As a long time resident of Portland, Oregon I at first can’t imagine why any one would want to visit Portland today. Sure, before the riots and pandemic we had a lot of great stuff here to see and do. And we had Portlandia. Now downtown is unsafe to visit unless you are looking for hard drugs. Because of the high amount crime most of the great stores, eateries, theaters and attractions have been forced out of business. Portlandia is dead and just a distance memory of a wonderful world that once was. I am leaving this website up for now as a memorial to the wonderful place Portland once was. At some point I will take it down and say good bye to a magic world that will only live in memory.
You Have Choices
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 us 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. 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. I have broken down some category that might help you decide what to see.
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.
Food and Drink
Portland is a place for foodies. There are many places to try and many folks with their opinion on where you should go.
With the Kids
Visiting with kids. Here are some places the whole family can enjoy.
Portland in Depth
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.
I am in town for a…
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.
Portland Tour Ideas
Cluster Tours, Walking Tours, Theme Tours, and Driving Tours, I have prepared a variety of self guided tours that you might find useful in exploring Portland and its surroundings. All are for the budget minded and none of them influenced by the Chamber of Commerce. These are places I would take my friends to when they come visit.
Getting out of Portland
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 How To
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.
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.
When garages were filled with music
I remember one evening about 15 years ago when I first started back in walking. I was walking different loop routes through my neighborhood for exercise. On that evening Portlandia was in high form. As I walked I started hearing music coming from a number of the garages I past. It seemed every block had …
Best of Times
For some in Portland I am sure they are seeing this virus lock down as the best of times. One of the slogan for Portland is, “it is where slackers go to retire.” I think we also have the largest population of millennials who after high school or college moved into the extra room in …
What is Portlandia?
It means different things to different people. For some it is a big bronze statue that looks down at you as you enter the Portland Building, a building that is constantly under repair. For others it is a wonderful or annoying TV satire show about Portland’s quirks. For me it means almost the same as …
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