Portland, OR

Things to do in Portland, OR

A visit to Portland is an absolute must for lovers of the arts. With its wealth of museums, galleries and festivals brimming with colorful offerings from world-renown masters and local legends, your itinerary will be brimming with artistic things to do in Portland. Visit the Pearl District to explore trendy galleries located in renovated warehouse spaces, or visit the Portland Arts Center for to see works by international masters. Foodies should likewise visit the Pearl District for some of the city’s trendiest restaurants, many serving up the organic, farm-to-table fare that’s become a huge part of the city’s culinary scene. And then there’s the beer: With dozens of local breweries, you’ll never run out things to do – or beers to try – in Portland. Visit Hair of the Dog Brewing to sample unique, unusual beer flavors, then stop by Amnesia Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery to try more familiar microbrews and mingle with the locals.

Travelers looking for outdoorsy activities will find plenty of things to do in Portland, from a low-key cycling tour through the city – you can even take a bike tour of the city’s many breweries – to a demanding hike up Mount Hood. Nature lovers will want to check out some of Portland’s many parks, including the International Rose Test Garden, which is resplendent with hundreds of varieties of roses, or Forest Park, home to more than 5,100 acres of dense, temperate rainforest. To relax after a long day of hiking, grab a bite at one of Portland’s many groundbreaking restaurants, like Asian-fusion Pok Pok or French-inspired Higgins, and read a book from Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.

Located three miles southwest of downtown Portland, the 64-acre Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi.

This multi-spirit distillery started in Corvallis, Oregon, in 2004 and relocated to Southeast Portland the following year. They make Aviation Gin, Krogstad Aquavit, White Dog Whiskey, and celebrated the release of Volstead Vodka to start February 2012.

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).

This cocktail lounge complements adjacent Gracie’s restaurant in downtown Portland’s Hotel deLuxe. The space has cushioned banquette seating, alligator skin and shark skin railing, moody wall sconces, and the namesake driftwood affixed to a purple back bar.

A dark little wine bar where diners eat baked chèvre and chicken-liver-and-currant mousse paired with Muscadet.

A black awning and sidewalk tables greet visitors to Sarah Hart’s Spanish-inspired chocolate shop, promising “(mostly) sin free chocolate.” Alma is both "soul" in Spanish and refers to Hart’s grandmother, who taught her to bake.

Plenty of passersby walk by this tranquil sanctuary (which was built in 2000 atop a parking lot) without even noticing it’s there; one doesn’t expect to find a garden amid the concrete and bustle of Old Town.

“Keep Portland Weird” read bumper stickers around town. Spend any time in Pioneer Courthouse Square and you'll find that it's ground zero for the alternative lifestyle embraced by the city.

A high-ceilinged, airy spot set amid the loading docks and chic galleries of the Pearl District, Bluehour is run by the same team behind chic eatery Clarklewis.

The detail-obsessed bartenders at this Pearl District destination make their own bitters, tonic water and specialty liqueurs. One night a month they feature drinks from a vintage cocktail book.

Take a tasty stroll to sample from the fabulous food carts—serving Thai, Lebanese, Italian, and Japanese snacks, among others.

This weekly happening benefits charity and is broadcast over airwaves in Oregon and southwestern Washington courtesy of the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) system.