Best and Fun Things to Do in Portland Oregon

Planning to visit Oregon for this vacation?? Then, Portland should be on your list. Being the largest city in the state, there are tons of best and fun things to do in Portland Oregon.

Portland’s impressive gardens and large green space made it one of the greenest cities in the world. So, thousands of nature lovers visit this city annually.

Aside from that, the city offers you cultural attractions, museums, a zoo, famous bike tracks, excellent dining, thrilling historical monuments, world-famous fun events, and many more.

Just add the following list to your Portland Oregon bucket list.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

1. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry or OMSI is the best place to start your Portland journey.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

It contains plenty of attractions related to natural sciences, technology, and industry. For example, it has a planetarium, three auditoriums, including a large-screen theatre, the famous USS Blueback Submarine, and plenty of diverse hands-on permanent exhibits.

Initially, The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was at the famous businessman Ralph Lloyds’s house. When it became more popular, Oregon City Council moved it into a larger space in Washington Park. And the new museum was opened in 1958.

Now it attracts over one million visitors annually.

Especially if you are traveling with kids, this museum offers educational hands-on displays and entertaining things covering the subjects like engineering, technology, chemistry, energy, and health.

One of the most highlighted exhibits in the museum is USS Blueback Submarine. Located outside Oregon Museum, it is a 30 years old, non-nuclear submarine. After featuring in the movie Hunt for Red October, it got more famous. Surely take a guided tour to the inside with your kids.

Address: 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States  Phone: +1 503-797-4000

2. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Washington Park

After visiting the Oregon Museum, you can easily reach to experience the beautiful Washington Park.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon Washington Park
Washington Park

Spreading over 458.45 acres, this park has most of the top attractions in Portland, including a zoo, children’s museum, forestry museum, rose garden, arboretum, Japanese garden, amphitheater, and memorials.

Located to the west of the city center, Washington Park’s zoo (The Oregon Zoo) is surely the top tourist attraction. And also, its International Rose Test Garden attracts thousands of romantic couples.

On the other hand, Washington Park’s Portland Japanese Garden is one of the largest Japanese gardens outside Japan. And also, the park’s Hoyt Arboretum is like heaven for nature lovers and hikers.

Aside from that, families with kids surely visit the park’s Portland Children’s Museum.

Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States  Phone: +1 503-319-0999

Planning for a perfect beach vacation in Oregon? Here’s the list of the best beaches in Oregon

3. Portland Escape Room

Are you ready for a live game?

Portland Escape Room OR
Portland Escape Room

Portland Escape Room is a famous live game zone that allows your whole family to play together inside locked theme rooms.

They offer you a puzzle to solve with your family within an hour. However, you have to solve it together and come out of the locked place.

It is so much fun and entertaining. Also, it is one of the best brain-engaging activities. On the other hand, it is one of the opportunities to get together with your family and friends.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

4. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Are you a nature lover? Here’s the perfect place for you in the United States, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

It is one of the most famous and wonderful nature preserves in the country. And it contains exciting hiking trails along the Columbia River, plenty of stunning waterfalls, mountains, lush forests, and many other scenic areas.

Covering over 292,500 acres along the Columbia River (the Oregon-Washington state border), this nature preserve is like heaven for outdoor activity seekers.

For example, some of the most famous natural attractions in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, Oneonta Gorge, the Angel’s Rest hiking trail, and campgrounds in Ainsworth State Park.

So, just plan a day trip to Columbia River Gorge from Portland with your family to experience the amazing nature. (It will take around one hour)

Address: Hood River, OR 97031, United States  Phone: +1 541-308-1700

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

5. Oregon Zoo, Portland

Oregon Zoo or the Portland Zoo or Washington Park Zoo is one of the top attractions in Washington Park. Located just 2 miles from downtown Portland, this zoo attracts thousands of families with kids.

Oregon Zoo, Portland
Oregon Zoo

Spreading for 64 acres, this zoo was established in 1888. That means it is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River.

Now it contains over 2000 animals, under 232 species, including 21 endangered or threatened species. And especially, the zoo conducts breeding programs for endangered or threatened species to ensure their survival.

For example, they have been breeding new African Elephants, and it was a success.

On your Oregon Zoo visit, you can see animal and bird species representing almost every part of the world. (from the African savannah to the Amazon and Arctic)

If your kids love interacting with animals, Oregon Zoo organizes a wide range of programs for them. Ex: after-school programs, camps, classes, feeding sessions, etc.

Address: 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States  Phone: +1 503-226-1561

6. Portland Actors Ensemble

Do you like a real theater show?

Portland Actors Ensemble
Portland Actors Ensemble

Portland Actors Ensemble is one of the oldest theater groups in Portland Oregon. They usually show many heartbreaking, hilarious, and thrilling shows for theater lovers.

And Portland Actors Ensemble’s most famous play is Shakespeare in the Park. So, it attracts a lot of theater lovers.

Surely catch one of their plays while you are in Portland.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

7. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Pittock Mansion

Do you expect to see a French Renaissance-style château/castle in Portland, OR? Surprisingly, there is one named the Pittock Mansion.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion

Built-in 1914 for the famous publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana Burton Pittock, this château is one of the iconic landmarks in Portland. Actually, he was the founder of the Oregonian newspaper.

Located west of downtown Portland, Pittock Mansion features unique features. If you take a tour inside, you will see its central vacuum system, indirect lighting, intercoms, impressive furniture, and most importantly, the attractive architectural style.

Spreading for 46 acres of land, Pittock Mansion also contains a stunning garden with lush trees and colorful flowers. And as it is located 1,000 feet above Portland, it offers breathtaking views of the city on clear days.

Did you add it to your list?

Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States  Phone: +1 503-823-3623

8. Portland International Raceway

Are you ready to get thrilled?

Portland International Raceway
Portland International Raceway

Portland International Raceway is a famous motorsport facility in Portland with a 1.97 miles long track (including the chicane). It features over 550 thrilling motor race events a year.

Its regular events include auto racing, drag racing, motorcycle road racing, motor cross, and cruise-ins.

Aside from those huge racing events, Portland International Raceway organized some programs to raise money for some great charities. Ex: physical events, annual walks, and running events.

However, If you are into your motor racing, do not miss out on visiting Portland International Raceway.

Address: 1940 N Victory Blvd, Portland, OR 97217, United States  Phone: +1 503-823-7223

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

9. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: International Rose Test Garden

Looking for a romantic walk in Portland with your soulmate? Here’s the most romantic place in the city.

International Rose Test Garden, Portland OR
International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden is a large rose garden with over 10,000 rose bushes under 650 varieties. And these roses normally bloom from April through October. June is the peak month. Therefore, thousands of rose lovers, couples, and families visit the garden in June. (So, parking is competitive during the peak season)

Located in Washington Park in Portland, International Rose Test Garden was founded in 1917. That means it is the oldest continuously operated public rose test garden in the USA.

There are several sections in this rose garden. For example, Gold Award Garden features award winners and a lovely gazebo.

Also, International Rose Test Garden develops new rose varieties and miniatures.

Do you like to walk through lovely roses?

Address: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States Phone: +1 503-823-3636

10. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland is filled with impressive gardens. For example, Lan Su Chinese Garden is a unique botanical garden that features rare plants native to China. Also, it contains decorative stonework and a Chinese tea shop.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Lan Su Chinese Garden

The meaning of Lan Su is “Garden of the Awakening Orchids.”

We all know that Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu province is famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty Gardens. And Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland is just like its twin city.

Also, it considers the most authentic Chinese garden located outside of China. So, it is a free ticket to visit China.

Opened in 2000, Lan Su Chinese Garden contains a tranquil environment within its 40,000 square feet. So, spending few hours in this garden will help you to release your stress.

Also, you can join with regular Chinese events in this garden too. Ex: tai chi, mahjong, and tea tastings.

Address: 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209, United States  Phone: +1 503-228-8131

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

11. Shanghai Tunnels, Portland

Let’s discover a bit about Portland’s dark and scary history.

Shanghai Tunnels, Portland
Shanghai Tunnels

During 1850 and 1941, Portland was known as the “Forbidden City of the West” as it was one of the most dangerous sports in the country. Therefore, Shanghai Tunnels were developed under the city to make safe transports.

The Old Portland Underground or Shanghai Tunnels are linked to hotels, bars, shops, markets, and other business sections with the docks at the Willamette River.

Also, people had faced many horrific problems while transporting supplies, people and ferry goods through these tunnels. Ex: smuggling, drug issues, etc.

So, there are so many horrific tales hidden under Shanghai Tunnels. Do you like to take an underground tour in Portland?

Address: 120 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States  Phone: +1 503-622-4798

12. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Forest Park

Are you looking for an escape from the busy world?

Forest Park Portland Oregon
Forest Park

Forest Park is perfect for that. It provides you over 5,000 acres of Northwest forest with calm and lush surroundings. And it is easily accessible by your vehicle, bike, or public transportation as well.

Being one of the largest urban parks in the United States, Forest Park offers you over 80 miles of exciting hiking and walking trails. One of the most popular walking trails is the 30-mile Wildwood Trail.

Another popular and scenic trail is Maple Trail Loop which features some of the tallest flora in Forest Park.

As a bonus, there’s an accessible trail to the iconic Pittock Mansion through Forest Park too.

If this is your first time in Forest Park, do not forget to bring the map.

Address: NW 29th Avenue and Upshur Street to Newberry Road, Portland, Oregon

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

13. Portland’s Living Room/Pioneer Courthouse Square

Portland’s Living Room or Pioneer Courthouse Square is situated in the center of downtown Portland.

Pioneer Courthouse Square Portland
Pioneer Courthouse Square

Spreading for approximately 40,000 square feet, this place is one of the best places in the town to hang out with friends and family. It features an outdoor chess table, a waterfall-like fountain, a large open amphitheater (semi-circle shape), and many other fun places.

And Portland’s living room usually hosts around 300 planned events too.

Also, when you walk through the square, you can see the names of people on its bricks because people could pay money and add their names during the building time of this square.

However, Portland’s living room is a perfect place to spend an evening in Portland with your friends.

Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States  Phone: +1 503-223-1613

14. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: The Grotto

The Grotto or the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother is the most peaceful place in Portland. It is a Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary located in Portland’s Madison South district.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon The Grotto
The Grotto

Covering over 62 acres of land, this shrine was constructed in 1924 to dedicate Mary, Our Sorrowful Mother. So, it has enough space for a lot of people.

And it is really a beautiful and peaceful place to relieve your stress. Therefore, The Grotto attracts people from all religions.

In the middle of the park, you can see Our Lady’s Grotto, a rock cave carved at the base of the 110-foot cliff. And in the middle of the cave, you can see a huge marble replica of Pieta by Michelangelo.

The Grotto Garden, Portland
The Grotto Garden

Surely visit this peaceful park and take a scenic walk through it. You may surely view some panoramic views of the Columbia River Valley too.

Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States  Phone: +1 503-254-7371

Things to Do in Portland Oregon 

15. Powell’s City of Books

Hey readers, here’s the best place for you in Portland.

Powell’s City of Books is an excellent used and new bookstore in Portland, OR with more than a million books. Its shelves have various titles like Staff picks, clever displays, and many more.

Powell's City of Books
Powell’s City of Books

All you have to do is select your favorite book, head to the Burnside location, and enjoy your book while having a coffee.

Aside from just reading, you can also join with some fun events too. Powell’s City of Books hosts author readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, and different types of book clubs for real Bibliophiles.

There are tons of books for kids too. So, surely visit this bookstore on Burnside Street with your family.

Address: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, United States  Phone: +1 800-878-7323

16. Portland Japanese Garden

Looking for a garden filled with serenity?? Here’s the perfect garden in Portland.

Portland Japanese Garden
Portland Japanese Garden

Spreading for serene 5.5-acre space within Washington Park, Portland Japanese Garden was first opened in 1961. The aim of building this garden was to provide an opportunity to find serenity in their day. And at the same time, to identify the growing cultural ties between Oregon and Japan.

And surprisingly, still, you can find that serenity and cultural ties in Portland Japanese Garden. It promises to offer a uniquely peaceful experience for every visitor.

There are several areas under different themes in this garden. For example, Flat Garden, Tea Garden (with an excellent ceremonial teahouse), and Strolling Pond Garden.

If you like to join with events at Portland Japanese Garden, it hosts cultural demonstrations, mindfulness tours, and lecture series.

And at the end, do not forget to visit its Umami Café to have tea with Japanese finger foods.

Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States  Phone: +1 503-223-1321

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

17. McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, Portland

Are you ready for a movie tonight?

McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, Portland
McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub

McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub offers you a chance to watch entertaining movies while having buttery popcorn and beer.

Being a relic of Hollywood’s golden age, this place also has delicious pizza, wine, and cold, hand-crafted ales too. So, choose your favorites and enjoy watching a classic holiday movie with your friends and family.

Address: 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, United States  Phone: +1 503-236-9234

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

18. Portland Art Museum

This is the time to appreciate some great artworks in the town.

Opened in 1892, Portland Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums on the West Coast. (7th oldest one in the United States)

Portland Art Museum
Portland Art Museum

So, it obviously features a diverse collection of art with over 50,000 impressive artworks, including Native American artifacts, Northwest artworks, English silver, photography, graphic arts, and Asian art.

Among all of these artworks, Vincent Van Gogh’s Cart with Black Ox is more highlighted. Also, the museum’s Northwest Film Center and Crumpacker Family Library are two other famous sections.

Are you ready to take a tour of the Portland Art Museum?

Address: 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States  Phone: +1 503-226-2811

19. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Again a wonderful garden in Portland.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a 36.59-acre park located along the Willamette River. Since it is in downtown Portland, you can easily get there.

Things to Do in Portland Oregon Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Opened in 1978, Tom McCall Waterfront Park was built after Harbor Drive was removed from Portland.

This park is perfect if you are into outdoor activities like jogging, walking, skateboarding, and cycling. Especially, locals use this park for morning routines and spend some relaxing time during the lunch breaks.

Actually, there are five separate zones in this park.

For example, The Esplanade is the scenic walkway along Willamette River, The Bowl is totally entertaining and concert area, Salmon Street Springs is the fountain area. And the Central Lawn and John Yeon Building are summer visitors.

Do you like to spend a relaxing time while seeing passing boats on the river?

Address: 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204, United States  Phone: +1 503-823-7529

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

20. Oregon Historical Museum

Are you a history buff? Then, this is the ideal place for you.

Housed at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland, Oregon Historical Museum was first opened in 1898. Now, it attracts over 44,000 visitors annually.

Oregon Historical Museum Portland
Oregon Historical Museum

Oregon Historical Museum is home to the Portland Penny. And this copper penny from 1835 created the city’s name. Aside from that, the museum contains over 85,000 historical artifacts.

Therefore, taking a tour of the Oregon Historical Museum with your kids is well worthwhile.

Address: 1200 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States  Phone: +1 503-222-1741

21. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Do you like to see a lot of rhododendrons and many other flowers in the same place?

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is one of the most impressive botanical gardens in Portland. And it contains Pacific Northwest’s rhododendrons, magnolias, azaleas, dogwood, and Japanese maples in its ten acres of land.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Spring bloom is obviously the most attractive and colorful season. But it continues from the spring into early summer. Also, in the winter the garden offers you a more peaceful surroundings.

Aside from colorful flowers, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden features waterfalls, ponds, and coniferous trees too.

On the other hand, this garden attracts hundreds of species of birds throughout the year. So, you can frequently spot various birds, mostly waterfowls.

Address: 5801 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97202, United States  Phone: +1 503-267-7509

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

22. Portland Children’s Museum

Portland Children’s Museum is located near Oregon Zoo in Portland’s Washington Park. Being the sixth oldest children’s museum globally, Portland Children’s Museum was opened in 1946.

Portland Children's Museum
Portland Children’s Museum

This museum helps your kids to learn a lot of fun things. For example, it hosts hands-on courses about construction, contains an interesting garage to play with, and Outdoor Adventure program that teaches about nature, and a grocery store and bistro buy things and make it, etc.

Address: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States Phone: +1 503-223-6500

23. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Glowing Greens PDX

Do you like to play miniature golf in Portland?

Glowing Greens PDX Portland Oregon
Greens PDX Portland Oregon

Glowing Greens PDX is an excellent miniature golf course in Portland, Oregon. And it is an indoor pirate-themed mini-golf course that allows you to play under black lights in a basement location.

Actually, playing golf under the dark neon glow is surely a new twist. So, just add it to your Portland bucket list and visit with your kids.

Address: 509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR 97204, United States  Phone: +1 503-222-5554

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

24. Things to Do in Portland Oregon: Oaks Amusement Park

Oaks Amusement Park is a small and fun amusement park in Portland. Located 3.5 miles south of downtown Portland, this park was first opened in May 1905. So, it considers one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the United States.

Oaks Amusement Park Portland
Oaks Amusement Park

Oaks Amusement Park features the largest roller skating rink in the country. So, this is the best park for roller skating lovers. Aside from that, the park features a lot of fun amusement park rides, a miniature golf course, and carnival games.

Therefore, visiting Oaks Amusement Park is surely one of the best things to do in Portland with kids.

Address: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202, United States  Phone: +1 503-233-5777

25. Hoyt Arboretum, Portland OR

Located within Washington Park, Hoyt Arboretum is just two miles west of downtown Portland. It is a lush and scenic arboretum that spreads for over 187 acres of land.

Hoyt Arboretum, Portland OR
Hoyt Arboretum

Also, as it contains around 10,000 individual trees and shrubs under 1,100 different species from all over the world, this park ensures fresh air for visitors.

And Hoyt Arboretum features many exciting trails for a 12 miles length. If you are looking for a hike to escape from the busy world, here are plenty.

There’s a visitor center and an indoor classroom to tell you more about the fauna and flora in the park.

Its picnic and meadow areas are just for the families who are looking for fun picnicking.

And also, Hoyt Arboretum offers space for weddings and other special functions too.

Address: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221, United States  Phone: +1 503-865-8733

27. Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is the largest museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Oregon.

It preserves, studies, and exhibits artifacts, art, and archival materials of the Jews and Judaism in Oregon.

Aside from that, this museum offers you a chance to improve your education of what happened during the Holocaust via documented and visual exhibits.

Are you a history buff?? Then, do not miss this museum.

Address: 724 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States  Phone: +1 503-226-3600

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

26. The Portland Aerial Tram

Here’s the best way to end your Portland tour.

The Portland Aerial Tram or OHSU Tram is an exciting gondola lift station in Portland, Oregon. They host aerial tramway tours through the city’s main Oregon Health & Science University campus and the South Waterfront district.

The Portland Aerial Tram
The Portland Aerial Tram

So, definitely, it is the best way to get spectacular aerial views of the city. Since cabins are departing approximately every 5 minutes, no waiting.

Are you ready to fly and end the journey?

Address: 3303 S Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239, United States  Phone: +1 503-494-8283

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

Things to Do in Portland Oregon