8 Fun Things To Do In Portland Everyone Should Know About
Every year, Portland is breaking a new record for tourist visits. Last year, the city generated nearly $11 billion in revenue from tourists. This is probably because there are so many great things to do in Portland.
Whether you’re there for the “Seven Wonders of Oregon“, have heard about its hip culture through tv and books or are visiting for college, there’s plenty to do.
If you like food and drink, Portland’s is becoming a destination city for foodies from all around. If you prefer nature and hiking, you’ll find lots of great vistas in the city and just a short drive outside of it. And if you’re a music, art, and culture hound, you’re going to find plenty of events to fill your days and nights with.
With all of the fantastic things to do in Portland, it can be overwhelming to pick just a handful. Here are 8 of the best things to do that might not make every tourist’s guide.
1. Kennedy Soaking Pool
If you’re visiting Portland for a relaxing getaway, the Kennedy Soaking Pool is a must-see attraction. For just $5, you can enjoy a beer while you sit in warm saltwater and watch your stress melt away.
The gorgeous ceramic pools are surrounded by lush natural greenery. It’s a nice getaway so long as you avoid the peak hours where kids might be running around. From 11am-6pm, you’ll find it’s a little rowdier.
For the best experience, show up after 6 pm for a drink and a soak after a long day seeing the sights of the city.
2. Horsetail Falls Trail
If you check out any general tourist guide, they’ll tell you to go check out Multnomah Falls, which is lovely. But unfortunately, it’s always crowded.
Your best bet is to go to Horsetail Falls Trail, just a few minutes away. You can walk the 2.7-mile loop for if you’ve got an hour. If you’d prefer to stay longer, there’s an option 1.8-mile trip you can take to see Triple Falls.
If you’re the type to find the sound of a rushing waterfall relaxing, this is the destination for you.
3. Portland Mercado
Everywhere you go in Portland, you’re sure to see food carts. Like Austin and other parts of the south, they hold some of the best cuisines in the area.
The Portland Mercado area will feed any need you have for Mexican, Colombian, Salvadoran, and Argentinian food. You can sit at indoor or outdoor picnic tables as you eat some of the best Latin American cuisines in town.
This is one of the best places in the city to bike to. And on your way out, don’t forget to grab a churro for the road.
4. Portland Art Museum
Portland is home to one of the oldest art museums in the Pacific Northwest. Their collection includes works from European masters, contemporary American art, and Japanese screen prints. Immerse yourself in their sculpture garden for a nice break from the hustle and bustle.
The cornerstone of the museum is their Native American gallery with ancient and modern work from over 200 tribes. This is one of the best collections of Native American work held by a major museum in the USA.
Depending on the time of year, you might be able to catch the Northwest Film Festival or the Portland International Film Festival. Check for availability of tickets and screenings before you take your trip.
Take the short walk a few blocks east to the riverfront for a post-museum reflection.
5. Powell’s Books
Powell’s City of Books is one of the biggest independent bookstores in the whole world. It’s got over two million books in stock. Whether you’re looking for something new or used, you’re sure to find something in this square city block full of books.
With three stories, book lovers can roam the aisles for hours without stepping in the same place twice. If you start to feel fatigued, take a break at their World Cup Coffee shop for a hot drink and a treat.
While they can be a pain when it comes time to bring your bag to the airport, shopping at Powell’s is one of the most fun things to do in Portland.
6. Portland Aerial Tram
Much like the Roosevelt Island Tram in New York, the Portland Aerial Tram is not just for tourists. Designed with residents in mind, it’s part of the daily commute for thousands of Portlanders.
Squeeze in like a local and take the 10-minute trip from the south waterfront district while you’re out looking for things to do in Portland. You’ll go up to the top of Marquam Hill to catch breathtaking views of the entire city.
Wow your travel companions next time you visit with this little bit of local everyday Portland life.
7. International Rose Test Garden
Whether you realized it or not, Portland is known as the City of Roses. When you first set your eyes on the sprawling International Rose Test Garden, you’ll know immediately why.
Since 1917, the American Rose Society has operated this garden. It’s officially the oldest continuously operated rose test garden anywhere in the US.
You’ll find 10,000 roses, marked by type. For literature and theater lovers, there’s a special treat in the Shakespeare Garden. This area is dedicated to roses mentioned in his plays.
There’s also a “Gold Medal Garden” where you’ll see all of the award-winning roses that make a visit to the garden one of the most special things to do in Portland. Look for smaller versions of all of these great roses in their Miniature Rose Test Garden.
There are daily free tours starting at 1 pm during the summer. There’s less to see in winter months, but the site is still a lovely place to see year-round.
8. Nossa Familia Coffee
You may have heard of Stumptown, whose coffee products you can now find in grocery stores around the world. Unfortunately, it’s now a big corporate entity owned by Peet’s Coffee.
For the real deal in Portland, check out Nossa Familia. With its beans sourced from farms in Brazil, you’ll find some of the best-tasting brews around.
There are tours of the roastery if that’s your thing. Try a brewing class and take home your own bag of beans.
So Many Great Things To Do In Portland
If you’re a fan of Portlandia or a Trailblazers fanatic, check out your favorite shooting locations or swing by a game. You won’t have a shortage of things to do in Portland during your visit.
If you’re still looking for things to do next time you’re in Portland, contact us for more tips.