Top 10 Things to Do in Portland
1. OMSI – Not just for science geeks
OMSI stands for Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It is a hands-on science museum for all ages. It houses five unique halls, including a hands-on Science Playground for visitors six and under and Earth Hall featuring Science on a Sphere. Build your brainpower with over 200 interactive exhibits and labs for all ages in renewable energy, global climate, health and wellness, chemistry, engineering, technology, and more. OMSI also is home to the U.S. Navy’s last non-nuclear, fast-attack submarine, the USS Blueback (SS-581)!
2. Oregon Zoo – Zoos always make our Top 10 lists!
The Oregon Zoo has some unique features that make it worth the visit, especially if you like animals. They have all of the standard large zoo creatures: lions, tigers, and bears…oh my!
3. Pittock Mansion – The best views of the city!
This beautiful private residence was lovingly restored and turned into a historical site. The estate is beautiful and the grounds are amazing with panoramic views of the city 1,000 feet below. You can drive their, or better, park at the trail head and enjoy a wonderful walk up through the dense woods. The trail goes through an old growth red-wood glade and follows a babbling stream as it winds up to the mansion. You can pick-nick at the estate for a relaxing lunch (bring your own food).
4. Pioneer Square – You can watch all the Portland flavor walk by
Pioneer Square is the center of Portland, not just geographically, but culturally and spiritually. It is affectionately known as “Portland’s living room.” The center piece is the Pioneer Court House built in 1869. It is the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest and still used today as a court for the U.S Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The square also features Pioneer Mall, fountain, and, of course, a Starbucks. Look for the bronze pieces by the chess set and fallen columns. The square is a great place to people watch too. Remember, Portland’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland weird.” So, do not be surprised by who/what you see!
5. Japanese Garden – Perhaps the finest Japanese garden outside of Japan
The Japanese garden in Washington Park is truly magnificent. It continually wins awards and accolades for its exquisite landscape with water falls, ponds, bonsai, shrine, and trees. It is a great place to relax and meditate. Since it is next door to the Rose Garden with the Tea House, you can do both to complete your horticultural experience!
6. World Forestry Center – Learn everything about the forest
The World Forestry Center is billed as the only museum dedicated exclusively to our nation’s forests. If you are into forests, nature, or trees, then this is the place for you. For children it is an amazing hands-on center where they will learn a lot while having a great time.
7. Hoyt Arboretum – In the spring and fall it is breathtaking!
Hoyt Arboretum is located in the center of Washington Park, which is 410 acres of beautiful urban park, wilderness, and attractions. The arboretum is a 187 acre grove of over 10,000 trees representing 1,100 species from around the world. In the fall, it is a kaleidoscope of natural color. It is a wonderful pick-nick spot that offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the city.
8. Powell’s Books – The best bookstore on the planet
Powell’s is a regional draw for bibliophiles (book lovers). Every time you visit, they have more unique books on all sorts of topics. They claim to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. You be the judge.
9. The Food Carts – A truly unique Portland eating experience
These iconic carts are all over the city dishing up a variety of unique cuisine. You can find them in groups in designated areas. They are the cheapest and tastiest way to eat your way through Portland.
10. VooDoo Doughnuts – Simply decadent!
Read my post on the Oregon Coast to find out about this place.
*Bonus: Moonstruck Chocolate Company – Also read my post on the Oregon Coast to find out about this place.