visit.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it attracts formidable praise because of its architectural design. The theater’s resident performing company, The Portland Center Stage, reviews are also glowing.
9. Pittock Mansion
To the west of Portland are hills and a beautiful home they call Pittock Mansion. The mansion should also be on your list of places to visit when in Portland.
Built in 1909, the mansion was home to Henry Pittock and his wife.
It has 46 rooms and nestles in about 46 acres of land.
As of the present, the state of Oregon owns the property. It also opened to the public in 1965, with about 80,000 visitors stepping foot into the mansion each year.
The mansion is also at about 1,000 feet above sea level. Visiting here provides guests with a fantastic view of the scenery below. It is also a perfect place for bird-watching.
The mansion made appearances in different TV shows and films throughout the years. The most popular of these films is Unhinged. However, most countries banned the film for its content.
10. Revolution Hall
Recently renovated and started anew as a music venue, the Revolution Hall is one of Portland’s most iconic buildings.
It is a 113,500-square-foot brick school located on SE Stark Street.
Most locals have gone back to the Revolution Hall since its opening in 2015. Some of the most notable appearances are Neko Case and Andrew W.K.
It has a rooftop dining establishment which is also popular with locals. The dining place serves delicious food and an exceptional view of the city.
11. Lan Su Chinese Garden
Portland is a sister city of Suzhou in the province of Jiangsu in China.
Suzhou is famous for its Ming Dynasty Gardens. These gardens are renowned for being beautiful.
In Portland, the Lan Su Garden is, so far, the most authentic Chinese garden outside China. Once inside, the park provides you with a feeling of being in China and not in the US. There is a wall that covers the whole property.
The garden is an excellent opportunity for you to explore Chinese culture. This visit should also allow you to immerse yourself in Chinese thinking and history.
Translated to English, the garden’s name should be Garden of the Awakening Orchids.
It takes you about a few hours to visit and explore the park.
You will leave the garden feeling revitalized and fresh.
Portland is the largest city in the beautiful state of Oregon.
At the start of the 20th century, it was famous for being one of the most dangerous cities. It was a port city with the biggest organized crime in the past. It was also common to hear stories about crimes here.
But all that changed. The reputation of being a dangerous city is all in the past now.
Portland is now the 8th most popular city in the US.
It offers its guests a wide array of options, especially when it comes to visiting destinations.
It has a Chinese garden, parks, museums, and performance halls. It has restaurants that serve some of the most delicious food you can ever imagine.
Portland is now an ideal city to visit.
If you are 21 or younger, you will indeed have fun here.
Have you been to Portland in the past?
If yes, which attractions would you like included on the list?
Let us talk about it in the comments section.