Fun Things to do in Portland, Oregon

By Dana Perkiss

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Portland is a traveler favorite destination thanks to its quirky, eco-friendly, and laid-back vibes.

From lush forests and breathtaking mountain views to an eclectic food scene and a thriving arts and culture community, the "City of Roses" offers something for everyone. To help get you started, here are some of the best things to do in Portland, Oregon!

Powell’s City of Books

Encompassing a full city block, Powell's City of Books is not just a remarkable bookstore; it stands as a microcosm of Portland itself. Established in 1971, Powell's has evolved into a renowned institution and is the world's largest new and used bookstore. Located at the core of the city, it serves as a connection point between the Pearl District, downtown, and the West End.

Portland Art Museum

As the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest and one of the oldest galleries in the entire country, it goes without saying that visiting the Portland Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Portland. It hosts a permanent collection of over 42,000 works of ancient, contemporary, and modern pieces.

Portland’s Aerial Tram

One of the most fun things to do in Portland is to ride the Aerial Tram, which rises 500 feet and provides stunning views of the city, mountains, and Willamette River. The Tram connects South Waterfront to Oregon Health & Science University’s main campus. At just $8 for a roundtrip ticket, this is one of the best things to do in Portland on a budget.

Forest Park

Appropriately named, Forest Park offers a welcome retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated in the northwest corner of the city, this expansive 8-mile-long area spans 5,156 acres, serving as an urban escape and a haven for over 112 bird species and 62 mammal species. The 30-mile Wildwood Trail is a favorite, as it covers the entirety of Forest Park and connects the Audubon Society Sanctuary, Pittock Mansion, and Washington Park.

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut offers a delectable array of doughnuts adorned with candy, sugary cereals, vibrant frosting, and flavorful creams, each with their own playful names. This charming corner bakery draws queues of doughnut enthusiasts from morning till closing time all week long, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking a sweet and unique treat.

Portland Japanese Garden

Hailed as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens beyond Japan's borders, this 12-acre sanctuary boasts an authentic Japanese tea house, meandering streams, intimate pathways, and an unparalleled view of Mount Hood. Established in 1963 as a symbol of reconciliation between former World War II adversaries, this haven showcases five distinct garden styles, all working together harmoniously to evoke a sense of tranquility.


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