Visiting Portland OR can be an experience you will never forget. The Pacific Northwest is famous for its lovely mountains, rolling hills covered in forests, and its rivers flowing gently, or not so gently, to the sea. And Portland is an ideal location to take advantage of all of these.
Portland is centrally located, just one hour from the sea, and one hour from the mountains. The best of both worlds. And when you grow tired of nature, if that ever happens, you can settle down in a lively and sophisticated city with all it has to offer.
First, consider a trip through those rolling forests, along the Columbia River Highway National Scenic Byway. And, boy is it scenic! Make your way through the towering forests along the banks of the famous Columbia River to arrive at the impressive Multnomah Falls. Or how about a tour through the wine country of the Willamette Valley. One look at the natural beauty of this place will help you understand why pioneers risked their lives in wagon trains to get there. And the wine is not bad either. Drive yourself, or take advantage of one of the many wine country tours offered by local operators. That might be best, depending on how many tastings you intend to do. There are also a variety of hiking or biking tours, or combo tours, available from local agencies. In any case, don’t miss out on a day in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Maybe you’ll see Bigfoot! Next, take a trip in the opposite direction, and head for the coast. All 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline is free and public. Feel free to look for agate or sea glass, to cast a net for Dungeness crabs, or simply stroll.
If you want to stay closer to the center of things, check out some of the sites the city itself has to offer. There are ghost tours, tipsy tours to sample some brews at the finest microbreweries, tasting tours of some of Portland’s finest offerings. There’s even a tour dedicated to donuts!
Portland offers some beautiful gardens, as well, perhaps due to its relatively mild and rainy climate. If you are partial to roses, check out the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. While you are there you can also visit the zoo and the arboretum, also located in Washington Park. Perhaps you’d like to see the Japanese Garden, or the Lan Su Chinese Garden. They are all lovely, of course, so the choice is up to you. And don’t forget the Crystal Spring Rhododendron Garden. Just another place to fill your eyes with the beauty of nature in bloom.
If museums are your thing, there is plenty to see in Portland. The Museum of Art has a varied collection of modern art, impressionists, and traditional and modern Native American artworks. The Oregon Historical Society offers artifacts from the Lewis and Clark expedition, as well as great stories about the pioneers who settled in the area after an arduous trek westward. Fun can be had at the Children’s Museum with a range of brief classes offering instruction in crafts such as woodworking and pottery. It also offers a puppet theater and an outdoor area the kids can explore. Participation is expected and encouraged. There’s a long list of such places, like the Museum of Science and Industry, and the World Forestry Center, but if your tastes are on the quirkier side pay a visit to the small, and unique, Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, where you can see the Murder Dollhouse, an alien autopsy, and take advantage of a photo op with Krampus. Freaky but true!
After a day of sightseeing, relax at one of the city’s many, and renowned, casual dining venues. Relax over a freshly brewed coffee or an independently brewed beer. You won’t regret the time you spend in this slightly weird but wonderful city,