Best of Portland or finding the Real Portland in Portland, Oregon
So everyone has their must see-and-do places in Portland. Here are places in Portland that I find interesting and really interesting. The place we show our respectable visitors and place that make Portland the funky place we love – what makes Portland Weird. But those funky places that made Portland weird are disappearing fast so you better visit soon.
Popular Tourist Attractions
From what I have seen from the local tourist bureau and tour companies this is where they want you to go in Portland. Well they got some of it right but if you want to find Portland or Portlandia in Portland you have to reach further. Some of it is looking at the history of Portland, some is finding the last pieces of what made Portland hip and some of it requires being brave enough to climb over the bodies passed out on the street to find the last creative spaces that will keep Portland Weird for a little longer.
But to start here is the standard list most often sited.
Powell’s Books – Big book store. I have only gone here a few times but I have to admit I have gotten mesmerized by what seem like endless isles of books and have lost all track of time. Big thing about this place in the early days was you could sell your old text books back to them.
Pittock Mansion– Part of Portland’s history and best free view of the city. Mr. Pittock was the Publisher of the Oregonian Newspaper and this was his retirement home.
International Rose Test Garden – If you like Roses and gardens it is a nice place to visit.
Chinese Garden – I have been here and have no need to go back. If you have not been to a Chinese garden this could be worth visiting. The Chinese immigrants are part of the Portland Story the garden is not.
Japanese Garden – They just did a big redo on the buildings and gift shop so you need to go there so we can pay for the place. If you have not been to a Japanese garden this could be nice place to go. It is located in Washington Park.
Voodoo Donuts – Donuts? You came all the way to Portland to get a donuts. For many years if you are downtown at 2 am and feeling no pain it is a good place to get a sugar rush to get you home. Today donuts are a new trend an it started with Voodoo.
If you have kids could be a good place to go. Do it on a warm sunny day. On a cold rainy day (that 9 months of the year here) the animals just hide away.
Tom McCall Water Front Park – OK, Water Front park is pretty nice on its own and is key to the history of Portland. The event held here make it a culture center for the city. If one of our big events are going here when you are here you can see just how crazy Portland can be.
Mill End Park – Kind of weird but I guess that is Portland. It is in the middle of the street next to Water Front Park and is the smallest park in the world.
Forest Park – This is a must for folks who live in Portland and is used a lot. If you are visiting there are 80 miles of trails so I don’t think you are going to see it all in one day. I have a recommend hike on its web page.
Pioneer Courthouse Square – It’s better than the parking lot that was here for 20 years. It is known as the “Portland’s living room ” but when there is not an event going on there is not much to see.
Saturday Market – Local crafters gather here on the weekend to peddle their wares. This has been going since the sixties and you never know what original handmade item you might find. Not weird but the arts and craft side of Portland.
Farmers Market – Summer time we have farmer markets all over the city. From the farm to the table and a must for the vegans.
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry – For Portland this is nice. If you have been to the one in Chicago this is a mini me. I know the children’s area can keep the grand kid entertained all day. And they have a real Navy sub you can go on. Not Portlandia – this Portland.
Portland Art Museum – This is not the Louvre. For me they have a small collection of NW Coast Native art that is special.
Selfie Landmarks – Portland Oregon Sign, Keep Portland Weird Sign, Salmon in Building, Bart Simpson sidewalk, Umbrella Man, China Town Gate
But wait there’s more.
But first you may want to check out why I did this site.
Other thing to see by category
Scroll down the page to see more or use the links below to jump to the category you are interested in.
- Alternative Attractions
- Historic Sites
- Food and Drink
- Places to stay
- Parks & Garden
- Linear Neighborhoods
- Getting out of Portland
This is more of the funky stuff of Portland. Some might say the weird part of Portland. This can be the stuff that pisses off city hall but we love it.
Burnside Skatepark – The creation, growth and maintenance shows the rebel side of Portland. Redevelopment, as with most of Portland, may end it.
Earliest white man history begins not in Portland but across the river in Vancouver.
One of our newest sites and has train rides.
Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery
Craft Beer is a big thing here in Portland so an educational bus tour of Breweries and Brewpubs in Portland is in order.
I have a website just on craft beers at BrewpubsPDX.com
Food & Drink
I am not what you would call a “foodie.” I am more a beer snob. I have a whole wed site dedicated to that at Brewpubs PDX . But through the years I have gotten out to a few places. These may not be the momentary trendy spots but I have found them interesting and a good value.
Late night coffee hang out.
Teas from around world served as in the country of origin.
Late night bistro with great mac and cheese.
One of Portland’s first pubs.
Places for the view
I don’t know how we became such a donut town but it seem what we are known for. I do know it started with Voodoo Doughnuts. They started making weird donuts that were fun. And they made them late at night so folk who been indulging in a good time could stand in line and get a sugar rush before heading home. If you build a niche – competitors will come. Now we have a number of shops doing unusual donuts.
Food Carts and Food Cart Pods
First Food Cart Pod – Corner of Hawthorne and 12th – their the ones that started it.
The Original Dinerant – For Milkshake
There is no Sales Tax in Oregon – Tax Free Shopping. These may not be the traditional tourist shopping spots but if you are new resident of Portland you might find these are good places to know.
Specializes in only made in Oregon products.
If you are working on your homestead in Portland and wanting to keep it and funky these are good places to know.
Lots of repurpose old stuff.
You just have to go and experience the place.
They offer affordable used building and remodeling materials with the goal of promoting the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials — a non-profit resource to strengthen environmental, economic and social fabric of local communities.
Places to Stay
Caravan – Tiny House Hotel
Old fashion and yet new, classic amusement park.
Ground Kontrol – Classic Arcade – Video Games and Pinball.
Glowing Greens is Portland’s premier, black light, indoor, 18 hole, 3-D Adventure miniature golf course.
Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Portland Spirit
Paddling tour put on by Portland Kayaking. Paddle from downtown around Ross Island.
Alder Creek – Assorted Kayak Tours
Alder Creek Rentals – If you are qualified and just need a boat.
Scovare Expeditions – Sail and power boat cruises
Electric Castle Wunderland – Arcade, movies, Laser Tag, Multiple Locations
Nine and half aces Rhododendron Garden
Highest point in the city. On a clear day views of the mountains and Portland.
Water front trail for seeing the river and the city.
East side of the Willamette River Trail.
Good place for city events but not much to see otherwise.
Lots to see and do here.
Holocaust Memorial in Washington Park
River View Nature Park
Hopkins Demonstration Forest
Where the first government was formed.
Trimet – bus, Trolly, Light Rail
The best part about Portland is getting out of it. Portland is located in the center of some of the best places for outdoor activities and sight seeing in the world. This is the real reason we all live here.
This is my working page for my visit Portland Project. Finished material is on my website at http://visitportland.brewpubspdx.com/