15 Amazing Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

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Portland is in the state of Oregon, USA. This diverse city provides a variety of experiences that will enthrall and thrill you. From its beautiful natural landscapes to its thriving arts scene and unique culinary offerings. Everyone has things to do in Portland.

It serves as Multnomah County’s county seat and is the most populated county in Oregon. It is in the state’s northwest, where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet. Portland has 619,286 residents as of 2023.

Do you know that Portland is known as the “City of Roses“? Why? With over 10,000 roses blooming in the International Rose Test Garden, it’s no wonder this city is renowned for its floral beauty.

With its diverse neighborhoods and vibrant culture, Portland offers a captivating blend of outdoor adventures, artistic endeavors, and culinary delights.

The Travel+Leisure magazine study rates Portland as one of the best cities for food. It is also a popular center for culture and outdoor activities with its farm-to-table restaurants, thriving craft beer scene, and plenty of hiking trails.

Portland attracts tourists from near and far with about 11.9 million overnight trips recorded in the Portland area in 2022.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a more extended stay, add these top things to do in Portland to your itinerary.

From exploring iconic landmarks to indulging in culinary delights and immersing yourself in arts and culture, Portland promises a memorable and enriching experience.

So, let’s dive in and discover the best that this vibrant city offers. Get ready to fall in love with Portland, one experience at a time!

1. Things to Do in Portland: Explore the Beautiful Washington Park

A woman sitting on the bush in the middle of Washington park

Washington Park’s breathtaking scenery should be your first step.

This expansive urban park covers over 400 acres. It is home to several renowned attractions- a lush oasis of majestic trees, colorful flowers, and peaceful gardens welcomes you as you enter the park.


  • Visit the International Rose Test Garden. The garden showcases over 10,000 rose bushes in full bloom. Take in the mesmerizing fragrances and colors as you stroll through the various rose varieties.
  • Visit the Japanese Garden. It has manicured landscapes, tranquil ponds, and teahouses. Feel the serenity of Japanese culture and find inner peace in peaceful surroundings.
  • Discover a stunning collection of trees from across the world by visiting the Hoyt Arboretum.
  • Take a walk along the many trails; you can learn about different tree species and their unique characteristics.

2. Things to Do in Portland: Stroll through the Iconic Portland Saturday Market

If you’re looking to experience the local culture and vibrant atmosphere of Portland, then head to the iconic Portland Saturday Market in the historic Old Town neighborhood.

This open-air market offers an array of unique arts, crafts, and delicious street food.


  • Browse through the booths of talented artisans. You can find a display of their homemade jewelry, apparel, pottery, and other items here. You get to find unique items while promoting regional craftspeople.
  • Indulge in delectable treats from the diverse food carts. They offer everything from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to mouthwatering Thai cuisine. Savor the flavors of Portland’s street food scene and satisfy your taste buds.
  • Enjoy live music performances and entertainment. This adds to the lively ambiance of the market. Sit back, relax, and soak in the vibrant energy as you listen to local musicians and performers.

3. Things to Do in Portland: Embrace Nature at Forest Park

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the vast expanse of Forest Park. With a total area of over 5,200 acres, it is one of the biggest urban forests in the country. This lush oasis provides a tranquil escape from the city’s noise and activity.


  • Embark on scenic hikes along the park’s extensive network of trails. The trails cater to all skill levels, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner. You’ll find trails that suit your preferences.
  • Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls Forest Park home. There are deer, owls, and various bird species. Grab a pair of binoculars and go bird-watching along the trails. Or you can simply enjoy the serenade of bird songs as you explore the park.
  • Visit the iconic Pittock Mansion, a historic house museum. It offers panoramic views of Portland and the surrounding landscape. Explore the mansion’s elegant rooms, filled with period furnishings and artwork. You can learn a lot about its rich history.

4. Things to Do in Portland: Discover the Unique Powell’s City of Books

facade of Powell's City of Books

Bookworms, rejoice! Powell’s City of Books is a literary haven. Occupying an entire city block, it is a must-visit destination for any bibliophile. This independent bookstore is the world’s largest new and used bookstore.


  • Get lost in the maze of shelves that house over a million books, covering a wide range of genres and topics. Powell’s City of Books will have everything you’re looking for, whether it’s a rare collector’s item or the newest bestseller.
  • Browse the extensive selection of rare books and signed editions. They are perfect for collectors and avid readers. Discover literary gems that hold historical significance, or find a special edition of your favorite author’s work.
  • Take a break from your literary exploration to have a cup of coffee at one of the inviting in-store cafés. Take a moment to relax, read a few pages, and soak in the literary atmosphere of this iconic bookstore.

5. Things to Do in Portland: Explore the Hip Neighborhood of Alberta Arts District

For a taste of Portland’s unique and creative spirit, head to the vibrant Alberta Arts District. This lively neighborhood is bursting with art galleries and eclectic boutiques. There is an array of dining options to meet any palate.


  • Marvel at the colorful street art and murals that adorn the walls. These street arts showcase the district’s artistic flair. Take a walk along Alberta Street and appreciate the vibrant and ever-changing outdoor art gallery.
  • Visit the many art galleries featuring local artists and their captivating works. There are contemporary paintings and mixed-media installations. The art scene in the Alberta Arts District is thriving and diverse.
  • Indulge in diverse culinary experiences, from farm-to-table restaurants to food carts. These spots serve both local and international flavors. Satisfy your cravings with mouthwatering dishes. There are many choices, be it gourmet cuisine or creative street food.

6. Things to Do in Portland: Experience the Vibrant Pearl District

skyline of Pearl District

Known for its trendy atmosphere and upscale boutiques, the Pearl District is a hotspot for art, fashion, and culinary delights. This former industrial area has transformed into a hip neighborhood. It provides a fusion of contemporary elegance and old-world charm.


  • Wander through the many art galleries and contemporary art spaces. These spaces showcase the creativity of local and international artists. Admire thought-provoking exhibitions, Avant-Garde installations, and innovative artwork. These push the boundaries of traditional art forms.
  • Explore high-end boutiques and independent shops. Here, you can find unique fashion pieces, home decor, and more. Whether you’re searching for a statement piece of jewelry or a stylish addition to your wardrobe, the Pearl District offers a wealth of shopping options.
  • Savor a wide range of culinary delights. There are gourmet restaurants, artisanal bakeries, and coffee shops. Indulge in expertly-crafted dishes and handcrafted pastries at specialty coffee shops, while enjoying the trendy and vibrant atmosphere of the district.

7. Things to Do in Portland: Indulge in Portland’s Craft Beer Scene

One of the best things to do in Portland is to experience its famous craft beer culture. It boasts a staggering number of breweries and microbreweries. Whether you love a cool brew or are a beer enthusiast, a must-do in Portland is to explore the vibrant beer scene in the city.


  • Embark on a brewery tour and visit some of Portland’s acclaimed breweries. The Deschutes Brewery, Bridgeport Brewing, and Hair of the Dog Brewing Company are some of them. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the beer-making process and learn about the different brewing techniques.
  • Try different craft beers: traditional, experimental, and seasonal. Explore the unique flavors, aromas, and characteristics of Portland’s brews.
  • Join beer festivals like the Oregon Brewers Festival. Immerse yourself in the beer culture and meet enthusiasts. Experience live music, food pairings, and diverse beers from local and regional breweries.

8. Things to Do in Portland: Wander the Quirky Streets of the Hawthorne District

The Hawthorne District is in Southeast Portland. It is a haven for vintage lovers, alternative fashion, and unique shops. This offbeat neighborhood exudes a laid-back and eclectic vibe. This makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


  • Explore vintage clothing stores, thrift shops, and antique boutiques. Find unique treasures, one-of-a-kind fashion, retro accessories, and vintage collectibles. Embrace the district’s eclectic style.
  • Discover a diverse mix of specialty stores. There are record shops, quirky bookstores, and independent theaters. Immerse yourself in vinyl records, literary gems, and cult classic films, as you wander through vibrant Hawthorne District streets.
  • Savor diverse dining options, vegan and vegetarian eateries, cozy cafes, and international cuisine. Enjoy comforting ramen or delectable vegan pizza. Hawthorne District caters to all tastes.

9. Things to Do in Portland: Immerse Yourself in Portland’s Food Cart Culture

Portland’s food cart scene is renowned for its incredible diversity and culinary innovation. From international flavors to creative fusion dishes, the city’s food carts offer a treasure trove of gastronomic delights.


  • Visit popular food cart pods such as Cartopia, Alder Pod, or Mississippi Marketplace. You’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds here. Explore the vibrant culinary landscape as you wander among the carts. Each offers a unique culinary experience.
  • Try unique and mouthwatering dishes, such as Korean-Mexican fusion tacos. There are also Thai-style fried chicken or gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Challenge your palate and embrace the flavors of various cuisines, all conveniently situated in one place.
  • Chat with friendly cart owners, passionate chefs, and entrepreneurs with captivating stories. Uncover the inspiration behind their culinary creations and appreciate Portland’s food cart culture.

10. Things to Do in Portland: Soak in the Beauty of Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is an incredible natural attraction in the region. It is a must-see on any trip to Portland and is the highest waterfall in Oregon. This magnificent waterfall pours down from a height of 620 feet in the Columbia River Gorge.


  • Marvel at the sheer power and beauty of Multnomah Falls as you stand at its base. Feel the mist on your face and listen to the roaring sound of the rushing water. This creates a truly immersive experience.
  • To get to the Benson Bridge, which crosses the lower cascade of the falls, hike the well-maintained route. You can take beautiful photographs from this vantage point. You can also enjoy the expansive vistas of the surrounding dense forest.
  • Learn about the geology and history of the falls at the visitor center. Gain insight into the significance of Multnomah Falls in Native American folklore. Learn about its role as a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
  • Multnomah Falls is evidence of the breathtakingly beautiful landscape that surrounds Portland. Visit this spectacular waterfall for a day trip to experience the peace and force of nature at its most majestic.

What Are More Things To Do In Portland, Oregon?

11. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

For visitors of all ages, this interactive museum offers a variety of exhibitions and hands-on activities. At the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, you can have both fun and educational experiences.


  • Explore the various scientific exhibits, including the Earth Science Hall, the Turbine Hall, and the Life Science Lab. Engage with interactive displays and experiments that allow you to learn through hands-on exploration.
  • Experience the OMNIMAX Theater, which features breathtaking documentaries on a five-story domed screen. Enjoy cinematic journeys through space, deep oceans, and other wonders of the natural world.
  • Take part in interactive demonstrations and workshops. These cover various scientific disciplines, from physics to biology. Engage in experiments and build structures. Learn about innovative technologies that shape our world.

12. Enjoy a Relaxing Day at Powell Butte Nature Park

Escape the urban hustle and immerse yourself in nature at Powell Butte Nature Park. This expansive park offers stunning views of the city skyline, meandering trails, and diverse wildlife.


  • Hike or bike along the park’s trails, which wind through forests, meadows, and open spaces. Experience the serenity of nature and take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding landscape.
  • Reach the park’s summit and have panoramic views of Portland, Mount Hood, and the surrounding Cascade Range. Capture breathtaking photos and soak in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Keep an eye out for birds and other wildlife, as Powell Butte Nature Park is home to a variety of species. Take your binoculars and enjoy watching the amazing behavior of birds in their natural environment.

13. Experience the Thriving Arts Scene at the Portland Art Museum

A woman appreciating a flower painting displayed the in Portland Art Museum

Art lovers will find refuge at the Portland Art Museum. It houses an extensive collection and hosts diverse exhibitions. A variety of art types are on display in the museum. There are ancient artifacts and contemporary masterpieces.


  • Explore the museum’s permanent collection. It includes pieces by renowned painters including Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Vincent van Gogh.
  • Admire iconic paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. These works span different periods and artistic movements.
  • Attend special exhibitions that highlight different art movements, cultures, and mediums. Immerse yourself in thought-provoking installations and groundbreaking contemporary art. See the exhibitions that shed light on social issues and historical events.
  • Take part in educational programs, guided tours, and workshops. These will deepen your understanding and appreciation of art. Engage in discussions and learn about artistic techniques. Gain insights into the stories behind the artworks.

14. Unwind in the Tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Relax and find inner peace in the tranquil Lan Su Chinese Garden. The garden is modeled after the classical gardens of Suzhou. This garden is a masterpiece of harmony and balance.


  • Stroll through the intricately designed gardens. The gardens feature beautiful pavilions, peaceful ponds, and lush greenery. Explore the various sections, each representing different elements of a traditional Chinese garden.
  • Learn about Chinese culture and traditions through guided tours and cultural activities. Discover the symbolism behind the garden’s features. Gain insights into the principles of Feng Shui and the art of garden design.
  • Savor a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in the Teahouse. You can also sample a variety of exquisite teas. Experience the mindfulness and tranquility of the tea ceremony. Appreciate the flavors and aromas of Chinese tea.

15. Discover the Historic Pittock Mansion

Delve into Portland’s history and architecture with a visit to the historic Pittock Mansion. This iconic mansion offers a glimpse into the city’s past. It provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.


  • Explore the opulent rooms of the mansion. The rooms are adorned with period furnishings, artwork, and original artifacts. Find out more about the prominent Pittock family, which greatly impacted Portland’s growth.
  • Admire the panoramic views of the city skyline, Willamette River, and Mount Hood from the mansion’s terrace. Capture stunning photographs and appreciate the beauty of the natural and urban landscapes.
  • Learn about the preservation efforts to maintain the mansion’s historic charm and significance. Gain a deeper understanding of Portland’s architectural heritage. Learn the importance of preserving historical landmarks.

Things to Do in Portland, Oregon – Summary

There are many activities and attractions available in Portland, Oregon. You can explore the city’s natural wonders and indulge in its vibrant culinary scene. You can immerse yourself in its thriving arts and culture.

Portland has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, unique shopping experiences, or a taste of local flavor, this dynamic city will captivate you at every turn. Pack your luggage and get ready for an incredible adventure around Portland, Oregon’s greatest attraction.

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Guest Author Bio

Isabella Smith is an experienced content writer and a passionate traveler. With six years of expertise in the field, she has become a valuable asset to the team at “thecrazytourist.com” where she serves as the dedicated author. Isabella’s love for exploring new destinations and immersing herself in different cultures fuels her writing, allowing her to create engaging and informative content for travel enthusiasts around the world.