The author McKenna Mobley admiring the Multnomah Falls, one of the best things to do in Oregon

43 Best Things to Do in Oregon (in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Things to Do in Oregon | National Monuments & State Parks | Things to Do on the Oregon Coast | Free Things to Do in Oregon | City Attractions in Oregon | FAQs

The best things to do in Oregon range from forest exploration to coastal adventures and city excursions, making visitors never want to leave.

Living on the West Coast, I’ve visited Oregon many times. In this guide, I’ll point you in the right direction of the top things to do in the state, for both city folk and more outdoorsy travelers. 

We’ll start with a couple famous Oregon attractions, but if you read to the end of the list I’ll spill the beans on a few hidden gems you won’t find elsewhere!

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43 Best Things to Do in Oregon

Crater Lake National Park

Explore Oregon’s only national park, a deep blue volcanic lake surrounded by thick alpine forest.

Overlooking view of the Crater Lake National Park
A view of Wizard Island from the Cleetwood Cove Trail

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 594-3000 | Crater Lake National Park Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $30 in summer, $20 in winter | 👉 See Top Tours to Crater Lake on Viator

Witness a deep blue, alpine crater lake frozen in time at Oregon’s sole national park. Formed over seven thousand years ago via volcanic eruption, Crater Lake National Park is now one of the top national parks in America and has long been an inspiration to Indigenous groups, artists, and outdoor explorers.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA and is backdropped by the stunning Cascade Mountains, making hiking trails along the crater’s edge one of the most scenic experiences in the park.

Columbia River Gorge

Hike alongside the Columbia River right outside of Portland.

A rainbow over the Columbia River Gorge
A rainbow over the river gorge

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 308-1700 | Columbia River Gorge Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $5 per day | 👉 Browse Tours from Portland to Columbia River Gorge

The largest national scenic area in the U.S. can be found in northern Oregon at the Columbia River Gorge. Aerial viewpoints reveal a mighty river transecting the Cascade Mountains, surrounded by dozens of spilling waterfalls.

Only 18 minutes outside of Portland along the Historic Columbia River Highway, this gorge is one of the best places to escape the big city and get lost among the hiking trails or in the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Cannon Beach

Photograph Oregon’s most famous coastal landmark.

The Haystack Rock from afar in Cannon Beach
A summertime view of Haystack Rock

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 436-2623 | Cannon Beach Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Ginormous rock outcroppings take precedence at Cannon Beach, one of my personal favorite places to visit in Oregon. 

This vibrant Oregon coastal town is one of the most romantic destinations on the west coast, with plenty of opportunities for strolling hand-in-hand on the beach during sunset, catching some live music in a small village eatery, or having a candlelit conversation by your cottage rental fireplace.

Portland Japanese Garden

Wander around a zen Japanese Garden and discover tranquility in the heart of Oregon’s biggest city.

An art exhibit displayed inside the Portland Japanese Garden
The interpretive art exhibit inside the Japanese garden
The author taking a selfie at the Portland Japanese Garden
Me, posing in the garden

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 223-1321 | Portland Japanese Garden Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm daily, Closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $21.95, adult, $18.95, senior 65+, $17.95, student with ID, $15.95 6-17, Free under 6

Get lost in a meditative state at the Portland Japanese Garden, which is one of the best things to do in Portland. Stroll the tranquil gardens, over koi pond bridges and past raked zen gardens, or take a seat at the glass treehouse Umami Cafe for some delightful Japanese tea.

Don’t forget to check out the art exhibit located in the garden! The exhibit currently on display consists of an immersive glass-pressed-plant art piece with specimens both from Portland and Japan. 

👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Portland

Multnomah Falls

Hike to the base of Oregon’s tallest waterfall, a mossy cascade that spills down behind a scenic viewing bridge.

McKenna holding an umbrella at the Multnomah Falls
Me, posing in front of the falls during the winter
View of people on a stairs at the Multnomah Falls
Climbing the stairs to the bridge for a better view of the falls

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 308-1700 | Multnomah Falls Website | Hours: 9 am-6 pm daily | Entrance: free, $2 reservations in the summer | 👉 Browse Tours from Portland to the Falls

Multnomah Falls is located only one hour outside of Portland, and it is one of the most best hikes near Portland thanks to the opportunity to view one of the state’s most famous waterfalls. The roaring cascade encased in mossy foliage tumbles down at full force during the winter and spring months, the best time to view the falls.

The Multnomah Falls can be incredibly packed, especially on the weekends. Get there as early as possible for the most pleasant experience. There’s also a gift shop and snack stand on-site in case you forgot to grab breakfast on your way out.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Camp in a sea of sand dunes and fall asleep to the sound of crashing coastal waves.

View of the Pacific Ocean from the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
A view of the Pacific Ocean behind the dunes

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 271-6000 | Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area Website | Hours: 8 am-4 pm daily, Closed Saturdays & Sundays | Entrance: $5 daily 

While Oregon is by no means a desert state like its southern neighbor California, it does offer desert activities like the Oregon Dunes. Sled down southern coastal dunes or rent an ATV and go for a wild ride across the shifting sands of the recreation area.

Dispersed camping is also available right on the sand, within walking distance of the beach. 

Timberline Lodge Ski Resort

Ski down Oregon’s highest mountain with 360-degree views of surrounding granitic giants.

Snowboarders enjoying their day at the Timberline Lodge Ski Resort
Snowboarding during the winter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 272-3311 | Timberline Lodge Ski Resort Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $269 lift tickets | 👉 Book a Room on Booking

The Timberline Lodge Ski Resort is nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, making your skiing experience scenic in every direction you look. 

Skiing down Mount Hood via Timberline Lodge has been one of the best things to do in Oregon for families since the 1950s and continues to be a fun northern Oregon excursion today.

 👉 Pro Tip: Don’t forget to pack the skiing essentials before hitting the road to Oregon. I never hit the slopes without my trustee Smith ski goggles. For more essentials, see my full Oregon packing list.

Washington Park

Have a picnic in Oregon’s biggest public park or visit one of many park attractions.

View of activities available in Washington Park
Some available activities in Washington Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 319-0999 | Washington Park Website | Hours: 5 am-10 pm daily | Entrance: Free

Washington Park is a great place to head in Oregon when you don’t know where to start. So many fun things are accessible from this 410-acre park like the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, the Hoyt Arboretum, and so much more!

Just a short ride outside of Portland, Washington Park is also a great place to head with friends for a picnic or to explore the International Rose Garden.

Wine Tasting in Willamette Valley 

Sip on some local concoctions while surrounded by an expanse of green meadows and snowy high-altitude peaks.

View of a vineyard at the Willamette Valley

📍 Google Maps | Willamette Valley Website | 👉 Browse Wine Tasting Tours on Viator

With more than 700 wineries, Willamette Valley gives top wineries in Napa, California a run for their money. Grand, sweeping vistas of rolling green hills backdropped by towering Cascade Mountains set the stage for wine tasting in Willamette Valley.

Visit either the North Valley, Mid-Valley, West Cascades, or South Vallely regions in Willamette Valley for the most scenic vineyard options.

Umpqua Hot Springs

Soak away your hiking muscle ache with a visit to these natural forest hot springs.

View of natural rock pools at the Umpqua Hot Springs
The natural rock pools

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 498-2531 | Umpqua Hot Springs Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $5 parking | 👉 Browse Nearby Hotels on Expedia

Experience ultimate relaxation in Oregon with a trip to one of its top hot springs. The turquoise pools of the natural rock Umpqua Hot Springs are the best place to get lost in nature and let your worries melt away. 

A 0.8-mile hike brings visitors to cliffside geothermal pools only 75 miles from Crater Lake. Arrive in the early morning for a chance to experience uncrowded hot springs.

National Monuments & State Parks

Oregon Caves National Monument

Explore underground Oregon by candlelight.

View of the ceiling inside the Oregon Caves National Monument
Stalactites on the cave ceiling

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 592-2100 | Oregon Caves National Monument Website | Hours: 8:30 am-4 pm Monday-Saturday, Closed Sundays | Entrance: Free, paid cave tours

Explore subterranean Oregon at Oregon Caves National Monument. Venture deep into the Siskiyou Mountains underworld to experience the geologic wonder of the “marble halls of Oregon,” created by eons of acidic water seeping into the ground stone.

This is one of the most exciting things to do in Oregon to switch it up. The monument itself is free but cave tours require a small fee. Choose from the Discovery Cave Tour, Candlelight Tour, Family and Kids Tour, or the Off-Trail Caving Tour.

Silver Falls State Park

Hike to one of many PNW waterfalls for an authentic Oregon experience.

Panoramic view at the Silver Falls State Park
The upper North Falls

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 551-6949 | Silver Falls State Park Website | Hours: 7 am-9 pm daily | Entrance: Free

Visit Silver Falls State Park for that postcard photo view of Oregon you’ve dreamed about. Quintessential Pacific Northwestern beauty at this state park has contributed to Oregon’s reputation as one of the greenest, most beautiful west coast states.

Waterfall hikes are the most frequented attraction at Silver Falls State Park, including the South Falls and Trail of Ten Falls trails, both with spectacular views of mossy, crashing cascades.

Smith Rock State Park

Rock climb between steep canyon walls and above local wildlife habitats.

Scenic view at Smith Rock State Park during sunrise
The state park just before sunrise

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 551-6949 | Smith Rock State Park Website | Hours: 7 am-7 pm daily | Entrance: $5 per day

A snaked Crooked River winds its way through jagged towering peaks at Smith Rock State Park. The deep river canyons make some of the best rock climbing routes on the west coast.

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as otters, eagles, and beavers at Smith Rock State Park, a wilderness area booming with life. Visitors are allowed to hike with their four-legged friends, as long as they’re kept on a leash to not disturb the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Fort Stevens State Park

Explore an old military fort, now a recreational oasis with lakeside lounging and a massive campsite.

Remains of a shipwreck in Fort Stevens State Park
The remnants of a shipwreck in the state park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 861-3170 | Fort Stevens State Park Website | Hours: 6 am-10 pm daily | Entrance: $5 daily 

There’s plenty of room for everyone at one of America’s largest public campgrounds otherwise known as Fort Stevens State Park. An active fort between the years of the Civil War and WW2, Fort Stevens is now a hub for recreational activities.

A freshwater lake and beach access invite visitors to bust out the suntan lotion and relax for a while at the lakeside. Scenic trails and a shipwreck are other tourist destinations at Fort Stevens as well as a Columbia River observation deck.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Experience a desert side of Oregon you didn’t know existed at this fossilized site.

Overlooking view at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 987-2333 | John Day Fossil Beds Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Wavy hills of neon yellows, reds, and oranges offer quite the contrast to a usually-green PNW state. These colorful rock formations at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument preserve fossils of an ancient ecosystem more than 40 million years old.

Visit the Thomas Condon Visitor Center before you take a scenic hike or drive through the monument to learn more about Oregon’s prehistoric past.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument 

Explore Oregon’s lava lands at this volcanic monument, laden with hiking trails and alpine lakes.

Overlooking view from the Paulina Peak
The view from Paulina Peak

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 383-5300 | Newberry National Volcanic Monument Website | Hours: 9 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: $5 daily

View the lava lands of Oregon in the Deschutes National Forest next time you’re in central Oregon. The Newberry National Volcanic Monument inhabits more than 54,000 acres of lakes, thick forests, and lava flows among other geologic formations. 

The Lava Lands Visitor Center is a great place to start. Talk to a ranger, pick up a trail map, or learn more about the area from the interactive exhibits. I recommend hiking Paulina Peak, a 7,985-foot peak with 360-degree views of the entire area. 

Cove Palisades State Park

Go rafting, paddleboarding, or fishing, in this water-intensive park.

Panoramic view at the Cove Palisades State Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 551-6949 | Cove Palisades State Park Website | Hours: 24 hours

Next time you find yourself in Central Oregon, I highly recommend checking out Cove Palisades State Park, a wilderness area sandwiched between both the Deschutes and Crooked River canyons. 

Go whitewater rafting, paddleboarding, boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and so much more in Cove Palisades State Park. 

Things to Do on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Learn more about the dense marine life that lives on the Oregon coast at the state’s biggest aquarium.

View of jellyfish on an aquarium at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 867-3474 | Oregon Coast Museum Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: $29.95, adults, $19.95, 65 and older & 13-17, $15.95, 3-12, Free ages 0-2

One of the most popular things to do along the Oregon coast, the Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases most marine life imaginable and excites the imaginations of both adults and children.

Located in Newport Oregon, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the best place to head after catching a sunrise at the beach.


Explore a historic fishing town and venture downtown for a local brew.

View of a waterfront at the Astoria, Oregon
The waterfront area near downtown

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 325-5821 | Astoria Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

One of Oregon’s quaintest sleepy fishing towns, Astoria is somewhat off the beaten path and is one of my favorite coastal towns. I love roaming the Astoria streets, visiting the local farmers market, hitting up a local brewery, and shopping from the downtown brick vintage stores.

This historical coastal city boasts Victorian-style homes, a biking trail right by the waterfront, and coastal hiking trails.


Play amusement park games at one of Oregon’s most popular beach towns before catching an unobstructed sunset.

View of people at the Seaside during sunset
A Seaside beach sunset

📍 Google Maps | Seaside Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

I’ve spent the past three Fourth of July’s in Seaside and cannot wait to go back for a fourth! The downtown Seaside area boasts arcade games, candy shops, delicious pizza places, and boardwalk boutiques, making it one of the most happening towns on the Oregon coast.

Fireworks are allowed right on the beach during the July celebration, the best time to visit Seaside. 


Immerse yourself in coastal Oregon culture at this sleepy fishing town.

View of the author on her friend's commercial fishing boat
On my friend’s commercial fishing boat in Newport
View of a dog and a cat in Newport, Oregon
Babysitting my friend’s green ranch and many animals just outside of Newport

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 1-8-00-COAST-44 | Newport Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Dive bars, waterfront seafood, local breweries, and vocal sea lions collaboratively make a trip to Newport one for the books. Visit the busy fishing port at the Bayfront or the remote yet scenic Agate Beach next time you’re in Newport.

The Oregon Coast Museum and the Rippley’s Believe It or Not museums are the top attractions in town but a short drive along the coast will bring you to coastal hiking trails and perfect opportunities to fish.

I stayed in my motorhome in Newport along my ultimate Highway 101 tour and stayed at RV parks along the way.

Free Things to Do in Oregon

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

Drive a scenic highway past alpine mountain peaks.

Clear blue sky over the Sparks Lake
Sparks Lake

📍 Google Maps | Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Drive along one of the most scenic areas in Oregon known as the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. 66 miles of alpine lakes, snow-capped mountains, and volcano strata accompany road trippers from Bend to the Diamond Peak Wilderness just outside of Crater Lake National Park.

Mount Hood National Forest 

Climb to the top of Oregon with a technical climb up Mount Hood.

View at the Mount Hood looms in Oregon
Mount Hood looms over the national forest

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 352-6002 | Mount Hood National Forest Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

No trip to Oregon is complete without visiting its most famous national forest. Mount Hood National Forest houses the tallest mountain in the state, Mount Hood, an 11,249-foot technical summit.

Experienced mountain climbers, don’t forget your winter essentials like an ice axe, crampons, and gaiters before embarking on a challenging climb up to the volcanic summit.

Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Drive past secret beaches where the forest meets the ocean.

An arch rock at the Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Arch Rock along the corridor

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 551-6949 | Boardman State Scenic Corridor Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

A 12-mile stretch of Oregon coast can be found at Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Hiking is one of the main activities here but various drive-up viewpoints also dot the scenic byway.

Arch Rock, Spruce Island, and Thunder Rock Cove are among some of the viewpoints. Secret Beach is one of my personal favorite hikes at the corridor and at only 0.2 miles roundtrip, it’s completely doable for the whole family! 

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

Transect state lines with a hike into the Idaho section of the national forest.

View of the running water in Lostine River
Lostine River

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 523-6391 | Wallowa Whitman National Forest Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

2.4 million acres of public lands in northeastern Oregon stretch all the way into western Idaho and house hundreds of miles of hiking trails.

Prairie-like grasslands and the wild Snake River can be found in Wallowa Whitman National Forest. Top hiking trails include Aneroid Lake, Wallowa River Loop Trail, and Matterhorn Peak.

Oregon Coast Trail

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a 300+ mile thru-hike along the coast.

Overlooking view at the Oregon Coast Trail
The coastal trail leads right past scenic ocean viewpoints

📍 Google Maps | Oregon Coast Trail Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

The Oregon Coast Trail is best tackled by adventure seekers and well-seasoned trekkers. This 362-mile trail isn’t for the faint of heart but is overwhelmingly rewarding for thru-hikers with a lot of patience, endurance, and a solid backpacking backpack.

Hikers cross the Columbia River, intersect 28 different Oregonian towns, and trek along the sandy beaches of the Oregon coast on the OCT, a long thru-hike that is best hiked from June to September.

Cruise Down the Hood River

Go for a float down an alpine glacier-fed river.

Overlooking view of the Hood River and the Mount Hood

📍 Google Maps | Hood River Website | Hours: 24 hours| Entrance: prices vary per tour

Don’t put outdoorsy activities on the backburner when visiting Oregon. Cruise down the Hood River for a wild trip to remember. Class 4 rapids race down the mountain in the springtime, summoning type 2 fun adventure enthusiasts.

One of the most popular places to cruise down the Hood River is in the Columbia River Gorge, where a temperate forest ecosystem lines the canyon walls with Mount Hood not too far off in the distance.

Pacific Coast Highway

Drive down the most iconic highway on the west coast.

McKenna admiring the view at the Pacific Coast Highway
The PCH coast near Newport

📍 Google Maps | Pacific Coast Highway Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free 

The Pacific Coast Highway, PCH for short, is arguably the most scenic road on the west coast. If you’re coming from down south, you can start your exploration with a California road trip then take the PCH north into Oregon, passing top coastal destinations along the way.

An Oregon road trip along the PCH is the best way to view the entire coast, without missing small towns along the way.

Klamath Falls

The gateway town to Crater Lake NP with ample water hikes available.

A bird flying over the Klamath Lake
A soaring bird over the Upper Klamath Lake

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 883-5316 | Klamath Falls Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Klamath Falls is a southern Oregon must. Most Klamath Falls visitors pass through on their way to Crater Lake but the small mountain town offers small-town magic for those who stick around.

I recommend hiking the Link Trail near Klamath Lake, the Tomahawk Trail, or taking a short drive to the Klamath Falls Rapids, a cascading flow of rapids.

Rogue River

Go whitewater rafting down southern Oregon’s main river.

Running water at the Rogue River
The Rogue River Gorge near Prospect

📍 Google Maps | Rogue River Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: prices vary per tour

If you don’t have time to make the trip up to the Hood River, you can also find top-quality whitewater rafting on southern Oregon’s Rogue River. From a short, half-day trip to more intense multi-day trips, rafting down the Rogue River is always a fun experience.

Hiking in the Cascade Mountains 

Go on a challenging, snow-capped climb, or opt for an easier alpine hike.

Scenic view at the Cascade Mountains
Camping at the base of the South Sister

📍 Google Maps | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Most people visit Oregon to hike Mount Hood and miss out on the other great trails in the Cascade Mountains. The nearly 10,500-foot Mt. Jefferson, the nearly 7,800-foot Mount Washington, and the Three Sisters Circuit are other top Oregon hikes.

Make sure to bring the essentials for your Oregon trip, like sturdy hiking boots, a rain jacket, and a sun hat.

City Attractions in Oregon

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry 

Learn more about the scientific world around you at OMSI.

One of the exhibit inside the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The Art of Brick exhibit (photo: RabbitHolePhoto / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Oregon Museum Website | Hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm | Entrance: $16, adult, $11, children, $13, seniors over 62, Free under 3 

Oregon’s most popular museum sits right on the Willamette River. This is one of the best things to do in Oregon for families with small children or for adults who admire the sciences.

Enjoy a planetarium, the empirical theater, an orca exhibit, a natural sciences hall, and more at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Oregon Zoo

Visit your favorite animal at Oregon’s biggest zoo.

The author outside the Oregon Zoo

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 226-1561 | Oregon Zoo Website | Hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm daily | Entrance: $24, adults, $19, children, Free under 2 

One of Washington Park’s main attractions, the Oregon Zoo is the biggest in the state and houses animals from all over the world!

Attend a bird show, a zoo keeper talk, the ZooBrew local beer event, and live summer concerts at the Oregon Zoo. Every Portland traveler should visit the zoo, made easy with the affordable prices.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

View your favorite Broadway production at this Renaissance-style theater.

View at the entrance of Oregon Shakespeare Festival
(photo: Chris Allan / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 482-2111 | Oregon Shakespeare Festival Website

Theater enthusiasts must check out the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Tony Award-winning establishment with shows such as Rent, Romeo and Juliet, and The Three Musketeers.

Located in Ashland, the Renaissance-style theater is surrounded by dense forest and is one of the best things to do in the evening after a day of hitting the hiking trails.

Enchanted Forest 

Unleash your inner child at this whimsical, enchanted woodland theme park.

A theme park at winter in Enchanted Forest
A snow-covered theme park in the winter (photo: Bob Pool / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 371-4242 | Enchanted Forest Website | Hours: 10:30 am-5 pm Saturdays & Sundays only | Entrance: $25, ages 13 and up, $22, ages 62 and up & ages 3-12, Free under 3

Visit one of Oregon’s few amusement parks for a day of fun with the whole family. Located just south of Salem, the Enchanted Forest is a storybook woodland amusement park that is known by locals as a psychedelic Disneyland, with fairytale figurines, elf symbolism, and enchanted forest creatures lining the park. 

Portland Children’s Museum

Watch your children explore their creative side at this hands-on museum.

View at the entrance of Portland Children’s Museum
The museum entrance (photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (207) 828-1234 | Portland Children’s Museum Website | Hours: 9 am-4 pm daily, closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $15, adults, $13, seniors

The interactive Portland Children’s Museum allows children to climb and build outside, dress up for the theater, create art in the open workshop, and learn more about the inner workings of the natural world at one of the ecological exhibits.

I recommend catching a live show at Maddy’s Theatre located inside the museum. The upcoming show this summer is Gruff! An Epic Fairytale Eco-Musical.

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Learn the history of Oregon’s early pioneers at this interpretive center.

An old wagon at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 523-1843 | Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Website | Hours: | Entrance: $8, adults, $6, seniors, free under 16

While this interpretive center is currently closed for renovations, a temporary exhibit educates the public about the historical trail in Downtown Baker City in the meantime. 

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center highlights the state’s settler past as a frontier state and tells the story of the Oregon pioneers via life-size displays, films, and live theater performances. 

Portland Art Museum

View art from Oregon locals in the heart of Downtown Portland.

The author admiring an exhibit inside the Portland Art Museum
Me, in the Asian art exhibit
A pair of figurines at the Portland Art Museum
A pair of figurines that date to the 4th-3rd century BCE

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 226-2811 | Portland Art Museum Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm | Entrance: $25, adults, $22, seniors, college students, Free under 18 

The Portland Art Museum is one of my personal favorite Oregon museums. Rotating temporary exhibits keep this museum intriguing year-round and its location in the heart of Portland makes it the perfect pitstop after having lunch downtown.

When I visited the Portland Art Museum recently, Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe was on display; an Indigenous artist with perfect fine lines and art portraying a Native perspective of the Dakota culture.

Portland Pearl District

Visit Portland’s largest concentration of restaurants and bars.

Panoramic view at the Portland Pearl District in Oregon

📍 Google Maps | Portland Pearl District Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Portland’s Pearl District is one of the best places to visit for foodies. The largest concentration of delicious Portland eateries are located in this district.

You will also find chic galleries and stylish shops in the Portland Pearl District. The brick buildings of this old warehouse district never disappoint with brewery and bar options.

Pittock Mansion

Learn about the Oregon past by interacting with this historic, photogenic mansion.

The Pittock Mansion from the outside

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-3623 | Pittock Mansion Website | Hours: 10 am-4 pm daily, 12 pm-4 pm Tuesdays | Entrance: $14.50, adults, $10.50, children, $12.50, seniors, Free under 3

Portland’s historic house museum can be found in Washington Park and tells the story of Oregon’s transition from a pioneer state to a postmodern world through the legacy of the Pittocks.

The French Renaissance-style home of the Pittock Mansion is today a museum of Oregon’s past. It’s also a great place to take elegant photos and has one of the best views in town.

The Grotto

Experience peace at a cliffside shrine in the middle of Portland.

View of The Grotto in Portland, Oregon

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 254-7371 | The Grotto Website | Hours: 9 am-6 pm daily | Entrance: Free

A 62-acre shrine is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Portland. This woodland sanctuary is dedicated to Our Sorrowful Mother and is nestled inside of a carved-out boulder in Portland. 

Attend a Roman Catholic service at The Grotto, cruise around the botanical gardens, buy a snack from the gift shop, or simply enjoy the solitude of the nature sanctuary. 

Hatfield Marine Science Center

Visit a marine lab to learn more about marine life in a more in-depth way.

Close up view of a shark in Hatfield Marine Science Center

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 867-0100 | Hatfield Marine Science Center Website | Hours: 10 am-4 pm Thursday-Monday, Closed Friday-Sunday | Entrance: $5 per person

Oregon State University’s marine lab is located in Newport, Oregon, and is a base for oceanic research. Many child-friendly exhibits are packed into the center, including hands-on displays and informative videos. This low-cost museum is a great way to spend a slow day on Oregon’s coast. 

High Desert Museum

Spot local wildlife at this 135-acre sanctuary.

A station wagon at the High Desert Museum
A station wagon in the open air museum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 382-4754 | High Desert Museum Website | Hours: 9 am-5 pm daily | Entrance: $20, adults, $17, seniors over 64 & college students, $12 children 3-12, Free under 2

135 acres in Central Oregon are reserved for protecting wildlife habitats such as porcupines, river otters, and raptors at the High Desert Museum. 

Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for a chance to witness local Oregonian wildlife up close and personal. There’s also an on-site museum and cafe so you can refuel before continuing the fun wildlife exploration. 

FAQs About What to Do in Oregon

What is Oregon best known for?

Oregon is known for its abundance of hiking trails, the Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake National Park, beautiful Oregon coast like Cannon Beach, and fun city activities in Portland.

What is the number 2 attraction in Oregon?

The Columbia River Gorge is the number 2 attraction in Oregon. Here, visitors can raft or paddleboard down a scenic river with the snow-capped Cascade Mountains in the background. 

Why do tourists go to Oregon?

Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes offered on the west coast. From dense forests to coastal paradise and metropolitan areas with top-rated breweries and restaurants, Oregon has it all!

What is the best time of year to visit Oregon?

Oregon is the perfect state to visit year-round! Summer is the best time to visit for the driest weather. 


Thanks for reading my guide on the best things to do in Oregon! Comment below with your favorite Oregon activity and be sure to give our Best Things to Do in Washington State guide a read!

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