What to do in Portland
This Page just has everything listed. It is broken into some categories but if just want to see all of the spots I think some one should be interest in this is it.
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.
Gov. Tom McCall Water Front Park – Water Front park is pretty nice on its own and is where Portland began. The event held here make it the culture center for the city. If one of our big water front events are going 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 a recommend hike on the detail page.
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. 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 and have lost all track of time. Big thing about this place in the early days was you could sell your old text books back to them.
Saturday Market – Local crafters gather here on the weekend to peddle their wares. This 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 it get going.
Farmer Markets – 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 there 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 show the five styles of Japanese Gardens. It is located in Washington Park.
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 9 months of the year here) the animals just hide away.
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry – For Portland this is nice. If you have been to the one in Chicago 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. For me they have a 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.
Mill End Park – Kind of weird but I guess that is Portland. It is in the middle of the street next to Water Front Park and is the smallest park in the world.
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 the 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.
The site began development in 1924 and has expand to cover 62 acres. It is a Catholic spiritual center open to all visitors.
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 there is not much to see other then red bricks. Lots of shopping and restaurants around it so I am sure the Chamber of Commerce wants you to visit it. One Saving Grace – the Visitor Information Center is here.
Portland Selfie Landmarks – Portland Oregon Sign, Keep Portland Weird Sign, Salmon in Building, Bart Simpson sidewalk, Umbrella Man, China Town Gate you want them all but where are they.
This is more of the funky stuff of Portland. Some might say the weird part of Portland. This can be the stuff that pisses off city hall but we love it.
Burnside Skate Park – The creation, growth and maintenance shows the rebel side of Portland. Redevelopment, as with most of Portland, may end it.
Map of what to do in Portland, Oregon.
What to see and do in Portland by categories.
- Museums and Historic Places
- Food and Drink
- Places to stay
- Linear Neighborhoods
- Getting out of Portland
Museums and Historic Places
There are five main section of the park to see – Hudson Bay Co. Fort Vancouver, Officers Row, Vancouver Barracks, Pearson Air Museum and the Visitor Center. There are also scattered through the park other buildings, recreational areas and memorial that might be of interest.
If you are interested in the history of Oregon and Portland this is a good place to start. On the third floor of the museum a new exhibit that follows the time line of the development of the area.
Locally the Audubon Society is known for their bird rescue center or for bird watching. Many locals don’t know of their Sanctuaries. They have a 150 acres in the city of wild area with trails. There is a part of that close to their campus that has been built up to be a lovely place to visit.
The new center started operation just five year ago. They normally have two fully restored steam locomotive on display along with a collection of other historic train cars. One of the steam engines, the 4449, was used in 1976 to pull the Bicentennial Freedom Train across USA as part of the bicentennial cerebration.
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 9 months of the year here) the animals just hide away.
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.
Oregon Maritime Museum
The Oregon Maritime Museum is located on the Willamette River at Water Front Park on board the historic sternwheeler Portland. They have ship models, maritime artifacts and memorabilia on display but a big part of your visit is a tour of the Portland.
World Forestry Center – Discovery Museum
Ride the raft, save some trees, take a world tour, enjoy some artwork then head out to our Tree Farm or explore the hiking trails around Washington Park. There is so much to see and learn at the World Forestry Center!
This is the Fire Department museum with historic fire wagons and engines. The problem is it is almost never open.
It is a grand old building from the days when going by train was the main means of moving people across the USA and could be quit luxurious. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time and can remind one of all of great train stations scenes from old Hollywood movies.
A place to remember and to never forget. A place to read the stories for when when we lose our stories we lose our civilization.
Oaks Amusement Park – Amusement Park, Roller Skating and dance pavilion.
Ground Kontrol – Classic Arcades
Electric Castle Wonder Land – Arcades and more
Glowing Greens Mini Golf – Black Light Miniature Golf
Sky High – trampolines
Ifly – Indoor Skydiving
Ultrazone – Laser Tag
Skycart – Indoor go cart Racing
Pips & Bounce – Ping Pong
Willamette Shore Trolley – Trolley Ride
Portland Train Ride – Train Ride
Portland Aerial Tram – Ride the Tram up to Oregon Health & Science University for a view of the city.
North Clackamas Aquatic Park – Water Park
Brew Cycle or Brew Barge – Brew cycle is a weird group bike contraption that you peddle from pub to pub. The Barge is on the river with some of the same idea.
Portland Spirit – Willamette River Cruises. Dinner and Lunch Cruises
Willamette Jet Boat – Tour on the Willamette. It will get you blood pumping
Alpenrose Dairyville – 6149 SW Shattuck Rd.
Alder Creek – Kayak Tours
Portland Kayak Company – Kayak Tours
Scovare Sailing – Sailing Cruise on the Willamette
Portland International Raceway – Car Racing
Rose City Rollers – Roller Derby
Ice Skating – Lloyd Center Ice Rink
Eastmoreland Golf Course – The efforts to open Portland’s first municipal golf course began in 1915. Members from Multnomah Athletic Club, Waverley Country Club, Tualatin Country Club and Portland Golf Club wanted to build a public golf course to make the game available to all citizens. With the support of new designated PP&R superintendent Charles Keyser, the private golf club leaders raised $7,000 to fund the original construction of Eastmoreland, designed by H. Chandler Egan. The course opened June 16, 1918, and was very popular, generating enough paid golf rounds to help PP&R purchase the land outright and continue operations. Through the proven success of Eastmoreland and some creative efforts by superintendent Keyser to raise funds through utility certificates, new land was acquired for two more public golf courses.
Rose City Golf Club – Built in 1923, our course is the second oldest municipal course in the city and state. Located in the center of northeast Portland neighborhoods our course is a classic, tree lined course that is both playable and challenging for players at all levels. Recent renovations have improved conditions and year-round playability at Rose City.
Colwood Golf Center – Colwood Golf Center’s 9-hole, Par 3 golf course is uniquely designed and opened for play in April 2015. Each hole features two sets of tees to hit from, as well as large, undulating greens. This accommodates golfers of all skill levels, and creates a fun golf experience. The course plays up to 1,200 yards long, and has holes ranging between 76 and 200 yards. Located in Northeast Portland, minutes from PDX International Airport, downtown Portland, and Vancouver WA, Colwood Golf Center is a great venue for hosting golf outings. Our facility features a 9 hole Par 3 golf course, 18 hole footgolf course, driving range, and spacious clubhouse with a large event space.
Timbers – Scocer
Trailblazers – NBA Basketball
We have a lot of small theater and performing companies on the Portland Area. Here just a few.
Food and Drink
I am not what you would call a “foodie.” I am more a beer snob. I have a whole wed site dedicated to that at Brewpubs PDX . But through the years I have gotten out to a few places. These may not be the momentary trendy spots but I have found them interesting and a good value. Sadly some of my favorite are gone making room for progress.
Restaurants, Cafés, delis
Great Breakfast Spot. Couple of blocks up from NW 23rd. Plan on waiting for a table.
Even supper spot. Cajun Cooking. You don’t wait for a table you wait for a chair at on of the long tables
A long time wholesale supplier to local restaurants has a small store front. Good for specialty food. They also have a deli section. A good place to pick up some item for a picnic along the Eastside Esplanade.
The place is just funky. This is Portlandia weird.
Perhaps the first of the new bread of pubs that started Portland brew pubs. The places close for several year but is back now with good food, good beer and good place to enjoy them.
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.
This the place for strange donuts. It was the first place to break away from standard national chain shop donuts. Now there are a number of place in Portland doing unique donuts but Voodoo Was the first.
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.
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.
They just did a big redo on the buildings and gift shop so you need to go there 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 show the five styles of Japanese Gardens. It is located in Washington Park.
The Garden of The Bishop’s Close at Elk Rock is the property and offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Portland and is generously open for the public to enjoy.
Portland’s first rose garden. Still layout in the original 19th century style.
Balch Creek – Forest Park
Council Crest Park – Highest point in the city. On a clear day views of the mountains and Portland. It helps of you are really tall as the trees are starting to block the view.
Places to Stay
There is no Sales Tax in Oregon – Tax Free Shopping. These may not be the traditional tourist shopping spots but they feel very Portlandia to me.
Not so Conventional Shopping
Perhaps the largest independent bookstore in the world.
All the old hardware that use to make up the old houses of Portland before the were torn down to make room for condos.
This store dates back when “outdoor” meant a place to get your saddle, tack, cowboy boots and ten gallon hat. Third generation ownership. Just a fun place to visit.
Everything Bamboo and do mean everything.
Part of the reuse philosophy you find in Portland. And it can look so good. They are making there own furniture now out of reclaimed wood.
Part of what makes Portland Portland is the neighborhoods. I don’t think people would survive here or at least feel positive about the city if it was not for the neighborhoods. The neighborhoods allow you to feel like you are living in a small town rather then a big city. It has been a 30 year effort of urban renewal districts that has made Portland Portland and helped to make it Weird.
Getting out of Portland
The best part about Portland is getting out of it. Portland is located in the center of some of the best places for outdoor activities and sight seeing in the world. This is the real reason we all live here.
A reproduction of a chinookan ceder plank lodge.