Sightseeing in Portland


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The entire Earth spins inside of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It's as if visitors have launched into outer space, where they can see everything—clouds forming over North America, hurricanes churning in the tropics, and millions of animals in migration. Night falls, and the major cities light up Earth's continents like misshapen Christmas trees. Just then, the planet disappears, and in its place rises a spinning orb of fire and violent solar storms: the sun. The display, appropriately titled Science On a Sphere, is actually a 6-foot animated globe powered by a series of video projectors. It serves as the perfect centerpiece for OMSI's Earth Hall, which explores geology, tectonics, and everything else that makes Earth a living planet. The hall's exhibits let visitors control wind turbines and launch satellites into space.

Earth Hall is only one section of the museum, however. More hands-on activities wait within Turbine Hall, where kids design bridges and boats. Visitors can tour the USS Blueback, a U.S. Navy attack submarine that guarded the Pacific for 31 years, or gaze towards the heavens inside of Kendall Planetarium, which uses real-time 3D graphics to transport audiences into the very heart of black holes. Even Theory, the onsite eatery, has an educational focus. The restaurant's displays explore food sciences while Chef Ryan Morgan and his team use local ingredients to cook meals in full view.

Although every corner of OMSI sparks scientific curiosity, the museum's educational programs take things one step further. The faculty hosts astronomy camps and teaches 50-minute interactive labs in which kids might make soap or dissect a squid—a requisite skill for any future biologist or sushi chef.

1945 SE Water Ave
Portland,
OR
US

Load up a pizza with all of your favorite topping at Portland's Backspace. Vegans can also enjoy the food at Backspace since they offer a number of animal product-free items. Backspace also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle. Gather the whole family for a trip to Backspace — everyone will find something to like (even the pickiest little eater) on the menu here. With its spacious interior, Backspace is a great choice for big groups and celebrations. For comfortable outdoor service, Backspace sets up a seasonal patio. Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Backspace's free wifi hotspot. Backspace frequently features a DJ or live music. Musical groups perform live at Backspace, so tables can perk up with some tunes. Backspace draws a crowd with performances from live DJs.

During the pizzeria's weekend rush, waiting in line is the name of the game (so avoid Friday and Saturday nights if you're looking for something quick). The pizzeria also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Backspace to your next party or event.

Find a space on the street or park in the lot not far from the pizzeria.

The food here is super budget-friendly, too, with most items costing less than $15. All major credit cards are accepted. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Backspace, so come by whenever it fits your schedule.

115 NW 5th Ave
Portland,
OR
US

When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.

7545 SW Barnes Rd
Portland,
OR
US

As one of the largest glassblowing facilities in Portland, Elements Glass is the hub of the area's glassblowing scene, providing studio space and schooling for local artists and ambitious amateurs. During the introductory class, students learn how to craft a one-of-a-kind glass float, choosing their own colors and breathing life into their beautiful bauble over the course of 30–45 minutes. Those who love art but dislike respiration can skip the studio and head straight to the store, which populated by translucent treasures from a range of local glass gurus.

1979 NW Vaughn St
Portland,
OR
US

Hailed as the "scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Oregon" by HauntWorld.com, FrightTown has elicited hair-raising screams for a decade. As its name suggests, FrightTown isn't just a single haunted house: it's a whole city block's worth of scares spread out across three very different haunts. Though the themes and the names of these haunts may stay the same from one year to the next, FrightTown overhauls each one annually to ensure that even the most loyal masochists find new reasons to scream around every turn.

As of 2014, FrightTown's longest-running attraction is Baron Von Goolo's Museum of Horrors. This madhouse mixes humor and horror into one unpredictable experience that leaves people simultaneously scratching their heads and sprinting for the door, just like a high-school calculus class.

300 N Winning Way
Portland,
OR
US

On average, the designers at Beard's Framing boast eight years of experience. Most of them come from backgrounds in art or photography, but all of them are passionate about creating frames to match their clients' personal style, d?cor, and artwork. It's that dedication that has helped Beard's blossom from a single shop to the eight stores within in the Northwest area. Several times throughout the year, the staff updates Beard's inventory to keep up with the latest design trends in furniture and home d?cor. This ensures their frames are stylish, but that doesn't mean they're not built to last, unlike constitutions written in disappearing ink. They stand behind the quality of their hand-crafted frames with a lifetime guarantee; and if you don't like your creation within 30 days, they will reframe it.

4715 SW 77th Ave
Portland,
OR
US