Their Top List
From what I have seen from the local tourist bureau and tour companies this is where they want you to go in Portland. Well they got some of it right but if you want to find the real Portland or Portlandia you have to reach further. I did cheat here a little and listed these in order of how Portlandish they are.
Gov. Tom McCall Water Front Park – Water Front park is pretty nice on its own and is where the city of Portland began. The event held here make it the culture center for the city. If one of our big water front events is going on when you are here you can see just how crazy Portland can be.
Pittock Mansion – Part of Portland’s history and best free view of the city. Mr. Pittock was the Publisher of the Oregonian Newspaper and this was his retirement home.
Forest Park – This is a must for folks who live in Portland and is used a lot. If you are visiting there are 80 miles of trails so I don’t think you are going to see it all in one day. I have recommend hike on the detail page that is manageable.
International Rose Test Garden -If you like roses this is the place to go. One of Portland’s nick names is the city of roses and this place is at the heart of that.
Powell’s Books – Big book store. Said to be the largest independent book store. I have only gone here a few times but I have to admit I have gotten mesmerized by what seem like endless isles of books.
Saturday Market – Local crafters gather here on the weekend to peddle their wares. The market has been going since the sixties and you never know what original handmade item you might find. The market is not weird but the early arts and craft movement helped get Portland creative side going.
Food Cart Pods have become such a natural part of Portland that it is weird that visitors would want to visit them. Other then for lunch or dinner. Then they are a great place to pick up tasty affordable food. You can find Food Cart Pods all over Portland with several downtown.
Visit a Farmer Market – Summer time we have farmer markets all over the city. From the farm to the table and a must for the vegans. When you are visiting it is a good place to rub shoulders with the locals. Many have local musicians preforming and seasonal berries can be good.
Portland Japanese Garden – They just did a big redo on the buildings and gift shop so you need to go here so we can pay for the place. If you have not been to a Japanese garden this could be nice place to go. It is described a museum garden as it shows the five styles of Japanese Gardens. It is located in Washington Park just up from the Rose Garden.
Oregon Zoo – If you have kids this could be a good place to go. Do it on a warm sunny day. On a cold rainy day (that’s 9 months of the year here) the animals just hide away. They are just finishing up a five year expansion so the place is looking pretty good. The place is a little spendy but no where near what this expansion add to our property taxes. Please enjoy and make us feel better.
Mill Ends Park – Kind of weird but I guess that is Portland. It is in the middle of the street and is the smallest park in the world. It right next to Waterfront park so you can see it when you are visiting a real park.
Lan Su Chinese Garden – I have been here and have no need to go back. If you have not been to a Chinese garden this could be worth visiting. The Chinese immigrants are part of the Portland Story the garden is not.
Voodoo Doughnuts – Donuts? You came all this way to Portland to get a donuts! For many years if you were downtown at 2 am and feeling no pain Voodoo was a good place to get a sugar rush to get you home. Today donuts are a new trend and it started with Voodoo.
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry – Normally we just call it OMSI. For Portland this is nice. If you have been to the one in Chicago (I visited many times as a child) this is a mini me. I know the children’s area can keep the grand kid entertained for hours. And they have a real Navy sub you can go on. Not Portlandia – this Portland.
Portland Art Museum – This is not the Louvre. This is a Portland size art museum that has a representation of a range of art from antiquity to modern. It gains depth in rotating temporary exhibits. For me they have a very small collection of NW Coast Native art that is special. If you are a real art buff you may want to skip this place. If you have never been to an art museum and like two dimensional art you may want to check it out.
Pioneer Courthouse Square – It’s better than the parking lot that was here for 20 years. It is known as the “Portland’s living room” but when there is not an event going on it is like a living room with no furniture. Just a city block of red bricks. Lots of shopping and restaurants around it so I am sure the Chamber of Commerce wants you to visit it. Also it is a public transportation hub. The Tourist Information Center is here so you may need to go here for that.
Portland Oregon Sign, Keep Portland Weird Sign, Salmon in Building, Bart Simpson sidewalk, Umbrella Man, China Town Gate you want them all but where do you find them?