Oregon

Oregon Travel Guide

It’s no surprise that many of the most unforgettable things to do in Oregon take place in the great outdoors. The state boasts thousands of acres of state and national parks, filled with verdant forests, crystalline alpine lakes and more, all primed for hiking, camping and biking. Windsurfers congregate on the Columbia River each summer, an area where moments on land can be spent strolling through the scenic Hood River, a hotspot for artists, or hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls, which towers more than 600 feet.

For snow bunnies, a list of things to do in Oregon includes powdery slopes on Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood. Other state landmarks include the Painted Hills to the east, Crater Lake its central Cascade Range, and a myriad of cliff-side vantages along its rugged coastline. Plan a day’s visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for fresh cheddar or window shop at artisan boutiques up north in Astoria.

A list of what to do in Oregon wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Portland and its offbeat attractions. Reserve a table at one of its many foodie-favored restaurants, breathe fresh air in its International Test Rose Garden and stop in at Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the country. The riverside Oregon Museum of Science & Industry is another popular draw.

For oenophiles, an itinerary of what to do in Oregon revolves around the Willamette Valley and the hundreds of vineyards that call it home. Taste its world-famous pinots straight from the barrel and pair them with first-rate cuisine.

If you’re looking for a ’60s Pendleton wool dress or a groovy Pendleton overcoat (with fur collar and leather buttons), stop by Rag & Bones. The boutique, owned by Thistle restaurant owners Eric Bechard and Emily Howard, sells only American-made vintage clothing, most of it wool.

The quality of the productions here is uniformly high. Check out something modern here; this year, perhaps Sarah Ruhl’s well-regarded Dead Man’s Cell Phone.

Mix it up and take in a more traditional performance, too, at the open-air Elizabethan Stage.

Sokol Blosser is pushing the green envelope with its certified organic vineyard, solar panels, and a new 5,000-square-foot tasting room that architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture is hoping will achieve “Living Building” status.

The Portland Opera is known for presenting not only supertitled operas but also Broadway shows on tour. Additionally, their creative and skillfully made scenery and costumes are rented by other opera companies.

Once a collection of hulking early-20th-century warehouses, this area just north of downtown is now Portland’s trendiest neighborhood, chockablock with high-end loft condos, see-and-be-seen lounges and restaurants, and natty shelter shops and fashion boutiques.

Fly fisherman Peter Bowers, owner of the Patient Angler, swears that what he'll teach you in a 90-minute crash course would take you three years to learn on your own; when you're done, he'll set you up with a rod, reel, and map of the best local holes.

Along with bar snacks like rock shrimp hushpuppies, Red Star has a great selection of single-malt Scotches and small-batch bourbons. Its menu showcases bourbon cocktails.

If tranquil water is more your speed, hire a guide at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe and the only splashes you'll hear will be the ones your paddles make.

Sip organic fair-trade espresso.

On Saturdays—and, despite the name, Sundays from March through late December—the nation’s largest ongoing outdoor arts and crafts market unfolds beneath the Burnside Bridge (in 2009, the location will change).