A mossy statue inside the Portland Japanese Garden, one of the Best Things to Do in Portland

39 Best Things to Do in Portland (in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Things to Do in Portland | Free Things to Do | Food & Drink | Family Attractions | Seasonal Things to Do | FAQ

Portland is a dynamic city with an endless amount of attractions. It’s no wonder that finding the best things to do in Portland can make your Oregon travel planning overwhelming. 

I’ve been to Portland several times and know all the best spots from personal experience. 

To get a good overview, I’d advise dedicating at least 2-3 days to fully explore this Oregon city and not miss any of the best activities. Between the hiking, breweries, and historical attractions, you’ll be busy. Not to mention, Portland activities stack up against some of the best things to do in Oregon

Let’s start exploring!

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39 Best Things to Do in Portland

Columbia River Gorge

Paddleboard or kayak down a still river on the outskirts of Portland’s city center.

View of the Columbia River Gorge from Memaloose State Park on a sunny day
A view of the Columbia River Gorge from Memaloose State Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 308-1700 | Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $5 parking | 👉 Browse Columbia River Gorge Tours on Viator

Travel only 20 minutes outside of Portland to be transported into a whole other world. Deep gorges were carved by the snaking Columbia River. This created the dramatic landscape known as the Columbia River Gorge.

Visitors can enjoy the “green Grand Canyon of Oregon” in a number of ways. Columbia River Gorge offers spectacular views, ample camping spots, hiking trails, and rafting opportunities. I recommend testing your physical limits up Dog Mountain, cycling around The Dalles, or simply taking in the beautiful scenery.

Washington Park

Choose from a multitude of fun attractions at Portland’s most popular park.

View of the wet landscape at the  International Rose Garden in Washington Park
The International Rose Garden in Washington Park

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

Washington Park is the best place to go for Portland visitors who want to relax and get a taste of everything. Multiple attractions are sprawled across the landscape of this ginormous green recreational area. This makes it easy to spend a whole day exploring many top things to do in Portland, all concentrated within walking distance of each other. 

Top Washington Park attractions include the Oregon Zoo, Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, and Pittock Mansion, among others. I especially recommend Washington Park to short-term visitors, like those taking day trips from Seattle.

Mount Hood

Climb to the top of Oregon’s highest mountain, a glaciated peak of 11,249 feet.

View of the Mount Hood from the field of lavenders on a sunny day
A view of Mount Hood from lavender fields in Hood River, OR

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (541) 467-2291 | Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: free, $20 climbing fee in effect 2024 | 👉 Browse Mount Hood Tours on Viator

It’s hard to miss the dominating views of Mount Hood while flying into Portland. Spice up your metropolitan vacation with a trip to Oregon’s highest mountain. It’s surrounded by deep forests and vibrant springtime wildflower blooms. Mount Hood is hands down one of the best hikes near Portland.

Whether you’re fixin’ to climb, ski, or simply photograph the glacial peak of Mt. Hood, a trip to Oregon’s northern Cascade Mountains should definitely be in order. Be sure to also stop by Mt. Hood Brewing Co., one of my favorite places to grab a drink near Mt. Hood.

Portland Japanese Garden

Explore one of the most tranquil spots in Portland.

A mossy statue inside the Portland Japanese Garden
 A mossy statue inside the garden

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 223-1321 | Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm daily, Closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $21.95, adults, $18.95, senior 65+, $17.95, students with ID, $15.95, children 6-17, free 5 and under 

One of my favorite activities to do in Portland is to visit the Japanese Garden. Tranquility meets the natural world at this native plant oasis. The Portland Japanese Garden is even complete with a locally-sourced treehouse-style tea house.

Spending time at the Portland Japanese Garden is one of the best ways to spend a calm day in the city. Don’t forget to check out the botanical art exhibit inside the museum before you leave!

👉 Pro Tip: Visit the gardens on a rainy day to curb heavy tourist crowds. Rainstorms also bring the tranquility of the gardens to another level.

Portland Art Museum

Get acquainted with local Oregonian artists with ever-changing museum exhibits.

Closeup look at the artwork exhibited at Portland Art Museum
A piece from a recent Indigenous exhibit at the museum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 226-2811 | Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily, closed Mondays & Tuesdays | Entrance: $25, adults, $22, seniors 65+ & students with ID, free under 18 | 👉 Browse Hotels near the Portland Art Museum on Booking

The Portland Art Museum is arguably one of the best museums in Portland. Exhibits on display vary each month, giving Portland locals a reason to visit semi-regularly. It’s truly a must-see museum for visitors and locals alike.

When I visited the art museum, an ancient Chinese archaeological collection was on display, as well as Indigenous art from a Native American artist. Upcoming exhibits include Guillermo del Toro: Crafting Pinocchio, and Black Artists of Oregon.

Willamette River

Take advantage of Portland sunshine with a paddle board or kayaking adventure down the Willamette River.

Scenic view of the Willamette River at sunset
Serene view of the Willamette River

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Willamette River Tours on Viator

Portland’s landscape is defined by the 187-mile-long Willamette River. Visiting the Willamette River is one of the best things to do in Portland with the whole family. 

I recommend kayaking or paddle boarding down the famous Willamette River. It’s accessible from nearly a dozen docks between Oregon City and north Portland. Here, quiet, calm waters will take you along the edge of Ross Island or to the heart of downtown Portland with a close-up view of St. John’s Bridge.

Alberta Arts District

This art walk is a must-visit, should you find yourself in town on the last Thursday of the month.

View of the post with artistic touch at Alberta Arts District on a gloomy day
(photo: Leah Bush / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 503-823-4000 | Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free | 👉 Top Place to Stay in Alberta Arts District

I recommend checking out the Alberta Arts District if you find yourself in Portland on the last Thursday of the month. This 15-block community art event takes place on NE Alberta Street between 15th and 30th Avenue from 6-9 pm.

You can watch street performers, shop for a locally-made pinata, or simply revel in the buzz of this exciting monthly Portland event.

Portland Rose Festival

Ride the Ferris wheel or try your luck at an arcade game at Portland’s most beloved annual festival.

Closeup look at the Portland roses
Portland roses

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 227-2681 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, May & June | Entrance: $20 general admission

The Portland Rose Festival has been one of the biggest festivals in Portland since 1907. The festival has May and June programming and features parades, carnival rides, art shows, dragon boat races, and more. It’s held at the Portland International Rose Test Garden.

Each year the Rose Festival comes alive with floral floats, marching bands, and overly enthusiastic Portlanders eager to celebrate their favorite city’s celebration.

Forest Park

Enter into a whole new world without venturing too far from Portland at this mossy green oasis. 

View of the lush mossy forest trail at Forest Park
A lush forest trail

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 503-823-4000 | Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: free 

Forest Park is home to 52,000 miles of extensive hiking trails and native wildlife refuges. Forest Park is only 20 minutes outside of downtown Portland across St. John’s Bridge. 

The Wildwood Trail is one of the most popular trails in this area, where you can hike under a thick forest canopy. Macleay Park Trail to Pittock Mansion is also a popular trail I’d recommend.

Multnomah Falls

Photograph one of Oregon’s most iconic natural landmarks.

View of the Multnomah Falls from a distance on a gloomy day
The falls on a gloomy day
Closeup view at the Multnomah Falls
A close-up view of the falls

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

The impressive Multnomah Falls can be found about 45 minutes away from downtown Portland. In my experience, Multnomah Falls is definitely worth all the hype, especially if you hike to the high viewpoint.

Multnomah Falls is free to visit during non-summer months but a $2 permit is required in the summer. You can purchase it at Recreation.gov. I recommend visiting Multnomah Falls as early as possible to avoid long lines (especially in the summer).

🚗 Need a Car? Multnomah Falls is about an hour outside of Portland. Rent a car from Discover Cars to save money getting around.

Portland Aerial Tram

Hold on tight as you soar high above the Portland cityscape.

View of the aerial tram nearing the waiting station
A tram just pulling into the waiting station
View of the Portland cityscape from the aerial tram
A view of the tram from the high viewpoint

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 5:30 am-9:30 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm Saturdays, Closed Sundays | Entrance: $7

The Portland Aerial Tram is one of the best ways to see all of Downtown Portland. For a small $7 round-trip fee, you can soar above the clouds to reach the high point at Oregon Health & Science University campus. 

Take a panoramic photo of Portland’s cityscape and try to spot your hotel on your way back down on the tram.

Voodoo Doughnut

Indulge in sugary goodness at this classic Portland donut spot.

Closeup look at the colorful doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut
The fun flavors of Voodoo Doughnut
People lining up at the counter of the beautiful interior of Voodoo Doughnut
The whimsical and colorful interior

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 241-4704 | Website | Hours: 5 am-3 am daily | Entrance: free

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Voodoo Doughnuts. The unique, gourmet delicacies sold at this Disney-like doughnut establishment are unique, to say the least. My favorite donut is the classic Voodoo doughnut—complete with cherry filling right under a pretzel “stab wound.”

Other magical flavors include maple bacon, pineapple delight, and banana cream pie. Voodoo Doughnuts is also open late, which is a great perk after a late evening enjoying the Portland nightlife scene.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Sip some local tea surrounded by native Chinese flora in this breathtaking botanical garden.

View of the waterfront pagoda at Lan Su Chinese Garden
A beautifully landscaped Chinese garden

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 228-8131 | Website | Hours: 10 am-6 pm daily, Closed Wednesdays | Entrance: $14, adults, $13, senior 62+ & students with ID, $11, ages 6-18, free under 6

Rediscover your inner peace at the serene Lan Su Chinese Garden. Explore native Chinese plants, decorative stonework lining the garden, and an authentic teahouse. 

Lan Su Chinese Garden also hosts fun events like brush painting demonstrations, music in the garden, and Tai Chi classes.

Mount Tabor Park

Experience 360-degree views atop one of the city’s high points.

View of Downtown Portland from Mount Tabor Park
A view of Downtown Portland from Mount Tabor

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 503-823-4000 | Website | Hours: 5 am-10 pm | Entrance: free 

Hike to the top of Portland’s very own extinct volcano: Mount Tabor. One of the best views of Portland can be seen from Mount Tabor’s mountaintop. Here, there are 360-degree views of the downtown Portland skyline. 

Overall, Mount Tabor Park is a great place to relax with the whole family. There are places to run, rest, and play. 


Explore the sciences at this child-friendly Portland museum.

Exterior view of the OMSI building
Outside OMSI (photo: Checubus / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 797-4000 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 am-7 pm Saturday, 9:30 am-5 pm, Sundays, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $18, adult, $15, senior 63+, $13, ages 3-13, free under 3 

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the most popular things to do in Portland with children. Families can learn more about the scientific world here. There are hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, an empirical theater, natural sciences hall, and more. 

OMSI is located right along the Willamette River. Your family is sure to enjoy all the fun and engaging exhibits and activities this museum has to offer.

Free Things to Do in Portland

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Walk your four-legged friend alongside one of Oregon’s most notorious rivers.

View of the geese at the lush greenspace at Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Lots of greenspace at Tom McCall Waterfront Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-7529 | Website | Hours: 5 am-12 am daily | Entrance: Free 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a nearly 37-acre park that runs parallel to the Willamette River in Downtown Portland. Tom McCall Waterfront Park is one of the best places to enjoy a peaceful morning in the city. The riverfront and greenery are perfect for early morning workouts and walking the pups. I love to come here with watercolors to paint the blooming cherry blossom trees.

Portland Saturday Market

Meet local Portland artisans at this arts and crafts market.

Closeup look at the woven artisan basket
A woven artisan basket from the market

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 222-6072 | Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm Saturdays | Entrance: Free

The Portland Saturday Market has it all from ceramics to jewelry, to hand-crafted figurines, paintings, and more. Over 150 booths showcase arts and crafts here. 

Rain or shine, the Portland Saturday Market will never leave you hanging. It runs from March through December and is located in the heart of Portland. There’s truly no better way to source local art than by visiting the Portland Saturday Market.

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Attend a local community event at this brick-lined square.

View of the illuminated Pioneer Courthouse Square at dusk
The courtyard after dusk

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 223-1613 | Website | Hours: 8:30 am-5 pm daily, Closed Saturdays & Sundays | Entrance: free 

Pioneer Courthouse Square is the center of many events in Portland. The historical, brick-lined square hosts more than 300 annual events. This includes concerts and organized marathons throughout Portland.

A Starbucks and local food trucks are also on-site at Pioneer Courthouse Square. This makes it an ideal place to spend a few free hours in Portland.

Witch’s Castle

Wander through the woods to an enchanted, yet abandoned, fortress in the woods.

View of the Witch’s Castle ruins
The castle ruins

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-4000 | Website | Hours: 5 am-10 pm daily | Entrance: free

Witch’s Castle is a two-story enchanted stone fortress in Portland’s Forest Park. The fairytale structure may look whimsical and unassuming, but it’s actually steeped in murder history.

Today, Witch’s Castle is one of the most popular Forest Park hikes for both locals and visitors alike. It only takes 10-15 minutes to reach Witch’s Castle via the Wildwood Trail. 

Lastly, you might hear Witch’s Castle referred to as “Macleay Park Shelter.”

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Enjoy endless acres of a conglomerate of vibrant wildflowers.

View of the blooming flowers at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
A beautiful sunny day in the garden

📍 Google Maps | Phone: | Website | Hours: 10:30 am-3:30 pm daily, 1 pm-3:30 pm Wednesday | Entrance: $5 for people 11 and older, free for kids 10 and under.

Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden calls wildflower enthusiasts from all over Oregon. Nine acres of vibrant wildflowers line the premises. From rare species to azaleas and hybrid rhododendrons. This makes Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden great for taking photos. 

The best time to visit Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is in early April when hundreds of early-blooming rhododendrons come to life.

Salmon Street Springs

Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee to go while you watch the synchronized dance of this famous Portland fountain.

View of the Portland fountain at the Salmon Street Springs
The fountain when it comes to life

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-7529 | Website | Hours: 5 am-12 am daily | Entrance: free

Salmon Street Springs is an outdoor fountain and a Portland landmark. It is located at the intersection of Naito Parkway at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. 

Cool off during a hot Pacific Northwestern day at the Salmon fountain. Or, simply relax in the park while watching the synchronized flows of the fountain water while you sip on a cup of to-go coffee.

The Grotto

Attend a mass or simply appreciate the tranquility at this carved-out rock altar space.

View of the religious statue in The Grotto
A religious statue in The Grotto

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 254-7371 | Website | Hours: 9 am-8 pm daily | Entrance: free 

The Grotto is by far one of the most unique things to do in Portland. The cliffside shrine is a woodland sanctuary dedicated to Our Sorrowful Mother. Here, regular Roman Catholic services are hosted. The Grotto is completely free of charge and is a peaceful place to relax with a book just outside of the city center.

Hoyt Arboretum

Hike among native Portland flora and discover over 2,300 species of trees and shrubs.

View of the signage at the entrance of Hoyt Arboretum
Entering the Hoyt Arboretum

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 865-8733 | Website | Hours: 5 am-10 pm daily | Entrance: free | 👉 Browse Hoyt Arboretum Tours on Viator

Washington Park’s Hoyt Arboretum is a forested adventure to remember. The living museum is the best place in Portland for nature enthusiasts.

Discover native flora and occasional fauna in the Hoyt Arboretum’s 190 acres, complete with 12 miles of hiking trails. Hoyt Arboretum is also home to 2,300 species of trees and shrubs from six different continents.

Food & Drink

Pearl District Breweries

Indulge yourself in the local flavors of Portland on this brewery-lined street.

View of the neon lights inside the brewery in Pearl District
Getting a drink in the Pearl District

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: most breweries 11 am-10 pm | Entrance: Free

Most of Portland’s top-notch breweries are in the lively, up-and-coming Pearl District. Many Portland locals hang out in the Pearl District, thanks to the variety of breweries in the area. 

I highly recommend checking out 10 Barrel Brewing Portland. You can sip on a locally-concocted brew on their rooftop patio and people-watch kooky Portland characters below. 

Just note that the Pearl District can be packed on the weekends since this area is popular with people taking day trips from Seattle. Be prepared for crowds and only bring the essentials.

📚 Related Reading: Learn about the Pearl District and other cool areas in our guide on where to stay in Portland.

Cartopia Food Carts

Sit in the fresh air for a local Portland dinner.

Closeup look of the Poutine on a disposable plate with forks
Poutine—one of many cool dishes at Cartopia

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-12 am Friday-Saturday | Entrance: free 

You’ll find multiple food cart locations in Portland. None come close to the acclaim of the Cartopia Food Carts of Southeast Hawthorne Blvd. Cartopia offers a multitude of culinary treats from Thai food, to burgers, to tacos, sweets, and more. It’s been a vibrant city staple since 2008.

This is one of the best places to eat in East Portland. It even gives top Seattle restaurants a run for their money on hot summer nights.

Family Attractions in Portland

Oregon Zoo

Snap a photo of your favorite wildlife creature at Oregon’s largest zoo.

Closeup look of the young lions at Oregon Zoo
Young lions at Oregon Zoo

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 226-1561 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm daily | Entrance: $24, adult, $19, ages 2-11, free under 2

The Oregon Zoo is one of the best places in Portland to visit with kids. The whole family is sure to be satisfied with all the wild animal kingdom attractions here. Plus, the Oregon Zoo is the biggest and most affordable zoo in Oregon.

One of the best Oregon zoo events is ZooBrew, which is held each June. Enjoy flavors from 40 of the best breweries and cideries in Portland as well as live music, zookeeper chats, and lawn games. There’s something for everyone at ZooBrew, even family members under 21!

Oregon Maritime Museum

Learn more about the Pacific Ocean at this seaside museum.

View of the boat mounted display at Oregon Maritime Museum
A maritime museum display

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 224-7724 | Website | Hours: 11 am-4 pm Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays, only | Entrance: $7, adults, $5, seniors 62+, $4 students with ID, $3 ages 6-12, free under 6

Learn all about marine life at the Oregon Maritime Museum. This museum on the river showcases the last operating and steam-powered sternwheel tug in the U.S. 

The Oregon Maritime Museum offers docent-led tours of the pit house and engine room, all the while telling stories of the local rivers. This unique museum on the water is one of the best places to visit for people interested in deep marine life.

Japanese American Historical Plaza

Educate yourself on the lived experiences of Japanese immigrants in Portland and beyond.

View of the blooming Cherry blossoms at the Japanese American Historical Plaza
Cherry blossoms at the plaza

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 224-1458 | Website | Hours: 5 am-12 am daily | Entrance: free 

Experience a slice of culture at the cherry blossom-lined Japanese American Historical Plaza. The plaza tells the story of the hardships suffered by Japanese immigrants in Portland, as well as their incarceration throughout the World War II era.

Poems inscribed on stones pay homage to the bravery of those who served in the U.S. armed forces and other Japanese migratory experiences.

Mill Ends Park

Photograph one of the smallest parks in the world.

View of the signage of Tiny Mill Ends Park in the middle of the road
Tiny Mill Ends Park (photo: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-7529 | Website | Hours: 5 am-12 pm daily | Entrance: free 

Mill Ends Park is a tiny urban park that consists of only one tree. This tree was dubbed the smallest tree in the world in the 1970s Guinness Book of Records. I recommend checking out Mill Ends Park for its iconic status as a microscopic, 2-foot-wide park alone.

Pittock Mansion

Hike through the thick forest to reach the doorstep of one of Portland’s most iconic historic houses.

View of the façade of the French Renaissance-style château of Pittock Mansion
The French Renaissance-style château

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 823-3623 | Website | Hours: 10 am-4 pm Wednesday-Monday, 12 pm-4 pm Tuesdays | Entrance: $14.50, adults, $12.50, seniors 65+, $10.50, ages 6-18, free under 6 | 👉 Browse Pittock Mansion Tours on Viator

Washington Park invites visitors to view Pittock Mansion, a historic house museum. Learn about Portland’s frontier, pioneer, and Native past in the interpretive museum. You can also see how the area transformed to fit modernity.

Most visitors drive through Washington Park right to the Pittock Mansion gate. But my favorite way to experience Pittock Mansion is via the 5-mile Macleay Park trail.

Powell’s City of Books

Settle down with a good book in the world’s largest new and used bookstore.

Exterior view of the Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s Books takes up a whole city block!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 878-7323 | Website | Hours: 10 am-9 pm daily | Entrance: free | 👉 Browse Nearby Hotels on Booking

Why is a bookstore on our list you may be wondering? Powell’s City of Books is no ordinary bookstore. This ginormous book palace is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. This very fact makes it worth checking out.

Located in the heart of downtown Portland near yummy restaurants like Thai Peacock and clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange, Powell’s Books has over a million books. In fact, it takes up an entire block! 

Pick out a good book, order a coffee, and enjoy a gloomy Portland afternoon inside this cozy bookstore.

Powell Butte Loop Trail

See into Washington on this high volcanic loop trail.

Scenic view of the mountain and landscape from Powell Butte Loop Trail
A scenic, moderate-level hike

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 5 am-10 pm | Entrance: free

The Powell Butte is a million-year-old volcano with prime views of Portland. This trail extends all the way to the Washington Cascade Mountains of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens. 

This moderate 5.9-mile hike is a perfect thing to do in Portland to mix up an otherwise city-centric trip. Hike through tall, scenic grasslands and around wooded forest canopies on this lesser-known trail. Powell Butte Loop Trail is a true escape from reality. 

📚 Related Reading: Come prepared for hiking trails and more by reading our Oregon packing list.

Seasonal Things to Do in Portland

Portland Old Time Music Gathering

Listen to Portland’s finest grassroots music at this annual Appalachian festival.

Closeup look of a hand playing the banjo
Banjo playing

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Seasonal, January | Entrance: $25 per day 

Multiple nights of old-timey music spanning across different locations welcome all-night tunes. All of which originate from traditional Appalachian-style string bands. 

The Portland Old Time Music Gathering kicked off its last festival with a Cajun/Honky Tonk dance night and held an open jam. This January music festival sure is a grassroots knee-slappin’ hoot. 

UFO Festival

Don’t be afraid to get weird at this otherworldly event, complete with extraterrestrial experts and alien attire.

View of the crowd watching the marching band at the UFO Festival
A marching band at the alien parade (photo: Dee Browning / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Seasonal, May | Entrance: $25 per talk 

One of the weirdest annual festivals in Portland is McMenamin’s UFO Festival. It certainly helps “keep Portland weird.” 

What began as a way to honor the famous 1950 UFO Trent sighting has since flourished into an extraterrestrial workshop. McMenamin’s UFO Festival is complete with expert speakers, plenty of out-of-this-world costumes, and more.

Filmed by Bike Film Festival

Watch some of the most international & independent cycling films from around the world at this Hollywood Theatre event.

View of a group of cyclists
Cycling enthusiasts gather together for a ride

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (503) 383-1306 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, May 18-21, 2023| Entrance: $15 per event 

Filmed by Bike Film Festival is a touring film festival that features the world’s best bike movies. Filmed by Bike Film Festival takes place each May in Portland at the historic Hollywood Theatre.

Fun, bike-centered events take place throughout the busy film festival weekend. This includes an organized bike ride, afterparties, and meet and greets with the filmmakers.

Filmed by Bike Film Festival is the perfect event to attend in Portland if you’re a bike fanatic and are visiting for an extended period of time. It’s also a great way to meet the fellow cycling community in Portland and establish new riding partners.

Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival

Sip on some of America’s best brews at this huge natural ale fest.

View of a cold pint of beer placed on the table
Enjoy a refreshing pint of beer

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Seasonal, May | Entrance: $35, general admission

Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival is the region’s biggest showcase of uniquely charismatic brews from American breweries. 

The affordable $35 fee gets ticketed guests glassware and ten drink tickets. VIP tickets allow visitors an hour earlier entry into the event as well as 5 extra drink tickets. The Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival is the best special event for beer connoisseurs.

Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride

Unleash your wild side and ride through the streets of Portland with other locals in their birthday suits.

View of the "Riding Bare for a Cleaner Air" written on paper at Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride
(photo: Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: August 12, 7:30 pm | Entrance: free 

Bare your birthday suit at Portland’s unusual World Naked Bike Ride event. This may sound far out to out-of-towners, but it is revered as a Portland local legend. Wear as much or as little as you want at this secret location ride. The locals don’t judge!

This year’s naked bike ride is on August 12th. It is completely free and welcoming to persons of all income levels, but donations are encouraged. 

Fall Mushroom Show

Get to know more about Portland fungi.

Closeup look at the variety of mushrooms
Variety of mushrooms

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Seasonal, October | Entrance: $10, general admission 

The ever-growing mushroom community in Portland gets together once a year to celebrate their interests at the Fall Mushroom Show. 

Here, you can learn all there is to know about wild Oregon mushrooms. I recommend purchasing a few of your favorite mushrooms and engaging in mycological festivities at this fall event.

Oregon Renaissance Faire

Delight in Renaissance performances, cuisine, and unique shows at this old-time event.

View of the Medieval Jousting Knights on horseback with lances splintering
Renaissance jousting event

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Seasonal, June 10 am-7 pm | Entrance: $25.95 general admission

Hear ye, hear ye! The Oregon Renaissance Faire is an annual June event that takes place outside of Portland. This festival is not to be missed if you’re in town. 

The Oregon Renaissance Faire in Canby hosts a conglomerate of community members who appreciate the older things in life. The Renaissance Faire is complete with artisans, merchants, entertainers, and performers. There are over 150 performers and fun costume contests as well.

The Oregon Renaissance Faire typically lasts three weekends in June. Put on your best Renaissance dress and meet some like-minded lads!

FAQs About What to Do in Portland

How can I spend a day in Portland?

The best way to spend a day in Portland is by waking up early to hit all the top things to do in Portland. Visiting Voodoo Doughnuts, walking along the Willamette River via the Tom McCall Waterfront Park Trail, and exploring the Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park are all great activities. 

What is Portland, Oregon well known for?

Portland, Oregon is known for being a music, museum, art, and nightlife hub. Top Portland sights include the Pearl District Breweries, the Portland Art Museum, the Portland Saturday Market, and the Alberta Arts District festivities.

How many days in Portland is enough?

1-2 days in Portland are enough to hit most of the main tourist attractions. 3-5 days are better to fully explore the city and take day trips to top sites like Mount Hood and Multnomah Falls.

What are the best things to do in Portland with kids?

The best things to do in Portland with kids include visiting the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Portland Japanese Garden. The aerial tram and Voodoo Doughnut are also great things to do in Portland with kids.


You made it to the end of our complete guide on the top things to do in Portland! 

While you’re in the area, be sure to also check out the best things to do in Washington. Many are only a short day trip from Portland.

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