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Top Things To Do In Portland

The city of Portland is celebrated in both pop culture and among locals for its eccentric personality. From Downtown Portland to Nob Hill, there’s no shortage of things to do within city limits. Some of the city’s top attractions include landmarks like the iconic “Keep Portland Weird” sign and seasonal activities like snow tubing down Mt. Hood. Fortunately, this guide contains a ton of recommendations that can help you make the most of your time in the City of Roses.

As a city known for rainy days and watersports, many of Portland’s best attractions are related to nature and the great outdoors. Grassy trails, blue river, well-manicured rose gardens, and more help keep the city colorful.

Some of the top things to do in the City of Roses include:

  • The Portland Japanese Garden, the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan
  • Wildwood Trail, a forested 30-mile trail in Portland’s biggest park
  • World Forestry Center, a local education facility that also offers river rafting
  • Sipping locally sourced coffee at the Coava Coffee Brew Bar
  • Walking among more than 400 species of roses at the International Rose Test Gardens

Trying to cut costs? Fortunately, Portland is home to plenty of affordable restaurants and activities.

A few cheap things to do near Portland include:

  • The Belmont Firehouse, a historic building near Sunnyside
  • Pioneer Courthouse Square, an urban park that’s often called “Portland’s living room”
  • Exploring Tom McCall Waterfront Park, a 36-acre park along the Willamette River
  • The art walk on the first (and last) Thursday of the month
  • Free brewery tours at Ecliptic Brewery or Hopworks Urban Brewery

Portland has been making headlines over the past few years. Explore the city yourself with a few of these popular recommendations.

Some of the best tourist attractions in Portland include:

  • St. John’s Bridge, a steel suspension bridge spanning the Willamette River
  • Pittock Mansion, a historic house museum in the French Renaissance museum style
  • Hoyt Arboretum, a self-proclaimed museum of living trees
  • Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, a pair of stunning natural wonders
  • The Pearl District, a fashionable neighborhood with trendy restaurants and kitschy boutiques

With a motto like “Keep Portland Weird,” it’s easy to find creative, new places to eat, drink, and shop. Be as spontaneous and weird as Portland’s best attractions and try something new today.

Some of the best daily activities in Portland include:

  • Sipping an espresso from Courier Coffee
  • Practicing iyengar yoga at the Portland Yoga Studio
  • Trying the all-you-can-eat buffet from Dar Salem, a Indian restaurant near downtown
  • Ordering a 16 oz. cocktail for $5 at Swift Lounge during “jolly hour”
  • Shopping for fresh produce at one of six Portland Farmers Markets

Portland is home to several watering holes, comedy clubs, and live musical venues. But that’s not all — Portland’s walkable neighborhoods come alive when the sun goes down.

A few of the city’s top nighttime activities include:

  • Listening to a live musical performance at the Wonder Ballroom
  • Drinking fine wine while painting a picture at Bottle & Bottega Portland
  • Shopping (at night!) for local art, jewelry, and food at the Portland Night Market
  • Indulging in your inner child with classic arcade games at Ground Kontrol
  • Dancing the night away at Holocene, a popular night club with two dance floors

Working for the weekend is a lot easier when you have something fun to do. From Friday to Sunday, there’s never a dull moment in Portland.

Make the most of your time in Portland with some of these fun weekend activities:

  • Appreciate both modern and contemporary artwork in the Portland Art Museum
  • Enjoy one (or two) cider-based mimosas with brunch at the Portland Cider House
  • Taste from more than 150 brews during the Portland International Beer Festival
  • Listen to the Chamber Music Northwest concert series on the Reed College lawn
  • Explore the Lan Su Chinese Garden, modeled after ancient Ming Dynasty gardens

Looking for family-friendly activities in the City of Roses? Portland offers everything from outdoor hikes to air conditioned museums.

A few of the best family-friendly spots the city include:

  • Oak’s Amusement Park, which includes a year-round skating rink
  • Voodoo Doughnuts, a local doughnut shop with a delicious Cpt. Crunch doughnut
  • The Science Playground inside the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
  • The Oregon Zoo, home to more than 2,000 animals,
  • The Portland Children’s Museum, one of the oldest museums of its kind in the country

Don’t let the rain get in the way of spending time with your loved one.

Some of the best date night ideas in Portland include:

  • Soaking in a communal bath at the Common Ground Wellness Center
  • Booking a couples’ massage at Blooming Moon Wellness Spa
  • Watching a Broadway Musical like Wicked or Hamilton at Keller Auditorium
  • Walking hand-in-hand through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
  • Watching an independent film from the comfort of someone else’s couch at the Living Room Theater

With everything from escape rooms and scavenger hunts to soccer games and bottomless mimosas, it’s easy to plan group activities in Portland.

Some of the best attractions for multiple people include:

  • Hour to Midnight, one of Portland’s highest rated escape rooms
  • The Portland Timbers, a major league soccer team that plays in Providence Park
  • Portland Spirit River Cruises, a local tour company with a delightful brunch cruise
  • Portland’s Culinary Workshop, a cooking school that offers both group classes and private lessons
  • The Portland Festival of Flowers, an annual event that features more than 200,000 flowers and plants

Trying to escape the elements? As one of the rainiest cities in the country, Portland has plenty of fun places to stay dry.

Some of the city’s best indoor activities include:

  • Getting lost in Powell’s City of Books
  • Skydiving at iFLY Portland Indoor Skydiving
  • Strolling through the Oregon History Museum
  • Doing backflips at Get Air, a popular indoor trampoline gym
  • Playing vintage video games and sipping a cold beer at Level Up Arcade

Portland is known for its well-maintained hiking trails and verdant parks. Everything from Washington Park to the Columbia River Gorge is full of life.

Some of the best outdoor activities in city include:

  • The Portland Rose Festival, an annual event held each June
  • Forest Park, which is the country’s largest urban forest reserve
  • The Portland Saturday Market, the nation’s largest open-air arts and crafts market
  • The Oregon Zoo’s Summer Concerts, featuring dozens live musical performances
  • The Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, which includes more than 120 different booths

Portland is full of hidden gems, dive bars, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. However, these little-known attractions are some of the best in the city.

Some must-see places near Portland include:

  • The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, a local museum full of odd trinkets and artwork
  • The country’s smallest park (and leprechaun colony), Mill Ends Park
  • The Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden
  • The Witch’s House, a stone ruin that is thought to be more than 200 years old
  • The Zymoglyphic Museum, an eccentric collection of art created by Jim Stewart