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12 Things To See and Do in Portland

6 min read

By Chelsea Hammond

  • If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss Farm 2 Fork Tours or the Portland Spirit Dinner Cruise.
  • Beer and wine enthusiasts should check out the Lucky Lab Brewery Company and Willamette Valley Wine Tours.
  • Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Forest Park Conservancy or Lan Su Chinese Garden.
  • The youngest family members will love the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Oregon Zoo.

With a population of about 641,000 people, Portland is the largest city in Oregon and well-known for its environmental stewardship. Sitting on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, mountains provide a tranquil backdrop to the bustling city. Portland is best known as a “hipster” town, with ample coffee houses and microbreweries that host the thriving art, theater and music scenes. The diverse city has something to offer everybody, so follow along as we roundup everything to see and do for your next trip to Portland.

Farm 2 Fork Tours

If you love the idea of sustainable living and want to know more about farm-to-table options, this stop shouldn’t be missed. Farm 2 Fork Tours connects visitors and the local community with the people who craft and grow their food. Take your pick of various themed tours to see how your food is grown and get a taste of the season’s offerings. Custom tours are available, but regular offerings include the Dairy Experience, Coastal Exploration and Taste of Willamette Valley. Prices vary.

Nature’s Charm

Lucky Lab Brewery Company

A trip to Portland wouldn’t be authentic unless it included a stop at one of the region’s renowned craft beer companies. The Lucky Lab Brewery Company has four locations spread throughout Portland, so you’re sure to find one near your lodgings. The brewery has numerous options available to sample, including Bike Route Rye, Blue Dog Pale Ale, Black Lab Stout and Dog Day IPA. Besides fantastic beer, you’ll also find a pub-style menu of food and a welcoming atmosphere. Dogs are always welcome, so bring your furry family members along.

Shutterstock/Anton Bannov

International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is the nation’s oldest, continuously operated public rose test garden, founded in 1889. Today, there are more than 8,000 breathtaking roses you can witness. The roses are tested on various attributes, including hardiness. The flowers aren’t sprayed with pesticides but are instead given only the primary care necessary to flourish. If you enjoy one of the roses you see on your tour, check out the Rose Garden Store to see if seeds are available to take home.

Shutterstock/Gary Matuschka

Portland Japanese Garden

Many consider the Portland Japanese Garden to be one of the most authentic of its kind outside of Japan. Take a walk through the serene Strolling Pond Garden and rest in the exquisitely landscaped Tea Garden. You won’t want to miss the newer Cultural Village, featuring an Umami Cafe, Garden Gift Shop and the Japanese Arts Learning Center. Tickets include access to all areas of the property and children five or under are admitted free.

Shutterstock/Cynthia Liang

Forest Park Conservancy

Forest Park Conservancy is a must-see if you want to experience the breathtaking scenery and gorgeous flora of the northwest without leaving Portland city limits. As one of the most extensive urban forests in the nation, this park features 5,200 acres of woods and over 80 miles of trails. The paths vary in length and difficulty, so there’s one that’s just right for every member of your family. The park is free to enter and is open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Shutterstock/Ethan Daniels

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is one of the oldest art museums on the west coast. It’s best known for its impressive collections of Native American and Asian art but also has extensive modern and contemporary galleries. Besides these permanent galleries, visitors can experience a rotating selection of temporary exhibits and installations. Historical surveys and focused presentations are also among the museum’s offerings. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a nationally renowned science center that provides science education to various audiences. Exploring the whole venue takes about 2-3 hours for the average person or group. Attractions include the Paleontology Lab, a real submarine, the Physics Lab and Science Playground. There’s also a Space Science Hall that consists of the Kendall Planetarium. The Life Lab allows you to get up close and personal with reptiles, insects, and other aspects of biology. Children two and under are admitted free.

Shutterstock/Victoria Ditkovsky

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is a world leader in animal conservation and welfare. A few animals you’ll see on your visit include elephants, black bears, bald eagles, polar bears, lions, tigers and red pandas. Besides the unique animal offerings, the zoo is also home to a gift shop, sculpture garden and multiple places to get a bite to eat. Children will especially love the playground and carousel. The Family Farm provides an up-close look at the animals seen on American farms.

Shutterstock/Png Studio Photography

Oregon Maritime Museum

The Oregon Maritime Museum is housed in the PORTLAND, a historic steam-powered sternwheel ship-assist tugboat that’s the last of its kind. Established in 1986, the museum includes historical artifacts and multiple vessels. There are also video-based and interactive learning exhibits, alongside a museum store that helps fund their ongoing efforts. The museum is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounts are available for seniors, students, active military personnel and AA members.


Willamette Valley Wine Tour

Wine enthusiasts can tour local wineries with the Willamette Valley Wine Tour to experience a one-of-a-kind tasting event. The tour takes you to various local wineries and allows you to taste the region’s Chardonnays, Pinots, Rieslings and other unique wine varieties. You’ll be accompanied by a guide well-versed in the wines of the Willamette Valley who can answer any questions you have. You’ll also be provided a country-style picnic at one of your stops, along with unlimited free bottled water, which are included in your ticket price.

Shutterstock/Steven Madow

Lan Su Chinese Garden

The Lan Su Chinese Garden has an exquisite plant collection and ornate pavilions that combine to create a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for a relaxing walk. Stop at the Garden Teahouse for one of several fine tea selections you can drink while looking out at the stunning garden views. There’s also a gift shop if you want a souvenir to take home, including a selection of teas. The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Shutterstock/Victoria Ditkovsky

Portland Spirit Downtown Dinner Cruise

Take in the dazzling city sights and evening lights on the 2.5-hour Portland Spirit Downtown Dinner Cruise. While you listen to live piano music and the captain’s narration, you’ll have the opportunity to feast on locally sourced Northwest cuisine that’s prepared fresh on board. Tickets include the cruise, meal and a private table. Appetizers, beverages and gratuities aren’t included in the ticket price. You should book your ticket in advance to secure your spot.

Shutterstock/Angelo Giampiccolo

Chelsea Hammond


Chelsea Hammond is a content creator and marketer with over a decade of experience. She studied towards a bachelor's in English with a minor in media analysis at Arizona State University and received multiple marketing certifications from HubSpot Academy.



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