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Things to do in Portland

Things to do in  Portland

Welcome to Portland

Oregon's largest city, Portland sits at the confluence of two major rivers. The Willamette River runs through the city center, while the Columbia River is north of the city on the border with Washington. Portland is a haven for outdoors enthusiasts, foodies, and beer lovers. It's the ideal base to explore the gorgeous Pacific Northwest scenery, and a reliable tour guide will help you find that frame-worthy photo op. Just an hour away, you’ll find the Columbia River Gorge with its numerous waterfalls (including the iconic Multnomah Falls) and the famous wineries of the Willamette Valley. If you’re up for a workout, do some hiking, paddle-boarding or even white-water rafting. The Oregon coast, another great day trip option, offers miles of public beaches to explore. In Portland itself, join locals on a jog or bike through Forest Park, the largest urban park in America. Stop at Powell's Books to browse the stacks; do a bike tour of the many breweries in the area; or sample a wide variety of international cuisines from the city’s famous food carts. Comedy fans won’t want to miss a tour of the local landmarks that serve as the backdrop for the hit IFC sketch show, “Portlandia.”

Top 15 attractions in Portland

#1
Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge

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The Columbia River Gorge, one of the great natural treasures of the Pacific Northwest with its many dramatic waterfalls, channels the mighty Columbia River through the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, marking much of the border between Oregon and Washington. The gorge figures in early United States history, as it was here that the Lewis and Clark expedition completed its final stretch in 1805. Today the area is popular with hikers, windsurfers, and wine lovers.More
#2
Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

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Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 620 feet (189 meters) and one of the state’s top natural landmarks. The falls are made up of two waterfalls fed from Larch Mountain and are recognizable for their setting tucked into sheer rock faces. The cascades are made more fairytale-like by the Benson Bridge, which spans the top of the lower falls and provides great photo ops.More
#3
Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

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Just outside of Portland, Mt. Hood stands at a majestic 11,249 feet (3,429 meters), making it Oregon’s tallest mountain. The dormant volcano often has steam rising from its fumaroles, adding to the serenity of the surrounding vista. Adventure-seekers who opt to climb the mountain all the way to its summit are rewarded with 12 glaciers at the peak—plus stunning views of the Cascade mountain range, and the valleys and cities below.More
#4
Portland Steel Bridge

Portland Steel Bridge

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With more than a dozen bridges spanning the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland is certainly a city of bridges. However, there’s one that stands out; Portland's Steel Bridge is the only telescoping, double-decker truss bridge ever built. You can ride the light rail across, admire its expanse on a cruise, or just stroll along the century-old landmark.More
#5
Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls

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One of 90 waterfalls along Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, Latourell Falls are the closest to Portland. Plunging from a height of 249 feet (76 meters, the waterfalls offer dramatic scenery and photo opportunities, while a hiking trail makes it easy to get up close and personal.More
#6
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

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Designed for science fans of all ages, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) features five separate halls, eight hands-on science labs, a real submarine, an OmniMax giant-screen theater, and a planetarium. The museum is a science playground, with 200-plus interactive exhibits covering subjects such as climate change, chemistry, the human body, and technology.More
#7
Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley

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A short jaunt southwest from downtown Portland, the Willamette Valley is known by wine lovers worldwide for its delectable pinot noirs, often produced in small batches. This picturesque region is also dotted with tasting rooms and is a popular spot for wine-tasting excursions from Portland.More
#8
International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden

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Free, outdoors, and centrally located, the International Rose Test Garden is an easy addition to your Portland vacation. Take time to smell some of the 10,000 roses representing 650 species when you stroll through the active test garden, located in Portland’s popular Washington Park.More
#9
Portland Pearl District

Portland Pearl District

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Portland’s Pearl District lives up to its evocative title. The small neighborhood in the heart of downtown is packed with local finds, from avant-garde art galleries to craft breweries to fine dining, with many establishments housed in renovated warehouse spaces. Plus, a bike- and pedestrian-friendly trail along the Willamette River accents the Pearl’s waterfront location.More
#10
Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls

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Situated on the Oregon side of the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Wahkeena Falls cascades 242 feet (74 meters) in tiers through lush green forest. It’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the area, not only because of its beauty, but also because getting to it requires only a very short hike.More
#11
Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square

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Sometimes called Portland's living room, Pioneer Square lives up to its reputation as a place that's welcoming to all. Though not the most scenic spot in the city, this centrally-located urban hub is surrounded by shops and eateries, and offers easy access to Downtown Portland attractions, whether you're walking or taking public transit.More
#12
Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion

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Once home to Henry and Georgiana Pittock, Portland’s original power couple, the Pittock Mansion sits on 46 acres (18.6 hectares) of land and contains exhibits featuring artwork and artifacts from the early 1900s. The house is perched on a hill 1,000 feet (305 meters) above downtown and offers sweeping views of Portland and the Cascade Range.More
#13
Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books

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Encompassing an entire city block in downtown Portland, Powell’s City of Books is the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore and a top attraction for book lovers visiting the city. Here you’ll find upwards of a million books, including rare finds, first editions, and autographed copies of bestsellers and little-known titles alike, all under one roof.More
#14
Alphabet District

Alphabet District

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Just a jaunt from Downtown Portland, the Alphabet District in the Inner Northwest area draws visitors for its shopping, dining, and easy access to Forest Park. The main stretch is between 21st and 23rd Streets. Many Portlanders call this largely residential area home, residing in the area's condos, Victorians, and Craftsman-style houses.More
#15
Washington Park

Washington Park

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Washington Park is a sprawling woodland in Southwest Portland, home to the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, and a series of gardens including the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, and the Portland Japanese Garden. Cycling paths and walking trails wind throughout the park, providing a convenient nature escape.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Portland

How to Spend 1 Day in Portland

How to Spend 2 Days in Portland

How to Spend 2 Days in Portland

Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley

Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley

Top activities in Portland

Mt Hood Day Trip from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Hood River
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Full-Day Mt Hood Waterfall Tour with Lunch and Wine Tasting
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Oregon Coast Day Trip: Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock
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Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
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Oregon Coast Tour from Portland

Oregon Coast Tour from Portland

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Portland's Only Underground Donut Tour
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Oregon Coast Tour from Portland
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Portland Afternoon City Tour
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Portland Afternoon City Tour

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Portland

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Getting To Know Portland, Oregon.
Angelis_M, Aug 2022
Portland Morning City Tour
Most beautiful falls.
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Great tour with Anna
jhorwitz18, Aug 2022
Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour
It was a great way to see many waterfalls nearby Portland.
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Amazing tour
Michele_M, Aug 2022
Afternoon Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
The waterfalls were wonderful.
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Eduardo was a fantastic...
Stephanie_J, Aug 2022
Morning Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
The waterfalls are breathtaking.
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Great bike tour around Portland
jhorwitz18, Aug 2022
Bike Around Portland: Bridges, Neighborhoods, Poetry and Roses
It’s a great way to see many parts of the city.
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Fantastic
Breanna_W, Aug 2022
Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour
My 9 y/o son even got to touch a waterfall, and he was so excited.
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This was a fun way to see...
Jonathan_A, Jul 2022
Essential Portland Bike and E-Bike Tour!
This was a fun way to see Portland.
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Great experience
Thor_G, Jul 2022
Small Group: Willamette Valley Wine Tour From Portland (Tasting Fees Included)
Cool way to see parts of the surrounding area of Portland
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Awesome!
Kaitlin_C, Jul 2022
Morning Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
I felt like every stop we stopped at, we had enough time to explore the waterfalls.
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Falls trip
Roya_M, Jul 2022
Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
Our tour Guid was awesome, she took us to different falls and crown point vista point, while she explained about each part and the historic road.
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A fantastic way to spend a few hours.
heidi_s, Jul 2022
Bike Around Portland: Bridges, Neighborhoods, Poetry and Roses
This was a great way to see a small slice of Portland and hear a bit about the history.
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Awesome day trip!
Alison_S, Jul 2022
Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls and Mt Hood Tour from Portland
The waterfalls were beautiful and the trip to Mt Hood was so fun.
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Gorgeous Waterfalls!!
Gary_A, Jul 2022
Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
Helpful recommendations for restaurants and other activities around Portland to try!
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Worth the money!!!
ANA_S, Jul 2022
Waterfall Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley with Gray Line
We were able to visit all the places we wouldn’t have been able to if we drove.
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Take this tour first!
Jeffrey_A, Jul 2022
Portland's Only Underground Donut Tour
Tasting all the exotic donuts was fun and filling, but I think the great value of this tour comes from all the tips for things to do and places to eat, etc.
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I was very impressed with...
Sue_E, Jun 2022
Portland, Oregon City Tour!
This is our fourth visit to Portland to visit our son, and wish we had taken this tour on an earlier visit for the great overview.
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Fun time for all
Steve_D, Jun 2022
Portland's Only Underground Donut Tour
Great way to see Portland, get steps in and taste some local doughnuts.
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Introduction to Portland by Water
Mary_W, Jun 2022
2.5-Hour Dinner Cruise Through Downtown Portland
It was nice to see the businesses and beautiful homes on the water.
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Hiking Around the Waterfalls
anne, Aug 2022
Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour
Wonderful experience of visiting 3 waterfalls and 1 lavender farm.
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Portland City Tour - Excellent Guide
Gita_P, May 2022
Portland, Oregon City Tour!
Got to see Portland city and the surrounding lush, green areas.
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All about Portland

When to visit

Portlanders love outdoor activities, and with summer temperatures at a comfortable high of around 80°F (26.6°C), it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the city’s outdoor markets, street fairs, and gardens. Plus, it’s the main season of the Portland Rose Festival. For budget-seeking travelers, winter brings lower hotel rates, but also a higher chance of rain.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
PDT (UTC -8)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

People Also Ask

What are some things Portland is known for?

Portland is known for its food and beer scenes, coffeeshops, and easy access to many of Oregon’s most celebrated outdoor attractions, from the waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge to the forested Oregon coast. Although Portland gets plenty of rain, it’s also famously bike-friendly, with lots of designated bike lanes.

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How do I spend a day in Portland?

With one day in Portland, split your time between downtown and Washington Park. Spend the morning downtown, shopping, sampling donuts, and searching for a title at massive Powell’s Books. In the afternoon, head to Washington Park, home to the Oregon Zoo, Portland Japanese Garden, and International Rose Test Garden.

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What is the number 1 attraction in Oregon?

While Portland gets more visitors than anywhere else in Oregon, the state’s number-one attraction is Crater Lake National Park, home to the deepest lake in the United States. It’s the only national park in Oregon and a popular spot for hiking, camping, and taking scenic drives in summer.

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What do people in Portland do for fun?

Portlanders are an outdoorsy bunch, and hiking is one of the most popular activities among locals, especially in the warmer months. Other popular activities include attending live music and theater performances and going out to sports games—Portland’s basketball team (Trail Blazers) and soccer team (Timbers) have solid local fan bases.

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Is Portland worth visiting?

Yes. Portland is worth visiting. It’s a great city for dining out, with tons of restaurants and food carts, not to mention wineries and breweries. Outdoorsy folks will find no shortage of gardens and hiking trails within the city limits and plenty of forestland a short drive away.

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What do locals do in Portland?

Portland locals spend a lot of time outdoors, skiing and snowboarding in the winter months and hiking and camping in the warmer season. Going out to eat is also a common pastime in the city; despite its smaller size, Portland has a ton of restaurants.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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