Portland is a highly populous city in Multnomah County, famous for its slogan “Keep Portland Weird” and known for its progressive atmosphere and hipster vibes.
Its history runs deeper, though, as a historic shipping port that got up to a lot of mischief in the prohibition era.
Now, the city retains much of that charm in the form of vibrant art districts, lush natural spaces and parks, museums covering every imaginable topic, exciting festivals and events, and all sorts of gold-standard places to go.
With the many tourist spots, it can be hard to decide what places to see while you’re on holiday in Portland, Oregon.
Luckily, the sheer size of the city means there’s something for everyone, whether you’re keeping an eye out for the bizarre, the outdoorsy, the historic, the artistic, or the inventive.
So, which Portland attractions and things to see are worth your time?
To help you decide, here is our travel guide for the 40 best and fun things to do in Portland, Oregon.
1. Washington Park
Washington Park is widely considered one of the most popular Portland attractions.
Portland is filled with all sorts of different parks, but Washington Park manages to be a hotspot for tourists and locals alike.
It is packed with a variety of attractions – many of which are also on this list – and is an excellent place to rest and relax.
Spanning 410 acres, Washington Park is so lively and packed with activities that it’s hard to think of where to start!
A sightseeing tour brings you across museums, zoos, fields, courts, playgrounds, and even an archery range, all interspersed with fountains, flowers, and other natural features.
It’s one of the city’s oldest parks, too, purchased in 1871 when it was merely wild land, so there’s an added historic element to it!
With all the offerings to explore, you’ll probably spend a lot of time there this weekend.
Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States
2. Lan Su Chinese Garden
The Lan Su Chinese Garden spans 40,000 square feet of land and was created in 2000 as a means of connecting locals with Chinese culture following the budding relationship between Portland and Suzhou.
It is designed to resemble gardens from the Ming Dynasty, depicting the 16th-century luxurious exuberance of the dynasty’s wealthiest.
It’s one of America’s only authentic Chinese gardens, making it one of Portland’s loveliest things to see and one of the best places to travel.
An urban oasis, the Lan Su Chinese Garden features courtyards landscaped to perfection and various beautiful and ornate structures that grant insight into Chinese architecture.
The central feature is Lake Zither, which covers 8,000 square feet and is looked over by a delightful tearoom.
The tearoom, known as the Tower of Cosmic Reflections, is operated by Tao of Tea and spans two stories, with 50 seats to choose from as you look out over the lake.
A full menu of vegetarian snacks for all taste buds includes lotus-seed mooncakes, steamed buns, marbled tea eggs, pumpkin seeds dusted with green tea, daikon salad, and pressed plums.
The tower also runs a traditional tea service featuring oolong teas and more.
Address: 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
3. Pittock Mansion
There aren’t many deeply historical places to visit in the city of Portland, but Pittock Mansion is definitely among the top.
In 1853, Henry Pittock, a British-born immigrant, traveled to Oregon and settled down to work for a newspaper called the Weekly Oregonian.
A heavy believer in manifest destiny, within seven years he was the owner of the Oregonian, a daily newspaper, and had married Georgiana Burton, also a pioneer.
For the most part, the Pittocks were relatively frugal and humble, but as they grew older they decided to build their dream home.
The Pittock Mansion was commissioned in 1912 and was built to measure 16,000 square feet.
It is designed with a French Renaissance aesthetic and boasts 23 rooms, including a library, a Turkish smoking room, a music room, a pair of sleeping porches, a private shower, and more, with floors interconnected with an Otis elevator.
The mansion was finished in 1914 in the West Hills, on a 1,000-foot peak of 46-acre land.
Sadly, Georgiana would pass away in 1918 due to poor health, followed shortly by Henry in 1919.
The family kept the home but it was left severely damaged in a storm in 1962.
The City purchased the estate to save it from being demolished in 1964.
Today, it is a prime tourist draw of the city, boasting guided tours, gorgeous grounds, and spectacular views.
You’ll be impressed by the many surprisingly modern features of the Pittock Mansion, including intercoms, a central vacuum system, and indirect lighting.
Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States
4. Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry
The Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry is a stunning interactive museum that is among the best things to do in Portland for families and those who love science and history.
It’s very near – in fact, directly opposite – to the Portland State University and offers a look into complex concepts of science and innovation in an easy-to-understand and insightful way.
With eight labs and five halls all packed with hands-on exhibits, the Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry is a wonderful place to learn.
Showcases encompass topics like technology, paleontology, environment, physics, the ocean, chemistry, agriculture, engineering, health, outer space, reproduction, and more.
The Museum Of Science And Industry also offers cool things to do, like a science playground for young children, an IMAX theater with a four-story screen, the stunning Harry C. Kendall Planetarium, and an eatery on the riverfront that serves up healthy fare.
There is also the famous USS Blueback submarine onsite, the most modern American submarine that is displayed in the nation, and used in the filming of The Hunt for Red October after serving in the Navy for three decades.
Address: 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States
5. Portland Japanese Garden
It is a part of Washington Park and was opened in 1961 as ties between Oregon and Japan were strengthened.
Former Japanese Ambassador Nobuo Matsunaga proclaimed the eight-garden expanse the most authentic and beautiful Japanese garden outside of Japan on the planet.
With an endorsement like that, this grew to be one of the city’s most loved points of interest.
Each of the eight gardens at the Portland Japanese Garden is designed to evoke a different technique of Japanese gardening.
Taoist, Shinto, and Buddhist philosophies can be seen in the influences of the different elements at play, with plants, stone, and water that evoke serenity and make you feel at one with nature.
At the Japanese Garden, you’ll have fun exploring bridges worthy of fantasy, pools full of koi, cherry blossom trees that bloom in spring, and curved pathways that lead you through different elements.
Among the structures here are the Cultural Village and Pavilion, the Kiyomizu-Dera temple-inspired Umami Cafe, the Zen garden, and the authentic Kashintei Tea House that was shipped to the city after being constructed in Japan.
The Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center, Ellie M. Hill Bonsai Terrace, and Strolling Pond Garden are all things to see, too!
Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
6. Forest Park
Forest Park is a must-see for natural escapes in the urban setting of Portland.
The dense, lush expanse of this Pacific Northwest forest measures 5,200 acres in size, making it one of America’s biggest urban green spaces.
With no entrance fee, it’s also one of the city’s free things to do and is perfect for sightseeing and relaxation.
It was opened in 1948 but has been in the works since 1903, when the sons of Central Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted proposed the land’s preservation.
Forest Park boasts 80 miles of roads and trails for cycling and hiking, all within the generous space of the city and on the east of the imposing Tualatin Mountains.
Relatively near Washington Park, it features many different pathways that bring you through scenic and delightful places to visit.
One of these is the Wildwood Trail, which spans 30 miles and is a part of the Loop system that goes from Gresham to Willamette Greenway and to Marquam Trail, leading along the Columbia River.
It’s one of the most recommended trails in the park.
Address: NW 29 & Upshur to Newberry Road, Portland, OR 97210, United States
7. The Grotto
The Grotto is the common name used to refer to The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, a Catholic shrine famous around the globe that receives over 200,000 annual visitors.
It is run by the Order of Friar Servants of St. Mary and is dedicated to Mary, Our Sorrowful Mother.
The beautiful location means it’s a great choice for what to do, even if you’re not religious or Catholic – and if you are, it’s one of the best sites in Portland, Oregon!
The property of the Grotto spans 62 acres and is centered with a majestic and dramatic 110-foot cliff that hosts a shrine lit by candles and numerous religious sculptures.
The cliff also bears a rock cave in the base that holds a replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, made from marble and life-sized.
The botanical gardens of the Grotto are well-maintained and make use of a mix of carefully kept greenery and wild foliage.
You’ll see fir trees, shrubs of rhododendron, and more along the many walkways, some of which provide lovely overlooks of the Columbia River Valley.
If you’re interested in attending mass, you can, and the noon mass is held outdoors in the Grotto itself.
Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States
8. Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo is another feature of Washington Park, taking up 64 acres of space and housing close to 3,000 individual animals, with 90 species – 19 of which are endangered.
The zoo got its start in the latter part of the 1800s, when Richard Knight began to build his own private animal collection in Portland and opened the space to visitors, growing it into one of the city’s prime tourist attractions.
Dotted with native plants, the Oregon Zoo is a natural paradise with 23 fun exhibits separated into five uniquely themed areas, with a few more planned in development.
Currently, there is the Discovery Zone, the Great Northwest, the African area, the Elephant Lands that are a whopping 6 acres, and the Pacific Shores.
There are animals from the Arctic, the Amazon, and the African savannah and beyond.
Throughout your trip, you’ll get to see sea lions, birds, sea and river otters, insects, a trio of lions named Kya, Zawadi, and Neka, and a Penguinarium.
The zoo also puts a lot of effort into research and conservation, typically focusing on Pacific Northwestern species.
You can learn more in the zoo’s many tours, classes, camps, and programs.
If it’s summer when you visit this weekend, you may be able to check out a cool concert packed with much-loved musical celebrities like “Weird Al” Yankovic, Ziggy Marley, and even The Roots in an outdoor amphitheater that seats 3,800 people.
Address: 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States
9. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden didn’t start out as the grand attraction it is now.
Rather, Portland-local Sam Jackson, owner of the Oregon Journal at the time donated some land near Terwilliger Boulevard to be used in its construction.
There were 27 acres in total, but the land was rocky and unusable, forcing the site to be moved to a new location.
That location was once an outdoor stage for students of Reed College called “Shakespearean Island”.
Shakespearean Island was a lot of work to fix, given its dense overgrowth of blackberries and brush.
Volunteers worked to clean it up, eventually leading to the first rhododendron show on the site in 1956.
In 1964, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden finally was christened an official garden.
Today, it is home to a whopping 2,500 and more rhododendrons, along with many other plants.
The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a bit of a hidden gem, which is a shame given its beauty.
A lake invites geese, ducks, and other waterfowl, while scrub jays, red-winged blackbirds, and 94 other species find refuge in the trees.
Meandering trails bring you through the relaxing location, interspersed with fountains.
With a low entrance fee, this is one of the top cheap things to do in the city.
If you’re here at the right time, you can hop in for May’s Mother’s Day Show or April’s Rhododendron & Daffodil Show.
Address: 5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, United States
10. Powell’s City of Books
Are you a bibliophile seeking fun things to do in Portland?
Look no further than Powell’s City of Books!
Third-generation-owned, it takes up a whole block of Portland’s West Burnside.
Its life began in 1971 when the Powells set up their family business with the goal of selling a mix of used and new titles 365 days a year with the aid of staff that truly love books.
They were among the first to open a business in the Pearl District, and today they are the biggest used and new bookshop in the world.
Powell’s City of Books boasts more than one million books across 3,500 sections, three floors, and nine color-coded individual rooms.
It has its own map that you can get at the front desk to navigate through sections for every topic and genre imaginable.
Pillars hold signatures of the many authors who have visited – and there are many, with 500 or so visiting on an annual basis, so you should check if anyone’s visiting this week when you’re in town.
As you can imagine, everything from old to new books can be found at Powell’s City of Books.
When you’re done shopping the more affordable stuff, head up to the Rare Book Room and gaze in wonder at the 1,000-square-foot space decorated with antiques and artwork and featuring all sorts of signed first editions.
If you’re on time for them, there are two behind-the-scenes tours held on Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis.
Address: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
Visiting other parts of Oregon? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Eugene, Oregon?
11. Shanghai Tunnels
The Shanghai Tunnels have a long history that has made them among the best unusual things to do among Portland attractions.
Portland was, once upon a time, considered one of the world’s most dangerous ports.
It was known as the Forbidden City of the West from 1850 all the way up to 1941, and a part of that city was the Portland Underground, often referred to as the Shanghai Tunnels.
The Shanghai Tunnels were used for legal purposes a lot of the time, as they connected the docks of the Willamette River to basements of hotels and bars, keeping goods safe from the elements.
But there were also more illicit activities going on, as well, with alcohol provision and opium dens in the prohibition era.
An urban legend with little to no evidence surrounds the underground in the term “Shanghaiing”.
Tales go that Shanghaiing meant the sale of captured and kidnapped men for ship captains who needed crew members and of women for prostitution.
Many other horror stories plague the Shanghai Tunnels, such as slaves being consumed by hungry crew, human trafficking, and more.
Of course, it’s almost certain that this is all a myth.
While you’re in Oregon, touring the Shanghai Tunnels is an exciting way to explore.
Parts of it are open to the public, with tours provided by the Cascade Geographic Society.
There are ghost tours, heritage tours, and cultural tours.
Address: 120 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States
12. International Rose Test Garden
The International Rose Test Garden is a key choice among things to do in Portland, Oregon.
It was founded in an effort to protect and preserve hybrid European roses from the raids of World War I and was established in 1917.
This makes it America’s oldest continually operating garden of its kind.
More than 10,000 roses are grown at the International Rose Test Garden over its 5 acres of land.
Gorgeous views and delightful exuberant splendor make it a fun visit even in off-seasons, though you should aim for early summer trips to catch everything in bloom.
Different gardens and locations add variety.
The Shakespeare Garden has roses all named after Shakespeare’s characters.
The Miniature Rose Garden is home to all sorts of smaller species of roses.
The Gold Award garden is filled with stunning award-winning roses.
It’s all very delightful!
The International Rose Test Garden has become a part of the city’s identity and culture, and it’s one of its free things to do.
It allows you to get up close and personal with the inspiration behind other local features like the New Rose Tattoo shop, the famous Rose City Genmaicha of Steven Smith Teamaker, the all-female roller derby league called Rose City Rollers, and Nuvrei’s pistachio-rose croissants.
Address: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
13. Hoyt Arboretum
Want even more free things to do in Portland, Oregon?
Then one of your go-to places to visit should be the Hoyt Arboretum!
It first opened its doors in 1928 and features over 6,000 individual species from 172 families of trees across a whopping 189 acres of land.
Species come from all over the world, including from countries like Algeria, Chile, India, Afghanistan, and Germany.
12 miles of trails allow easy exploration throughout Hoyt Arboretum.
There are nature activities, guided bird walks, and a visitor center.
Better yet, it’s all nonprofit-run!
You’ll get to view a mix of nonnative and native species, helpfully labeled with placards in both English and Latin.
Don’t forget to check out the bamboo forest and redwood grove, too!
Address: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221, United States
14. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
A trip to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is one of the best things to do in Portland, whether you’re seeking to go sightseeing, relax, or join a festival.
Situated in downtown Portland next to the Willamette River, it is named after a former governor of Oregon and covers 30 acres of ground and wide-reaching, stunning views of the skyline.
There are lots of activities you can enjoy here at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Salmon Street Springs fountain offers a great place to cool down during the warmer days, and it’s always a good time to walk, jog, skateboard, or cycle – even if it gets a bit crowded sometimes.
You’ll also find some monuments here worth checking out, like the Police Memorial, the Founders Stone, and the Japanese American Historical Plaza.
Due to its convenient location in the city, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is the site of many regular events and festivals for the city, including the Portland Rose Festival and the Oregon Brewers Festival.
When there’s nothing special going on, explore the park’s five different zones, from the riverside walkway of The Esplanade to the grassy concert area of the Bowl, and from the crowded Central Lawn to the historic John Yeon Building.
Address: 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, United States
15. The Witch’s Castle
The Witch’s Castle is one of the weird things to do in Portland, but that’s what makes it one of its most fun points of interest, too.
With so many years of history to its name, it’s no wonder that it’s lived many lives and been the site of a fair few curiosities, ranging from murders to parties.
The land where the Witch’s Castle stands was purchased in the mid-1800s but Danford Balch as the city was still in development.
Balch hired Mortimer Stump to clear out the area, and Stump fell in love with Balch’s daughter, Anna, and asked Balch for her hand in marriage.
Balch refused and Stump was furious, taking Anna with him to elope.
Balch became depressed as a result, and when the couple returned, Balch murdered Stump on the Stark Street Ferry.
He was then executed – the first of the state’s legal execution.
The land then passed around from hand to hand and finally landed in the hands of the city, which built the stone “castle” close to the original homestead of Balch.
For a time, the Portland Parks and Recreation maintained it, using it as a station and restroom.
A storm damaged the structure in 1962 and it was abandoned.
Then, in the 1980s, high school students stumbled upon it and began using it for their parties, naming it the Witch’s Castle.
Every Friday night, high schoolers gather here to have a good time, even till today.
Address: Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR 97210, United States
16. Portland Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum is the Pacific Northwest’s oldest museum of art and holds the most prestigious collection of works in all of Oregon.
It was founded in 1892 and holds over 45,000 works from different genres, artists, and eras.
Three interconnected buildings make up the total expanse of the vast museum, which can be overwhelming when you’re trying not to get lost!
The Portland Art Museum is home to Japanese screen prints, European masters’ works, contemporary American creations, photography, and a sculpture garden.
One of its must-do exhibits is the Native American gallery, which showcases 5,000 artifacts from different eras, taken from over 200 different tribes.
There is also a beautiful collection of English silver, a stunning Ansel Adams collection with 26,000 prints, an Asian archaeology, and art collection, works by artists whose masterpieces defined the American West.
Address: 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
17. The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium
The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium maintains the spirit of the Keep Portland Weird slogan with an eclectic museum-and-shop dating back to 1967.
It was created by Oregon local Conrad Talmadge Elwood, an explorer who loved the bizarre, weird, and zany, and he claims he created it after dreaming of the store.
That’s likely not true, but the falsehood is in line with all the pranks and funnies the shop has to offer.
In other words, if you’re wondering what to do in Portland that’s all-out unusual, this is one of your best options.
Shelves in the gift shop of The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium are packed with cheap gag toys, strange pop artifacts, unnerving specimens, and more, all positioned behind the huge statue of Bigfoot that greets you when you walk in.
The museum area itself hosts all sorts of exhibits where photography is more than welcome.
At The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, you’ll get to see a seated Krampus statue with evil red eyes, strange drawings, freaky memorabilia, a nightmare dollhouse, an alien autopsy recreation, and the inside of a zombie’s brain.
An art gallery is also here, showcasing the more one-of-a-kind works of art from the city’s many artists.
If you have a strong stomach, try The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium’s fresh chocolate chip bug cookies, served hot and fresh with edible mealworms, scorpions, and crickets.
Address: 2234 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210, United States
18. Multnomah Falls
The Multnomah Falls are a whopping 620 feet in height and, while technically outside of Portland, Oregon, are among the tourist attractions worth the half-hour drive out.
The fun falls provide you with the opportunity to climb to Benson Bridge, where you can view the falls up-close from the first tier, or all the way up to the peak of the falls to look out over the Columbia River Gorge.
At the very bottom, the Multnomah Falls Lodge has amenities, an eatery, and a gift shop.
The Multnomah Falls are filled and fed by rainwater, an underground spring, and snowmelt, so it’s one of the West’s only waterfalls that flow throughout the year.
It’s the fourth tallest in the country and the second tallest of the year-round kinds!
Native American legend states that the falls were made to win a young princess’ heart so she could have a secret bathing spot.
Address: Oregon 97014, United States
19. Cathedral Park
There are plenty of parks in this city in Oregon, but Cathedral Park is among the top places to go.
It’s one-of-a-kind, incredibly breathtaking, and wonderfully romantic.
Situated in the northern portion of the city along Willamette River, it has a quiet location underneath the St. Johns bridge, which is where it got its name – the cathedral-like design of the bridge’s footing adds an ethereal atmosphere to the area.
The park was built five decades or so after the bridge, so it only opened in 1980.
Until then, it was virtually just a junkyard until a fundraising drive, run by Howard Galbraith, earned $7.5 million to be used to convert the space into a park.
The Cathedral Park Committee created and sealed a time capsule when the park was finished and placed it in the Memorial Garden’s Wall of History to be opened in 2030.
The instructions for finding it are hidden and kept secret.
Address: North Edison Street and Pittsburgh Avenue, Portland, OR 97203, United States
Looking to explore Oregon? Famous for the world’s largest living organism, Oregon has a lot to offer to tourists! If you plan a trip, here are some of the best places to visit in Oregon!
20. World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum is another attraction in Washington Park, Portland.
It opened in 1971 and measures 20,000 feet in size.
Its mission is simple but important: it aims to teach tourists and locals of Oregon alike about the importance of trees, nature, and forests in environmental sustainability.
The first floor of the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum covers the ecology of forests and general sustainability through a local perspective, while the second floor widens the scope to a global scale.
The second floor lets you take virtual trips to Russia, China, South Africa, and Brazil to learn about their forests and the unique challenges they face, as well as the relationships between woodlands and the people.
Looking for fun things to do in Portland?
Take a raft ride from here to gaze out over the forest from above!
Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States
21. Portland Farmers Market at PSU
The Portland Farmers Market is so famous that it’s one of the commonly visited Portland attractions itself!
Held at Portland State University, it features 200 vendors that rotate every Saturday.
They sell everything from baked goods to eggs and from grass-fed meats to cheese and charcuterie.
You’ll find craft chocolate, fresh produce, chanterelles, local blueberries, and seasonal fruits galore at this lovely Farmers market.
Try some of the SuDan Farm lamb, Old World Apples, Hood River cherries, and more.
There’s no end to the treasures and yummy goods you can find, so take your time to explore!
Address: 1803 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201, United States
22. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area can be walked or driven to from Portland, Oregon and offers a cheap entrance fee, lots of things to see, and a fun and active adventure to embark on this weekend.
Covering 290,000 acres of land, it’s often considered the most scenic part of the lower portion of the Columbia River, bisected by the popular Pacific Crest Trail.
Marking the state border, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is the perfect place for site seeing and nature-themed activities.
It’s also a wonderful place to take some photographs of the stunning waterfalls, like the Latourell Falls, Oneonta Gorge, and the already-mentioned Multnomah Falls.
Address: Hood River, OR 97031, United States
23. Pioneer Courthouse Square
Pioneer Courthouse Square is widely considered the Living Room of Portland by locals.
If you’re trying to get in touch with authentic downtown Portland, Oregon life, this is one of the best places to visit.
More than 26,000 individuals pass through Pioneer Courthouse Square daily.
It spans 40,000 square feet, is a common event space, and has tons of fascinating features to ogle.
The central area is an amphitheater of sorts that you can sit in during events.
There are bricks scattered about Pioneer Courthouse Square that have names on them – names of locals who paid $15 for the honor as a manner of donating to the construction costs.
There is a fountain that resembles a waterfall, a chess table, and the beloved Umbrella Man, which is a bronze statue of a man in a suit carrying an umbrella.
Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
24. Portland Troll Bridge
If you want some fun stuff to add to your to do list, the Portland Troll Bridge is a great option.
Trolls were widely considered fearsome, hostile monsters, stealing human women, eating human children, and lashing out against human men.
But that’s actually not at all what the troll bridge is about – in fact, it’s a bit of a Keep Portland Weird moment!
Trolls became the name of a brand of children’s toys, with wacky vibrant hairstyles and big smiles, that rose to fame in the 1960s.
It is these plastic little ones that you can find at the Troll Bridge.
Surrounded by woods, the bridge has been affixed with troll dolls all over, coming and going as people steal and replace them.
There are even some trolls painted on the bridge itself!
If you plan to cycle up here, make sure you’re ready for the challenging hills.
Address: 16498 NW McNamee Rd, Portland, OR 97231, United States
25. Oregon Historical Society Museum
The Oregon Historical Society Museum is situated in downtown Portland.
It opened in 1898 and has since been telling the tales of the state, from its first settlers to those who live here now.
It has earned its spot among worthy points of interest, especially given its housing of an important artifact to the city, but also thanks to the 85,000 or so artifacts related to local history onsite.
Within the halls of the Oregon Historical Society Museum sits the Portland penny, which was flipped to decide the name of the city.
The two options were “Boston” or “Portland”, and well, we know who came out the winner!
Other great things to check out are a sandal that is 9,000 years old, the replica of a ship’s hull, and the library.
With all the manuscripts, artifacts, films, books, and photographs to see, you’ll leave with a much deeper understanding of this lovely state.
Address: 1200 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
26. Mill Ends Park
Mill Ends Park is a fun must see in Portland – and you may have passed it without realizing it’s there!
It is the smallest city park in the world according to the 1971 Guinness Book of World Records and measures a mere two feet in size, where it sits on the Naito Parkway’s median, largely unnoticed.
The park was created by Dick Fagan, who came back to continue his work at the Oregon Journal in 1946 after the war.
From his window, he looked down onto the street and saw a tiny hole in the road’s median, meant for a light pole but unused.
Weeds were growing in it, so Fagan decided to plant flowers there.
He told a fanciful tale of its origin, claiming that leprechauns that only he could see created it, and Fagan wished for a park from the leprechaun and was given the hole in turn.
Mill Ends Park’s legacy has continued since Fagan’s 1969 death.
It was designated a city park in 1976 and is the home of many inventive and unique festivities, complete with tiny decorations.
Address: 56 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR 97204, United States
Planning a trip to Astoria? The city that became the setting for the 1985 film titled The Goonies as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3, Astoria is packed with tourist attractions! If you do plan the trip, here are some of the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon!
27. Mount Tabor Park
Mount Tabor Park is another one of the free things to do in the city.
Mount Tabor itself is a cinder cone of a dormant volcano.
Climbing up to its peak is a fantastic way to get views of Mouth Hood and the downtown area.
Looking for other kinds of stuff to do at Mount Tabor Park?
Walk the trails to view three reservoirs that once held the drinking water of the city.
Come at the right time to watch the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby in August.
Or seek out the statue of Harvey W. Scott, who edited the local daily paper for a long, long time!
Address: SE 60th Ave &, SE Salmon St, Portland, OR 97215, United States
28. Portland Saturday Market
Not sure where to go to get a real feel of the city?
The Portland Saturday Market is an excellent place to start.
It has been up and running since 1974 as a staple of Oregon, providing sales of exotic foods, lovely souvenirs, ethnic cuisine, handcrafted items, and more.
On some days, special events, performances, and live entertainment are held to liven up the already vibrant, crowded scene.
Held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Portland Saturday Market shows off an impressive 252 booths of pet supplies, art, toys, clothing, food… anything you can imagine!
Local artisans, jewelry makers, photographers, and vendors showcase their wares and await your purchases.
Address: 2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, United States
29. Downtown Park Blocks
Looking for things to do in downtown Portland?
Well, it doesn’t get more “downtown” than the fun and aptly named Downtown Park Blocks!
Over a couple of dozen of these “blocks” create a quirky few places to visit, parks that cover the same space as a city block would.
This was a part of the planned development of this Oregon city from very early on, and through all the development around them, they’ve only stayed protected and strong.
The South Park Blocks are likely the most popular, with twelve blocks in total and each one housing at least one public art piece.
These include statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
A total of 337 trees of maple, elm, and oak varieties are scattered throughout the area, as well as a lovely choice of fragrant roses.
The Downtown Park Blocks are perfect for photography.
There are prepared vanishing points for all your picture-taking needs.
This is also just a great place to take a stroll in for some relaxation.
Address: 1436 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201, United States
30. National Hat Museum
The National Hat Museum is one of the top things to do in Portland for those seeking a little extra unusualness in their historical learning.
It is located in the already odd Ladd-Reingold House, which has been through a fair bit of strangeness in its time.
It was built in the 1900s in the Craftsman style, and Rebecca Reingold of Russia came to purchase the house soon after its completion.
The Reingolds were an eccentric bunch.
Though the last of them moved out more than six decades ago, their legacy lives on in the strange design of the Ladd-Reingold House.
There are backward doors, pocket doors, a mermaid on the ceiling of the dining room, hiding spots – but most importantly, there are hats.
Rebecca loved hats and loved to collect them, even learning to make them herself.
A new owner, who also loved hats, purchased the house in the 70s and accidentally inherited Rebecca’s entire collection of hats.
With all the treasures she and Rebecca had combined, she opened the National Hat Museum.
Here, you can find hats of Victorian, Edwardian, vintage, retro, novelty, international, and silly styles for all genders.
There are even rare designer hats, movie memorabilia, and more.
Beyond the hats, you’ll see hamburger artifacts, mermaids, dice, and even hands – yes, hands!
Address: 1928 SE Ladd Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States
31. Mount Hood
Mount Hood is one of the world’s most-climbed mountains, easily recognizable to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Its summit leads to Oregon’s highest point, 11,239 feet above sea level.
The climb up is precarious, requiring technical knowledge of ice and climbs, but there is an easter Hogsback route that is shorter and simpler – but by no means safe or easy.
Climbing Mount Hood is a risky endeavor.
Fumaroles on the summit can suffocate you.
Melting snow and loose rock can make you slip.
Falling ice could injure you.
In other words – if you plan to climb or ski here, make sure you know what you’re doing!
If you have the guts, the view from the peak is one of the things to see not to miss in Portland.
Address: Oregon 97041, United States
32. Providence Park
Providence Park is a stadium that is home to multiple Portland sports teams: the Vikings, the Thorns, and the Timbers.
It was built in 1894 and has seen tons of action, ranging from ski jumping contests to cricket matches, and even an Elvis concert in 1957 that induced hysteria in the crowd.
Watching a game here is very rewarding, and for entertainment, it should be on your list of what to see while in Oregon.
Almost no seats are “bad” and sitting close to any fans of the Timbers is sure to make for an exciting time tonight.
Address: 1844 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205, United States
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33. Portland Aerial Tram
The Portland Aerial Tram is a part of the city’s official system of transit, but it’s not particularly practical, which is why few locals use it for proper transportation purposes.
Instead, it’s become one of the best things to do in Portland for those who want to get some views of Willamette River valley and Portland while killing a little time.
For the most part, the Aerial Tram merely is meant to connect the Oregon Health & Science University’s lower and upper campuses, with 500 feet of elevation across 3,300 linear feet.
It’s a four-minute ride and each tram leaves every six minutes or so.
Address: 3303 S Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239, United States
34. Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden is situated on the western portion of Grant Park.
Despite its name, it only contains three statues: a cheerful young girl, a boy, and their dog.
These are the characters of popular children’s author Beverly Cleary, namely Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy.
These statues circle a little fountain that gives the impression that they’re splashing about and having a blast, and the tiles beneath their feet are engraved with book titles.
Cleary grew up in Portland, so she used the city and its many places to see as inspiration for the settings for her many whimsical and delightful stories.
From the parking lot where Ramona’s boots got mud-stuck, to the lawn Henry searched for nightcrawlers on, all the way up to the home of the Quimby family on Klickitat Street.
If you grew up reading her works, you’ll want to visit the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for sure!
Address: Grant Park Path, Portland, OR 97212, United States
35. Wishing Tree
The Wishing Tree was once a simple horse chestnut tree in the northeast portion of Portland, but now it is a must-do trip thanks to its branches packed with wishes.
It is on Nicole Helprin’s property, and she began the wishing tradition in 2013 when she wrote some wishes to hang on the tree prior to leaving town.
When she came back, the entire tree was covered in wishes!
In 2014, Helprin made it even more official by adding a wooden clipboard to the Wishing Tree with instructions, telling readers to find a blank tag and write a wish for anything – themselves, their communities, their loved ones, anything they could think of.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
All across the city, more wishing trees have popped up to continue its tradition when it becomes too full.
Perusing each wish and leaving your own is a sobering and sometimes comedic experience!
Address: 2954 NE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97212, United States
36. Brewery Tours
Portland has awesome craft beers, which is why there are 70 breweries scattered about the city.
Not sure what to do about the sheer amount of them?
Take a brewery tour!
These guided tours bring you through all the hotspots so you only try the greatest brews that the city has to offer.
Most tours stop at multiple breweries so you can sample a lot of different flavors and kinds.
Some of the most popular Brewery Tours for site seeing and drink in the city are Brewvana, the Brews Cruise, and BeerQuest Walking Tours.
Want specific recommendations?
Try Stormbreaker Brewing for cool patio drinking, Ecliptic Brewing for an especially delicious selection, Bailey’s Taproom for a huge variety, Ex Novo to support charity, and Lucky Labrador to check out one of the city’s oldest breweries.
37. Windows of Wonders
The Windows of Wonders is a unique gallery that makes up one of Portland’s hidden gem tourist attractions.
No matter day or at night, the storefront window is constantly lit up to reveal the wonders that lie within – a whimsical chorus of tiny curiosities.
The landscape is designed to make it look like you’re peering into another realm, and a small sign is always updated, challenging you to try and find what lies in the little miniature world.
Every detail of the Windows of Wonders was made from reclaimed wood.
The displays vary, ranging from animals to fantasy creatures.
The artwork is the creation of Hilary Pfeifer, a local artist, who has made many different art projects for public display throughout the area.
Address: 1722 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, United States
38. Morrison Street Minigallery
If you’re looking for places to visit this weekend, check out Morrison Street, where the Morrison Street Minigallery showcases its unique collaborative creations.
It consists of a mere white shadowbox set in front of a house of Victorian design.
It is run by Jerry and Alissa, a married couple, who operate it as a minuscule museum and even tinier art gallery with 3D mini works.
Pieces tend to change monthly, and each one showcases something very small and very fascinating, from tiny primates to miniature piles of crystals and from dinosaur busts to little carpets, cabinets, and couches.
You can even purchase the pieces once the exhibits are over!
Address: 3229 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214, United States
39. Stark’s Vacuum Museum
Sometimes, the fun things to do in Portland are merely museums dedicated to oddly specific objects.
Take the Stark’s Vacuum Museum, for example!
It is situated in a corner of Stark’s Vacuum Cleaner Sales & Service, right in Portland’s downtown.
Despite being very small, the Stark’s Vacuum Museum is surprisingly comprehensive, with a showroom boasting 300 vacuum models dating as far back as the 1960s.
The collection has continued to grow and grow, and owners of old models often donate their cleaners to Stark’s for this purpose.
If nothing else, it sure is intriguing to see all the different cleaners from the many years past!
Address: 107 NE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97232, United States
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40. Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum
Our final pick on the Portland attractions list is yet another museum: the Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum.
The collection of the museum is owned by Harvey Golden, who prefers to keep his boasts indoors at his garage, where he makes and displays them.
Golden’s main interests lie in vessels made by indigenous folks, and his works are often replicas of them, dating as far back as 400 years in inspirational material.
Golden keeps his eye on different displayed boats from different museums and works on fabricating replicas as a hobby.
His initial goal was to better understand how these boats handled water and could be assembled – now, he has an entire museum, ready for you to visit on a Thursday in Portland!
Address: 5340 SE Lincoln St, Portland, OR 97215, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Portland, Oregon
Portland is a delightful vacation hotspot with points of interest galore.
The next time you’re in the city, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to visit, no matter what your preferred attraction or pastime is.
Hopefully, this list has solidified an idea for you of where you’ll be heading to in Portland, Oregon!