As a long time resident of Portland, Oregon I at first can’t imagine why any one would want to visit Portland. But that is just because Portlanders take all of great stuff we have here for granted. We have all of the places, attractions and events you would expect from a modern big city in the USA. We also sit in the center of fabulous natural wonders. And then there is that strange bit that outsiders, and sometimes insiders say is just weird. In the past 140 years Portlanders with vision have made decisions and put forth blood and treasure to make Portland a very livable city. We have also had Portlanders who maybe need to get their vision checked that have saddled us with some of the challenges we have today. For a visitor to Portland you will find a wide variety of attractions to see, interesting things to learn, new taste and treats to try and experiences and memories to take home from your visit. But most of all we hope you have fun finding the real Portland or the real Portlandia.
When you arrive in Portland if you talk to a local and tell them you have come to visit Portland the first thing they will say is “WHY?”. For use locals we just live here and don’t think much about it. It is hard for us to think of why someone would want to visit here. But carry on that conversation a little longer and ask why they live in Portland and not move somewhere else, then the flood gate of information will open about what makes Portland special.
One of the main things is that Portland is very diverse. Diverse as in varied and not as it might be used in news headline for finding political correctness. For a small big city Portland has a lot of variety and for a visitor you have lots of choice of what you may want to explore. Here are some category breakdowns that might help.
In checking around I found these 18 places turn up on most list of what to see and do in Portland. This isn’t my lists this is those other people’s list.
These places tend not to make the “top places to see” list even though many are often way cooler. It might be because they are to Portlandia or maybe you can’t make as much money off of folks. Might even be because it is in THAT city on the other side of the River. But these make for a second top list of places to see.
I am on vacation. I just want to have some fun doing stuff. Don’t make think.
Portland is a place for foodies. There are many places to try and many folks with their opinion on where you should go.
Visiting with kids. Here are some places the whole family can enjoy.
If you have a lot of time and want to know Portland in depth here are a series of special place and special interest tours. This is why I did the site. To show how to find the real Portland or what makes it Portlandia.
Not here for a visit of Portland but for other reasons. Maybe waiting for a river cruise to leave. Or you are here for a convention, meeting or conference. You do have some free time and would like to see something of Portland. Try a cluster to see the most in a short time.
The best part of Portland is getting out it. We have a lot natural beauty to enjoy and outdoor activities to do. This is really why we live in Portland.
The nuts and bolts of a visit. Getting to and from Portland, Where to stay, how to get around, I need food, What if there is a problem.
Everything – I have a page where I just list everything to do and see. You can flip through the page, look at the photos and see what might grab you. It is just a big buffet of things to do in Portland.
Tour ideas – I have put together tour ideas. Some of “what to do in Portland” clusters around certain location and I show those. This can be a time saver. Other tours are more based around a theme. These are the idea if I had friend coming to town and I wanted to show them a certain aspect of Portland this is where I would take them.
Why This Site
After living in Portland for 28 years and Oregon for 60 years and having led over 400 urban hikes and street ramble for a local mountaineering club, I think I have a good idea what the area is about. And after seeing how other folks were showing Portland and the area around it, to possible visitors I did not think they were doing a very good job. So I thought I would show my version of Portland that I hope will be useful.
The question – A couple of years ago I was recruited by a local tour company to become one of their guides. As part of that I did a ride along with one of their best guides on a tour of Portland he was giving. So the guide could not tell the difference between a Monkey Puzzle tree and a Redwood tree (both given out at the 1907 Lewis and Clarke Exposition and planet all over town) but he could maneuver a big van through downtown Portland traffic and you have respect someone who can do that. For several reason I did not take the job. But toward the end of this 4 hr. tour one German guest approached me with a question. He said he had heard many stories about Portland and wanted to know what was the real story about Portland? I had no answer for him as I just live here and Portland is Portland. There is nothing weird about it. Portland is just home. But this question has stayed with me and has led me to understand that Portland is not just my home but its influence has reach far beyond our city limits. Far enough to have someone from Germany travel here to find the real story of Portland. Is it Portland or is it Portlandia. If you have heard of Portland or Portlandia and are coming to Portland to find out the real story about the place I hope I might have some answers for you now. I hope you may find them by visiting places on this website. Not just the tourist places that can be fun but the special places. I could have lived anywhere but Portland is a special place and it has held me here.
My college training was as a photo journalist. Although later I switch to commercial photography and advertising. For putting together this website I have dusted off my old photo journalist skills and went back to many old haunts and some new to capture Portland. Also, to try to find what is left of the ordinal Portlandia of which most has vanished now. I try to give you a visual preview of places in Portland and let you can decide what to see on your visit. Not just a top ten list but an array to choose from.
So last Sunday I got out to check out the new Vancouver Waterfront Park. I have been over there earlier but now they have it finished and plant have had chance to grow. The new fountain is finally done and it looks great. Grant St. Pier is getting good foot traffic and continue to draw …
I got a chance to get up to Ridgefield National Widlife Refuge to the reconstructed Cathlapotle Plankhouse. The Chinookan style plankhouse is based on what Lewis and Clark would have seen when they visited the Cathlapotle village. Lewis and Clark noted the village had 14 ceder plankhouses. The building is 37 feet by 78 feet …
I am still working on adding more to the site. I got over to Pearson Air Museum for some better inside shots and to get some inside photos at Oregon Rail Heritage Center. I am still checking out view spots of Portland and was looking for a good place to see the Rose Festival Feet …