Post Overview: Local shares the best things to do in Portland.
Portland is my beloved hometown.
And sure, we’re known for residents that grow chickens in backyards, recycling like our lives depend on it (because they do) and having some of the best coffee, food and brews in the country.
But you know what else? We’re also known for a seemingly never-ending list of epic things to do in Portland Oregon.
In recent years the city has grown like a weed and visitors arrive in hoards to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
I’ve lived here my entire adult life and my husband relocated six years ago. We’ve had so many visitors stay with us and they’re always understandably eager to explore the city, in search of the best things to do in Portland.
Time is precious, no need wasting it on tourist traps and mediocre restaurants — especially in a city like Portland.
So today I finally memorialize the list I’ve been sharing with our friends and families for the past decade. I hope you enjoy!
Best Things to Do Portland Oregon
#25. Stroll down Mississippi Avenue
When most people think of Portland’s quirkiness they probably envision the lively corridor that is Mississippi Avenue, which is why exploring this area is one of the best things to do for anyone trying to get a better understanding of what it’s like to live in Portland.
Mississippi Avenue is lined with colorful storefronts and locals shops that cater to any whim a millennial might enjoy.
There’s a beautiful plant nursery, awesome restaurants (try the burger at Bar Bar), food carts, fantastic breweries (some of the best in Portland!) and plenty of charming shops.
Check the roster at Mississippi Studios and try to grab tickets to a show — catching a life performance is one of the best things to do in Portland!
Things to do on Mississippi Avenue
FOOD | Prost Marketplace ($): A food cart pod serving creative cuisine on Mississippi Ave. Regardless of what you choose to eat (Matt’s BBQ is my personal favorite), make sure to grab brews from Prost, the German brewery adjacent to the cart pod. This food pod has picnic tables, lighting and a tent to keep diners dry – so come rain or shine.
FOOD | Stormbreaker Brewing ($$): A local’s favorite for good reason. In fact, my co-worker comes here once a week, especially during the warm summer months when the outdoor patio feels especially inviting. Their brews are top notch and you can expect nothing less from the service.
FOOD | Porque No ($$): My favorite tacos and guacamole in Portland! Their margaritas are also very good. Lines start to form quickly during the lunch hour and dinner hours. If you can, swing by during happy hour – runs daily from 3-6pm or Taco Tuesday, when tacos are 50 cents off.
SHOP | Meadow: Salt, Chocolate and Bitters ($$). A cute shop worth a visit even if you don’t plan to purchase anything. They have finely selected chocolates from all over the world in addition to massive salt blocks and unique wine.
#24. Enjoy Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Tom McCall Waterfront Park sits on the Willamette River and is located a stone’s throw from the busiest section of the downtown core, while still technically being located downtown.
The park swells with employees during the lunch hour and it’s a great people-watching spot to rest tired legs.
One popular attraction along the waterfront is the Oregon Maritime Museum, this is a great stop for anyone with kids.
And if you’re looking for things to do in Portland on a Saturday, swing by the Portland Saturday Market where local merchants sell unique crafts, it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs!
Try to time your visit to the waterfront with the spring season because this is the best spot in Portland for cherry blossoms. The 100 Akebono cherry trees that line the waterfront were gifted by the Japanese Grain Importers Association in 1990.
#23. Find zen at the Portland Japanese Garden
Originally opened in 1967, the Portland Japanese Garden is regarded as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in America.
And when you visit for yourself you’ll quickly see why. The garden is perfectly manicured with a small pond, a handful of waterfalls and moss laden paths ripe for exploration.
Touring the garden offers a perfect zen-escape for anyone feeling overwhelmed with the plethora of things to do in Portland!
Make sure to check out the cozy Umami Cafe for matcha or order any of the tea on the menu, you won’t be disappointed.
On a side note, my husband and I have visited Japan (we fell in love with the country) and can confirm that the Portland Japanese Garden is truly authentic. We felt like we were transported back to the tranquility and culture we so loved in Japan.
I can’t recommend this experience enough for first-time visitors looking for things to do in Portland, especially if you’re visiting during the fall months when the garden comes alive with exceptional fall color.
Image courtesy of the Portland Japanese Garden
#22. Order a seasonal scoop from Salt & Straw (the best ice cream in Portland)
Salt & Straw originally started in Northwest Portland and has since grown like a weed. It currently has four locations in Portland alone and has expanded to six other US cities.
There’s a reason this place is so popular, they have the best ice cream in Portland. What’s more, they’re guaranteed to impress you with seasonal (and unusual) flavors. I particularly like the honey-lavender flavor.
Make sure to sample the strangest sounding item on the menu (I once tried bone marrow ice cream and it was actually quite good!).
Image courtesy of Salt & Straw
#21. Explore Alberta Arts District
Whenever I have a spare weekend for exploring I seldom resist the gravitational pull that leads directly to Alberta Arts District because because this lively Portland neighborhood has it all.
From delicious food, tons of cute local shops, charming boutiques and some of the best murals the city has to offer. It’s a great area to explore for anyone curious to learn about the things locals do in Portland.
Swing by the Kennedy School to see what happens when you convert a school into a hang out spot for the neighborhood (the detention room was converted into a bar!).
Lest I forget, if you’re visiting Alberta Arts District during the summer months, makes sure to check out the Last Thursday Art Walk where local vendors, artists, performers and musicians share their craft along Northeast Alberta Street.
It’s a very fun way to spend a summer evening in Portland.
Where to eat + drink:
Proud Mary Coffee ($$): One of my top 5 favorite brunch spots in Portland! Proud Mary hails from Australia and chose to make Portland its first US destination – how lucky can one city be?
Pine State Biscuits ($): This is a Portland staple and graces most “top places to eat in Portland” lists. The Reggie is an easy crowd favorite and their plain biscuits are so good I sometimes sneak them in as snacks.
Bollywood Theater ($$): A super hip Indian restaurant with delicious fare. We visited with a group of friends for a birthday celebration and tried about 15 small plates – all were big hits! Plus, the atmosphere is great, especially for groups.
Great Notion Brewery ($ – $$) : We discovered this place through a close friend of ours and were very thankful for the recommendations. The smooth and complex brews this brewery churns out are hard to describe, but they’re sensational.
#20. Explore the mysterious Witch’s Castle and learn about its haunting past
You might be asking yourself what can be so haunting about an abandoned structure in the middle of a forest?
Two stories converge at the center of this place, the story of an angry father accused of murder and the story of a love-stricken daughter paralleling Romeo and Juliet.
And this age-old tale of murder and haunt makes a visit to the Witch’s Castle all the more interesting.
Ask any Portlander and they will tell you that hiking to the Witch’s Castle feels like a rite of passage because it feels as much a part of the city as the the Keep Portland Weird motto, which is why you simply can’t miss it during your visit. It’s also a great short hike.
Further Reading: Visiting the Witch’s Castle in Portland, Oregon
#19. Visit Pittock Mansion
Touring Pittock Mansion is one of the coolest things to do in Portland for history buffs.
Pittock Mansion is a stunning French-Renaissance mansion that sits atop the West Hills and spans 16,000 square feet, boasts 46 elaborate rooms and is open to the public. The house was built so well that the even the original elevator is operational to this day.
The tours are really cool because you can see the original furniture from the time period and learn more about the lives of the family that built it.
The Christmas season is especially remarkable because the mansion is decorated in the most elaborate manner with tons of Christmas trees.
If you’re pressed for time and decide not to tour the mansion, at least make sure to head to the overlook behind the mansion for unparalleled views of downtown Portland.
Pittock Mansion has the best viewpoint in Portland, believe me, I spent a month searching for the best views in Portland and this comes in at #1.
#18. Take a photo with the Keep Portland Weird sign
The Keep Portland Weird sign has become synonymous with the city’s lifestyle and even feels like a call to action for some folks. You’ll see the slogan on bumper stickers, t-shirts, posters, you name it.
Everyone that comes to Portland heads to this mural for a reason, it’s an iconic thing to do in Portland! So you won’t want to miss it during your visit.
Apparently the motto was originally borrowed from Austin, Texas (how one “borrows” a motto is beyond be, but I digress). It was brought to Portland in 2003 by Music Millennium owner terry Currier with the intention of supporting local businesses.
Location: 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Further Reading: The 20 BEST Murals in Portland
#17. Ride the iconic Portland Aerial Tram
In 2007 the City of Portland celebrated the opening of the Portland Aerial Tram to great fanfare from excited locals and hospital employees.
Originally built as a vital connection between the Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) main campus on Marquam Hill and the south waterfront, the Tram is a creative solution to a problem that was difficult to solve for a while.
On a typical day, up to 20,000 people visit OHSU (the largest employer in Portland) so it was not uncommon for the hilly 2-lane road leading to the main campus to get severely congested, posing challenges for ambulances and never-ending headaches for the surrounding neighborhood.
Upon reviewing various options to help alleviate the demand on road infrastructure, the City and key stakeholders agreed to take on the momentous task of constructing a tram — joining a (very) short list of American cities with aerial trams.
The Tram was custom-designed in Switzerland and is held to strict Swiss aerial tramway standards.
I consider this a fun thing to do in Portland because the views are breathtaking, especially at sunset.
You’ll get sweeping views of the south waterfront with Mt. Hood (the third most climbed mountain in the world) looming in the background.
#16. Stroll down NW 23rd Avenue
NW 23rd Avenue is a pretty tree-lined street peppered with local shops and interesting restaurants, located in one of the most charming neighborhoods in Portland.
Whenever we show guests around our town, this usually ends up being one of their favorite things to do in Portland.
Start your morning at Ken’s Bakery on NW 21st Avenue (my favorite bakery in Portland) and then take a leisurely stroll towards 23rd Avenue and walk the length of it.
Make sure to swing by The Meadow (for chocolate, salts, souvenirs) and Salt & Straw Ice Cream (because I’m telling you it lives up to the hype).
P.S. If you’re in the mood for a great happy hour deal, I highly recommend Life of Pie Pizza.
Further Reading: Local’s Guide to NW Portland.
#15. Eat from a food cart
Chances are good that you’ve heard Portland called a foodie city and trust me when I tell you it lives up to the hype. My favorite thing about Portland’s food scene is that it lacks pretension, turns out you can have a great meal without a white table cloth, what a novel idea.
Nowhere is this more evident than at the various food cart pods throughout the city.
Food trucks aren’t just for tourists. Most of my coworkers eat from food trucks during lunch so you’ll be acting more like a local than a tourist with this activity.
Here’s a list of my favorite Portland food cart pods:
- Hawthorne Asylum
- Fifth Avenue Pod
- Third Avenue Pod
- Prost Marketplace
Further Reading: The Food Cart Pods in Portland
#14. Get drinks at the epic Departure rooftop bar
Imagine a warm summer night hanging out with a group of friends while enjoying drinks at a rooftop bar. If that sounds like your idea of fun (call me!), then Departure is the place for you.
Departure is located in the heart of downtown Portland (one block from Pioneer Courthouse Square, lovingly known as “Portland’s Living Room”). This is a great place to hang out and get some great views of Portland.
Another great restaurant with city views is Portland City Grill. The Big Pink Building is the tallest building in Portland and someone was clever enough to put a restaurant on the top floor – genius! Happy Hour is a good deal, I suggest arriving an hour before sunset because the place fills up quickly.
#13. Have a pizza in the best pizza city in America!
As you may have heard, Portland recently outranked New York City as the best pizza city in America.
No easy feat, as you can imagine!
I can attest that Portland has some great pizza options to choose from. Both Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza are both worth a detour.
Other great options, if you’re in the area are Pizza Jerk, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty and Gracie’s Apizza.
#12. “Howdily-doodily, neighborino!”
Few people know that the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, grew up in Portland, Oregon.
As such, you may notice that a lot of the streets in NW Portland seem familiar. The reason? A handful of Simpsons characters are named after Portland streets!
So if you’re looking for unique things to do in Portland, why not go on a self-guided tour and search for all the streets that the Simpsons characters are named after?
Further Reading: The Simpsons & the City of Portland
#11. See the second largest copper statue in America
Sitting pretty at nearly 35 feet, the Portlandia Statue is the second largest copper statue in America — second only to the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
The City of Portland commissioned a sculptor named Raymond Kaskey to create the sculpture after the figure on the Portland seal (fun fact, he modeled the statue’s face after his wife).
Kaskey completed sections of the statue near Washington D.C. and began shipping it to Portland (piece by piece) via boat. It was assembled in Portland and finally installed on the Portland Building in 1985.
You might ask yourself why such an iconic statue is not better known. Well, the sculptor guards the rights to the statue strictly and doesn’t allow photos of it to be used for commercial purposes, and threatens lawsuits when his request is not met.
However, the statue may look familiar to Portlandia fans because the show received permission to use the statue after hefty negotiations and an agreement not to use it in a “disparaging way.”
Image courtesy of Oregon Live
#10. Go on a brew tour in the best beer city in America
Of all the things Portland is known for, perhaps the most notable is Portland’s beer scene. In fact, Portland is often rated as the best beer city in America.
Our area of expertise? Craft beers and plenty of them.
It’s almost impossible to be disappointed at most Portland breweries but there are some clear standouts you can’t afford to miss.
Breakside Brewing: Breakside opened with a bang in NW Portland and has become so well-loved it’s hard to remember what we did before they came to town.
10 Barrel Brewing (from Bend, Oregon): Their sours are worth writing home about and the seasonal salad is dream-worthy, especially if salmon is involved.
Deschutes Brewery: The interior alone is worth the visit, so charming and rustic. This brewery is very popular and gets very busy very quickly because it’s the brewery everyone wants to visit. It’s not uncommon for folks to wait in line for 2+ hours before being seated. Come early or have snacks to tide you over, the experience is worth it.
#9. Does Portland have the best coffee in the country? Judge for yourself
Portland consistently ranks as one of the top 3 best coffee cities in America (our neighbors Seattle and San Francisco are always in the mix, too).
And I can tell you from firsthand experience that Portlanders are downright spoiled with good coffee options.
It’s hard to accept a mediocre cup of joe when you live in a place like Portland which is why I highly recommend drinking as much coffee as you can while you’re visiting the city — and whatever you do, DON’T go to Starbucks (their coffee is subpar at best compared to Portland cafes).
In fact, one of my favorite things to do in Portland with out of town guests is to start every morning at a different cafe and have them rank them.
So far, these are the top five favorite coffee shops: Coava, Heart Coffee, Stumptown, Good Coffee and Barista.
#8. Make a meal with produce from a local farmers market
Is there anything more Portland than local produce and supporting small business?
I don’t think so, and thankfully there’s plenty of quaint farmers markets peppered throughout the city combine the best of those two worlds.
If you’re looking for things to do in Portland during the weekend, swing by a farmers market Saturday or Sunday morning and pick up some fresh seasonal produce from local merchants.
Impress your family and friends by whipping up an interesting meal using a recipe from this award-winning cookbook (written by a Portland chef)and combining your meal with the perfect glass of wine, as recommended by this charming wine-pairing cookbook (written by two fabulous Portland locals).
Further Reading: The 10 Best Portland Cookbooks
#7. Have a sunset picnic and take in some breathtaking city views
There’s no denying that Portland is a beautiful city. It doesn’t overwhelm with skyscrapers but instead offers a manageable downtown core and stunning views of looming mountains.
What better way to spend an evening that soaking in a breathtaking city skyline with a cozy picnic spread in front of you?
There’s so many great Portland viewpoints to choose from but for first timers, I suggest either Mt. Tabor or Council Crest.
At 1,073 feet, Council Crest is the highest point in Portland, so you can bet the views from this park are glorious (especially during sunset).
You’ll see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and even Mt. Rainier. So if I may offer some advice, head to the park for sunset as soon as you see a clear day in the forecast.
It’s one of the best things to do in Portland and an experience you won’t soon forget.
Further Reading: 10 EPIC Viewpoints in Portland
#6. Take a hike in one of the largest urban forests in the country
Spanning more than 5,200 acres and offering 70+ blissful miles of trails, Portland’s beloved Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the country and it is ripe for exploration.
If you’re looking for active things to do in Portland, take a hike in Forest Park.
Forest Park swallows you up and makes you forget you’re anywhere near a city because of the towering old-trees, making it a great stop for anyone that gets overwhelmed by cities.
I especially like small portions of the Wildwood Trail (which connects Washington Park and Forest Park), the Ridge Trail and Lower MacLeay to Stone House (“Witch’s Castle”).
Further Reading: 25 Epic Hikes Near Portland
#5. Bike around the most bike friendly city in America
With more than 350+ miles of bike lanes, Portland is considered the most bike-friendly city in the country.
I can tell you from first hand experience that biking around Portland is enjoyable, safe and a great way to explore the town (this is coming from someone that scares easily!).
In fact, biking is so popular in Portland that on average 5.3% of residents commute to work by bike, far exceeding the national average of .5%.
Hop on the local BIKETOWN bikes and take a lovely ride along the Willamette River to see exactly why Portland is called Bridge City. And whatever you do, don’t miss an opportunity to bike across the Tilikum Crossing bridge!
Take your bike for a spin at Waterfront Park, which is especially beautiful in the spring, if you want proof, read: Local’s Guide to Cherry Blossoms in Portland.
#4. Explore the oldest public rose garden in the country
Portland is often referred to as the City of Roses because the local climate creates the perfect conditions for growing roses and nowhere is this more evident than at the exceptional Portland Rose Garden within Washington Park, which is usually in bloom from May to October.
Portland’s beloved rose garden is the largest and oldest rose garden in America. Home to an impressive 650+ varieties of roses and more than 10,000+ bushes, it’s easily one of the best free things to do in Portland.
The history of the rose garden is equally as fascinating. Originally started in 1915 by Jesse Currey, (an Oregon Journal editor and rose hobbyist), the rose garden was created in an effort to preserve roses susceptible to eradication during World War I.
You don’t have to be a rose-enthusiast to appreciate this beautiful garden. It’s no wonder why this is one of the most visited places in Portland.
Location: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Further Reading: Visiting the Portland Rose Garden (Local’s Guide)
#3. Enjoy a free jazz festival at Cathedral Park
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Portland during the summer I highly recommend enjoying some listening talented jazz musicians at the annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, held every summer over the span of a long weekend.
This popular festival is open to all ages and brings together a community of jazz lovers in an easy-going setting. Bring a picnic blanket or camping chairs and allow yourself to enjoy the pure bliss of music and nothing else.
The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is one of the best free things to do in Portland during the summer.
Image courtesy of The Oregonian
#2. Visit the smallest park in the world
In 1971, Guinness World Records confirmed what most Portlanders already knew — Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world.
Clocking in at a mere two square feet, Mill Ends Park is officially recognized as the smallest park in the world. It wouldn’t Portland if it wasn’t weird, right?
Regardless, this little park is a beloved Portland treasure and visiting it is one of the quirkiest things to do in Portland.
And sure, this is a quick pop over best coupled with other more interesting things to do in Portland but I’d be remiss to leave this off the list! This is a photo opportunity with a world-record, who can pass that up!
Fun trivia: The tree was actually stolen once (in 2013) but promptly returned presumably due to remorse.
Further Reading: 12 Stunning Parks in Portland, Oregon
Image courtesy of Portland.gov
#1. Shop at the largest independent bookstore in the world
The bookworm in me invites the bookworm in you to visit Powell’s Books, the ultimate Portland experience.
Located in the trendy Pearl District and spanning a full city block, Powell’s Books is the largest independent bookstore in the entire world.
The local bookstore houses approximately one million books and spans 4 floors. Pop into the Gold Room to see the rarest and most expensive books at this incredible book shop.
Fun fact: The most expensive book at Powell’s is an 1814 copy of the Lewis & Clark Journal which includes Captain Lewis’ map safely tucked between the pages. The price? $350,000.
Portland Tourist Traps to Avoid
#1. Voodoo Donuts
Voodoo is a tourist trap, there I said it. Revoke my residency if you must but don’t shoot the messenger. The famous pink boxes were once synonymous with Portland’s respect to quirky things — like donuts with cereal on top.
But today? A sign of an overly-eager tourist.
Mind you, I completely understand that most first time visitors will inevitably visit Voodoo Donuts (hey, I probably would too). But brace yourself — this place has become a tourist trap. You’ll find (much) better donuts at Blue Star and Pips.
#2. The Portland Spirit
The Portland Spirit was founded in the early 1990’s and I’m sure most Portlanders have taken a ride one time or another. But the food is mediocre, the drinks overpriced, and the boats seem run down. Overall, I don’t think folks partake in this experience more than once because it’s too expensive for what it is.
#3. Ice skating at Lloyd Center
Ask any Portlander and I’m sure they’ll regale you with a story of ice skating at Lloyd Center as a kid. It’s what a lot of us do!
The ice skating rink in Lloyd Center is perhaps most notable thanks to Tonya Harding, a gold-winning Olympian from Portland that used to train here. But today the mall just feels tired, even with the recent renovation. You can easily skip a visit to the Lloyd Center while visiting Portland.
I’ll get hate for this, I can already feel it but I’m just being real. Chinatown is not worth the trip unless you want to be blown away at the sight of homeless encampments.
I say this because most of our family and friends that stay with us choose to visit Chinatown (especially for the Lan Su Chinese Garden) and come home practically distraught. I suggest avoiding this area, even though tons of folks claim it’s a must-see while you’re visiting Portland.
Best Day Trips from Portland
So you spent a few days exploring fun things to do in Portland Oregon and now want to get a better understanding of the incredible nature the Pacific Northwest is known for? I got you covered.
Here’s a rundown of the best day trips from Portland, Oregon.
Drive out to the Columbia Gorge
In terms of best day trips from Portland, it doesn’t get better than a visit to the Columbia Gorge.
Few know that the Columbia River Gorge is America’s largest National Scenic Area. And once you drive through this stunning landscape it won’t take long for you to realize that the honor is well deserved.
The Columbia Gorge is a study in contrast. From alpine meadows and jaw-dropping waterfalls to desert landscapes and tepid rain forests, there’s something for everyone.
As any Portland local will tell you, you absolutely must take out of town visitors to see the glorious Columbia River Gorge. It’s popular for good reason!
Less than a one-hour drive from the city, the Columbia River Gorge makes for a great day trip from Portland even if you only have half a day to spare.
Things to do in the Columbia River Gorge:
- Visit Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon. Tip: The parking lot fills up very quickly so make sure to come early. Also, don’t miss hiking to the overview bridge, it’s well worth the small effort.
- Hike Dog Mountain (super popular hike that comes alive with pops of yellow when the sunflowers are in full bloom (May-June). Permits required during weekends.
Bonus Points: Visit the Hood River Lavender Farm (Summer Months)
The lavender fields in France are known the world over for their stunning beauty and heavenly smell. But you know what? You don’t even need to buy a plane ticket to have an equally memorable experience in our own backyard.
Hood River Lavender Valley comes alive with pretty shades of deep purple during July and August for the enjoyment of visitors and bees.
Both flock to this area to take in the beauty of lavender growing at the feet of a charming old barn while Mt. Hood gracefully looms in the background.
You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Obviously, Hood River Lavender Farm needs to explanation — the picture speaks for itself. This is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon!
Take a road trip to the Oregon Coast
Nothing scream Pacific Northwest like the striking Oregon coastline. A scenic 1.5-hour drive from Portland will lead you directly to the salty sea. If you’re pressed for time, make Cannon Beach your top priority.
Cannon Beach is the most popular beach on the Oregon Coast, you may have seen photos of Haystack Rock before (it’s very famous). As such, this is a perfect day trip from Portland.
My childhood is freckled with memories of summer at the Oregon coast, so I’m definitely biased. It took my husband a few visits to fall under the coast’s spell, but as soon as he discovered crabbing and clamming – he was hooked!
Things to do at the Oregon Coast:
- Hike God’s Thumb
- Visit Haystack Rock
- Explore Ecola State Park
- See all 11 lighthouses in Oregon
Further Reading: 12+ Charming Oregon Coast Towns You Can’t Help But Love
Go on a winery tour in the Willamette Valley
Everyone knows that Oregon is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. The drastic (and diverse) natural landscapes can keep anyone entertained for years with miles of hiking trails and sweeping vistas.
But what’s the point in hiking without a proper reward afterwards? Well, Oregon has you covered in that department as well — in fact, Oregon is the 4th most wine producing state in the country.
And of all the notable wine regions in Oregon, perhaps none is more famous than Willamette Valley because it is home to 500+ wineries.
Sitting at the same latitude as France’s notable wine regions, Willamette Valley is known for producing knock-out award-winning Pinot Noirs that can hold their own in worldwide competitions.
Sipping a chilled glass of Chardonnay in the summer (or robust glass of award winning red in fall) while overlooking rolling hills of healthy vines? Just name a time and I’ll be there.
Hike in Bend, Oregon
I absolutely love exploring Bend, Oregon and always recommend it to out of town guests. I’ve written extensively about the incredible hiking trails in the area (including the incredible Skylight Cave hike below).
If you plan to visit this charming town make sure to read: 15 Best things to do in Bend, Oregon
P.S. My husband was commissioned to create a video on the Deschutes National Forest by Visit Bend. It took one full year and hiking 80%+ of the trails in Bend to create the video.
Best time to visit Portland
By and large, Portland tends to have mild weather year round. The one season I would avoid is winter because the colder temperatures make exploring less enjoyable (although there’s plenty of cozy coffee shops to take cover in!).
To that end, the best time to visit Portland is between May and October. The weather is comfortable (even during summer because there’s practically no humidity) and chance of rainfall is minimal.
If you can, try to time your visit with the vibrant spring season so that you can experience the cherry blossoms in full bloom or the breathtaking fall season when the city is ablaze with deep shades of orange, red and yellow.
Personally, my favorite seasons in Portland are fall (September/October) and spring (April/May). For what it’s worth!
Best things to do in Portland Oregon (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best things to do in Portland!
- Visit Powell’s Books
- Visit the smallest park in the world
- Attend a free jazz festival
- Hike in Forest Park
- Visit the Portland Rose Garden
- Enjoy a picnic at sunset
- Bike around Portland
- Visit a farmers market
- Sample coffee
- Go on a brew tour
- See the Portlandia statue
- Go on a Simpsons tour
- Get drinks at Departure Rooftop Bar
- Eat from a food cart
- Have pizza in the best pizza city in America
- Visit Tom McCall Waterfront Park
- Stroll down Northwest 23rd Avenue
- Explore the Alberta Arts District
- Ride the Portland Aerial Tram
- Take a photo with the Keep Portland Weird sign
- Visit Pittock Mansion
- Explore the Witch’s Castle
- Go to Salt & Straw for ice cream
- Stroll down Mississippi Avenue
- Visit the Portland Japanese Garden
Map of the best things to do in Portland
Love Portland? Here’s some articles you may find interesting
- 20 HONEST Pros & Cons of Living in Portland
- 25+ EPIC Things to Do in Portland (+4 Tourist Traps to Avoid)
- 12 Stunning Parks in Portland, Oregon
- 20 Interesting Facts About Portland You Probably Don’t Know
- 10 Epic Portland Viewpoints to Check Off Your List
- 10 Adventurous Day Trips from Portland
- 30 Weird, Free & Cheap Things to Do in Portland
- Let’s Talk: Portland, Oregon Vs. Portland, Maine
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And there you have it my friends. hope you enjoyed the post about the best things to do in Portland, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and comments!
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Until next time,