If you’re planning a trip to Portland, Oregon and wondering what there is to do in the City of Roses, you’ll be pleased to know that the activities are literally endless! With unique boutiques (and no sales tax!), critically renowned restaurants, savory dessert venues, funky bars, lavish hotels, and entertaining street fairs, there’s something for everyone in Portland!
Portland is home to the most parks in the country – including the biggest park and the smallest (Forest Park and Mill Ends Park). It’s also known for countless food trucks serving delicious gourmet meals, world-renowned craft beer, and some seriously strange ice cream and donut flavors. There are so many fun and weird things to do in Portland, you won’t know where to start!
We’ve broken this list of the best things to do in Portland out by different parts of the city so you can make the most of the Portland neighborhood where you choose to stay. Or you can rent a car and venture out around town. Whatever activities you choose, you’re bound to have a fantastic time exploring the City of Roses!
- 75 Things to Do in Portland, Oregon
- The Best Things to Do in SW Portland
- 1. Visit the Smallest Park in the World
- 2. Check out the Second-Largest Copper Hammered Statue in the World
- 3. Eat Your Weight in Donuts
- 4. Sleep in a Haunted Hotel
- 5. Root for the Timbers
- 6. Stroll Along the Southwest Waterfront
- 7. Shop at the Portland Farmers Market
- 8. See a Show at The Schnitz
- 9. Go Dancing at the Crystal Ballroom
- 10. Check out the Portland Art Museum
- 11. Buy a Souvenir at the Saturday Market
- 12. Shop (Tax-Free!) at Pioneer Square
- 13. Have a Drink at the Oldest Strip Club in Portland
- 14. Party at Dante’s
- 15. Sip a Spanish Coffee at Huber’s Cafe
- The Best Things to Do in The Pearl and Old Town
- 16. Sip and Browse at First Thursday
- 17. Get Lost at Powell’s
- 18. Tour the Shanghai Tunnels
- 19. Play in the Fountain at Jamison Square
- 20. Stroll on the Boardwalk at Tanner Springs Park
- 21. Drink and Cruise on a BrewCycle Tour
- 22. Take it to the Water
- 23. Explore the Chinese Gardens
- 24. Have a Ball at Darcelles XV
- 25. Act Like a Kid at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
- 26. Go Rock Climbing at Planet Granite
- The Best Things to Do in NW Portland
- 27. Shop at the Boutiques
- 28. Sample the Funky Flavors at Salt & Straw
- 29. Hike in Forest Park
- 30. Check out the View from the Pittock Mansion
- 31. Visit the Freakybuttrue Pecularium
- 32. Smell the Roses
- 33. Relax in the Japanese Gardens
- 34. Visit the Animals in the Oregon Zoo
- 35. See a Summer Concert at the Zoo
- 36. Sing Karaoke at Voicebox
- 37. Go Zoobombing
- 38. Indulge in Dessert at Papa Haydn
- The Best Things to Do in North Portland
- 39. Go on a Mississippi Avenue Bar Crawl
- 40. Attend the Mississippi Street Fair
- 41. Become a Blazer Fan
- 42. Sing Karaoke at the Alibi
- 43. Shop for Unique Gifts at Paxton Gate
- 44. Enjoy a Sunset Picnic at Mocks Crest Park
- 45. See a Show at the Wonder Ballroom
- 46. Lounge Under the St. Johns Bridge at Cathedral Park
- 47. Get Your Chocolate Fix at Moonstruck
- 48. Sip Kombucha at a Speakeasy
- The Best Things to Do in NE Portland
- 49. Check out the Last Thursday Street Festival
- 50. Enjoy an Improv Show at Curious Comedy
- 51. Sleep in a Tiny House Hotel
- 52. Soak in the Nude
- 53. Get Drunk in Detention
- 54. Get Drunk at Church
- 55. Sing Karaoke at Chopsticks
- 56. Go Ice Skating
- 57. Sip Coffee with Cats at a Cat Cafe
- 58. Take Advantage of the Public Pools
- The Best Things to Do in SE Portland
- 59. Have a Ball at a Drag Queen Brunch
- 60. See the Exhibits at OMSI
- 61. Summit Mount Tabor Park
- 62. Dine at a Cartopia Food Truck
- 63. See a Second-Run Movie
- 64. Sample Spirits
- 65. Rent a Hot Tub by the Hour
- 66. Go Skateboarding
- 67. Cheer on the Rose City Rollers
- 68. Entertain the Kids at Oaks Park
- 69. Sip Coffee at a Haunted Coffee Shop
- 70. Spend your Nickles at the Arcade
- Things to Do Near Portland
- The Best Things to Do in SW Portland
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75 Things to Do in Portland, Oregon
The Best Things to Do in SW Portland
1. Visit the Smallest Park in the World
Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It is a circle, 2 feet across, that usually has one small tree in the center (although vandals occasionally remove it).
It’s located in the middle of the median strip of SW Naito Parkway right near the waterfront so you’ll want to make your visit short and sweet. But it’s one of the things you must do when visiting SW Portland!
2. Check out the Second-Largest Copper Hammered Statue in the World
The Portlandia Statue is the second-largest copper hammered statue in the world, second only to the Statue of Liberty. You can’t visit Portland without snapping a photo of her!
3. Eat Your Weight in Donuts
Voodoo Doughnut started the donut craze in Portland with unique shapes (like penises) and flavors (maple and bacon). The line to get a box of these delicious treats is usually out the door and around the block. But luckily several other joints have popped up with arguably better-tasting donuts.
Blue Star Donuts and Coco Donuts are two other great donut options in Southwest Portland if you want a sugary, high-calorie snack but don’t want to stand in line for an hour. Even if you skip the donuts, you should still snap a photo in front of the famous Voodoo Doughnuts sign.
4. Sleep in a Haunted Hotel
If you want to have a truly memorable night in Portland, consider spending a night or two in one of the most haunted hotels in America – The Heathman Hotel. Guests have reported mysteriously moving objects, cold spots, strange noises, and even the feeling of someone crawling into bed next to them. Rooms 703, 803, and 1003 see the most paranormal action.
5. Root for the Timbers
The Timbers are Portland’s resident Major League Soccer team and Portlanders are a little obsessed with them. The team is known for their star player, Diego Valeri, and their mascot, Timber Joey, who saws pieces off of a giant log every time the Timbers score a goal.
You can catch Timbers games at the Providence Park stadium. If you want a lively experience, get tickets for the Timbers Army section – but get there early if you want a good seat because that section of the stadium is general admission seating.
Or just watch the Timber’s game at the nearby Mexican restaurant Uno Mas and party with the fans after the game when everyone pours out of the stadium and into the local bars.
6. Stroll Along the Southwest Waterfront
For the best views of the Willamette River and Portland’s famous bridges take a stroll around the SW waterfront. You can cross one of the many bridges to the east side of the river to make a complete loop and take in the downtown Portland skyline. My preference is to cross at the Burnside Bridge and the Tilikum Crossing Bridge to get in some substantial mileage.
If walking isn’t your thing, the SE waterfront has 4-person bicycle rentals that make for a fun time for the whole family!
7. Shop at the Portland Farmers Market
The Portland Farmers Market is a great place to shop for local produce, fresh flowers, or to grab a delicious lunch. Or just wander through and enjoy the sights and smells.
The farmers market takes place every Saturday from 8:30am to 2pm on the South Park Blocks of PSU’s campus. It’s where locals love to shop local!
8. See a Show at The Schnitz
“The Schnitz“ is the nickname given to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. With under 3,000 seats, it provides a relatively intimate experience so it’s a great venue to catch a show. Plus, it’s home to that iconic verticle Portland sign. Spotting the sign alone makes The Schnitz worth a visit, even if you aren’t able to see a show.
9. Go Dancing at the Crystal Ballroom
The Crystal Ballroom is a McMenamins venue (their bars are all over Portland and this blog) that is known for having one of the last remaining spring-loaded dance floors in the country. So you’ll feel like you’re dancing on air while the dance floor moves with the crowd. It’s definitely an experience you should have during a trip to Portland!
10. Check out the Portland Art Museum
Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is a Portland institution! It’s the 7th oldest museum in the US and the oldest in the PNW. The museum displays over 50,000 objects over 112,000 square feet of gallery space. An afternoon spent wandering through the Portland Art Museum is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Portland.
11. Buy a Souvenir at the Saturday Market
The Portland Saturday Market is a lively outdoor market that takes place on Saturdays and Sundays on the SW Waterfront. It’s a great place to pick up a locally made souvenir or to grab a bite to eat. There are often performances throughout the day and the people-watching here can’t be beaten. It’s a must-do while visiting Portland!
12. Shop (Tax-Free!) at Pioneer Square
Did you know that Oregon has zero sales tax? That’s right – zip, zilch, nada. So if you are itching to go shopping, this is the place to do it! Pioneer Place has popular chain stores like H&M, Lululemon, and Apple. You’ll save some dough by buying tax-free!
13. Have a Drink at the Oldest Strip Club in Portland
Mary’s Club is the first strip club in Portland and is an entertaining place to grab a drink during a trip to Portland. Not only is it a Portland establishment, but Courtney Love famously worked here before becoming famous.
Mary’s is more of a dive bar than a typical strip club. It’s small and the music comes from a jukebox on stage. The ladies work the room for quarters to fill the machine for their turn on stage. It’s impossible to have a bad time at Mary’s!
14. Party at Dante’s
Dante’s is a bar in SW Portland that is known for several weekly events. The best are Sinferno on Sundays and Karaoke From Hell on Mondays – two of the best things to do in Portland.
Sinferno is a circus-like variety show that includes a variety of unique acts. And Karaoke From Hell has a live band that provides the acoustics for any adventurous karaoke singers from the audience.
Both weekly events are great fun and unlikely anything you’ve ever experienced before. Just be sure you are confident with your lyrics before volunteering to sing karaoke – you won’t have a prompter to help you along!
15. Sip a Spanish Coffee at Huber’s Cafe
Huber’s Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Portland, having been established way back in 1879. It is famous for it’s rich and delicious Spanish Coffee. Order one and you’ll get an impressive little fire show by the bartender right at your table – be sure to have your camera ready!
Don’t forget to give the bartender a tip after he serves up your Spanish Coffee.
The Best Things to Do in The Pearl and Old Town
16. Sip and Browse at First Thursday
First Thursday is an event that takes place in The Pearl District on the first Thursday of every month. Shops and galleries around The Pearl District serve samples of wine and bubbles as well as small bites to enjoy while you browse. Portlanders love to get gussied up to attend this monthly affair.
17. Get Lost at Powell’s
Powell’s City of Books is the largest independent bookstore in the nation and arguably the most iconic store in all of Portland. Book lovers will rejoice at the extensive collection of secondhand books for sale. You can spend hours here, browsing the shelves, sipping on coffee, or just finding a remote corner of the bookstore to read a magazine. You can’t visit Portland without a stop at Powell’s!
18. Tour the Shanghai Tunnels
The Shanghai Tunnels are a series of underground tunnels that run under Portland’s Chinatown neighborhood. They were constructed in the 19th century to transport goods from ships on the Willamette River to hotels and taverns around town.
But legend has it that these tunnels were used to illegally capture and sell able-bodied men to the sea captains docked there. They were drugged, kidnapped, and dragged to the tunnels into captivity until they were sold. You can book an Underground Portland tour and hear creepy stories firsthand from a local expert while you explore what’s left of these ancient tunnels. It’s one of the best tours in Portland!
19. Play in the Fountain at Jamison Square
If you’re traveling to Portland with children and want a fun sunny day activity in The Pearl, take them to play in the fountain at Jamison Square! It’s a great place to make friends with other kids while cooling off from the mid-day sun.
20. Stroll on the Boardwalk at Tanner Springs Park
Tanner Springs Park is just 2 blocks away from the bustling Jamison Square and they are connected by a wooden boardwalk. This park is less of a kid-friendly park and is better for a calming afternoon stroll. There is a peaceful waterscape and an urban wetland with benches throughout.
21. Drink and Cruise on a BrewCycle Tour
If you want to have a fun, boozy afternoon and meet some new friends, consider booking a BrewCycle tour through town! It’s a giant multi-person bicycle of sorts with a table to hold your beverage of choice. It’s a 2-hour tour with 2 brewpub stops. It’s impossible not to have a blast!
22. Take it to the Water
Speaking of drinking and cruising, why not take it to the water on a BrewBarge Tour? This 1.5-hour boat cruise is a great way to enjoy Portland from the river, all while sipping on one of Portland’s famous craft brews.
23. Explore the Chinese Gardens
If you want to escape the city, in the middle of the city, spend a few hours wandering around the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. This peaceful oasis is the perfect place to relax, recharge, and enjoy some spectacular gardens and Chinese architecture. You’ll forget that you’re in the middle of Portland’s busy city center!
24. Have a Ball at Darcelles XV
Darcelles XV is a drag queen show who’s star performer (and namesake) has a most intriguing story. Born in 1930, Walter Cole (aka Darcelle XV) lived a “conventional” life in Portland with a wife and two children. He put on his first dress at 37 and came out as gay in 1969.
He became the oldest female impersonator on the West Coast in 1999 and continues to perform to this day at age 89. He is gregarious, hilarious, and puts on one hell of a show!
25. Act Like a Kid at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
Another one of the best things to do in Portland, a visit to Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will transport you back to the 1980s with over 100 classic video games and 40 pinball machines. You’ll have a blast playing the nostalgic games from your youth while sipping on craft beers and enjoying good company.
Ground Kontrol is fun for the whole family too! All ages are welcome from noon until 5:00pm daily but after that, it’s strictly adults (21+) only. There are also events taking place in the arcade – DJs spinning beats, comedy shows, competitions, and even Rock Band karaoke.
26. Go Rock Climbing at Planet Granite
Avid rock climbers will love doing some indoor rock climbing at Planet Granite! There are options for beginners, plenty of fun activities for kids, lead classes, and private classes offered. This is a massive 30,500 square foot gym with route walls up to 55 feet high, 200 routes, 18 cracks, and 200+ bouldering problems. It’s a great way to get in a good workout, especially if it’s too wet to go rock climbing outdoors.
The Best Things to Do in NW Portland
27. Shop at the Boutiques
When I’m looking to shop for unique clothes and accessories in Portland, I always head to the cute boutiques on NW 23rd Ave. You’ll find shops at a variety of price points selling everything from clothes to shoes to household goods and everything in between. Just stroll down one side of the street and then back up the other and check out the goods along the way!
28. Sample the Funky Flavors at Salt & Straw
There are now several Salt & Straw locations in Portland (and all over the US), but the original was right here on NW 23rd. And it’s not your usual ice cream shop. You’ll find flavors like “bone marrow and smoked cherries” and “pear with blue cheese”. Flavors that don’t seem to go together on paper but that will totally overwhelm and excite your tastebuds.
Since they let you sample as many flavors as you desire, my tactic is to fill up on samples and buy a pint of my favorite to take home and eat later!
29. Hike in Forest Park
Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the USA and it’s easily accessible from the Northwest 23rd neighborhood. There are miles and miles of well-maintained hiking trails surrounded by thick forest – it’s a great way to escape the crowds and stretch your legs.
Our favorite hike in Forest Park is the Lower MacLeay Trail hike! From NW Upshur street you can follow the Lower MacLeay trail up as far as your legs can handle. You’ll pass by “The Witches Castle”, an old stone house built in 1936 and now covered in thick moss.
If you have time, you can continue all the way up to the Pittock Mansion to check out the view of the city from above!
30. Check out the View from the Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion is a historic house that sits high in the NW Hills, overlooking the city of Portland. Originally built by the Pittocks in 1914, the house was saved from demolition by the dedicated community in 1964 and was transformed into a museum.
You’ll have to pay a fee if you want to enter the house ($12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for youth), but you can just wander around the well-manicured grounds and enjoy the views of Mt. Hood and downtown Portland for free. It makes for an especially nice afternoon if you pair your visit with a hike through Forest Park!
31. Visit the Freakybuttrue Pecularium
I’m not exactly sure how best to describe the Freakybuttrue Pecularium. It’s a collection of “freaky but true” stories and odds and ends. You just have to go and see for yourself!
32. Smell the Roses
Portland didn’t receive the nickname of “The City of Roses” because of the International Rose Garden, but it helped to solidify its reputation! The concept of the rose test garden was introduced in 1915 to serve as a safe haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I.
Today the International Rose Test Garden sits in the beautiful Washington Park and contains over 10,000 rose bushes of 650 varieties. Roses bloom from April until October but the best time to visit is in June when it peaks. Not only are the roses a real draw to the park, but the views are spectacular as well. On a clear day you can see all the way to Mount Hood!
33. Relax in the Japanese Gardens
The Portland Japanese Garden is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing afternoon escape from the city. Also located in Washington Park, the Japenese Garden occupies 12 acres and is full of walking paths, ponds, water features, gardens, and beautiful Japanese architecture. Bring a book or a journal and spend a few hours of zen.
34. Visit the Animals in the Oregon Zoo
Regardless of whether or not you have kids, a trip to the Oregon Zoo is always a good time! The zoo is 64 acres and has five major exhibit areas – Great Northwest, Fragile Forests, Asia, Pacific Shores, and Africa. The zoo boasts 2,585 individual animals including 15 endangered species and 7 threatened species.
The zoo is also in Washington Park and is easily accessible via MAX (Portland’s light rail).
35. See a Summer Concert at the Zoo
Summer concerts at the zoo are a great way to sit in the grass while enjoying the sunshine and being serenaded by a popular artist or band. Check the event line-up to see who’s playing during your trip to Portland.
36. Sing Karaoke at Voicebox
Voicebox is the perfect karaoke venue for anyone who is too shy to sing in front of crowds, or anyone who doesn’t want to wait their turn to sing! At Voicebox you can rent your own private room which comes complete with a selection of songs and your own private microphones.
Once the drinks start flowing from the bar, it’s impossible not to get up and belt out your favorite jam!
37. Go Zoobombing
Zoobombing is a pretty funny event that Portland bike fanatics enjoy every Sunday evening. They gather their small, tricked-out child bikes, board the MAX from downtown to the Washington Park station near the zoo, and then coast on the bikes through the west hills and back to their starting place. Then they all pile back onto the MAX to head back up and do it all over again.
If you don’t have a tricked out child’s bicycle on hand, they do keep a collection of loner bikes on the corner of NW 13th and Broadway. The dozens of children’s bikes are chained to a purpose-built statue known as the People’s Bike Library of Portland or just the “Zoobomer Pyle”. If you’re wandering through Northwest Portland keep an eye out for it.
38. Indulge in Dessert at Papa Haydn
Papa Haydn is a restaurant in NW Portland that is famous for its amazingly rich and decadent desserts. They have a full menu as well but even if you don’t eat dinner here, you’ll have to stop for a sweet treat during your visit!
Carrot cake, banana cream cake, German chocolate cake, and lemon chiffon cake are just a few of the mouth-watering options to choose from. It’s arguably the best place in Portland for a sweet treat with a glass of bubbly!
The Best Things to Do in North Portland
39. Go on a Mississippi Avenue Bar Crawl
Mississippi Ave is lined with funky shops, yummy restaurants, and lively bars, making it one of the hippest areas of Portland. You’ll love to spend time wandering up and down this neighborhood – browsing the boutiques and eating at some of the best restaurants in all of Portland. And you’ll really love checking out the nightlife on Mississippi Avenue!
Start your afternoon with a refreshing brew at Ecliptic Brewing, then head north to StormBreaker Brewing where the outdoor seating is perfect for people watching. Then further north to Moloko to gaze at the giant fish tank or Mississippi Studios if they have an event of interest. Continue to Interurban for a cocktail and finally Prost! to end your night with a bang!
40. Attend the Mississippi Street Fair
You’ll only be able to attend the Mississippi Street Fair if you happen to be in Portland at the right time, but if you are it’s certainly worth checking out! Here you’ll find lots of vendors selling unique Portland gifts as well as delicious food trucks and fun pop-up bars. It draws people from all over the city so expect to contend with massive crowds!
41. Become a Blazer Fan
The Portland Trail Blazers, or “Zers” as they are often called, is Portland’s NBA basketball team. And you’ll find that Portlanders are quite fanatic about their Blazers – from 1977 through 1995 the team sold out 814 consecutive home games. Damian Lilliard has been especially instrumental in their success in recent years.
Home games are played at the Moda Center and you’ll have a great time cheering them on in the crowded stadium. Be sure to pick up some Blazer gear before you go!
And if you are visiting Portland during an away game you can always watch it on television at Spirit of 77 – arguably the most popular Blazer hangout bar in town. Rip City!
42. Sing Karaoke at the Alibi
My personal favorite bar in all of Portland is the Alibi Tiki Lounge. The sign out front is a famous Portland landmark – you’re sure to see it in the shops along Mississippi Ave. And inside it’s a combination tiki bar with Hawaiian themed cocktails and lais and a popular karaoke venue where you have to slip the DJ a tip if you actually want to sing.
Even if you don’t end up getting a turn at the mic, it’s literally impossible not to have a fun night at the Alibi – especially if you’re drinking their signature Scurvy Sailor cocktails!
43. Shop for Unique Gifts at Paxton Gate
Paxton Gate is a totally unique store on Mississippi Avenue that is filled with taxidermied animals, skeletal remains, and other interesting science-related souvenirs. Even if you don’t purchase anything, it’s definitely worth a stop to have a look around!
44. Enjoy a Sunset Picnic at Mocks Crest Park
One of the best views in all of Portland can be enjoyed for free at Mocks Crest Park! It’s a popular place for locals to go with a blanket, some wine, and a picnic around sunset. It’s perfect if you want to have a romantic evening during your trip to Portland.
45. See a Show at the Wonder Ballroom
The Wonder Ballroom is a venue in North Portland that is a great size to see a show. It’s not too big that you’re far away from the action, but it’s also big enough to attract popular artists. Check the events page to see what shows you can catch during your stay in Portland.
46. Lounge Under the St. Johns Bridge at Cathedral Park
Portland is known for its beautiful bridges, but perhaps the most iconic is the historic St. Johns Bridge in Cathedral Park. The bridge is a steel suspension bridge that crosses the Willamette River and you’ll want to appreciate it’s beauty from above and below. Cathedral Park got its name from the gothic-style bridge towers that tower over the park.
Bring a blanket and some snacks for an afternoon of lounging on the grass. And don’t forget your camera – this is a popular spot for photoshoots in Portland!
47. Get Your Chocolate Fix at Moonstruck
The Moonstruck Chocolate in St. Johns is a factory and store where you can see the chocolate being made and grab a few samples! Plan to arrive before 1:00pm if you want to see the chocolate artisans hard at work. If you’re a chocoholic, the Moonstruck chocolate factory should be at the top of your list of things to do in Portland
48. Sip Kombucha at a Speakeasy
Did you know that the world’s only kombucha speakeasy is in Portland? Soma Kombucha Speakeasy has a sultry ambiance and some truly tasty kombucha. If you’re looking to have a night out in Portland but want to stay away from the booze, this is a great place to do it!
The Best Things to Do in NE Portland
49. Check out the Last Thursday Street Festival
Portland has quite a few street festivals during the warmer summer months, but perhaps the most eclectic is the Last Thursday street festival on NE Alberta Street – we think it’s one of the most fun things to do in Portland.
Here you’ll find vendors selling their strange creations, street performers with unique skillsets, people walking on stilts, fire dancers, and everything in between. It draws a diverse crowd and the people watching is second to none.
50. Enjoy an Improv Show at Curious Comedy
If you want to spend an evening sipping cocktails while being hilariously entertained, buy tickets for an improv show at Curious Comedy! There’s usually a good amount of audience interaction in the small, intimate venue. And since it’s improvisation, you never know if a skit will be super funny or totally awkward. But regardless you’ll definitely have a great time!
51. Sleep in a Tiny House Hotel
If you’ve been intrigued by the tiny house craze but don’t want to actually live in one, spend a few nights in the Caravan Hotel! These funky tiny houses surround a central courtyard where guests can enjoy a bonfire, smores, and sometimes even a live concert. Be sure to book early because there are only 5 tiny homes and they book up fast!
52. Soak in the Nude
Common Ground Wellness Cooperative is an eco-friendly space that offers a comfortable and safe environment for nude bathing as well as other services like acupuncture and massage. You can go for a relaxing soak in the tub followed by a sweat session in the sauna for a reasonable fee.
There are even specific hours for females, transgender and non-binary people, and POC if you’d prefer not to bathe with the masses.
53. Get Drunk in Detention
McMenamins Kennedy School was an elementary school that was opened in 1915 and was abandoned for a time before being renovated into a unique hotel, movie theater, soaking pool, brewery, restaurant, and several small bars. You’ll love the original artwork that covers the walls and the tiny drinking fountains meant for very short children.
Whether you decide to have a drink in detention, see a movie, or even spend the night at the Kennedy School, you’ve got to add it to your list of things to do in Portland!
54. Get Drunk at Church
Speaking of McMenamin’s bars, you should also check out the Chapel Pub. It’s a 90-year-old church that was once the historic Little Chapel of the Chimes and is now a restaurant and pub. Inside is a cozy fireplace, perfect for chilly evenings, or you can enjoy the back patio that is also dog friendly.
55. Sing Karaoke at Chopsticks
Chopsticks is known as Portland’s “most favorite karaoke bar” (even though we’d argue that the award belongs to The Alibi). It’s a fun spot to go to belt out some tunes, drink a few cocktails, and enjoy late-night Chinese food!
56. Go Ice Skating
Lloyd Center is a shopping mall that doesn’t have the greatest shopping in the city but does have an ice skating rink. And this particular ice skating rink is famous for being the practice location for Tonya Harding! Lace up your skates and go for a whirl.
57. Sip Coffee with Cats at a Cat Cafe
Cat lovers rejoice! You can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in a cozy setting while petting cats! Purrington’s Cat Lounge is the purrfect place to go if you’re craving some furry companionship. If you happen to fall in love with one of the lounge cats don’t worry, they are all available for adoption!
If you’re a feline fanatic, then this is obviously one of the best things to do in Portland. Be sure to make a reservation to ensure they have room for you and note that there is an entry fee to cover their cat-related expenses.
58. Take Advantage of the Public Pools
If you are planning your visit to Portland during the summer, you’ll surely appreciate knowing that NE Portland has a few public pools – perfect for an afternoon dip. They are especially great if you are traveling with kids and need to keep them entertained. Check out Grant Pool or Peninsula Pool to keep you refreshed on hot summer days.
The Best Things to Do in SE Portland
59. Have a Ball at a Drag Queen Brunch
Native Portlanders love to spend long weekend mornings enjoying a boozy brunch. But the newest craze to spice up your morning is to add some entertainment to your meal! The Drag Queen Brunch will put on an incredible drag show while you’re enjoying brunch with friends (and some bubbles of course). It’s sure to be a dining experience you’ll never forget!
Be sure to bring some extra cash to tip the performers.
60. See the Exhibits at OMSI
Traveling with kids and wondering what to do in Portland? The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (otherwise known as OMSI) is fun for both kids and grownups alike! It’s ranked one of the top science centers in the United States and the exhibits inspire learning, experimenting, and some hands-on fun.
OMSI has both permanent and rotating exhibits that are always well suited for all ages. Plus you can tour a submarine or watch an awe-inspiring movie on the massive IMAX screen!
61. Summit Mount Tabor Park
Mount Tabor Park in SE Portland is actually a volcanic cinder cone, right in the center of the city! It’s the ideal peaceful place to enjoy a picnic in the park, to go for a run, or to bring the kids to play on the play structure. If you choose an Airbnb nearby, you’ll love having access to such a lovely greenspace.
And if you happen to visit Portland at the right time of year, you may be able to catch the lively Portland Soap Box Derby! It’s an event in the park that is loads of fun for all ages.
62. Dine at a Cartopia Food Truck
One of the quintessential things to do in Portland is to dine at a food truck. And you’ll have lots of options to choose from all over the city. Our favorite area is called Cartopia on SE 12th and Hawthorne. Here you’ll find a collection of yummy food trucks on the perimeter of the space with a covered eating area in the center.
It’s perfect if you’re traveling with a group and don’t want to worry about finding one restaurant that will please everyone. Because everyone can get food at different trucks and also eat together at one table. Be sure to find our favorite truck – Potato Champion!
63. See a Second-Run Movie
We’ve highlighted several McMenamins bars in this post but there’s always room for one more! The Bagdad Theater & Pub in SE Portland shows second-run movies, meaning movies that have been out for a while and are no longer playing in regular cinemas. The prices are cheaper than a regular theater and you can enjoy the movie while eating a slice of pizza and drinking one of their craft beers!
Even if you don’t want to see a movie, the tables out front are perfect for people-watching while enjoying lunch at the pub.
64. Sample Spirits
Distillery Row is a collection of Oregon distilleries that start in the SE Industrial District and extends across the river to the Northwest neighborhood. Each distillery in Distillery Row is open on weekends for drop-in spirits tastings and no appointment is necessary! Some are also open to the public on weekdays but you’ll want to check with them before you go.
And if you’re visiting Portland at the right time, check out the Distillery Row monthly cocktail crawl! It’s on the third weekend of each month and each distillery features a unique take on a classic cocktail. And to sweeten the deal, $1 from each specialty cocktail purchase is donated to a local nonprofit!
65. Rent a Hot Tub by the Hour
This might sound a little strange but it actually makes for a really fun evening (or romantic depending on the mood you’re going for). At Tub and Tan, you can actually rent a hot tub by the hour. They have both indoor and outdoor suites, outfitted with surround sound, a big screen tv, a private restroom, towels, mood lighting, and some even have a cozy fireplace!
Plus cleanliness is their top priority so you don’t need to worry when you soak here. It’s the perfect place to get some friends together to drink beers, or a fun spot for a date night!
66. Go Skateboarding
Any avid skateboarders in the family will love to spend a sunny Portland afternoon at Burnside Skatepark! It’s actually quite famous due to being featured on the skateboarding video game “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3”.
The Burnside Skatepark was the first do-it-yourself concrete skatepark project in the country and continues to be an ongoing project that is funded by donations.
67. Cheer on the Rose City Rollers
The Rose City Rollers are Portland’s premiere roller derby league that skates at Oaks Amusement Park. It’s relatively easy to pick up tickets for one of their bouts and then you can scream and cheer as they duke it out in the rink. It’s sure to be a lively night out and will be fun for the whole family!
68. Entertain the Kids at Oaks Park
Oaks Park is an amusement park in SE Portland that features rides, roller skating, miniature golf, games, and so much more! If the weather is nice in Portland, you can easily spend a full day at Oaks Park – riding on the exhilarating rides, winning prizes, and eating at the various concession stands. It’s fun for all ages!
69. Sip Coffee at a Haunted Coffee Shop
If you want to enjoy a coffee and dessert in Portland’s weirdest coffee shop, head to Rimsky-Korsakoffee House. Not only is it weird, but it is also reportedly haunted! Named for the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the entire place is classical music-themed with tables named for deceased composers.
Tables are known for at times elevating, rotating, or vibrating, but ever so slowly. So if you’re engrossed in conversation you may later look down to find that your coffee is no longer in front of you!
Be sure to bring cash as credit cards aren’t accepted here. Also, tip the entertainment and don’t expect overly friendly service from the waitstaff. And don’t leave before checking out the bathroom!
70. Spend your Nickles at the Arcade
The Avalon Theater and Wunderland Nickle Arcade on SE Belmont Street isn’t just an arcade, it’s also a movie theater and a spot to play laser tag. You can spend an afternoon here being endlessly entertained while feeling like a kid again!
Things to Do Near Portland
71. Drive Along the Historic Columbia River Highway
The Historic Columbia River Highway (also known as Hwy 30) is 75 miles in length and runs through the incredibly scenic Columbia River Gorge. You’ll be treated to spectacular views of the river, lush greenery, and waterfalls flowing right off of the highway. Allow yourself 3-5 hours to complete the drive and to make a few stops along the way.
You absolutely must stop at Multnomah Falls during your scenic drive! It is the second-highest year-round waterfall in the US with a 620-foot drop. It’ a great place to do some hiking or grab a bite to eat while enjoying the view!
72. Go Wine Tasting in Hood River
Oregon has some of the best wine in the country and is especially known for Pinot Noir. There are several areas of the state to sample some vino but our favorite is Hood River. It’s only about an hour outside of Portland, and to get there you take the beautiful Historic Columbia River Highway. So you’ll knock 2 things off your list in one trip!
There are so many things to do in Hood River. In addition to its incredibly scenic wineries, it is known for kiteboarding, hiking, delicious restaurants, craft breweries, and boutique shopping in the quaint pedestrian-friendly downtown area. Go for the day or spend a few nights in Hood River, you’ll love having a change of pace from the bustling city of Portland!
And if you happen to visit during the wintertime you’ll definitely want to do some skiing or snowboarding on Mt. Hood.
73. Take a Weekend Trip to Bend
When we want to escape the city for a weekend, we usually choose Bend as our getaway destination. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Portland so it’s best to spend a few nights rather than to just go for the day.
Bend is a cute little town with a walkable downtown area, lots of craft breweries and cute coffee shops, and some of the best hiking in the state. Bend is located in Central Oregon so the weather is much drier than Portland. They also get a bit of snow in the winter which makes it a fun destination for any snowy activities on the nearby Mt. Bachelor.
74. Head to the Coast
Oregonians don’t call their miles of shoreline “the beach”, we call it “the coast”. That’s because when you think of a beach you probably think of sunshine, golden sand, and warm ocean water. That definitely doesn’t describe the Oregon coast. The weather is always about 10 degrees cooler than Portland and the water is never truly warm enough to swim.
But regardless, a trip to the Oregon coast is always a nice day trip. You can check out the famous Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach or get seafood chowder at Seaside. And the Tillamook Cheese Factory is a great tour to learn more about Oregon dairy products (and sample the goods).
75. Take a Road Trip Around Oregon
We would argue that Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the entire US – it’d be a shame just to limit your trip to Portland! We created a list of all the best places to visit in Oregon so you can plan an epic road trip of your own!
There you have it – 75 of the best things to do in Portland! Did we miss one of your favorite Portland activities? Let us know below.
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